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The only cloud darker than a storm is the cloud of flame-shot smoke from a train going to war

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Spring in Moscow brought mornings bright with clear skies and air filled with a crisp cold sting. Children were roused by their caregivers to embrace the new day, the bells of the churches rang loudly as they called to the faithful, and the city was filled with the sound of life as it breathed with the lungs of its workers and laughed with the hearts of its young and cried with the tears of its saddened souls.

Two such souls bade their farewells on a train platform at Moscow's edge, as a heartbroken woman in love sobbed watching her husband of a mere twenty hours board the train that unknown to both of them would tear him forever from her life. She pressed into his arms a small box filled with a few precious photos, and he closed his eyes and pulled her close. Drawing back after a time that seemed briefer than a second and longer than an eternity, he clutched the box to his chest, and cried as the train took him from the only love he had ever known to envelop him in a pain he had never known before.

Pasha Antipov went to war and died.