Andrei...




The fog was gone and sky blazed like huge furnace where gold was not melted into liquid,but into burning air.against the gold they saw the piled black boxes of village far away.A long pole among the boxes pointed straight at a sky green and fresh,as if washed clean in someone's huge mop in the night.there was fog on pole and beat in morning wind like a little black wing against the sunrise.And Andrei's eyes and the tearless eyes on his shoulder ( who was his enemy) looked fixedly at the little flag, with the same question.But they were still far away.

When they saw the colour of flag, Andrei stopped and put the man down cautiously and stretched his arms to the rest and in greeting.The flag was red.
The man said strangely:"Leave me here."
"Don't be afraid,"said Andrei,"we're not so hard on fellow soldiers."
"No,"said the man,"not on fellow soldiers."
Then Andrei saw a torn cloth sleeve hanging at the man's belt and
on the sleeves the epaulet of a captain.

"If you have a pity,"said the man,"leave me here."

But Andrei had brushed the mans hair of his forehead and was looking attentively,
for the first time at the young, indomitable face he had seen in photographs.

"No,"said Andrei,very slowly, "I can't do that,captain Karsavin."
"I'm sure to die here,"said Captain.
"One doesn't take chances,"said Andrei,"with enemies like you."
"No,"said Captain,"one doesn't."
He propped himself up on one hand ,and his forehead,thrown back,was very white.He was looking at the dawn.

He said:"When I was young ,I always wanted to see a sunrise.
But my mother never let me go so early. She was afraid I would catch a cold."
"I will let you rest for a while.",said Andrei.
"If you have pity,"said Captain karsavin,"you'll shoot me."
"No",said Andrei,"I can't."
Then they were silent.

"Are you a man?",asked Captain Karsavin.
"What do you mean?",asked Andrei.
The Captain said,"Your gun".

Andrei looked straight into the dark,calm eyes and extended his hand.The captain shook it. When he took his hand out of captain's,Andrei left his gun in it. Then he straightened his shoulder and walked towards village.When he heard the shot,he did not turn. He walked steadily,his head high,his eyes on the red flag beating against the sunrise. Little red drops followed the steps in the soft,damp earth-on one side of the road only.


-by Ayn Rand (We the living)