Krasnorada's nostrils flared at the smell of smoke on
the wind. A whole lot better than the dust and sand
of the open plain, or as open as it ever got in this
place. Standing on his own two feet was better than
sitting on a rolling, grinding, howling tank like a
parasite on a bucking animal.
took a deep swig of vodka and let some drops run down
his chin. Fuck, yeah. They had arrived. Greeted with
tea and shit, those goat-fuckers didn't have the beginning
of a clue, but that was how Vadim liked them. Jump them
full force when they didn't expect it. The city was
in for a hazing. His lips spread into a grin, and he
hitched a ride on a truck, downtown (or what counted
as downtown in Kabul), where he knew the boys were already
setting up a place to crash.
had used a tank to smash open a house. It must have
been a shop, Vadim reckoned, they only had to tear out
part of the front. Set up some moonlight vodka, and
plenty of soldiers. After the ride, Vadim was itching
to get trashed. The curled up energy, the power, the
tension, and he had expected, no, wanted a fight, more
than anything in his life. After weeks of being ready,
waiting for the deployment back to Kabul, his skin was
crawling with the need to do something, anything, but
Kabul wouldn't do him that favour. Instead, Kabul welcomed
the reinforcements he was officially a part of. Liberators.
And as nice as it was not to get shot at, he felt like
a wild bull that had been penned in for too long. He
absolutely needed a fight, and there was this time-honoured
tradition in the Red Army: Where there's vodka, there's
headed into the bar, pulled off the rag that covered
his head and rubbed his face. Sunburn. If the sun kept
going like that, he'd get skinned alive. What a shithole.
din of soldiers having fun. Drinking games, tall tales,
everybody had seen action, been shot at, yeah, right.
Losers. If those tales were to be believed, there was
no goat-fucker alive between Tadjikistan and here. Vadim
grunted with displeasure and headed towards the makeshift
bar. The sight of his dog tags and some roubles bought
him a bottle. Turning around, he watched the patrons
and started drinking. Back in the corner were some of
his boys, he could see the same itch in their eyes.
He headed over, was greeted, and they drank, warming
up. Just warming up for the welcome party.
a man was walking through the streets. Civilian, dressed
in the usual combination of sweat-stained military surplus
kit, worn shirt, and the tell-tale paraphernalia of
every reporter in any crisis centre of the world. Cameras,
multi-pocket vest, shoulder bag and dusty boots.
man snorted to himself. 'Dan McFadyen, Canadian Press
Correspondent'. What a fucking joke. Angrily shoving
the bigger camera aside, the thing kept hitting him
square in the chest. The goddamned dust in this bloody
place was driving him mad. Settling into eyes, skin,
equipment and every pore alike. He was just waiting
to piss the reddish shit out of his jap's eye. Clothes
covered in this shit, hair dirty, even with a rag around
his head. Fuck, he hated the itching smear of sweat
off, feeling vulnerable carrying no weapons but his
favourite combat knife, walking through Kabul at night.
If they had at least let him take a pistol, but hell,
no, it had to be left at the officially non-existent
camp, a truck ride across this barren piece of shitty
a fucking stupid mission," Dan muttered, needing
a drink badly. Parched throat and dried up levels of
booze. No decent fuck in ages, no piss-up in sight.
And bored. Abso-fucking-lutely bored. Nothing to see,
nothing to do, nothing to recce in this fucking place.
men were fighting and the noise level of drunken soldiers
was ever increasing in the smashed-up shop. One of the
soldiers surpassing anyone else in unleashed violence.
here goes a cocksucker!" laughed Vadim, finishing
the fight with a double-footed kick to the other soldier's
bloody conscript went down like a .50cal slug had gone
through his head. "Bulls eye!", Vadim shouted,
and his men jeered.
should teach the bastard to not fucking jump straight
out his way. Granted, the bitch had been drunk as a
plane full of officers, but any excuse would do. Vadim
looked down at the bleeding body, and his stomach tensed
in that dark, good way. Had from the moment he had known
there was an excuse to spill blood. It raised the crimson
flood in his veins. Raised it. Nearly breaking point.
sneered, and kicked the guy again, who didn't twitch.
Jaw breaking move. A good one. But also a finisher.
