Welcome back to WIPpet Wednesday, hosted by K.L. Schwengel, a weekly blog hop wherein participants share excerpts from their WIPs related in some way to the date. 6+3+
2015=14, so I’m sharing 14 lines from my alternative historical WIP.
By this point, the members of the firing squad who murdered the Imperial couple and two of their retainers have been publicly hanged, and Aleksey, his sisters, and the two surviving retainers have returned to St. Petersburg. Grand Duke Mikhail, next in line to the throne, has also been rescued, and has accepted the role of Regent. His first official act as Regent was to declare martial law and have all the Bolsheviks thrown into prison. He’s also intensified the May Laws, in overreaction to the origins of certain of the leading Bolsheviks. Aleksey doesn’t think it’s right to punish the entire Jewish community of the Russian Empire just because of the actions of a relatively small group, but he can’t do anything about it till he’s the one in power.
Now Mikhail is taking charge of his nephew’s medical care, with a whole new team of doctors. He’s taking a rather tough love policy, which at the moment feels more like an even longer list of don’ts than before. Aleksey was always an active child when he was well, not some wilting lily who stayed inside reading, drawing, and demurely playing. There are numerous pictures of him doing things that could’ve turned very dangerous, like going down a slide, standing on top of a cannon, riding a bicycle, and balancing on chairs. (However, all the pictures of him on horseback were staged, and he was whisked off the horse as soon as the picture was taken.) He did all he could to be a normal boy, beyond the bounds of his disease.
Mikhaíl looked around the room. “There are too many sharp corners in here. I’ll have to get a servant to put some kind of cushioning material around the desk, shelves, chairs, and everything else. One wrong step, and you could have yet another hemorrhage.”
Dr. Merkulov took a piece of paper out of his pocket and unfolded it. “Your uncle consulted with us about other activities you shouldn’t do, or should stop doing immediately. Would you like to read it, or shall I read it to you?”
Alekséy took the paper, his heart sinking as he read the long list. Besides all the things he was already forbidden to do, he was also now suddenly forbidden to do things he’d always enjoyed, as well as things he was looking forward to, like smoking, driving, and serving in the military. Perhaps even worse, he was now forbidden to keep all the fasts on the Orthodox calendar, when his family had always been so above and beyond in their observance of their faith.
“I was so excited to be old enough to fast before Communion and keep the fasts of Great Lent and Nativity, and now I’m supposed to just smile and go back to eating regular food like a little kid?”
“God knows your heart,” Mikhaíl said. “You’re not deliberately shirking your religious duty. This is a matter of life and death.”