A Crooked Path
In his youth, a mean-spirited stepfather teaches Vladimir Antonovich that the only way to succeed in life is to become highly proficient in the art of fighting. Vladimir's early years are filled with fights and brutality. At the age of eighteen, he's drafted into the Soviet Army. He swears he will kill his stepfather some day, once the Army shows him how.He faces a new brutality at the Course of the Young Soldier, but survives it, too, and is selected to attend an Airborne College where he is commissioned a lieutenant. Later, he marries Aleksandra and they have a son. The hate for his stepfather still burns.Eleven years later, in 1980, he's given a special assignment to Afghanistan where he assassinates a Mujahedin leader, after losing most of his men. He returns home a hero with the hate for his stepfather burning even more. He finally visits him one last time, and while they talk and drink vodka, ugly images flash. He recalls the brutality of his youth, the brutality of basic training, and the brutality of Afghanistan. His brain crackling with fire, a question flashes. Should he kill the old man or not?
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