Not so good. He poured some vodka over the guy's face,
hoped he'd get up and maybe have half a fight left in
him, but that was the end of the story. Fuck him. Not
enough fun. Not nearly enough fun.
noise got so loud, it reached the bored man a couple
of streets away. Dan almost stopped dead in his tracks,
softly swearing under his breath. Seemed like he was
about to get lucky on this dead-beat mission at last,
with action looming around the corner. That sort of
laughing, shouting and yelling could only mean Soviet
soldiers and the Glorious Soviet Army on the loose.
hurried to get to the source of the ruckus, re-adjusting
the camera once more, slowing down with hands in pockets,
casually strolling towards the drunken noise once he
got close. Perhaps the recce wasn't quite so useless
had almost reached the smashed-up building when a multi-voiced
jeer erupted. Light inside, hordes of Russkies. "Bingo!"
Dan snorted, "Gotcha, you bastards." Fingering
for the smaller camera in his trouser pocket, he muttered
to himself. "Let's see who's come to the party."
camera slipped out of his grasp first thing, forcing
him to stand still and rummage deeper in the outside
pocket. "Bollocks." Hissed, but grabbed it
at last, hurriedly taking pictures. Shots of the soldiers
inside, the mess of bodies, the meddling of men. Snapping
away at all of them, the tall, the short, the blond,
was standing opposite to the building when a vehicle
passed, bathing him for a moment in light.
unaware of being photographed, Vadim was tossing back
some more vodka amid the drunken noise. Suddenly narrowing
his eyes and stopping to drink. His comrades were discussing
whether Afghani women were shaved ("Serious, they
all are!" - "No way!" - "They are!"
- "They are not!"), and he knew where that
discussion was going. By finding one to prove the point.
They said women here fought like cats, but he was in
the mood for a tiger. Something much stronger than vodka.
"Fuck it, go and find one, but make sure it looks
like it was somebody else." Cut her throat afterwards,
he added with a gesture, but his boys knew that. They'd
done this shit before.
boys cheered like there had been a pay rise, as if that
ever happened, and streamed outside. Vadim followed,
keeping his eyes on the quarry. Get the other wolves
out of the way.
man was tall, broad shouldered, and looked like he could
pack a punch. Dark eyes and hair, but no goat-fucker.
There was something decidedly European about him. Press.
Vadim thought of taking a handful of those camera straps,
and twist them, choking the man. He inhaled sharply.
was on the way past him. Good old Vanya, his second.
Judging from the quarry, it might not be all that easy.
"Stop", said Vadim, touching the comrade's
arm briefly. Vanya looked at him, and Vadim saw understanding.
They'd been through a lot at the barracks, and abroad,
and anywhere else. Right hand man. Vanya was always
willing to lend a hand. And more, if asked properly.
Bash this peasant's head in, and he was perfectly willing
to give that, too.
nodded; non-verbal communication. He started to move
in a circle, intending to flank. Hunting a prey that
seemed to have suddenly become aware of the attention,
because the man was stepping back into the shadows.
late. "Fuck." Dan hissed tonelessly. Sixth
sense warned him he'd been spotted while taking photos
of the din. The sensation he got was like a red dot
in the middle of his forehead. He turned slowly to walk
away in the opposite direction of the place full of
drunken Russians, careful not to rouse suspicion.
along despite wanting to run. Had to keep up his disguise
of being nothing but a reporter. Red and white maple
leaf crudely stitched on his shoulder bag. Canada. Yeah,
that's what he was. Cursing that sixth sense that was
hitting the pit of his stomach like a sucker punch;
this goddamned sense that had saved his life more than
was unaware of the two Soviet soldiers in the alley,
who were exchanging glances between them. Vanya moved
to circle, quick hand signals, which his body covered.
glanced up at the houses. Made from clay and goat shit.
Great. He slipped into the alley, jumped, caught the
rim of the house with his hands, and pulled himself
up. Nothing like a little exercise.
in the third dimension, his sniper trainer had called
it. There's always an above, or a below. Never forget
that. Vadim crouched and moved on the roof, careful
not to make a sound, following the man who was moving
away from the makeshift bar.
People had probably left the immediate surroundings.
Or huddled in hidden places and waited till the ruckus
died down. This place was deserted. Vadim peered over
the rim, saw Vanya, saw the quarry. Dark alley. He pulled
a knife, hid it behind his arm, and jumped down, a good
three yards in front of the man.
felt the hairs in the back of his neck stand up before
he'd become aware of the movement in front of him.
