The guns have fallen silent and our brave soldiers have returned home victorious. But another, quieter, war is raging within the motherland, preying on those who have already sacrificed so much for the Party.
Papers and newsreels find a new scandal, incident or plot each week. The enemies of the people; Monarchists in hiding, foreign agents, and degenerate nihilists in our midst are seeking to undo the glorious progress made since the People’s Struggle. They are to blame for the deprivations suffered these past years and must be rooted out at all cost. Not even former heroes of the revolution or their family members can be trusted, nor should they be spared the People’s Justice if implicated.
Now, as a summer of unrest has turned into bitter winter and hunger and terror are ravaging the fledgling People’s Republic, the Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-revolution and Sabotage holds trials of the enemies within from dusk till dawn, its judges tirelessly travelling to the most remote regions of the land.
But truth to be told, Comrade Khlestakov is weary. The train journey from Moscow took an entire day and most of the night, and while the food served in his private cabin was excellent, and the bunk-bed well warmed and rather comfortable, the judge was jolted awake each time the train halted to re-stoke the boiler, fearing an ambush. And Comrade Khlestakov was not sleeping soundly as it was, with the landscape rushing past invoking buried memories praying on his mind.
Unlike his cabin, this interrogation room in the bourgeois mansion requisitioned by the Smolensk People’s police station is badly heated, and the jude’s raspberry-red uniforms, while suitably impressive, are rather stiff.
Last night the train rushed through the forest where he, Vera, and their pack of golden boys and girls from the precious first generation born on the kolkhoz, gathered berries and fucked with puppy lust, shoving fistfuls of scarlet raspberries and bright orange cloudberries into each other’s hungry holes. They were shameless; running home with sticky juices smeared all over their eager faces and bodies, truly convinced that their heated explorations were perfectly in line with the dogma that any kind of sex between willing comrades was a healthy revolutionary act. Their only fear was getting reprimanded for gorging themselves on fruits intended for the communal larder.
Comrade Khlestakov humphs. Foolish cubs! Dogma is not the same as practice, or truth. And besides, dogmas setting hearts ablaze to burn the old world must be contained when building the new. Or quenched with saboteurs’ blood.
Vera gathered more berries than the rest, but her basket when returning home was always the emptiest.
Well, those sticky summers died almost a decade ago, and Vera was the biggest fool of them all.
Now, having interrogated half a dozen suspected members of the plot to poison the bread supply of the local PoW camp, brought in one by one to this stuffy back room, Comrade Khlestakov stares at the icicles blocking the window instead of reading the charge sheet of the last prisoner.
This plot to assassinate foreign officers captured during the People’s Struggle, discovered after several captives died painful deaths, simply didn’t make sense.
In Moscow, Comrade Khlestakov has dispensed the People’s Justice to countless enemies of the revolution, and has thwarted many senseless conspiracies – including a plan to exchange the contents of the samovar at a Politburo meeting with the fly agaric spiked urine of Siberian shaman – but the MOTIVATIONS of the accused was always clear.
This was not the case in today’s proceedings. The peasants, students, and factory workers brought before him had every reason to believe that the PoWs will face the People’s firing squad before this month was out. Even under torture, none of them displayed any knowledge of the secret negotiations to form a new alliance between the People’s Republic and the British Empire, which would prevent the foreign soldiers from meeting this fate.
So, the plotters had no reason whatsoever to take the People’s Justice into their own hands, and the various causes for seeking personal revenge the accused blurted out lacked both conviction and sense. Besides, they all broke far too easily, apart from the young metal worker – comrade Pyotr, was it? The second or third brought before him today, who did hold out for a while before confessing.
Comrade Khlestakov sips his scalding tea and stretches his long legs, banishing errant thoughts of comrade Pyotr’s knotted thigh muscles from his mind. The sooner he gets to the bottom of this, the quicker he can return to Moscow, and if no satisfactory explanation and ring-leaders’ names could be extracted from the prisoners, well, he would simply have to get creative.
