Jānis had stepped out of the world that had been his reality until only a few moments ago. He felt that he was now on the edge of an enormous crater that stretched across the universe where, until recently, his world had spun around the sun. Hovering so close to the crater, he could feel its depth and its size, and he could also feel that he was being pulled closer and closer to an edge that was not even or firm and that, in parts, fell away in sheer, endless perpendicular lines. Somewhere, along the edge, there was a flickering light. It was the only light in all the darkness of this strange world, and Jānis knew that he must not lose sight of it. He stepped back from the edge and hugged his sister very tightly. He thought it was strange that they were in two different worlds, and yet, somehow, they were still together.
“It will be all right, Nika. Don't worry.” He wanted to tell her about the light, but he was not sure if she would understand. He said, “Things will work out. Just wait and see.”
The light would become stronger. He wanted to be able to tell her that, but she was not standing on the crater, and she could not see the light that was in the distance. He would fight with the Rifles, and he would fight for Latvia, and eventually the Bolsheviks would take power, and the war would come to an end. When that happened, Latvia would be free. He knew that he had to believe in that happening, otherwise there was no point to anything any more. He kissed her lightly on the forehead.
The officer with children was talking to him now; he needed to be leaving, and, while he was possibly thinking of the impending darkness and the cold, he may have also been thinking of his wife and his children somewhere in Russia. Or else, he may have been thinking about endings and new beginnings, or perhaps he had stopped thinking altogether, after all the orders that had been given, and all the men who had died.
Then the officers and Jānis were gone.