Russian bastard had come out of nowhere, and he sensed
the other coming around the corner, not knowing that
Vanya kept a length of wire near his thigh. Silent takedown.
was Dan's first instinct, but fears were confirmed when
he saw the second soldier from the corner of his eyes.
Fuck. Two. No way back out of the alley. He needed a
shitload of luck to take both of them down. Calm, calm
Dan. Assume nothing. Why should they want to attack
opted for the smokescreen, calling out: "Hey mate,
you scared the living daylights out of me. What's up?"
Fake grin, pretend ease.
needed time, his knife and surprise on his side.
Soviet bastard smelled of menace like a beggar stank
of piss. Not a joke. No play. The Russian cunt was on
the prowl. A predator; he knew the look, the threatening
stance, had been there himself too many times. Drunken
soldiers, rulers of a shitty place full of nothing but
dust; out for a punch-up.
moved even closer, the way the man almost jumped, the
tension about him, he was awake, aware, and Vadim could
feel heat trickle down his back. Up this close, the
man was potentially his match, unless the width of his
shoulders was all weight lifting and no fighting. Good,
deep chest. He could take a lot.
English made some sense to him, but some words didn't.
The grin, anxious, nervous, the man knew he wasn't here
to play. Fuck it. Vadim walked closer, took another
swig of the bottle, acting relaxed and slightly drunk,
then, in mid-swallow, hurled the bottle at the man's
evening." In Russian.
signal to strike and slip the wire around his game's
caught the sudden movement in front of him, glass catching
a glint of light, ducked while letting the knife slip
into his hand. Bottle missed its target.
wire missed, too, but Vanya was pretty damn good and
changed the motion into a punch into the man's kidneys,
a short, vicious jab with the left; right hand still
leading the wire.
went down, pain exploding, those Russkies meant business.
He lost his breath, but rolled to the side, gasping.
Scrambling back up onto his feet.
caught the man's expert motion. He had seen it a thousand
times and more, knife fighting lessons, real life, barracks
pastime. He moved his own hand forward, blade pointing
towards his elbow, fingers holding the hilt securely,
readjusting it for a quick slash across the other's
face, or a threatening one to imbalance him. The crimson
flood moved up several notches when their quarry came
back onto his feet. Vadim's blood tasted of acid, heart
racing like a horse. He grinned like a maniac as he
motioned the man forward with an open hand. "Come
to Daddy", he said in accented English.
yourself, Russkie!" Dan snarled, still breathless
from the punch. He caught himself and spun around, ignored
the taller one who spoke while attacking the closer
one. His blade flew upwards, connected with an arm,
felt steel tear into flesh. Pulled out the knife, grabbed
his one and only chance, tried to run past the first
nostrils flared, he heard Vanya's curse and more smelled
than saw the blood. The man was a good fighter. Not
taking the bait. But he was wounded. He saw how their
prey staggered, and now was the perfect moment for the
second hunter to strike. The man was still imbalanced,
hurting, distracted, and his synapses had to be burning
with pain and fear.
closed in, followed the sideways motion, when Dan tried
to run past him. Lunged and met the sprinting body full
force, a no-holds barred tackle, smashing him into the
lost his breath and orientation. Crushed between man
and wall, air forced out of him.
felt the coiled muscle close, smelled the man's adrenaline.
He was in heaven. He grabbed a handful of the dark hair,
and smashed the head into the wall, pressing close,
waiting for the other to lose the fight, keeping the
arm with the knife locked and away. He laughed, breathless.
"Said: Come. To. Daddy."
voiceless scream tore out of Dan's chest, split-second
blindness when his head hit the wall. Mind racing, engulfed
in pain, instinct kicked in. Bones: check. Body: check.
I said," he gasped out, "fuck you!"
going hard, Vadim's body changed gear again, one higher,
there was always one higher, more resistance. It seemed
he had never had so much fun. Not in the last months,
not since he had been pulled back after the first mission
of securing the airport and getting rid of the president
just last winter.
head slammed forward in a Glaswegian kiss. Head butting,
but no space for knee jerking, too close, too fucking
turned his neck, reaction a matter of instinct. Still,
the forehead hit his eyebrow with a white, splitting
pain. That would have broken his nose. The fucker. He
moved to hold the squirming body, felt the skin as he
pressed closer, could have licked the sweat from the
man's upper lip. He was glistening under the dust, the
smell of combat, stress, fear. So intense it did distract
him for a heartbeat, too wrapped up in the raw physical
reality of close combat, enjoying it too much.
was high on adrenaline and the madness of the fight.
