Graveyard of Dreams

by Katzmarek

Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Romantic, Heterosexual, Historical, .

Desc: Sex Story: <i>My contribution to the ASSM Historical Challenge. This story is set in Siberia in 1919, depicting the love between two 'comrades' during the Russian Civil War.</i><br> A volunteer from the 'Worker's and Peasant's Army' finds a woman in the snow, half dead from hypothermia. Dismissing the suspicians of his comrades, he is determined to discover the truth about this woman. Despite what that truth may cost him.

© Copyright 2004

This story is fiction, however it takes place during real events. It remains the property of the Author and may not be reproduced for gain without the Author's express permission.(C)


{'You ask me, 'what did we dream of?' So much happened later that I honestly don't remember. What I *do* remember of those days was the passion, for we had an excess of it.'}

Krystina Sofia Vladimirova.

Saratov, Russian Federation.

(Foreword to the Biography of the late General Peotr Ivanovich Vladimirov, Hero of the Soviet Union, July 1995.)

'History is what we remember. In Russia we forgot everything.'

Felix Krasin, Red Army Defector.

Paris France 1962


Historical Note

Two years out from the Russian October Revolution, towards the end of 1919, the political landscape of Russia was grim and confused. Far to the East lay the fledgling Nationalist Government of Siberia based in Omsk. An Independent State had been set up in Samara under Kochum. In the Far East the Japanese and Americans were occupying Vladivostok. Elsewhere the British had siezed Arkangel'sk, the French, Odessa and the Crimea.

In European Russia, General Deniken and his 'White' Russian 'Volunteer' Army were swarming unchecked threatening Moscow. Finland and Poland had declared independence. The Ukhraine was in uproar with a half dozen factional militias vying for supremacy, Nationalists, Anarchists, Monarchists, Bolsheviks, 'Cadets' and the so-called 'Green' Socialists.

In the Baltic The German 5th Army of General Hoffmann occupied Lithuania in contravention of the terms of the Armistice. Relatively unengaged during the Great War, this superbly equipped and organised Army negotiated with the British and 'White' Russian counter-revolutionaries for a possible march on St Petersburg.

The winter of 1919 was the watershed of the Bolshevik Revolution. It was also the swansong of the Volunteer Workers' and Peasants' Army. In February 1920 it became the Soviet Red Army after Leon Trotsky recruited 50,000 ex Tsarist Officers into it's ranks. Conscription was introduced for all those who had not employed labour. Badges of Rank were introduced, soldiers no-longer elected their own Officers and saluting superiors became compulsory.

Eventually, the Red Army numbered nearly 15 million and became the weapon that established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Finally, by the close of 1920, General Wrangel, the last commander of the 'White' Volunteer Army was hopelessly outnumbered. Refugees were fleeing to the docks of Odessa and Sevastopol to be evacuated across the Black sea.

The Tsarist colours were eventually hauled down for good in 1924 on the ancient Battleship Georg Pobiedonosets, Wrangel's floating headquarters. By then even Wrangel himself had sought other employment.

White Russians.

White Russians came to be so-called because they opposed the 'Red' Russians. In reality, that was pretty much all they *did* agree on. Constant bickering between the various factions hindered their effectiveness fatally. Their association with the reviled Don and Kuban Cossacks was an unfortunate public relations failure as far as the ordinary Russian people were concerned. Ironically, it was the disaffection of the Don Cossacks over the issue of independence that provided the final straw to the counter-revolution.

Cossacks

Somewhat over-hyped, in my opinion, it is difficult to find an occasion where the semi-regular Cossacks had any positive role in a military campaign. Ill-discipline was their biggest problem, and this was demonstrated on numerous occasions. Not the least in the suppression of Father Gapon's peaceful 'food march' in the winter of 1905. But you get what you pay for, and it's not rocket science predicting what would happen when one turns the Cossacks on a defenceless crowd led by a priest.

