Luck and Death on the Snowiest Night
A scared young surgeon in Communist Romania faces the storm of his life when an angry midnight mob demands he save a newborn’s life.
Illustrations by Grant Reynolds
The carriage in front of Eddy Marian rolled out of sight and into a ditch, felled during a risky turn by wind tearing through the forest. Moments later, a dissonant tumult of horses neighing and wood snapping — timed with a second gust stronger than the first — came from behind. A babel of curses in a tongue unfamiliar to Eddy filled the air.
With a yell like sonar, a stout, swarthy man holding the reins next to Eddy shouted to his compatriots. Calling back, they confirmed that their carriages had both overturned. There was no righting them: The snowdrifts might as well have been quicksand. Eddy turned in his seat to check on his charge: a jaundiced ghost of a woman, tied to a jury-rigged stretcher — a wooden ladder with hemp ropes. Her prematurely born child was swaddled in a jury-rigged backwoods incubator made of hot water bottles and old blankets.
The wooden ladder and incubator had been Eddy’s improvisation. Florica Lunga’s fellow Roma villagers had n…
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