He knew he was losing, yet he'd never give up, would
never surrender. Twisting his leg as far as he could,
he slammed the booted heel right into the Russian's
high boots took most of the impact, but it fucking hurt
and that sobered his mind, cutting through the vodka.
for breath, Dan smirked. Delivering sweet fucking pain
- short-lived satisfaction.
snarled at the arrogant smirk, pressed the blade to
the other man's throat, his own pupils widening in appreciation
of blade against flesh. Flesh so alive. Eye to eye.
froze. The Russkie's blade lethal against his throat,
had no doubt the fucker would use it. He felt fear,
but not panic. Not yet. No fucking chance. Thoughts
racing instead. Judging his chances, slim as they were.
No situation was ever hopeless. He was SAS, he'd show
the fucker, he'd ...
Dan's eyes caught hold of the other Russian bastard.
breath rattled, eyes narrowed, sweat running down his
neck. "What the fuck do you want, Russkie?"
was watching their quarry's struggle and realisation,
touched his shoulder with his right hand, cursing. "Bastard
cut me", sounding more surprised than angry, then
brought out the pistol and cocked it.
knew exactly what his comrade was thinking. Feeling.
The hunt was over. The tension was still there, the
man hadn't quite given in yet, but Vadim listened into
the body, listened to the song of tendons and blood
and sweat. Waiting for the shift of tune, subtle as
it was. There was realisation. He could see that in
the man's eyes, narrowing as they were. Brown eyes.
smirked, never answered. Keep him guessing. The fight
had made him hard, the stress. A short, intense burst
of energy surging right into his groin, transforming
him into fire. He needed to destroy, but he was savouring
the moment. The moment of understanding, which still
did not change into capitulation. And as much as he
enjoyed that, drawing it out too long was too dangerous.
A trapped tiger. Couldn't let him go. He moved the hilt
of the knife subtly, then lashed out to knock the butt
against the man's temple. Too dangerous to move him
eyes widened, more surprise than shock, then sharp blinding
pain and he slumped over, fell lifeless forward into
the other's arms.
thought before blackness. 'Survive at all costs'.
way the body slumped told Vadim his quarry wasn't faking
it. A heavy, satisfying weight against him, the moment
broken, dimmed, the intensity reduced, and he was aching
to have it back. Be eye to eye with somebody as quick
and as smart as the man had turned out to be. Vanya
was no challenge. Even with a gun in his hand, and Vanya
having a hundred reasons to hate him, Vadim never felt
afraid. They were comrades, and that held a world of
nodded to Vanya, gave hand signals. Silent. Retreat.
Find safe place. He hoisted the man up, across and over
his shoulders, like a wounded comrade. Vanya took the
knife that had slipped from his fingers, and they retreated
deeper into the alley. Vanya broke, shoulder first,
into one of the buildings.
quick scan and search, but the place was so dusty it
had to have been deserted for months. Up a ladder, fucking
primitive cave, dark, but there was light from outside.
The moon. Enough to see by.
put the man on the ground, patted him down. Money, a
rolled-up wad of filthy Afghanis, but no ID, not even
a press ID card, no accreditation. It gave him pause.
Then again, stuff did get stolen, and it was entirely
justified not to take a passport or anything that couldn't
be easily replaced. It was a hassle to get into or out
of the country without papers. He had probably bunked
up with locals, or some press office place.
took his time with the pat down. Even unconscious, there
was tension and power. Held in check. Warm, firm flesh.
He rolled the man onto his stomach, sat on his thighs
and took the scarf off, then tied his hands. Not great,
but it would suffice. "You okay?" he asked
wound", said Vanya and took the moment to wash
the cut with vodka, hissing through his teeth. "Fuck.
I want to rip his fucking head off!"
grinned. "Get me the oil from the gun kit."
