The Summer of 1927

The vast farmland near the outer limits of the city of Omsk, children and teenagers tend to the fields and farms in preparation of the large harvest in only a few weeks. These farms are dark areas in the eyes of the law, where there are no limits to how many wayward orphans a farmer can claim from the state. It is easier for both parties in the long run, the state has a place to put its unwanted youth and the farmers take advantage of slave labor.

It is common for the boys to spend the majority of their time digging in the fields. Their endurance and strong backs make it an easy choice to place them. However, there was one quiet 13 year old boy that was noticeably smaller and weaker than the other twenty some boys that lived on the farm. However, he was one of the rare few that could read, write, and count. This allowed him to be placed in the large chicken coup to tend to the eggs. It was a job that required a delicate hand and a passion for detail, both something the boy excelled at and did well enough to keep the lazy drunken farmers pleased.

And because he could count as well, the boy was given the task to take the eggs by cart a few kilometers down the road and collect money for them by selling the cart-full of eggs to the local customer, Zakharov's Butcher Shop. Fortunately for the boy, the price of eggs increased over a year ago, unbeknownst to the farmers themselves. So the boy regularly skimmed the extra rubles after delivering the eggs. It was a best case arrangement.

One such afternoon as the boy was returning down the old dirt road from his regular delivery. It rained the previous night, which always made the trip harder trudging through the muddy path. As he hiked pass his farmer's field, the other boys watched him and paused from their digging.

"Hey look, it's that kid!"

"Yeah, the egg sucker!"

The boy's raucous taunts and laughter was pretty much a common occurrence whenever he passed. One of the older boys and his entourage of five hop the fence and approach him.

"Hey, egg sucker! You bring anything back for your friend, Sacha?"

The shy boy glanced up to the taller teenager. "No Sacha… I have nothing as usual."

"Awww… I'm disappointed in you…" Sacha steps in front of the boy. "…sounds like you'll need to pay me the road tax then."

The others watching snicker as they watch the interaction.

"I have to turn in the money, Sacha."

"I know you buy things in town… how about cutting in your good friend, Sacha?"

"We're not friends."

"Oh, that's right… the little egg sucker has no friends."

The teenager shoves the boy into the mud. The others whistle and taunt from the adjacent fence.

"Stop, Sacha."

"Stop, Sacha!", the teenager taunts. "Let me see what you bought in town."


Sacha grabs his jacket and rips it off. A small paperback book falls out into the mud. "A book? Only an egg sucker would bother with books. Why don't you ever buy anything worthwhile? You think you are better than us because you can read? You're a weak runt!"

Sacha kicks the book and a hefty amount of mud back into the face of the boy. The boy starts to whimper and cry slightly from the humiliation.

"Now there will be a punishment… who wants to see the egg sucker get punished!"

The other boys, now sitting on the fence like spectator crows cheer and laugh. Sacha drags the boy through the mud to an old pile of horse dung on the side of the road.

"Punishment time!"

"N-no! Stop it! Ow!" The boy struggled but it was fruitless as Sacha was quite literally the strongest boy on the farm.

"Sacha! Don't!" A wayward shout from a young girl reaches the commotion. The girl drops her basket of beets and hustles toward them, wearing a head scarf and skirt. She was considerably pretty for being 15, and had noticeably darker features that were characteristic of the Romani lineage.

"Shut up you gypsy bitch!", Sacha barked.

"Let him go or I'll tell the farmer!", she retorts.

This was enough to stop Sacha in his tracks, for he has been beaten with the switch for lesser offenses. However, he wasn't about to be dictated in front of his entourage by a girl. He compromises.

"*scoff* I have real work to do anyway. You can have your egg sucker, bitch." He let's go of the boy but not before snatching the glasses off his face.


With a pull and a twist, the glasses snap in two. "Have fun counting eggs blind, egg fucker." Sacha then hops the fence and chuckles it up with the rest as they get back to digging before the farmer notices them. The boy staggers to his feet, wiping the streaming tears and mud off his face. *sniff*

"Are you alright?", the girl asks.

The boy doesn't respond as he retrieves his broken glasses and ruined book. The girl approaches the boy.

"Hey… " She affectionately places a hand on his shoulder.

"LEAVE ME ALONE!" The boy screams and pushes her back away.

"I-I'm sorry…"

Before she could even say her apology, the boy was already running back to the barn with his cart. The girl sighs and looks at his dirty hand prints staining her old shirt.

"…I was only trying to help…", she mumbles.

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