Bolsheviks

Literally, the 'bigger' or 'majority'. The result of a split in the All Russian Communist Party over the role of the Party in a future Russia. The Bolsheviks foresaw a centralised, dominant role whereas the losers, the Mensheviks, favoured power vested in the Soviets, or people's assemblies. The name later on came to be associated with anyone who fought in the revolution and civil war for the Reds.

CHEKA

The Committee for the Defence of the Revolution. Forerunner to the KGB and the NKVD. Need one say more?


Central Siberia, December 1919.

Shchpuka Vladimirov dragged his felted wool boots out of the clinging snow. Through the steel grey of the Siberian winter he glimpsed his two companions in front, imitating his own clown-like struggle. The wail of the wind, straight from the North and the Central Siberian Plateau made talking difficult.

Shchpuka, Russian for pike, was his nickname. One summer day last year he'd fallen into the Anghara river and one of his laughing comrades had suggested his struggles in the water looked like that of a pike. Since then Shchpuka had been his name.

A flurry of wind-driven snow lashed at his face. Momentarily blinded by the stinging cold, Schchpuka stumbled into a drift of deep snow piled against a fallen log. His leg sank down right up to his crotch and, by the time he extricated himself, his two friends had disappeared. Cursing his misfortune he stumbled on alone dragging his heavy pack and rifle along behind.

It was easy to mistake the black object as a tree trunk or a rock outcrop. Shchpuka was just about to trudge past when something caught his eye. Something resembling an arm projected out from the object. Bending down, he saw the object was human, swathed in a long sable coat and hat.

A little while later he heard a voice behind him.

"Shchpuka, what the hell are you doing? I thought you'd gone and fallen through the ice."

"Krasin?" he replied, "look, it's a person, a girl, she's alive!"

"What! Who the hell is she? What is she doing here? I wouldn't bother, Comrade," Krasin replied looking over Shchpuka's shoulder, "she'll soon be a block of ice. C'mon, it must be 30 below. You must get back to the village or you'll be like her."

"Comrade, we must get a troika from the village. We can't just leave her!"

"Watch me," the older man told him.

Shchpuka insisted and eventually Krasin relented and stumped off muttering to fetch a sleigh.


The village of Malenkibrat'sk was a town the railway forgot. It had the misfortune of being bypassed by the Trans-Siberian by some 8 kilometres as it bent it's way towards Irkutsk on the shores of Lake Baykal. A random collection of log cabins, it's function in the winter of 1919, was primarily the acommodation of a small unit of the Workers' and Peasants' Army, the RKKA.

For some ten kilometres away was the railway town of Tulun, occupied by members of the Czech Legion. At the close of the 1st World War the Legion, former prisoners of war, had been trapped in Siberia by the outbreak of revolution and the subsequent Russian Civil War. In their attempt to get home they had occupied most of the Siberian section of the Trans-Siberian Railway. As Russia's only means of transportation across the frozen vastness, they'd turned the railway into a gold mine.

The RKKA was badly outnumbered and over stretched. Broken into small units, they could do nothing but watch the Czechs while things were finally being decided in the West. Curiously, the Czechs were called by the RKKA 'Austrians' after their former employers, the Hapsburg Empire of Austria-Hungary.

Malenkibrat'sk was held by a garrison of just 20. The Red Forces main task was to man a series of observation posts consisting of log 'pillboxes.' It was a routine and boring task. Sensibly the 'Austrians' had not the slightest intention of acquiring Malenkibrat'sk, especially in the cold of winter.

Conversely, the 20 soldiers of the village had not the slightest intention of charging at Tulun over the snow. So they sat and watched each other.


Meanwhile, a little group of RKKA volunteers stood around the bundle of firs that kept their 'discovery' alive. By now it was pitch black outside and the double glazed windows of the log barrack house were firmly shuttered. The wood stove thrummed to itself as the wind outside force-drafted the fire to a blue white heat. Two oil lamps set on the long table provided the yellow illumination. The girl's rescuers had placed her in a cot by the stove.

"Frostbite?" one of the men asked.

Shchpuka shrugged.

