The Army of Worn Soles launch blog tour continues! Read to the end for the clue that will help you win the Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Army of Worn Soles plus a $50 Amazon gift card.
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Chapter 2: Gymnasium
Peremyshl, Poland, 1938
Maurice leaned closer until their lips met. Oksana kissed hard, intense and didn’t break away for a long time. “So, student-boy, how late can you stay out tonight before you get into trouble?”
“I’m already way past curfew.” He leaned in for another kiss. He could hear his pulse in his ears.
She pulled away again. “Get me another drink and then we can go,” she said.
Maurice did not ask “where.” He could not bring her to the school dormitory, so he hoped she meant her place. He pushed the door to the dance hall open just in time to see the front door crash inward and six policemen rush in. They carried clubs in their hands, and the leader brandished a pistol.
The band stopped with a scream from an abused violin and every girl screamed.
“Everybody stand still,” the lead policeman hollered in Polish. “Stop where you are this instant. You are all under arrest.”
The barman came around his counter. “No one was making any trouble, sir,” he said in Polish, hands out in supplication. “We’re just having a good time. A little music, a little dancing…”
“What kind of music was the band playing?”
“You know, the hit parade, some traditional…”
“What language? Polish or Ukrainian?” He spat the last word out like it was dirty.
“Look at this, Jerzy,” one of the cops said, pointing to the table where Danylo had spread out his newspapers. Maurice saw a pamphlet beside the broadsheets and groaned when he saw the Cyrillic lettering. It was in Ukrainian.
Jerzy, the lead policeman, swept it up in his hand as if he had scored a point. “Sedition,” he said. “Arrest everyone.”
Roman launched himself at the nearest cop and landed a punch on his nose, which had almost no effect. The cop retaliated by hitting Roman on the head with his club, and Roman fell.
Then every man in the place began throwing punches. Maurice saw the man in the hat pull a club out of a cop’s hands. He hit the officer hard, knocking him down, and turned on a pair who were clubbing the barman.
Maurice could not see Bohdan. Oksana pulled on his arm. “Come on, don’t be stupid. Let’s get out of here.”
“But my friend—”
“You can’t help him. Come on.” Oksana hauled him out the side door, and Maurice had only a second to wonder how the cops could have been so stupid as to raid a dance hall without covering all the exits.
He ran behind Oksana down a dark alley and into another street, across two blocks, then more turns. Within minutes, he had no idea where they were.
About the Book
1941: Their retreat across Ukraine wore their boots out—and they kept going.
Three months after drafting him, the Soviet Red Army throws Maurice Bury, along with millions of other under-trained men, against the juggernaut of Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, the assault on the USSR.
Army of Worn Soles tells the true story of a Canadian who had to find in himself a way to keep himself alive—and the men who followed him.
About the author
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. He has written for magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.
a children’s short story, Sam, the Strawb Part (proceeds of which are donated to an autism charity), and other stories.
Scott Bury lives in Ottawa with his lovely, supportive and long-suffering wife, two mighty sons and two pesky cats.
Today’s clue: this