The Bear in
Winter: An All
the Russias AAR
It was cold, even for a Moscow January. Several times Stepan had had to draw back from the window and sit on his hands to keep them warm. Imagine if his were to numb to pull the trigger at the right moment!
Kerensky was late coming back from the ballet. Stepan did not know whether the President went because he liked it, because he had to be seen to be going, or simply because it was one of the few things that worked in Russia these days and it gave him a few hours peace. Then again Stepan did not know a lot of things: Yegov probably knew, he knew everything. Or at least more than Stepan; he only knew how to shoot well. Better to leave the plans and the thinking to Yegov.
Movement. Gripping his rifle he glanced out of the small third floor window at the car that had just drawn up across the street. The driver got out to open the door and... yes, Stepan could clearly see the prematurely aged features of Alexander Fyodorovitch Kerensky, Presidnt of Russia. Muttering a prayer to Saint Basil - as much subconcious as anything - he took aim and pulled the trigger...
The venerable rifle had jammed! Swearing Stepan drew his pistol, the one Yegov had given him just in case the police might take him and ran down the stairs. Yegov would be angry, but surely he would understand?
He made it into the street just as the car was starting up. No time to aim properly, Stepan simply fired three times into the side of the car. The first two went wide; the last struck Kerensky in the neck. Not that Stepan saw that. A police bullet hit him in the shoulder, followed a moment later by one in the chest. He dropped to cold snow, his vision already dimming. The pain was bad, but somehow not as bad as he had thought. He'd never been shot before, not even the war so he didn't know how it should feel.
He was slipping away now. He could hear footsteps running towards him but he would be long dead by then. At last he heard it, some voice in the far distance: "The President is dead!"
Stepan smiled, his last thought before he died that perhaps Yegov would understand after all.