Nice, round ass. He would enjoy this, even more so because
he was bleeding himself. He could smell the drying blood
on his face, and the itch. Seeing the man under him,
feeling him alive and helpless.
pulled the knife again and cut the belt, then the knife
blade whispered through the fabric of the camo trousers.
Reporter or not, he wore army gear. Good boots, too,
they might take them if they fitted. His own were starting
to get bad, and he didn't mind keeping a trophy. He
inhaled sharply when he realised the man wasn't wearing
any briefs, revealing firm flesh.
came closer, watching him with wide eyes. Vadim could
see his comrade was getting hard, he was too drunk to
hide it or probably even notice. Oh yes. He already
was half-waking. Murky thoughts rolling, moving, surfacing
before half-dragging down again.
squeezed some oil into his hand. Done this before, usually
with somebody who had challenged either of them. Or
just somebody random in the barracks. Sometimes, officer
games. Survival training. Play abduction and interrogation.
The young ones never spilled the beans. It was perfectly
acceptable to be terrified of Vadim or Vanya, and nobody
guessed how deep some of that fear ran. How physical
was surfacing more, sensed touches, movement, voices.
Warm hand, cold steel. Comfortable, rare sensation of
hands moving over his flesh, warmth spreading on ...
jerk. Consciousness returned like a sprung coil, snapping
into action without a moment's grace between muddy darkness
and shocking clarity.
Dan's voice was strained, dust tickling his lungs and
then heaviness across his limbs. "What the fuck?"
Lifted his head, had to try and know and see and fight.
Forced his upper body off the ground, hands tearing
against the restraints. Twisted within the confines,
fighting against the hands on his body, the blade, the
weight, attempting to throw himself onto his back. No
one should be strong enough to have overpowered him.
No one, unless they were killing machines. Like him.
The fight wasn't over yet. Survive, by all means. Victim
off you Russian bastards!" Not thinking the unthinkable.
held the man's thighs in a vice, enjoyed the resistance.
He opened his fly as the bastard was starting to move
again. Fucking skull of a fucking mountain goat. The
ones with the long horns, bashing foreheads against
each other, recklessly, while climbing in a vertical
cliff. Vadim snarled, but Vanya already moved, knelt
beside them and put one strong hand between the man's
shoulder blades, pressing him down, using one knee for
cocked the pistol and pressed it into their quarry's
neck, causing Dan to freeze when the muzzle dug into
his flesh. Breathing hard, harsh, fighting down fear.
enjoyed the sight. The sudden stillness, the bucking.
And it hadn't even started. He opened another button,
took out his cock and began oiling himself, seeing Vanya's
eyes as he did. Vanya knew the sight well enough, and
there was this unspoken thing, the savage hunger that
they both shared, especially after an encounter like
this. Vanya would suck him off tonight, remembering
what they had done.
shifted, enough to bring a slick hand to the other man's
ass, trickling more oil there. "Now. Pray you're
not virgin", he said in a rough voice. The power
was heady, the mix of triumph, and the strength of the
hoped he would keep fighting. Please, keep fighting.
The Russian's mockery hooked itself into Dan's mind.
Animal snarls were torn from him because it was not
fucking possible what seemed to be going on. Never believed
that kind of shit really could happen to men. Not to
him, not in a dark fucking alley in fucking Kabul in
a rat infested shitty place of a fucking ramshackle
deserted house. No. Just
finally understood what was going on. He got the message
so loud and clear, everything screamed and fought inside
against that insanity that wasn't supposed to be happening.
Shocked. Terror. Focused on what he knew and what he
had dealt with before. Cold steel. Muzzle of deadly
force against his neck. Had survived it. The rest was
impossible. Situation unbelievable. Couldn't happen,
fought despite the gun. Fuck the recce, fuck the army,
fuck the Not-So-Special Forces. Fought against the impossible;
fought until the pistol pressed so hard against his
neck he felt the steel eating into his brain.
no words to protest, just thoughts of creeping-crawling
blinding-bloodied violence. Death, destruction, slow
cutting of the Russkie's flesh and skin, the baring
of bones. Imagined the bastard's screams of terror and
pain. Had to survive, had to kill, had to destroy. Revenge.
to the Russian bastard.