While Comrade Khlestakov successfully erased any trace of regional accent, he still had enough insider knowledge of the troublesome Smolensk Oblast, the creed to the Alyy Rysi militia, to dig much deeper if he so desired.
However, why should the judge bother? And imprudent excavations might disturb all sorts of spectres. Ruminating about adolescent tumbles in the bushes was one thing, but invoking the Rysi – that fierce cadre of lovers – assassins once much admired for their effectiveness against the enemies of the revolution he and Vera commanded later – is a stickier matter altogether.
No, the usual tactic of denouncing assorted counter-revolutionary elements for corrupting honest comrades and selecting one of the prisoners for the role of the plot’s leader would do just as well.
Moscow is far, and no one would question a report by the Extraordinary Commission’s chairman, who also happens to be the de-facto spouse of a celebrated revolutionary film director.
Just one more prisoner left to grill before the judge can finally retire to his cosy room in the Party’s guest house to have dinner and write the report. He would deliver the agitators and their alleged leader – the pretty Jewish student, comrade Masha Kaplan, would do – to the PCIA first thing the morning, and board the train to Moscow before lunch.
Rubbing his eyes, Comrade Khlestakov puts down the cooling tea and looks at the charge sheet and personal history before him. The Smolensk police seems to know very little about the accused, one Comrade Nikiforova, apart from her stated age and occupation. The only point of interest is a note that she was picked up thanks to an anonymous tip, and also suspected of suffering from ‘a certain social illness’.
The judge from Moscow brightens up. The last of the accused in this tedious trial might be a little more entertaining than her co- conspirators, providing welcome stress relief if she cooperates. Or better yet: resists.
But Comrade Khlestakov’s left temple is pounding, and suspected degenerate of not, this Nikiforova is probably just as dull as the rest of the provincial rubble. Where has the guard wandered off to? Well, he would have to shout, again.
‘Bring in Comrade Nikiforova!’
This must have been a grand house before it was requisitioned by the People’s Commissariat For Internal Affairs. Shuffling between one bum cheek to another on the mouldy damask cushion offering scant protection from the numbing hardness of the narrow kitchen chair she was cuffed to more than an hour ago, Vera chuckles inwardly. Imagine how scandalised the bourgeois wife who decorated this home with her husbands’ earnings from selling maggoty meat to the ship masters sailing down the Dnieper or possibly paper-thin boots to the factories workers would be if she had seen the sorry state of her once pristine home!
Maybe she wouldn’t. Perhaps madame welcomed the people’s militia and handed them her boorish leech of a husband gladly, or stabbed him in the eye with a silver fork as soon as the chaos ensued, then escaped with the groom, or the chamber maid, or both. Vera’s large nipples, already erect from the chill, turn bullet-hard at this thought.
At the Peoples’ school on the Narodnaya Katyna kolkhoz, Vera and Nikolai were told many such stories of women – ladies, servants, and serfs alike- who smashed the feudal chains of family structure, and of the boys and men who joined them in rejecting the oppressive notions and laws sanctioning ownership of another person.
Madam taking off with the chamber maid, young master riding into the red horizon with the butler, or all of them happily fucking each other, never featured in those pedagogic tales. But Vera, Nikolai, and their play-mates were far too young, naive, and eager, to pay any attention to the meaning of omissions.
No telling what happened in this house in the early days of the revolution. But the enduring presence of relics of the past like this cushioned chair in the former kitchen – now converted into one of three temporary holding and interrogation cells – is curios. The PCIA prefers bare rooms and unpadded furnitures, to make the task of cleaning the blood, piss and shit of their numerous ‘guests’ easier.
Well, perhaps the General People’s Committee of Interior Design is still debating the merits of aluminium vs steel fixtures. Though judging from the menacing implements she glimpsed as she was ushered past the room requisitioned by the Moscow judge when Comrade Pyotr was led out, limping, a subcommittee has already voted on the appropriate range of torture instruments.
Cheek still smarting from the baton blow the guard had dealt her when she craned her neck trying to get a look of the judge himself, Vera smiles grimly. This display is another sign of how far from the path of true People’s justice the Party has strayed – they are no longer even bothering to pretend we are about to be given a fair trial.
