WeWriWa—Halloween 1946



Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. In the spirit of the Halloween season, all my October snippets are related to this best of all holidays. (I know it seems like a complete juxtaposition that my two favorite holidays are Halloween and Yom Kippur!)

This week’s snippet comes from Chapter 104 of my third Russian historical, Journey Through a Dark Forest. Dmitriy Voroshilov, a 20-year-old ensign in the Naval Reserve, is hosting a party in his little house on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, California in 1946. This is his first date with Katya Koneva, the closest in age sister of Darya from last week.

Dmitriy has pursued Katya relentlessly since their reunion on the train back to California at the end of the summer, but she’s continually deterred him, not only because he’s so cocky, dirty-minded, bawdy-tongued, and skirt-chasing, but also because his mother is a longtime enemy of her family. Now she’s finally starting to be interested in him, and has arrived in a witch’s hat and long red cape over her true costume. At the door, Dmitriy presents her with a bouquet of red, yellow, and orange roses in a ceramic jack-o-lantern, and Katya asks why he’s dressed as a magician.


“Because that’s what I am.” He smiles devilishly. “I steal hearts and work magic with the special parts of my body.”

Katya takes the flowers and comes inside, where Dmitriy introduces her to his Navy buddies and their dates. The other four couples consist of an American Indian princess and a whiteface clown, a Medieval princess and a Vampyre, a nurse and a skeleton, and an antebellum belle and a pirate. Dmitriy has decorated his small, humble home with cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, black and orange balloons and streamers, die-cut skeletons, black cat silhouettes, ghost garlands, several jack-o-lantern bowls overflowing with candy, and strings of orange lights.

“Now will you finally show me your real costume? Let’s see a good girl’s idea of sexy.”


In spite of what Dmitriy says at the beginning, he’s still a technical virgin. He doesn’t want to have full intimacy until he’s with someone he wants to marry, and he doesn’t want to risk ruining anyone’s reputation if the worst happens.

Though Dmitriy was just the right age to serve in the war, his godmother (the woman who really raised him) arranged for him to enroll in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, an accelerated program which provided both a college education and Navy training. The war ended shortly after Dmitriy began the three-month V-7 Navy College Training finishing course at a midshipmen’s school, and now he’s returned to Berkeley to finish his bachelor’s degree on a normal timetable. The only Navy service required of him now is one weekend every month and two additional weeks a year in the Reserve.


12 thoughts on “WeWriWa—Halloween 1946

  1. Great snippet, balancing would-be worldliness and innocence … but what really caught my eye was “Chapter 104”. I’m in awe. The WIP I’m just finishing up has 19 chapters. I hope yours are really short.


    • By my standards, in my Russian historicals, a short chapter is in the 4,000/5,000-word range (though a handful were only in the 2,000 range), mid-length is in the 7,000/8,000 range, and long is over 10,000. I see each chapter as like a short story, a miniature novel unto itself.


  2. Hmm, now why does Dimitriy put on a show for others like that about himself? Almost flaunt himself as a man but not actually make the moves of one he portrays himself as. I’m sensing a story behind that.


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