Chapter 9 - The Deal
On his slow walk to the meeting, Vladimir, knew many of the others, who were not
soldiers, would have a hard time dealing with the news forth coming. He approached the
meeting area at the edge of the village; he was joined by other soldiers.
"This is not good."
"No it is not and I fear the worse is to follow."
"We have been here before."
"Yes, but many of our fellow men are not soldiers."
"It will hit them the hardest."
"Yes it will and I smell death ahead of us."
"I smell it too."
Vladimir and the others approached the fire; they could see the General standing on a
box so he could see over the crowd. Then as the group formed a circle around the General,
the armed soldiers appeared from the shadows, leaving no way out. The soldiers with
Vladimir had never been on the inside of the circle before; they knew the only way out
was by death.
One of the sergeants fired his automatic rifle into the air. When everyone looked at him
he spoke, "Attention comrades. Please pay close attention. Our general has something
to say to you."
"Thank you Sergeant, comrades, listen to my words very carefully; your lives depend
upon my instructions being followed to the letter. Life changes, times change and many
times one is not able to control his future. The fate of Russia has fallen upon your
shoulders. I will not take up your time with long speeches. I am a soldier and as a
soldier, I follow orders. Many of you are not soldiers, but doctors, craftsmen and farmers,
but everyone was selected to be here tonight for one reason or another. Sometimes one
cannot see the honor bestowed to one, for they become selfish. Now is not the time to
become selfish. Not only does your life depend upon it, but the lives of your families. You
have been training for a mission to save our homeland and my job is to make sure each
and every one of you does his part. It is simple; go home to your families and say
goodbye. The trucks are beginning to arrive as I speak to carry us on to the next stage of
our mission. Anyone trying to escape will be shot, and then we will shoot their families.
This is short and simple. Now go!"
You could hear the disbelief coming from the group of men as the armed soldiers moved
in to disburse them, hurrying them on their way. No groups of more than a few men were
allowed to form. Vladimir had seen all this many times. He spoke to no one, but hurried
home as quickly as possible.
Vladimir entered his home; his wife spoke first, "So how long do we have?"
"I fear not long."
"What will become of everyone left behind?"
"I think everyone will just be left to take care of themselves, but I will get you out of
here. I will go see the General; we must stay inside for now. I fear there will be death to
follow very soon. Many of the men who are not soldiers will try to take their families
and leave. The General will not allow this to happen."
Summoning Vladimir, "Come sit with me by the fire, my love."
The two sat by the fire, close to where their daughter lay sleeping and the wife spoke
first, "Will you wake her before you leave?"
"I am not sure if there is time for that. I wish to spend a few hours just looking into your
eyes before I speak with the General."
Not long went by before the predicted gun fire and screams could be heard. They were
not far off. Many were trying to escape the net the General had put in place. Vladimir
knew this would be impossible. The General had done this before and Vladimir had been
part of it. He and his wife retired to their bedroom. As they shared their last night
together, the gun fire began to die down. Vladimir spoke first, "I must go see the
"Please do not leave me."
"What will our lives be without you?"
"You will be alive. That is what I will promise you."
"How can you make that promise?"
"I have served the General for many years; he knows I am a man of my word."
"What word will you give him?"
With this, Vladimir touched his finger to his wife's lips and spoke, "I shall return very
He approached the fire; he could see the General sitting close to the fire, surrounded by
his captains. They were looking at maps. As he got closer, two guards stepped in front of
him stopping his forward movement. "What is it you want?"
"I wish to speak with the General."
"The General is busy. Be on your way or you will be shot."
Vladimir would not be stopped; he raised his voice, "General! My general! I wish to
speak with you. It is very important to the mission."
The General recognized the voice, "Let him pass."
As he approached the table, the captains stopped him, searching his body to see if he had
weapons. He spoke, "I am not here to kill anyone. I wish to speak to the General."
"Let him pass." came from the General, "Yes comrade, what can I do for you?"
"A moment alone is what I am requesting."
"I am busy comrade."
"General I have served this army all my life."
The General rose from his chair, walking toward Vladimir, putting his hand on his
shoulder then leading them both just out of hearing distance of his captains, "Make this
"I have not spoken to the other soldiers but I am sure I can influence them to follow
"You follow or die."
"I see a long journey ahead of us and many things can change on long journeys. Even the
men in uniform may change."
"What is your offer?"
"My loyalties to the death with no questions asked."
"And in return, what is it you ask of me?"
"Save passage for my family and any other soldiers who swear the same."
"If I do this, then none of the uniform soldiers must ever know."
"You have my word."
"Choose no more than a handful, the fewer, the less the odds of someone changing their
"As you wish General; it will be done as you wish."
"One more thing comrade I must say."
Vladimir turned to face the General again, "Yes, my general."
"I will be the only one watching you. If any of those picked goes against his word, it
will be your job to handle any threats which may arise or I will deal with you directly.
"Fully, my general; I fully understand."
