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The mission

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Dmitri peered down the hills and trees from his hideout, his hand hovering at his brow to protect his eyes from the light reflecting off the snow. He glowered in concentration, making sure no movement would go undetected.

He was on a mission after all, and failure was not an option.

He spun around at the sound of a branch breaking behind him, but there was no one to be seen. Would it be safe to leave his hiding spot and move on to a different vantage point?

Dmitri decided to take the risk and spurted across the garden of Tchermashnya, frantically looking around him. Suddenly, a whistling sound indicated something was approaching him at high speed, but Dmitri managed to jump to the side just in time to avoid the flying object.

“There’s no use in hiding, I know you’re there!” he shouted in the general direction of where it had come down from.

Another whistling sound followed, but this time Dmitri wasn’t fast enough to avoid it and got hit right in the face. A gleeful laughter followed.

“Auch! Dammit Alyosha, we said we would avoid faces!” Dmitri yelled, brushing the snow from the exploded snowball from his cheeks.

Alexei appeared from a bush planted against the house, several feet away.

“Your face is so big, it’s hard to avoid!” he laughed.

“What did you say!?” Dmitri yelled. He squatted down, quickly collected some snow and formed a snowball of his own. “You’ll pay for that!”

Alexei ran away scream-laughing, pursued by his brother. Dmitri threw his snowball, but it completely missed his youngest brother and instead fell at Ivan’s feet, who had come outside to see what the commotion was about.

“Aren’t you two a little old to be playing kids’ games?” he asked. “You’re grown-up men.”

“Don’t be such a bore and live for once, Ivan!” Dmitri yelled at him, right as he managed to grab Alexei and push him down onto the ground face first.

“Why don’t you join us, brother?” Alexei said as he looked up, his face covered in snow.

“If I do, you’d both get totally annihilated,” Ivan replied with a smirk.

“Is that so?” Dmitri pulled Alexei into a standing position by his coat. “Let’s get him, Alyosha!”

The two of them started running after Ivan, creating snowballs and pelting them at him while he yelled and laughed at the same time: “No way, that’s not fair!”

And for a few hours, the brothers Karamazov were happy together, playing in the snow as they did when they were children.