"She will tell us when she wakes up."

"She has ten toes and ten fingers," the man confirmed, "that is a good sign."

"The tip of her nose is a good colour," Shchpuka added.

"Have you checked her tits?" asked the first man, to a ripple of laughter, "I know you're dying to check them out."

Ignoring the teasing, Shchpuka stared at the sleeping girl's face. 'So fragile, ' he thought to himself, 'like a flower on the Taiga.'

"Did you find anything on her?" Felix Krasin asked, "did you find out anything about her?"

"Just a letter, Comrade Krasin," Shchpuka replied, "but it is written in a foreign language. Latin script... maybe English? I don't know."

"English you say? A spy! I thought so. We should have left her out there in the snow."

"Don't be an idiot, Krasin!" Shchpuka replied exasperated, "does she look like a spy to you? What the hell is there to spy on here anyhow?"

"I don't know. What does a spy look like, anyway? Like a spy? I mean, the best spies don't look like spies do they? Otherwise, what's the point?"

The other men murmured agreement.

"You're being foolish! The Austrians saw us building the pillboxes last Autumn. For God's sake, Mischa bought cheese off them. If they want to know anything about us they could ask the Postman, he comes and goes when he likes. Why would they send an English spy to find out what they already know?"

"That's true, Krasin," one of the other men said, "why would they?"

"So what is an English girl doing in the middle of Siberia, hmm? Maybe she caught the wrong train? She was going to Paris to go dancing and..."

"I will ask her when she wakes up," Shchpuka volunteered.

"What, you speak English?" Krasin asked.

"No," Shchpuka admitted to general mirth.

In ones and twos the men wandered away to play cards and drink vodka. A couple began humming a song at the far end of the long barracks accompanied by someone with a flute. Not a song of revolution, as one might expect, but a gentle song of the sentimental, of love lost, of family hearths and children at play.

Shchpuka reached out and touched the girl's face. Stroking her cheek he saw her eyelids flicker for a moment. The hooded eyeballs rolled around as if scanning the room in her sleep.

"Who are you?" he said quietly, lest the other men overheard, "what are you doing in Russia?"

Her cheek was warm to his palm, the girl, however, did not stir.


Some time later, the barracks had gone quiet. The card game was petering out at the far end surrounded by a thick, pungent cloud of tobacco smoke. Otherwise most of the men were snoring heavily in their cots.

Shchpuka too was tired, his head hung down as he sat propped in a chair by the stove. In his mind he became aware of a sound, a high, almost childlike voice, barely audible.

"Shto?" (What?)

The language was Russian, but sounded funny to his ears. Jerking fully awake, he realised the girl had spoken.

His eyes settled on her face. She blinked in confusion, trying to clear the fog from her brain. Leaning down to her, Shchpuka asked her her name in almost a whisper. Her forehead furrowed. She looked into his face and asked,

"Bolsheviki?"

Shchpuka nodded.

"Your name?" he said carefully.

"Christine," she said quietly.

"Englisi?" he asked.

"Francais," she told him.

"Ah, French," Shchpuka turned the information over in his mind. "What are you doing here?"

The girl shook her head. Clearly her stock of Russian words had run out. 'This is going to be difficult, ' Shchpuka said to himself. Miming, he asked her if she was frostbitten.

"You feel fingers and toes?" he said, "not hurt?"

Eventually she understood.

"Not hurt," she confirmed.

"Good, good. You very lucky."

"Very lucky, yes," she repeated.

Shchpuka fetched her a steaming hot cup of sweet tea from the samovar on the table. Taking a bottle of vodka from their abundant supplies, he poured a good fingerful into the mug.

"Here," he told her, "you drink."

She put the mug to her lips and sipped, grimacing at the strong flavour.

"Vodka?" she asked, to which Shchpuka confirmed, grinning.

"Merde!" (shit) she told him, but drank it anyway.


It was well past midnight and Shchpuka had not got any further learning the mysteries of this woman. She had tried several languages on him, including English and German, but the bearded Russian had shaken his head.

