Sasha’s eyes flickered open amidst his fitful sleep. He reached forward to stoke the fire in front of him to ward off the bitter cold. The soldiers slept fitfully, encircled by the few small fires. Far off in the distance he could hear them. Yes they were still there, and they were coming closer. He nudged the soldier to his right, who almost jumped up with fear. Sasha put a finger to his lips as they began waking up the rest of the men and grabbing their rifles. This was a different type of fighting. The soldiers were out of their foxholes and trenches. They were being attacked with only the protection of fire. It seemed ludicrous, they were open targets, they’d even been spotlighted. Fear began to seize Sasha, but it also froze him in place.
The noises in the distance grew closer. They could hear the crunching in the snow. They knew they were coming. Sasha turned to reassure the men behind him. They were ready. Suddenly the approaching figures were illuminated by the soft flicker of the fire. One of them let out a surprised howl as the light hit his eye. Sasha took careful aim, “Now!”
A burst of fire light up the sky as the men around him fired into the enormous pack of wolves. Their hungry faces filled with pain as they screeched and howled, falling upon the injured among them. The men reloaded. Firing at will now, the wolves fell one by one. Too hungry to run, no, they had found meat at last. The sound of ripping and crunching of bone met the men as the remaining wolves slowly disappeared from view. “They’ll be back.” A few of the men in the distance looked up confusedly at Sasha, they’re spiked helmets revealed they weren’t part of his unit. Sasha nodded to another of his men who spoke fragments of German. The men with the spiked helmets nodded.
The winter of 1917 created a common enemy for the Russians and Germans, bringing them together. The enemy was the wolf, and it signaled the beginning of the end to the fighting on the Eastern Front. The men would remember the kindness of the Germans.