eBook Details

The War at the End of the World

By: Heidi Belleau | Other books by Heidi Belleau
      Violetta Vane | Other books by Violetta Vane
Published By: Storm Moon Press
Published: Jun 15, 2012
ISBN # STRMNP0000005
Word Count: 10,000
Heat Index  
Price: $0.00

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (.prc), Mobipocket (.mobi), Epub

Categories: Romance>GLBT>Gay Romance>Short Stories Romance>Free Reads

Description
September, 1941.

War correspondent Joseph Byrne has been cheating death all his life, ever since he spent two years in an iron lung as a boy diagnosed with polio. In the years since, the Fetch, a strange being charged by Death with collecting Joseph and transporting him into the unknown, has been condemned to watch and wait.

Now, with Joseph working in a Finland caught in a tug of war between Nazi and Soviet forces, it seems a foregone conclusion that the Fetch's sentence is at its end and Death will have Joseph for her own at last. Joseph, an openly Jewish American, has no doubt where his allegiance lies, no matter the danger. But after all these years at Joseph's side, watching him overcome adversity to grow into a brave and principled young man, the Fetch has come to realize that there are forces stronger and so much sweeter than even the purpose you were made for.
 
Reader Rating:  starstarstar (6 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating:   liplip
Excerpt:
September 1941

Today, I exist.

When we were younger, whole days and nights would claw me under before I'd wink back into the world. But now that Joseph's come to this cold land on the edge of nowhere where the sun barely sets in summer, I'm with him every day. Joseph and his long shadow and me, inseparable.

I'm never sure exactly how I feel about that. It's complicated.

It's the way this place seems to always be lingering on the edge of winter, I think, that makes me more permanent now than I was before. Winter and death must be linked somehow, bound together in a way that can never be untangled, like you can't have one without the other. Or anyway, you can't have winter without death—bees, flowers, the grasshopper who refuses to work as hard as the ant, they all die at first frost—but you can definitely still have death without winter. Sort of like me and Joseph: there's no me without Joseph—I'm his after all—but Joseph can go years without me.

Or maybe it's the war.

I don't know. I'm still working this all out.

Meanwhile, Joseph's working out one of his war stories. He's leaning up against the Finnish ambulance truck, scribbling into his notebook with his lips pressed tight in a familiar sign of furious concentration. Not even twilight yet, and mosquitoes stream through the pine trees to circle and suck at the resting convoy; Joseph brushes one off without even looking.

I shouldn't call it a war story. It's a dispatch. He'd prefer to write stories: I've heard him say as much to his two Finnish friends. And sometimes in his dispatches he'll write phrases like this filthy waste of men or Hitler must be laughing or death is like a living thing, and then he'll cross them out and curse in English and replace them with the velvety-bland newspaper speech that his duty demands.

The world sympathized with Finland as they beat off the Soviet Russian invasion during last year's Winter War. Using battle tactics fit to the icy cold of their homeland, they repelled Soviet forces of vastly superior numbers in order to maintain their independence. A year later, Finland seeks to reclaim the territory lost to Russia: Karelia, where pine boughs bend heavy with the spirits of the dead the land of many lakes and mighty forests.

The Finns, lacking resources and materiel, have accepted a dangerous controversial alliance with Nazi Germany. Finland maintains a doctrine of "co-belligerence" and does not designate itself an Axis power, but Great Britain remains unassuaged, and has deemed Finland to be enemy-occupied territory. Finland still seeks American aid even as despite the fact the Wehrmacht, onward


I can practically taste his frustration. He's a helpless observer of this war at the end of the world. He's overcompensating. Taking too many chances. He doesn't even have official permission to follow the Finnish front line into the Karelian Isthmus. He's tagging along with the ambulance trucks, relying on the goodwill of drivers and nurses he knows from the Winter War. But if the advance turns, if they have to choose between a foreign journalist and a Finnish wounded, if they have to leave him behind...

Joseph can walk. He's fiercely, quietly proud of that. But he can't walk far, or fast. And he definitely can't run.

I imagine I have a mouth, a tongue, lungs to breathe. I visualize them in the form I know best: Joseph's own. I try to whisper in his ear. You have enough for your story. Don't follow. Go back to Helsinki. Please, don't follow.

The officer with the radio strides to the center of the convoy and delivers the news: "We'll press on to Lake Laatokka to set up a field hospital. Our men have already driven the Soviets back to Valkeasaari."

The Finns have a truly fearsome war cry—when they gather to chant hakkaa päälle I shiver down to my nonexistent bones—but in other respects, they wage war as unemotionally as if the whole affair was a particularly troublesome spring housecleaning. The nurses nod solemnly and file back into the trucks. The drivers nod solemnly and start the engines.
Reader Reviews (2)
Submitted By: sophiarose1816 on May 4, 2013
This short m/m paranormal historical romance packed a punch with its well crafted characters and backdrop, the historical setting, the character driven plot and the mystical quality to the work. The Fetch and Joseph are both likeable and I enjoyed their brief story told from the invisible Fetch's POV between the present and flashbacks. It was great seeing the Fetch get his HEA. Recommend to those who want something a little different.
Submitted By: youngromancelover on Jul 17, 2012
I didnt really get into this story but thats just me
 

The War at the End of the World

By: Heidi Belleau, Violetta Vane
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