This is the seventh 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.

“Petals” is military slang for a small but deadly explosive munition dropped from a drone. “Orcs” and “katsaps” are contemptuous Ukrainian slang for Russian invaders. The image below shows the actual leg of the soldier in this story. Can you spot the sniper in the photo above?

Oleg and his supporters are currently raising funds for needed supplies and morale-boosting gifts for his unit. You can donate via his PayPal address

The Wandering Mists by Oleg Veretskiy

Author Oleg Veretskiy suspended his career to support his country’s fight for freedom. Thank you for helping publish his magical coming-of-age tale! The first book in his trilogy is due for publication this summer. The “War Through My Eyes” stories will be collected in a future book. Below is an illustration from Tales of the Wandering Mists.

Change of career

by Oleg Veretskiy

There are two fighters in the hospital ward. The rest of the beds are empty. Some patients left during the day in the triumph of recovery. Others left at night; those who did not survive their wounds. A soldier resting by the window gazes at the massive bandage enveloping his leg, stretching from the bottom to the top of his knee.

“What happened to your leg?” asks the soldier near the door.

“I stepped on one of the petals* scattered by the drones. The explosion tore off my heel. What happened to you?” he responds.

“I stepped on a mine,” the soldier raises his stump, the amputation line just below the knee. “My partner and I were watching the enemy’s movements. The orcs were vigilant and nervous, firing at the slightest rustle of the bushes. I wanted to move and find a different vantage point, but doing so risked drawing enemy fire.

“The situation changed when a neighboring unit initiated an assault, diverting the enemy’s attention. Seizing the opportunity, we cautiously maneuvered, trying not to reveal our presence. The morning snow concealed the landmarks, and unfortunately I strayed beyond the safe boundaries. The explosion caught me by surprise – a few steps later, my foot triggered a landmine.

“Adrenaline surged through me, numbing some of the pain. All I could think of was not to fall backward – there could be another mine. So, I landed on my backside and pushed myself back onto the path.

“My partner unleashed a barrage of gunfire, providing cover for me. A single glance at my foot revealed the grim reality that walking would no longer be possible; it hung by a bloody thread, resembling a shredded mass of ground meat. Swiftly, I retrieved a tourniquet from my armor and applied it, following my tactical medicine training. However, when my partner rushed to my side, it became evident that I hadn’t tightened the tourniquet sufficiently—I lacked the strength, and blood continued to seep. My partner promptly added another tourniquet, and it stopped the blood flow.

“In the midst of this, my brothers-in-arms approached in pairs. They loaded me onto a soft stretcher and escorted me out of the danger zone. Passing me on like a baton, they handed me over to another unit, then to a third, forming a relay race that extended to the medics from the medevac.

“Clothes and boots were sliced away to inspect for additional injuries. Adrenaline still surged through my veins, prompting me to attempt to command the medics. They responded with jokes to support me, encouraging me to keep talking. Meanwhile, I strained to examine my leg, but amidst the chaos of bones, veins, and skin, I could only see my big toe.

“The doctors meticulously assessed my condition, applied bandages, and did something else – I don’t remember it well. Wrapped in a thermal blanket, they swiftly moved on to attend to other wounded, and there were a lot of them – a testament to the intensity of the ongoing fierce fighting.

“My life was saved, but I still lost my leg. Fortunately, advancements in technology are promising, and I plan to use prosthetics as soon as I can.”

“And what’s your plan for the future?” inquired the soldier by the window.

“After our victory, I’ll cherish life and love my wife and children. But before that, I’ll return to the front.”

“Why? You’ve already suffered so much from this war.”

“To remind the katsaps that I am a skilled sniper,” the soldier replied with a meaningful smile.

Be the First to Know! Sign Up for Events & Extras from Oleg

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news, extra creative content, and updates from the author and our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!