I feel as if I’ve run a marathon since I wrote 9,600 words today. My shoulders ache, my wrists ache, and I’ve had a return case of numb butt. The good news is, I should hit the 50,000-word mark no later than Sunday. Of course, the rough draft won’t be finished, though it will be about two-thirds finished.
I wrote three chapters today: Chapter 11, Aftermath; Chapter 12, Enshallah; and Chapter 13, The Map. Chapter 13 is a flashback, from 2001 to 1982, so I’ll include an excerpt from that chapter below.
In death, Sergei looked in better shape than his living brother. Alexei hadn’t shaved in days, and his eyes were ringed in exhaustion. Bloodshot and bleary, they moved to rest on her and registered nothing. Still filthy, Alexei reeked of sweat and dried blood.
Sergei’s body on the cold, metal table formed a barrier between them. She looked at Sergei’s face again. Death had wiped every care from his face, made him look as if he were a teenager. He hadn’t yet been embalmed. Beside his body on the table was a Makarov.
A scene, she decided, from a very bad movie.
“Captain Burke,” she said, “what are you doing here?” Not taking his eyes from her, he took a long drink from the bottle. “And I’m doing fine, thank you, other than a bloody great cast on my broken ankle.”
“This isn’t about you,” Alexei said.
“What is it about, then?” she asked.
His eyes shifted away from her, and he looked at Sergei. “When he was a boy,” Alexei murmured, “he was afraid of the dark.”
That moved her, and she wanted to touch Alexei, to hold him, but she stayed still. “Alexei, Soviet sappers destroyed that cave network today,” she said. He drank again and shrugged. “How did they know about it?”
“It wouldn’t have taken much for them to figure it out,” he replied.
“Not the whole network, Alexei. Where’s the map Terrell gave you?” she asked.
“I burned it.”
“At one of our rest intervals. I had the watch while you and Sergei slept. I memorized it then I burned it.”
“Then, how did the Soviets know about the caves, Alexei?”
“I’ve answered that question,” he said. “If you’re accusing me of something, at least be straightforward about it.”