Izium – Friday Fictioneers, April 2022

Promise us, our men said on leaving, that if… when they arrive, you will kill yourselves before they have you.

We promised; we’d heard the rumours.

With little to do but wait, we huddled for warmth, and speculated on alternatives.

I, with others, ended up ‘working’ our front line, gaining trust, while our older shaven-headed sisters concealed the children and baked up a storm.

I’ll draw a veil over those days, but as we gained the invaders’ trust, filling their glasses, feeding them bread and cakes, we justified our brief complicity.

We hope our menfolk will, when… if they return.


Thanks to Rochelle for all she does for Friday Fictioneers. If you have a story to tell, and can do it in a hundred words, why not join us?

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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54 Responses to Izium – Friday Fictioneers, April 2022

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Immaculately conceived and written, Sandra


  2. Reena Saxena says:

    The theme dominates our minds – how do civilians strategize in times of war?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. michael1148humphris says:

    Full of images, and timeless.


  4. Dear Sandra,

    Too bad any of those soldiers survived the poisoning. Well written story that goes for the jugular. Good job.



    Liked by 1 person

  5. James McEwan says:

    ‘Kill yourselves’, is a serious request. A timeless story that contradicts self preservation.


  6. Tannille says:

    People are dumb — never trust the enemy! I’d poison the rats too.


  7. Carole Grant says:

    Powerful!! Thanks for this thought provoking post, Sandra.


  8. elmowrites says:

    This makes me sick, Sandra, before I even clicked the links. I mean that as a complement to your writing, this isn’t an easy topic to take on. Resistance takes many forms, I keep wondering how I would react given the ‘choices’ available to people like this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sandra says:

      It’s the stuff of nightmares. Difficult to conceive of people living normal god-fearing lives and then being catapulted into this horror in this day and age. And I mean that on both sides of the coin.


  9. I wasn’t aware of the poisoning…good…reading this in Ukraine I can testify to the rapes…and if that statement sounds bland it is that everyone is numb, focused, with strong will to win, and utter full knowledge of what barbarians they are dealing with. Well-written…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Danny James says:

    What a sacrifice. I’m hoping they return.


  11. Sue says:

    Well written, Sandra. Choices none of us would ever want to have to make


  12. Iain Kelly says:

    The full horror is only beginning to emerge I fear, and is sadly ongoing. Expertly done Sandra.


  13. pennygadd51 says:

    This is chilling on so many different levels, Sandra. Well written.


  14. Bodhirose says:

    I hadn’t seen these stories but drastic times take drastic measures. I feel so bad for those poor people.


  15. msjadeli says:

    Whatever it takes to survive. What better way to hear tidbits of information about their loved ones fighting. Touching story.


  16. Rowena says:

    Sandra, thank you for drawing my attention to these atrocities. I haven’t been watching TV much lately. I can’t understand what’s going on in the Ukraine. Why couldn’t Putin just leave well enough alone and stay in his own backyard? There are those of us who couldn’t hurt a flea and monsters like him.. Well-written and ell done condensing so much into 100 words.
    Best wishes,


  17. Dale says:

    Brilliantly done, Sandra. How you manage to convey so much in so few words, amazes me


  18. A tale of our times, sadly. It’s difficult to think positively right now.


  19. It’s easy for others to say death before dishonor, but there are a lot of hard choices in war, especially to protect your children. Great, touching story, Sandra.


  20. Sally says:

    Oh, the horrors of war and the bravery shown. Well written.


  21. Bill says:

    Powerful topic, Sandra. One with many historical stories about everything from mass suicide to collaboration. About overt or deceptive resistance. The lines are never clearly drawn. Well chosen and wonderfully done. 🙂


  22. granonine says:

    Wow, Sandra. This one really packs a punch.


  23. GHLearner says:

    Perfectly written Sandra, and sickening to the core.


  24. The horrors of war. the crimes of the terrorizers, the courage of those who do what they can, sometimes what they must, to survive. Well done and heartbreaking, both.


  25. Margaret says:

    A horrific reality captured powerfully in your story. How inspiring that they didn’t just kill themselves when the invaders approached, but came up with a plan to fight back.


  26. Liz Young says:

    One does what one must to survive. Brilliantly written.


  27. Five star for this one, Sandra. This is another perfect story.


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