The young woman, she didn’t live long after that day. As some of the other women carried away her lifeless body, I saw that the ill-fitting shoes we were allocated were left at the end of the bed. As I went to collect them, I saw that she had stuffed something inside. I recognised it almost immediately as the papers she had scribbled on for the short time she had been here. I pulled the contents out and looked over it, and as I did, in some indescribable way, it warmed me. That what was left of her life was written down here. She had poured her soul into them, and between the crooked lines swam the iridescent essence that was life. I took them, hid them, and decided to carry her writing on for her. It seemed unjust to let her efforts slip away into history as she had.

At this moment, the soldier scowled, with a combination of fury and sorrow. It was if a close friend had just passed. In a sudden realisation, he found himself likening this woman to his own mother. She was a proud and dominant woman. He grudgingly found a slight sense of respect for her strength and pride. The way she had continued what he supposed could be called a tradition, paying tribute to Katya in a silent, unsung and almost unnoticeable way. He respected her enough to read on.

The End

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