Early May, 2012
“This way,” Stasya said, leading Megs towards the transport truck. Boris was already waiting in the driver’s seat. She’d found him first last night, covered with mud and her hands ashy from where she’d gathered what she could of Evgeny. Boris had looked up at her, snow white with a track of red down each cheek.
He’d gone to get Stasya immediately, and then they had both gone to the library, leaving Megs to stare at the dust of her friend that covered her hands.
“Oh, well, I mean I do, but I’m not smart enough to be in the Azure.”
The crack of a gunshot echoed through the woods, and Megs blinked, snapping her head towards the sound. Stasya had fallen into a crouch, and had her eyes trained up ahead.
“Four. Three now,” she said, motioning for them to move forward. Megs nodded, letting her eyesight sharpen to pick out… There. A flash of green that was the wrong texture, and her own rifle cracked in the night air. There was a scream and the flash of wrong fell. Not a kill, but it seemed the thing was down for now.
Beside her, Boris had fired, and was scanning the area.
“One left.” Stasya motioned for them to move forward slowly, combing through the undergrowth while she climbed up the nearest sturdy pine. From the corner of her eye, Megs caught a glint of metal and leapt forward to shove Boris down. The following rapport of the rifle echoed, and fire bloomed in her chest. Strong hands steadied her as she staggered for a moment, hissing as she looked down to find a hole in her.
“Clear,” Stasya said from her perch.
“You are alright?” Boris asked, and Megs nodded, prodding at where the bullet had punched through just to the right of her heart.
“Yeah just stings a little,” she said, looking up at him. “What about you?”
“Grazed. Thank you,” He said with a nod, picking up her dropped rifle and handing it to her. Along one shoulder his jacket had parted, and she could see sliced flesh underneath. But he wasn’t severely hurt.
“We will fix you up once we arrive,” Stasya said, hopping down from the tree and walking over to them. “Search them. If one is alive, we will bring him with us.”
Megs nodded, letting the vitae in her system start to close the exit wound. She kept her eyes busy, scanning the forest as she moved to where she’d downed the shape earlier.
The man had tried to drag himself away into the undergrowth, and he whimpered as Megs approached.
“Please!” he said, rolling over and holding up bloody hands. There was a lot of blood, but it smelled normal, not like vitae. “Please don’t hurt us. We’re campers.” He did look like a hiker, wearing civilian gear instead of anything military issued. Megs frowned, training the rifle on him while she searched his pockets.
No food save for a half eaten sandwich and the water bottle was still mostly full. A camper would have more food on them, wouldnt’ they? Deft fingers undid the collar of his jacket, now slick and black with blood. Tugging down his shirt, she saw the cross.
“Shoulder your weapons,” Stasya said, holding up her hand. “Let me speak first before you are introduced.” Megs nodded in reply, flicking on the safety before she slung the gun over her shoulder.
They descended a steep incline, and through the trees, Megs could see a small farm. There was not much of a field, but there were some pigs and a handful of reindeer that were watching the approaching group intently.
Who would build a farm here of all places?
As they approached, the door of the small cabin swung open, and an elderly man stood there, watching them. Stasya lifted her hand and made a sign in the air as they walked down.
The man nodded, and walked over to Megs, resting his callused and arthritic hands on either side of her face.
“You were close to my Childe. I am sorry my dear.”
Childe? Oh… oh no….
“I’m so sorry,” she said, biting her lip.
“Nyet,” he brushes a rough thumb across her cheek and tilts her head to the side. “Nyet, do not be sorry for you will be the one who puts his soul to rest. You will be going to Moscow soon my dear. And then you will be going home. Now please, do come in and we will figure out what to do with that one,” Vsevolod said, letting go of Megs and waving dismissively at the man that Boris was holding.