The last time she was confined in a freshly repainted police station – still armoured with residues of her former popularity as a Kapitan of the legendary Alyy Rysi militia – the torture devices were kept out of sight. The judges even offered her tea before getting the iron glove on and their cocks out.
She would kill for a glass of strong, sweet tea now, with a healthy shot of samogon to go with it. But there is no chance of this wish – a condemned woman’s last? Being granted. On the upside, she did not spot any instrument which could be used to administer a glass enema. Vera can handle rough Party dicks, invasive instruments, beatings, and even electric torture and burning better than most, but it still took her months to get fucked again as hard and often as she liked, and she still hasn’t sufficiently recovered from that glass enema to take anything or anyone up her ass.
But that troika released Vera, eventually, rather than deliver her to the tender care of the People’s Camps Directorate, which would have constituted an unofficial death sentence, considering how many internees had no love lost for the Rysi.
If Vera miscalculated, this time there will be no fading former glory to protect her from the PCD. In fact, she is well aware that most Party judges would be far more interested in her connections with the now denounced Rysi if discovered, than the content of the actual charge-sheet the judge from Moscow is taking so very long to study, and that her punishment would be even more sever, and public.
At the emergency meeting in the tanner’s cellar, Alexi, Galina, and even Lev – who bitterly opposed operation Death Seeds so should have been glad of the delay and possible cancellation of the original plan – tried to talk Vera out of letting the PCIA capture her again.
Even if Nikolai IS the judge send from Moscow, and this information came from a highly unreliable source, he is no longer the lustful boy we played with on the kolkhoz, or the charismatic comrade we all admired and desired when we formed the Rysi, they argued.
Nikolai is now a Party man through and through, the chairman of the Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-revolution and Sabotage in Moscow, and you of all people, Vera, should never forget how Nikolai made his first step up the Party’s ladder, and what this has cost us. Why have they send him here, to his home town? This is a trap, it must be!
They shouted and drunk until there was nothing more to say, then fucked the night away. Later, lips still sleek with Vera’s piss, Alexi whispered in her ear:
‘I know how much you loved your cousin, and still do, despite everything he did, and Nikolai DID have the best cock in Katyna, maybe even the best in the Rysi, and that’s a lot of talent to compete with. Do you really think that any of us believe that your stupid plan is all about reigniting the true revolution? But Nikolai says that we are nihilists – useful for the struggle, but destructive for the People’s Republic – and he willed himself to forgot what love is. He does not even love comrade Margarita Ivanova, which he is living with in exemplary monogamy for over a year. All he loves is power, and he won’t hesitate to throw you to the Party’s wolves to keep it. Shit, he would cut you open for them with his own hands and tie fresh napkins around their hairy necks if this got him another perk.’
Vera can’t remember what she answered. Maybe she did not reply at all, not in words. But she does recall Galina getting off her when dawn approached, dishing out a half-hearted spank, and declaring, her speech only slightly slurred:
‘Ah, but comrade Vera is convinced that there is no human alive who can resist her fiery C… conviction. Let her try. Who knows, as insufferable as this would make her if she survives, perhaps Vera has a chance, and even if she is wrong, we will all end up in the camps anyway, with the Death Seeds being leaked and Nikolai leading a new purge.’
And that was that. All it took was an an anonymous tip and staying put, head and cunt throbbing, when the PCIA broke the cellar’s door.
Despite the filth, thin gruel, and freezing cold floor of the cell, Vera is glad of the extra night spend enduring the People’s Police hospitality, allowing her to clear her head and go through her plan. This morning she felt so confident – elated, to be honest – and as ready as she would ever be to finally confront Nikolai.
But now, left cramping and alone in the requisitioned kitchen, hearing the guard’s heavy boot steps approaching, she is not so sure any more. If the judge inside the back room is a stranger – another Party man or her beloved kissing-cousin changed beyond recognition, Vera has staked her life, her comrades, and the cause, on something which suddenly seems like a childish fancy.