Anonymous, Kyiv

Keeping guard. The sky is all studded with stars, half a moon illuminating the road and the field. Father addresses Petrovich and points at Orion's belt. Maxim, our gunner, introduces us to his understanding of the geopolitical situation in the world. He’s a simple man, his every other word is a curse, and everyone’s a faggot. Shots and explosions are heard in the distance. But these are far away, Pereyaslov says. A metal plaque is thrown over the fire, a so-called disguise. Our nominal dugout is also lit, we all take turns in throwing firewood into the potbelly stove. I personally tried not to stay in place too long, walked in circles, it was less cold this way.

Here, the area is still quiet and there are no active operations happening in our latitudes, although a couple of days ago a drone was seen over the base. At first, we thought the guys might have imagined it, but then it sort of got confirmed, yet still not very clear. Petrovich took with some instant coffee in a thermos once again. I never liked the taste of coffee with no milk or cream, but his one I enjoyed. We sit, take turns sipping it, one glass between the two, we smoke cigarettes.

The news come in, a drone was spotted in Bobrytsia. Everyone brisks up immediately, starts turning heads, inspecting. Maxim makes it very clear we all need to shut up and listen. Silence... Suddenly, the father sees some kind of flicker and points at it swiftly. The drone! I peer in that direction but I see nothing. In my eyes, every star in the sky was already a drone. They seem to be everywhere. But then indeed, I see a red dot that moves and almost instantly disappears again. Right away, we report the observations in our chat. At that moment, there is one thing in everyone’s head: do we shoot it down. Fuck, it’s far! Can’t reach it. And now it’s gone, nothing to see anymore. Again only darkness and stars. Can’t feel the full scope of the enemy's presence. Occasional red dot and even that is only for a moment.

After a while, we calmed down. Father and Max went inside to warm up. Petrovich and I are standing outside, he calls his son. Asks him to get the gun ready, to shoot down the occupant’s gear. Suddenly, I see something flaring up with bright yellow light just behind the trees. Just then it becomes more than a glow and turns into a direct threat to my life. It comes up quickly. I manage to pull in Petrovich so that he also sees the light rising and abruptly disappearing somewhere in the darkness of the night. The signal rocket. The cold instantly spreads all over my body, my right leg is shivering, I feel petrified and can’t say anything. I just stand and lookup. I understand one thing. This means that the beast is hiding here.