Powerless by Robert J. Crane (The Girl in the Box Book 40)
English | 2020 | Fantasy | ePUB | 2.9 MB
Robert J. Crane was born and raised on Florida’s Space Coast before moving to the upper midwest in search of cooler climates and more palatable beer.
When Sienna Nealon finally comes home to Minnesota, she finds old enemies returning and new ones rising.
“Whose grave is this?” Pyotr Orlov asked. No one answered, because the question was asked quietly, under his breath, to no one really but himself. But it was a good question, and one Pyotr was determined to get to the bottom of.
It was not a traditional grave, as Pyotr would have thought of one. Certainly not of the sort he would have expected to find here, in the ruin of Elgen. Elgen was a Gulag camp site. The remains of it were but ruins; old, decaying wooden barracks with collapsed ceiling beams, a mess of rotten wood like a skeleton’s bones sticking out of the Siberian steppes. A dusty dirt road ran through the center. Barbed wire fences with holes the size of trucks in them surrounded the site. A smell of mining dust still hung in the air, faint, even after all this time.
Elgen had not functioned as a camp in over sixty years. Since Stalin had fallen from power and Kruschev had begun the thaw that trickled the survivors of the worst of the Gulag archipelago out into Russian society again. Pyotr had heard tales of – whispers, really – of the women of Elgen in the nearby villages. That they’d settled there, and still lived there, because once you left the camps, the adjustment to civilized, metropolitan life was perhaps still a leap too far.
Pyotr cared little for those stories, though, at least at the moment. A more interesting problem waited before him, occupying his attention. He knelt in the dirt before this grave. This…tomb…and marveled at how out of place it was.
Elgen had a graveyard. The simple facts of the camp’s existence, its purpose, its operation, required a graveyard. Dead people were one of the chief products of the Gulag system, after all. One had to find a place to put them. Certainly in some of the camps, the tales bent toward the depravity of cannibalism, perhaps reducing the need somewhat. Perhaps that had happened here in Elgen, too. It was hard to say. Few that remembered those times were still alive. Fewer still who lived them and survived had any desire to talk about them.
But this was not a typical grave. Not at all. Pyotr had been digging outside the camp some distance, near one of the depleted gold mines, and he’d found…this.
It was hard to tell what to think of it, truly. Clearly, it had begun its life as a rock. An immense one, no doubt. Boulder-sized. How it had been maneuvered here…well, that was another question. The slave labor of the camps, perhaps?
Elgen had been a womens’ camp. They’d certainly been worked, and worked hard, but moving a multi-ton slab of rock?