Shchpuka, however, could not take his eyes away from hers. They flashed, cat-like at him as she spoke. He was captivated. She seemed comforted by his doe-like eyes and friendly face. It appeared to relax her.

He learned her name was Christine D'Lyonais and she came from Clermont-Ferrand. She wrote it down for him on a piece of paper and sounded out each letter in turn. Shchpuka wrote his own name down in Cyrillic script and performed the same service. They grinned at each other's clumsy attempts at pronouncing the unfamiliar sounds.

"Peotr Ivanovich Vladimirov," he said, "Shchpuka!"

The 'Shch' sound was ferociously difficult for her. She found 'Peotr' much easier, so Peotr she called him. 'Krystina' came more naturally for Shchpuka, so Krystina she became to him.

After a while, tiredness and sweet teas overcame them. Shchpuka pulled his cot over next to Krystina and fell asleep next to her by the stove.


The great experiment of the volunteer Workers' and Peasants' Army was drawing to a close. In the months ahead, 'advisors' would be attached to every unit to inculcate the proper revolutionary values and to ensure the unit's loyalty. These would eventually become the system of Political Commissars of the new Red Army.

Largely this was in response to the haphazard organisation and discipline of the RKKA that saw several units defect 'en mass' to the Whites and other factions. Clearly something had to be done to forstall the complete disintegration of the Bolshevik army and the demise of the revolution.

Through the Civil War period, disaster was staved off time and again by the professionalism of the Latvian Regiments. Fiercely pro-Bolshevik, the Latvian Red Guards were the rock upon which the Red Army was built. It was they who eventually contained the 100,000 man Czecho-Slovak Legion.

Until the Legion and the White Russian Siberian Army of General Kolchak could be defeated, the scattered Red units along the Trans-Siberian were left to their own devices. The Malenkibrat'sk garrison was quite typical of such a unit in the Winter of 1919.

The morning guard detail clattered past the slumbering couple with barely a comment. In the New Russia, marriage was to be abolished. It was an example of the subjugation of women practised by Capitalist society. In a Communist Society, men and women were to be free to choose who they wished to co-habit with. If Shchpuka and this strange woman from the snow wished to sleep together, it was none of their business.

Comrade Felix Krasin, however, was still deeply curious about the woman. Giving Shchpuka a kick as he passed, he asked him what he knew about her.

"French, eh?" Krasin considered, "how did she get here?"

Shchpuka confessed he didn't know.

"Well find out!" he snarled, "it's not natural!"

Shchpuka watched her as she gradually stirred awake. Carefully he told her with mime and speech that he needed to know how she arrived in Siberia.

"Train," she explained.

"Why here?"

"Journalist," she told him, "La Liberte'."

"Not spy?"

"Not spy," she confirmed, grinning.

"Novorossiysk, Samara, Chelyabinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tulun, here!" she explained, tracing her route, "no Bolsheviks, until you! Cossacks, Nationalists, Czechs, Whites... all over place. Bolsheviks around Moscow... couldn't reach. Travelled Eastwards looking for Reds. Found Peotr."

"Found Peotr, yes!"

Christine D'Lyonais had wanted to see for herself the Revolution that had grabbed the world's attention. She couldn't however, have chosen a worse time, for the Revolution was in trouble. Growing paranoid because of the outside military intervention from the Allies, the Government in St Petersburg had closed the Finnish border.

Frustrated, she'd travelled back via Germany and Central Europe to Turkey and then across the Black Sea to the Port of Novorossyisk. The Port was under the control of Deniken's Volunteer Army, which was heavily supported by the French Government. Taking advantage of her Nationality, she had little difficulty threading her way through the confusion of shifting alliances and local Cossack 'Ataman' warlords that characterised the Southern Urals at that time. It did, however, cost her a great deal of money in bribes.

Deniken's Army was on the line from Kazan to Nizhny-Novgorod and stood between her and the desperate defenders of Moscow. She therefore travelled East on the Railway operated by the Czecho-Slovaks.

