512 Words

The Bolsheviks Were Ruthless

M. Stanley Bubien

The Bolsheviks were ruthless, even after my father abdicated. I may not remember details, but that I shall never forget.

"Don't worry Anna," my father had said, wiping my tears. "We're under their protection." I don't think he trusted them, but he tried to make us believe he did.

The house arrest lasted years---or so I've been told. What I do know involves visions of my mother's stern beauty and constant planning.

"Here's another diamond. I've tied it off." She handed it to me. I fingered it gingerly, and, as she taught me, obscured the heirloom within my favorite gown using needle and thread.

"You'll be a princess again when you wear that," my mother smiled, returning to her own sewing as if that action could return us all to the Czardom.

The Bolsheviks, however, denied us.

Even in his finest dress, I noticed the sweat upon my father's brow.

"Ah," the hulking Bolshevik said as he lead us downstairs. "What a portrait these children will make, sparkling like angels above." He rested his palm upon the shoulder of my gown. The gentleness of his gigantic fingers surprised me.

"Don't touch her!" my father commanded.

The Bolshevik turned a dark eye to him.

My mother brushed his grasp aside and scolded, "You cannot manhandle a princess so."

His gaze fell to the floor as if ashamed, "My apologies." His toothy grin, however, betrayed him.

The portraitist made an elaborate show of arranging us. First all seated, then in a circle about my father, then an embrace. Finally, he waved "Perfect!" with satisfaction. But something was amiss, for he had set us standing shoulder-to-shoulder in an awkward pose.

Stepping away, he grasped the curtain, "And now to the tools of my trade." With a tug, he revealed soldiers---many soldiers---aiming rifles at us. My mother's grip crushed my forearm as the room exploded with gunfire.

The bullets sparked as they bounced from my diamond-encrusted gown. But it still hurt. It hurt so badly, I actually passed out.

* * *

I awoke, slowly remembering as my confusion faded: Being dragged outside and cast asunder; The snow, dirt, icy wind. And the voices!

"I won't do the children."

"I will, then!" a throat rumbled. "Take your hatchet, use it on the Czar."

Someone grabbed my arm. Recognizing those gentle fingers, I opened my eyes to the hulking Bolshevik hovering over me.

"Ah!" the man screeched and jumped back, dropping his axe. In that instant, I took in the bodies of my family, the ground wet and red with blood. I leapt to my feet, kicked off my shoes and sprinted into the trees. I think that was my mother in me.

"Get her! There must be no heir! Find her!"

But I had had years to explore the forest, and I eluded them.

Or so the story goes.

I have read that account, and so many others that I no longer recall the exact truth. But details matter not. For my family died that day. Yet I lived. And so, too, do the Bolsheviks.

Copyright ©2000 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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February, 2000
Issue #46

512 Words