"In one hour, there will be a hole in the guard's circle on the south end of the village. It
will remain open for 20 minutes. Be on your way."
"Thank you my General."
"You can thank me if we survive."
On his way home, Vladimir made two stops. He knew of four other soldiers in the
village he could trust, telling each of the others to go get the other two and meet at his
house in 10 minutes. No longer, there was no time. They left for the others without
question; they knew Vladimir. Each man was instructed to bring their families and only
what the women and children could carry, including food for three days. There was
another village within a three day walking period; they should try to make it to safety.
Once the families had all gathered, Vladimir spoke, "The time is short and there will be
no discussion on what I am about to tell you. I have spoken with the General. Your
choice is to believe or not to believe the General. I am going to believe him; I have looked
him in the eye. I think anyone left behind in the morning will be executed to cover all
tracks." Then Vladimir explained the deal he had made with the General. He looked
around the room, "Is everyone ready to commit to this agreement? If not, we can stay
and fight for our families, but we will all die for sure and only take a few of them with us.
We must decide now," looking around the room, looking not only at the men, but the
women and children. As his eyes met each of the others, there was silence with only a
nod of approval. "Then it is settled. Say your goodbyes. We take our families out in 15
minutes." He then turned to his wife, taking her and his daughter by the hand, leading
them to the bedroom.
"I love you two with all my heart and fear this is the only way to give any of us a
fighting chance to survive. Something big is going to happen in our country and very
soon; so be ready."
Vladimir's daughter asked, "Will I ever see you again, Father?"
"I will not lie to you. I am not sure. I am a soldier and must follow orders."
"I will always dream of you, Father."
"And I will always dream of you my baby girl." With this he picked up his daughter, "It
is time to go." He took his family to the front room, "It is time to go. There will be no
talking." He now led his group out the front door; there were about 20 in the group
heading to the south end of the village. Approaching the wooded area at the south end of
the village, he could see a tall shadowy figure. He held his hand up, military style, to halt
his group. Immediately, the soldiers lay on the ground, taking their families with them.
Vladimir turned to quietly signal to his followers to stay put. He would venture forth to
see who the figure was in the shadows. He rose slowly and began his approach. Many
thoughts went through his mind, including did the General change his mind and is he
going back on his word? Or could this just be someone in the wrong place at the wrong
time? He approached with extreme caution; he removed a craftsman's knife from his belt,
placing it behind his back. He had to be ready for anything. He tried to look around into
the dark bushes but they were too thick to see beyond a few feet.
Just as he was within a few feet, he heard a recognizable voice; it was the General,
"Vladimir? Is that you?"
"Yes, General, you scared me. Are we still acting on the preset plans?"
"Yes we are staying with the same plans. Do not worry."
"Here take this bag; perhaps it will give your family a little edge."
Taking the bag, it was heavy. He felt the bag. It was pistols, "Thank you General, this
will be a nice edge for my family."
"When we leave, I will not communicate with you. I will watch you and your soldiers.
You will be my spy. Do not ever come to me unless it is life or death. Do we understand
"Yes, General, I understand."
"Then get your family going and have everyone else return to their homes. In less than
an hour, everyone will be summoned." With this the General extended his hand. When
they shook hands, the General spoke, "Then we have a deal."
Vladimir returned to his group, still lying on the ground. He had everyone huddle around
him. Then from the bag he pulled out the pistols; there were five. He distributed them
equally to each wife. "Only use these if you have to and do not use them today. You must
wait until we are gone. If they hear gun fire, they may back track. And if you hear gun
fire, do not turn back. Does everyone understand?" All nodded in agreement.
Vladimir hugged his wife and daughter thinking, how many goodbyes is enough. What
can you say that will last an eternity? Time was up, "I will always have you two with
me and if there is any way possible, I will return for you. Please do not forget me."
His daughter spoke first, "I am sad you are leaving, but very proud of you and that is
how I will remember you, Father." He hugged and kissed her for the last time, then
turning to his wife, who he embraced.
"You must go now; the time is short. I will always love you with all my heart and soul."
With tears in her eyes she spoke her last words to her loving husband, "I love you with
all my heart and soul. Please try to find us someday."
"I will if there is any way. Now go." With this he turned to face the dark forest and his
family disappeared into the darkness.
The men followed the General's instructions, returning to their homes, awaiting further
orders. After a short time, you could hear the orders being given for the trucks to be
loaded; you could hear the cries of the wives and children as the fathers and husbands
were loading onto the trucks. All knew they would never see one another again.
As each man loaded the truck, guards asked, "What was the American name given to
you?" Then the guard would hand them a folder giving them instructions, "You must
commit all this information to memory. This is your new life."
The doors were closed as each truck was loaded and the unknown journey began for
The Last Ruble - A Story is Born
By: Joe D Wells aka Island Joe - Key West, FL
Copy right © All Rights Reserved - LCCN - 2011904633 - ISBN - 978-0-615-45881-6
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