Everywhere she saw armed men, some clearly more disciplined than others. Nowhere had she seen the Red Banners of the revolution she'd sought. She saw destroyed villages, hungry refugees, random killings and the dead bodies of men, women and children.

By contrast the area along the Railway was the picture of relative normalcy. The Legion maintained their own Police and Customs, supplied most of the Railway personnel, Locomotive drivers, and traffic control. They ran the Railway as a Private Company with fixed rates for cargo and passage and paid dividends to the share holders. Few could remember a time when the Railway ran so efficiently.

It was well to remember, however, that the stated goal of the Czecho-Slovaks was to return to their homeland and found a Nation. Many ensured they would do so, wealthy.

Eventually Christine found herself in Tulun, farther to the East than she wanted. To her delight, however, she discovered that the local Bolshevik forces were no more than 8 kilometres away. She did not realise, though, that eight kilometres in the deep of the Siberian winter could be a very great distance indeed. Setting out for the Reds, she was caught in a blizzard and lost her way. It was to her great good fortune she was discovered by one Comrade Peotr Ivanovich Vladimirov known to his friends as Shchpuka.


Malenkibrat'sk had always been a military post. The Tsarist troops, it's former inhabitants, had been the local Police and Government Agents. They had been responsible for a considerable area between the Anghara and Chuna rivers. The area had seen a large sawmilling industry in the past but since the outbreak of the World War, most of the timber workers had been drafted into the army.

The area of Central Siberia had also seen an influx of exiles deemed 'agitators and Socialists' by the Tsarist secret police. These had formed the backbone of the RKKA garrisons after the October Revolution.

Shchpuka Vladimirov was a native of Saratov on the Volga River. A student, he'd become involved in radical politics, first with the Socialist Revolutionaries and then with the Bolshevik Party. Drafted into the Infantry upon the outbreak of war he'd become involved in the formation of a Soldier's Soviet, court-marshalled and exiled to Siberia. Taking advantage of the confusion following the revolution, Shchpuka and his fellow exiles had stormed the local military post and taken possession. They had found a considerable quantity of rifles and ammunition and dressed themselves using the stocks of uniforms.

The RKKA had no badges or ranks. Shchpuka and his comrades wore pieces of red cloth as armbands and scarves to show their affiliation to the Bolshevik cause. A plain red banner flapped aloft above the post until a picture in a newspaper had shown Lenin beneath a hammer and sickle flag. Hastily the garrison had one of their own made.

Last Autumn, they had been in contact with several other RKKA units in the area. They agreed to combine and attack Tulun, however this had not been achieved before the onset of Winter put their plans on hold.


Through the next day, Shchpuka and Christine were constant companions. He found her some sundry items of military uniform and felted wool boots such as he wore. Small of build, her new clothing had to be adapted especially. She told him she now looked like an unmade bed. He presented her with a Army service revolver. She made him a proper armband festooned with the hammer and sickle. He taught her some Russian, she some French.

She wanted to know about the revolution. Would women truly be free from male domination? He assured her that a free society cannot be free if 50% of the people were still in bondage.

"Can women become Doctors and Scientists, fight alongside men in defence of their freedoms?"

"Why not?" Shchpuka shrugged, "in the New Russia anything is possible.

He added that soon the 'Austrians' will go home and the counter- revolutionaries will whither before the will of the people.

"Then we rebuild our society."

Christine warmed to the confidence displayed by this young man. She thought him a hero to have risked his life for the emancipation of working people.

She'd heard the Russian peasants described as brooding and fatalistic. On the contrary she'd found these men to be idealistic and confident. Perhaps, she asked herself, it was Peotr that she'd found idealistic and confident.

That afternoon the wind had died down and they tramped up to a little lake some 5 kilometres away. The Lake was called Zapadno Kul and a popular spot for ice fishing. Behind them, a ridge wound up to a series of low mountains called the Khrebet by the villagers. Hardy Russian Pine trees struggled fitfully on the lower slopes, their spidery branches glittering with snow. They trudged up the hill a ways, sat in the snow and watched the pale, watery sun low on the horizon. The dazzling blue-white carpet stretched for kilometres towards the misty smoke of the township of Tulun.

