Phillip McCollum

November 7th, 1985

Grigory kept the window rolled down because he was fighting the Sandman. A cold Siberian gale whipped through thin strands of brown hair which stretched from the top of his forehead to just below his bald crown, like long clumps of seaweed reaching out over an empty seabed.

A contraband copy of Born in the USA blared through the speakers. Grigory knew every word and when the chorus came, he belted it out the window at the passing Angara River. He laughed to himself, knowing that wherever Comrade Springsteen was, he had no clue that Grigory Sokolov was about to save his life.


As Grigory maneuvered the rusted yellow Lada over a pocked road, the steering wheel rubbed against his borscht-built belly. The third car he had driven in as many days had a kink in its alignment. In the distance, Boguchany Dam stood tall–a gray shadow against an even grayer sky. One more industrial indication of the Soviet Union’s might.

He cursed himself as he looked down at the empty bottles of Pepzi Cola laying on the passenger seat. Goddamn it if he didn’t have to pee, but he didn’t dare pull over when he was this close.

He stared into the rearview mirror, observing the backseat. It was empty with only cotton batting poking out of holes worn into the vinyl, but it wasn’t the seat himself that concerned him.

It was the girl in the trunk.

If you’d like to finish reading this story, along with many others, I’d be ecstatic if you’d consider purchasing one of my books.

6 thoughts on “Andreiana

  1. Very cool tale, Phillip! Loved it. I think you’ve got the mid-80s Soviet vibe down perfectly, and there’s great ambiguity about who/what Andreiana actually is that the ending is spot on.

    This is also a case of how to use research in a seamless way, without making the final product feel like a conglomeration of Wiki facts. Nice job.

    I also love these covers you’re making for your stories. For this one you found the perfect Cyrillic letters to use!

  2. Wow, thank you for the kind words and taking the time to read the story, Kevin. I always appreciate the feedback from a true writing guru. Regarding the covers, I gotta say…sometimes I enjoy creating those more than writing the actual stories! haha

  3. Really enjoyed the snappiness of this story. You seem to be ramping up the effectiveness of your endings – this one seems to escalate the potential stakes nicely, putting my imagination into overdrive about what could happen next.

    You layered in clues really nicely, probably the most effectively so far, this paragraph in particular (as well as being a nicely crafted paragraph that flows brilliantly),gives you everything you need – I just didn’t realize until second read through!

    None of it was difficult at first, only unfamiliar. The fact is they wouldn’t let her focus on what she was most interested in–the people. She wanted to learn more about them. Converse. But they were cold and defiant. The birthday celebration was for them, not her.

    1. Thanks again, Col. I had a ton of fun writing this one. I think I’d just finished binging on Stranger Things and couldn’t shake the 80s vibe.

  4. Ah, nice to see that Stranger Things binge coming through in your atmosphere, here…totally see that…great piece of work here, this is!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and post the kind words, Bill!

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