My love,

I miss you. I haven’t missed you so hard before, because I was so concentrated to stay alive, to do my job… To kill…
It has been a month now since I have been parachuted near Saynshand. We haven’t seen any fighting for the last week, since the bomb was dropped on the city. The remaining forces of the enemy have been cut off by our third army.
Yuri died yesterday, of the chest wound he got during the fights at the city limits. Our improvised medic couldn’t to anything for him, except soak his veins with morphine. Yuri was the youngest in our unit, 19 years old.

He was the son of a farmer. He told me once that his father’s farm was only 100 miles from Petersburg, but until he was drafted, he never even saw the City. He was never away more than 15 miles from his farm. Since he’s been with our unit, he flew over half the world and was dropped over Prague, Bangkok, Anchorage and now Saynshand. He survived four airborne invasions. At 19, he was a veteran. Like all of us.
Yuri didn’t have any pictures, any letters, any keepsakes to send home. He just kept asking us if he „did good”, so his dad would be proud of him.
I miss you so much. I imagine you walking on the marble alley near the Shanghai market. I picture your smiling face as you talk to Tse Ris Li on the phone. I … I’ve never had such a feeling before.
I had a dream last night. I was walking through the sewer. You were walking ahead, somewhere, I was following – or rather seeking you, hunting you. I arrived at the crossing of two tunnels – brick walls, very old, high and dimly lighted, so I could hardly see the ceiling. I turned suddenly and there you were – floating in the air, smiling, your hands reaching for me. My heart beat faster because I thought you were a ghost – so I touched your hands, and they were real, warm, soft. I fell to my knees and you floated away from me and disappeared. I wanted to run after you, but then the water in the two tunnels began to rise. The crossroad stayed dry though, as if some sort of force field kept the water out. Four brick walls and four water walls surrounded me. The water walls were waving, they were green and opaque. Then suddenly, they turned clear and I could see through them, a long way, firmly lighted. There were all sorts of debris floating up at constant speeds. There were also animals, alive, swimming through – rats, insects, dogs, birds, squirrels – they just passed by me and they kind of smiled at me and I had that feeling as if someone said „thank you” for something you’ve done for them.
Then I jumped through the wall and struggled to swim up – and I woke.
I love you, Nel Jia. If… if you miss me as much as I miss you, then forgive me. This is not the world in which we should have met. But I will fight on – and one day, perhaps the world won’t matter any more.

With love and faith,
Darius Pavlovici Nettimans

Posted October 3rd
To Nel Jia Li