This is the sixth in the series, “War Through My Eyes.” After 20 months of fundraising, purchasing, and delivering critical supplies for frontline troops, Oleg stepped up for military service in December, 2023 and began sending in these creative works, based on his experiences.

Oleg is currently raising funds for a drone-jammer for his unit. You can donate for this life-saving equipment via his PayPal address

This illustration is from Book 1 of Oleg Veretskiy’s trilogy, “Tales of the Wandering Mists.” Support for his efforts will speed his return to the literary world!

photo of boots next to a campfire


by Oleg Veretskiy

We are drinking coffee–not gourmet quality, but sweet and strong. My brother-in-arms rubs his neck, clearly tormented by intense pain. 

“That day is impossible to forget.” He answers my unspoken question.

“It was in the Zaporizhye direction. There was fighting over one village. Katsaps* fired at us with everything they had. And we answered in successive brief, angry volleys. We entered in small groups and knocked out the scum from each house. We hit them with precision so as not to hit any civilians, God forbid.

“But the orcs covered even their own with mortar fire–as the favorite saying of their commanders goes, “the women will birth more,” the words of the Soviet butcher Marshal Zhukov. It was difficult for us then. Even thought we wouldn’t make it out alive. I shot back as much as I could until I was left with empty magazines and no more grenades. The boys opened fire from their side to cover for me–and I ran. Short runs between rubble, trying to minimize my silhouette as much as possible.

“Bullets whistled nearby, and I just ran, not paying attention to the dull blows on the armor plates, nor the loud explosions somewhere nearby. Blood pounded in my temples, my eyes burned from the ash and soot, my lungs felt like they burst from violent breathing. And suddenly a mine whistled overhead. The only thing I managed to do was notice a broken door to some building out of the corner of my eye and jump in there head first. An explosion rang out, a shock wave hit my back, accelerating my fall. It was as if my lower back seemed to be torn in two, but it was only a feeling. Behind the door, the damaged stairs led up and down to the basement.

“I dashed down, managing to cover my face with my hands. A helmet protected my head, but the explosion against my back was so powerful that the lights went out in my eyes and I passed out. I regained consciousness already back in the car. My brothers in arms fought their way into the building and dragged me from the rubble to the evacuation vehicle. I couldn’t move my legs, and my head kept swaying from side to side.

“My first though was, ‘That’s it. I’ll be paralyzed for the rest of my life.’ But the doctors saved my mobility. First, one hospital, then another. In the third one, I underwent surgery. Now I have an implant in my neck. My lower back was damaged by a compression stroke, so treatment is still needed here. Yesterday I had a neuroblock that helps with the intense pains at night. But I am alive. And still on my own two legs.”

He finished his coffee with one big gulp. Stood up from the chair, crumpled the paper cup and threw it in the trash.

* katsap is a slang word for Russian soldiers


Author Oleg Veretskiy suspended his career to support his country’s fight for freedom. Help us publish his magical coming-of-age tale!

The Wandering Mists by Oleg Veretskiy

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