Vadim thought, or incredibly spirited. He would have
to severely wound the man to stop him struggling, resisting
him with all his soul, all his strength. He moved to
kick the legs apart, used his knees to force them open,
spread the man, fighting him, legs against legs, his
cock brushing the naked flesh every time the man bucked.
needed his complete weight to get anywhere, spread him
open further, he was impossibly hard from the struggle,
thumb digging into the flesh to separate it, then followed,
pressing cock into the heat, the tenderness, the man
bucking, trying to get away, even though his movement
was as restricted as Vadim could do it. Closed, tight,
pressing, and he could feel the body yield, yield only
in that place, as the rest of the man was hard as wood
with revulsion. Vadim closed his eyes, forced more in,
could hear his own breath, loud, lips open, feeling
the pain and discomfort and the delicious and complete
closeness. Nothing like that, nothing, certainly not
Vanya. It was like trying to fuck a fist, and he was
hard enough to do it.
didn't scream. This pain was too complete, too all-encompassing,
too unbelievable to allow any sounds. Still tried to
fight, thrashed, fought against the impossible intrusion;
that which could not possibly happen.
it wasn't enough, never enough against the penetrating
force and the Russian's brutal strength. Dan struggled
to buck up and get away when this 'thing' brutally breached
his body. Continued to fight against the fucking impossibility
that had no name. It couldn't be happening. He was a
man, an alpha male. He was everything and everyone and
owned every hole and he was not and would not and could
He opened his mouth as if to scream but nothing came
out, not a sound.
riding an earthquake. Vadim could feel the man's ragged
breathing, could feel the tension deep inside, inside
that raw heat, still fighting. Some went limp and started
crying, and he sometimes goaded them to see if there
was a fight left in them. Never had one fought him like
that, and he needed more force to get deeper, using
his weight, his strength, not out of cruelty, or maybe
that, too, but to savour it the most.
me some", whispered Vanya.
grinned, felt sweat trickle down his face. Finally,
something gave, and he moved fast and vicious, riding
his own adrenaline, almost resting on the man to get
as deep as possible.
was only pain. Torn apart inside, raw, bleeding, horror
so pure and intense, couldn't put a name on it. This
agony had no name, because it wasn't meant to be done
to men. Men like him.
harsh thrusts ran like fire through his own body, each
motion of their bodies intense, the vodka had drained
away, he was fully here, fully struggling and enjoying
himself. The force of orgasm seared through his body,
and a few more, nearly desperate thrusts brought that
made no sound; every scream, every moment of terror
and hatred was locked inside in silence. No one would
ever know, no one would ever find out - if he survived,
and fuck, he had to survive, had to destroy, had to
wreak his revenge.
pulled out, panting, resting for a moment, kneeling,
then drank some more vodka. The vile stuff burned and
cooled, soothed the thirst, and dulled part of this.
He pulled his own pistol, and took Vanya's position,
muzzle in the man's neck, staring into his face. He
wanted to see the defiance, the pain, and the strength
as Vanya mounted him.
was only fair that Vanya didn't get the best of it.
He was left with the scraps. Vanya actually didn't care
much for the whole thing. He did what Vadim did, emulated
him, like something of a twisted mirror image, and Vadim
watched him, then watched the body being moved by the
thrusts, the cock moving in and out and the still struggling
flesh. It would take a platoon to take fighting out
of this one.
hardly noticed the change from one man to another, but
never ceased to fight, drowned in images of tearing
flesh open, stench of burning skin and terror from his
own hand. With every onslaught of pain the violence
in his mind took on a more inhuman form. Torture, cutting,
bleeding and choking.
He had to survive to destroy.
looked into that face. Absent eyes, but burning with
intensity, only as if he wasn't even in the picture,
like the man was already inside himself, did not let
anything, anybody touch him. The precious moment was
gone, he reflected, feeling somewhat lost now, himself,
his body getting heavy and tired, that pleasant sluggishness
of sex and vodka taking away some of the emotions. Vanya's
grunting meant very little, the man underneath him only
struggled on instinct, like he just couldn't stop. It
was gone, that mind-searing flash of something profound.
he was starting to get drunk. Vadim put the uniform
in order, gun still trained on the prone body, and took
another deep swallow. After the battle. He didn't really
a curse that sounded almost tender, Vanya came as well,
and remained on top, catching his breath. "Ah,
my little bitch", he said, something which seemed
was over, just like that. Gone.
crouched to put the gun into Vanya's hand. "Finish
him off", he said in Russian. "He's press.