Leaning against each other, their arms intertwined, they listened silently to the song of the wind.


Returning to barracks in time for an evening meal, they found the soldiers deep in conversation around the table.

"I tell you, something is going on," Krasin was saying, "that was the sixth train in three hours, all heading West."

"Maybe there's trouble down the line and the Austrians are sending reinforcments?" one of the men suggested.

"Or they are pulling out," Krasin said, "we always knew they would eventually. They don't belong here."

Just then there was a commotion outside the door. A breathless soldier burst into the room, Comrade Yung from one of the observation posts.

"Comrades, comrades," he told them excitedly, "the Austrians... they're burning everything. Some workers from Tulun... came here. They said they loot. Putting everything into wagons!"

An old woman brushed past him, tears staining her lined features.

"The bastards shot my Borrie," she wailed, "in front of my house. They robbed us of our pots and pans!"

With that, she threw herself to the floor, screaming. Christine picked the distraught woman up and struggled with her to the stove. There she gave her a bottle of vodka, which she tipped into her throat straightaway.

"Let's go Comrades," Krasin suggested.

"Now wait a minute," a soldier piped up, "they haven't gone yet! There's only 20 of us and..."

"So speaks a defender of the working class!" someone interrupted, "you never had any spleen, Kishneyev. I'm with Krasin!"

About half the garrison collected their weapons. The other half sat at the table looking at each other. One by one they got up until only Comrade Kishneyev remained seated. Eventually he too stood, muttering that everyone had gone crazy.

Spilling outside, Krasin ordered a soldier to fetch the troika drivers.

"We sled down to that signalman's hut about a kilometre down the line," he suggested, "then we move up the railway taking cover along the embankment. What do you think, Shchpuka?"

"A good plan," Shchpuka agreed, "the track ballast will make for a firmer footing."

"C'mon, Comrades!"

By the time they began running down the railway track towards Tulun, they heard a rattle of gunfire from the direction of the Station building. The last train containing the looted goods was just pulling out and a sporadic exchange of gunfire was taking place between the drunken Legionaires and some of Tulun's citizens. Fanning out on either side of the track, the Reds began firing on the departing carriages.

Shchpuka felt something pluck at his hat.

"Where the fuck did that come from?" he yelled, dropping to the ground.

"Over there!" someone shouted, "by that old switcher."

"Fuck off, you Austrian arse-wipes," came a shout from the derelict loco.

"We're the People's Army you silly fucker."

"You cunts took your time."

"We came as soon as we heard, you ungrateful bastard," Krasin yelled at the sniper, "and what the fuck have you been doing for the past six months? Whoring yourself to the Austrians?"

"Say that again arsehole, and I'll have your balls for a necklace."

With that, a huge man emerged from behind the switcher. He wore a faded military greatcoat festooned with ammunition pouches.

"Gregory Retvizan," he introduced himself, "are you idiots looking for recruits?"


Tulun was partially destroyed. Many houses had been set on fire by the departing Czech Legion. The streets were strewn with the debris of ruined belongings pillaged from the citizens. Several dead bodies lay about, including a dead Czech being furiously beaten by the angry townsfolk. Someone was needed to restore order and harness the outrage of these Tuluniki. That someone was Gregory Retvizan.

Bellowing for the people to come together in the square, he planted himself on the steps of the Courthouse alongside a red flag-bearing Shchpuka and a stern-looking Krasin.

"Listen, you idiots!" he yelled to the gathering crowd. "Are we going to put up with this shit or are we going to chase that Austrian vermin all the way to Moscow?"

"To Moscow, to Moscow," someone began to chant.

"Ever since these tongue-clicking sheepherders came here you've been licking their arses as if they were going to shit gold, right?"

The crowd was silent.

"And they repay you how?"

More silence.

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