(Another short story. Why not? Ukraine is in the news so much…)
Emo felt satisfied that he’d left that worrisome and fretful life behind and at last headed out to find his dear sister Mia. The only family he had remaining after wrecks and Covid, he really wanted to see his sister safe. From O’Hare to Warsaw would take a while, yet he though the time would seem to fleet by faster than the last seven months with no word at all from her. The Ukraine/Russia peace agreement took too long, for sure.
He got the supplies he needed and headed out to search for the medical outposts where she’d be likely to be. He recalled again about their last argument as she went to board the plane to Warsaw, how he told her they needed nurses here in the USA and all. She’d just extended her open hand to him to push him away and left anyway.
Most of the medical places were mainly abandoned but he did get info on where some were yet in operation. He visited every one with no luck. He filled his jeep tank from his Polish jugs as he went, glad to have bought so many. Then his smile melted as he arrived at a mass gravesite being unearthed. Oh, the stench! No way could anybody ID these rotting bodies!
He found the DNA trailer in the assembled investigation array. He explained his task. The Bulgarian scientist said he’d need something of hers to compare his results from the grave with. Emo unzipped his pack and brought out a small case he’d hope to not need. He lifted the small doll and handed it to the scientist, saying Mia had cut a swatch of her own hair to make it.
No matches there but he did get a copy of the report so he would not need to pull that case out again. The map he got pointed him to the next, then the next and then the next huge graves. He’d got used to sleeping in the Jeep and eating the military rations. After six of those sites, he came to an area still guarded. He was allowed in with instructions to stay alert as landmines were all over the place.
He’d need to head back to Warsaw soon for more gas if the next couple places went bust. He pulled up to the trailer after being quickly checked by guards, then more guards appeared at the trailer. He had to get out of the Jeep with his pack and hand it over. They proceeded to check his pack and all in it. The men passed the doll around laughing, giving him odd looks. A young woman hurried from the trailer and swiped the doll from them.
“Where’d you get this?” She shook her head briskly and started to repeat the question in Ukrainian when she saw Emo. “YOU! You came!” She ran over to him and their exuberant hug made the guards nearby and at the entrance applaud and whistle happily.