The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
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The harrowing true tale of escaped Soviet prisoners¿ desperate march out of Siberia, through China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India.
the way. They all talked at once. Had I seen him? Why was I shouting? Where was he? I told them what it was like down there, that there was no sign of Paluchowicz. ‘We will have to find him,’ said Kolemenos. ‘We will never find him,’ I told them. ‘He is gone.’ Nobody wanted to believe it. I did not want to believe it myself. With difficulty we broke a way round to a new point from which we could look down into the abyss. Then they understood. We heaved a stone down and listened for it to
us.’ ‘How many men will you want?’ ‘About half-a-dozen,’ I said. ‘Good. We’ll find them. I know one I can personally recommend.’ I thought of Kolemenos. ‘I know one, too. We’ll start rounding them up tomorrow.’ 9 Plans for Escape ‘THERE HE is now.’ Makowski, standing beside me at the midday break the next day indicated a prisoner standing a little apart from the rest. ‘Let us wait here a couple of minutes so that you can look him over.’ The man’s shoulders were squared and the
sweethearts of our own.’ The others nodded agreement. Everything she wore seemed too big and bulky for her. Her thin shoulders were hunched in a long, wide, padded fufaika and her slim ankles emerged incongruously from a pair of heavy padded trousers. Like our own, both garments were of some sombre black heavy material. Beneath the jacket showed the upper half of a well-worn and dirty purple velvet dress, the skirt of which was tucked into the trousers. From two sleeves of a green woollen jumper
obvious anyway), that we had crossed a river some hours before. I didn’t know what else to say. There was such a long silence when I finished that I thought the parley was over. But the old gentleman wanted to satisfy his curiosity and, as it turned out, was grappling with his rusty Russian in order to phrase his questions. The conversation, in the fullness of time, proceeded thus: You have no camels? – We are too poor to have camels. You have no mules? – We have no mules either. You have no
and I bent double fighting for breath. ‘Stick beside me, Slav,’ said Kolemenos. ‘I am going to carry her.’ And he lifted her into his arms, swayed for a moment as he adjusted himself to the weight, and staggered off. He carried her for fully two hundred yards and I was there to ease her down when he paused for a rest. ‘Please leave me, Anastazi,’ she begged. ‘You are wasting your strength.’ He looked at her but could not bring himself to speak. We made a shelter there and stayed for perhaps