Last thing we want is some lies."
Captain", said Vanya in Russian.
smirked at the address. A forgivable mistake. He had
the rank on his shoulders, after all. "See you
later." Vanya stared at him, knowing what that
meant. Burn off the rest of the adrenaline. He shared
in the kill, and that was generous.
that, Vadim left, and walked out into a clear, starry
night, the sounds of soldiers in the distance.
hell of a welcome party.
had been listening to the voices, disjointed words,
scraps of sound. Engulfed in the stench of blood, sweat
and fear, and most of all hatred. This smell would never
leave his nostrils again, no matter how much he'd try
to scrub the bastards off his skin.
movement any longer.
had gone, down the ladder, left the building. That was
the Captain: Moving on when he saw no point in staying.
thoughts gathering, pulling himself back together. Survive
to kill and wreak revenge. Focus slowly returning, ignoring
the pain. Didn't matter. All that mattered was the voice
that trailed off, the steps that were retreating, the
man he was left alone with.
knife. Remembered with sudden clarity where it had dropped.
breathed slowly through his nose, focussed on nothing
but the sounds in his back. He was ready. Needed to
fool the remaining bastard into safety, first.
them believe he was broken.
got up, prodded the captive with a boot, but the guy
didn't move. Passed out. No surprise. They'd shown him.
He bent down and untied the knot that secured the scarf
around his wrists. Nothing but a reporter and out cold
- no danger.
secured the pistol and shoved it into his belt. Above
and first of all, he needed a piss. A good, long, extended
piss. He moved a couple steps away. The simple pleasures
in life. Then shoot the captive and hack off his hands
and head and dump them somewhere outside the city. Medical
records, all that shit. The press didn't like people
like them vanishing. Dead press bad press. Kill a thousand
Afghanis, and nobody glanced up. Manhandle one of those
vultures, and the fucking United Nations came down on
you. Or something.
sighed contently, shaking off the drops. There. Much
listened to the sound of steps. Registered every single
movement with a clarity beyond anything he'd ever seen
nor felt. This was his chance, he couldn't afford anymore
mistakes. Fuck the Army and his mission, he owned that
Russian's life. The bastard's blood would be spilt for
no one but himself. One down, another one to go. He'd
get them both.
moved slowly, forcing his body to comply, remembered
where he had dropped the knife. Good. It was there.
Hands moved forward, sensed ahead, until they curled
around the well-known handle, welcoming the familiar
steel like a long-lost lover.
moved silently, hatred dulling the pain. Crouched, used
the cover of darkness to get closer to the standing
shadow. His faint shuffling noises were easily over-shadowed
by the piss that came out of the Russkie's blood-smeared
cock. His blood.
at last, an impossibly fast movement, Dan's arm around
the fucker's neck, hand firmly clasped over the mouth.
Cold steel pressing against flesh.
into Vanya's ear, "Fuck you, bastard," in
had been just about to turn around. Being grabbed, he
thought, for an almost painful heartbeat, it was Vadim,
and he'd come back to punish him for pissing first,
and killing later. Fucking Captain had the self-control
of a fucking robot. But then, he could clearly feel
it wasn't Vadim. Taste, smell, presence. Vadim had done
all the other shit, knife and grabbing him from behind.
was disoriented for a moment, vodka had dulled his responses.
Then suddenly realising who it was. The Russian more
than anything gave it away. He didn't sound anywhere
pistol in his belt. Too close to shoot and even hope
to hit. Heart and mind racing. The garrotte. In a pocket.
Nothing to say. He expected the knife to go through
his throat, and wondered if it hurt much. How long it
would take him to bleed out and lose consciousness.
He knew that he had known, in theory, but it was blanked
from his mind. A shudder went through his body, nerves
and fibres firing into overdrive. It made him nauseous
with stress. Breathing hard, knowing he might not be
breathing through his nostrils with the next one. Fuck.
didn't feel the pain anymore, not right now. He felt
nothing. Nothing other than his blade pressing against
the throat. The embrace of the other's body almost tender,
loving, if he weren't burning with so much hatred. Gently
whispering the words in Russian.
a rapid, precise movement he slit the throat open from
one ear to the other, pushed the body forward and away
from him, avoiding the worst of the blood that erupted
from the severed jugular. He needed the trousers, after
watched the twitching body on the floor dispassionately.
