“An old man driving an empty sleigh sluggishly yielded the road to them beneath the very windows of the cottage. Then Rybak suddenly had a real thought, he could leap into the sleigh, seize the reins and whip up the horse – he might just get away. But the old man! As he held back his young impatient horse, he cast a glance at the man in charge and at the whole column of politsai, and his eyes showed so deep a hatred for them that Rybak understood – no, he could never get away with it! But who would be willing to help him? Then, thunderstruck, he was swamped by the unexpected realization that there was no way of getting out of it. After this execution there was nowhere to go. There was no way of escape from the column he had joined. The shattering clarity of this revelation jolted him so much that he stumbled, fell out of step and couldn’t pick up the rhythm again.

‘What’s up with you?’ his neighbor asked in a scornful bass voice.


‘You’re not used to it then? You’ll learn.'”

Vasily Bykov, The Ordeal

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