Wouldn't that bastard die already. He had to get back
to camp, as fast as he could, and fabricate a believable
lie about what had happened this night.
stiff, he struggled to get rid of his boots and the
cut-off clothes. Crouching beside the body and avoiding
the pool of blood, he hurried to take boots and trousers
off, putting the latter. They were too wide and made
from Soviet camo, but they'd do.
between his teeth, how the fuck was he going to pretend
he was physically unharmed. Couldn't possibly ask for
medical attention. No. Fucking. Way! Had to pray he
hadn't caught a disease from those Russian perverts.
wiping at the sticky shit that was running down his
legs, before pulling the dead man's camo trousers up.
Fumbling for the small camera, he stuffed it into the
shoulder bag, tightened the trousers with the brass-buckled
belt, and laced his boots. He'd make up a good lie about
the Red Army uniform trophies.
looked around, waited, didn't hear a sound. Good. Moving
into the shadows before forcing his battered body to
down. Another one to go. He'd get the Russian cunt,
he'd make him pay.
had trotted back to the barracks. Taking in the night
air, not a care in the world. The tension was gone,
gone in the best way possible. Much better than anticipated.
He might get shouted at for general conduct of himself
and his men, then again, the senior officers didn't
give a fuck; if somebody threw a fit, it could just
as well be him.
sorted out his kit, his bunk, the space was fairly limited.
They'd build more barracks for all the troops being
moved here. Tens of thousands. The juggernaut that was
the Red Army in motion. Not elegant, not pretty, but
he'd be fucked if he cared right now.
stored his kit away, sorted out Vanya's stuff as well,
debating half-drunk with himself about how to set up
routine in this place, keep the men sharp and focused.
He'd had to work out how the senior officers ticked.
Who was a medal hound, who was a braggart, who was a
complete waste of space, and who didn't get out of the
bottle. The usual stuff.
had a wash, the water was rationed, fucking waste of
map, this country, and returned. No Vanya. Fuck him.
Had probably gotten wasted. Vanya just didn't know when
enough was enough. But Vadim was growing restless. Vanya
was his second, and they had served for quite some time
together. He had ordered Vanya to be here, and he wasn't.
That was unlike him.
woke a driver, who took him back. He found the house
with no problem. The grey light of beginning dawn made
Kabul the most joyless place in the universe, and that
included the barren expanse of the moon. Vadim told
the driver to wait, and entered the house. Careful,
even though he didn't know why. He half expected Vanya
to have passed out before the job was finished. Stamina
of a horse, but couldn't hold his vodka.
smell of blood sent his hackles up. Proceeding, pistol
out and ready.
The place reeked of blood. He saw Vanya. Bootless, trouserless.
Boots lying close, cast away. That told him everything.
There was only one person who had needed trousers badly
enough to take those of an enemy. He crouched, checked
the body for booby traps, by instinct. Numb inside.
Tiredness, and there was the thought that Vanya would
never snore again. Never taunt, mock, never imitate
him again. It used to annoy the hell out of him, and
he had meant to break a couple of his ribs for it.
saw the tracks in the dust, bloody footprints.
seconds were hard to come by. And Vadim would have to
write a report and send a letter to the family. Accident.
Vanya had fallen off a tank, whatever. Nobody ever questioned
those anyway. Vanya would go home in a metal tin. His
war was over.
had the feeling his own had just begun.
trek back to base camp for Dan unlike any before. If
his stiff movements weren't so fucking pathetic it would
be sickeningly funny. Could hardly walk from that searing
caught a ride on one of the ramshackle lorries, crouching
on the back, grinding his teeth. In agony at every pothole
on the dirt track; each jarring thrust tearing into
his insides. Reminding him that nothing had ever happened.
Nothing that made him want to scream in pain. Nothing
that required most of his willpower to shut up and remain
silent. Nothing that made him swear he would get back
to Kabul as soon as he could to kill that fucking cunt.
He would find that bastard, maim, then kill and pay
back slowly, with extortionate interest, what he had
not done to him, for what had never happened.
killed a man tonight, would hunt and take down another.
None of the faces he'd ever killed were haunting his
sleep, even up close and personal. His only remorse
that he could feel no guilt.
time it was for revenge, not duty.