In the ramshackle Kolasin prison, Vukota received hisncousin Panto Vlahovic.n”You’ve got to escape,” whispered Panto to Vukota, whilenthe Chetnik guard slouched by the door. “Friday night thenguards will not be watchful — nobody but that dog LjubonMinic wants to see an elder shot. Take this,” said Pantonloudly and handed Vukota a bundle.n”The visit’s over,” said the guard.n”Say hello to Catherine,” said Vukota to his cousin. “Infear I’ve done her wrong.” With cuffed hands he stroked hisnlong white mustache and smiled.n* * *nIn his cell, Vukota opened the food parcel and laid outnthe bread, the cheese, and the mutton upon the white clothnthey were wrapped in.n”Let us feast,” he said to the other inmates.n”Friday’s the night to make a break for it,” he said to hisnson. “We shall stuff some paper into the lock and push thendoor open after the evening count. There’s supposed to benno one in the corridor.n”You shall climb through the attic hatch, knock out thenwooden shingles, and slide down the roof into the snow. It’snfive hours over the mountain to Mojkovac, where Markannand our men are.”n”Do you mean you are not coming along?” said Danilo.n”Vukota Vlahovic was never afraid of Chetniks,” said hisnfather, and put his hand on Danilo’s shoulder. “But, younmust go — I have no grandsons.”nGently, Vukota smiled under his mustache and stroked it.nHis son stared at the white cloth, saying nothing.n* * *n”Crawl in shame for what your people have done,” thenChetnik sergeant said.nVukota looked at him with clear, brown eyes, and slowlynmade the round of both the markets on his hands and knees.nWhen he was back at the jail, a sheep’s bell was tiednaround his neck.n”For the old ram of a young flock,” cried a guard.nA tall, dark onlooker suddenly stiffened and shouted, “Fnany man to tie a bell around a tribesman’s neck!” Henpushed a charge into the chamber of his Mauser and stoodnbristling in the middle of the street. Others fell away fromnhim, silent.nSlowly, one of the guards untied the bell and held it,nlimply.n”If you want to shoot a Vlahovic,” cried the Rovcanin,n”shoot him like a man, no matter what anyone did!”n^ * *nThe guards marched Vukota Vlahovic across the swirlingnPig River, past the Army barracks and to the Field of Birch.nThere he was shot and two men were posted by his grave.n* * ^nDuring the night. Panto and Milutin Vlahovic disarmednthe guards, and carried the body to their village, where itnwas buried until 1945. H: * *nIn the summer of 1946, Markan stood with his mothernamong the graves of his three brothers and father. The sunnshone upon the white tombstones and the young poplars ofnthe cemetery. The trees rustied in the breeze, swayingngently; birds sang and bumblebees glistened in the sunlight.nTrim in his UDBA colonel’s uniform, dark, clean shaven,nMarkan looked around the Birch. He moved his shiny blacknboot, slightiy, and watched the crushed grass.nSoundlessly, Catherine cried, as she did when shenthought no one was looking.n* * *n”I’d cut you to pieces,” said Markan to the Chetnik whonhad tied the bell around his father’s neck. “But, I don’t wantnmy son to spit on me.”nThe Chetnik looked past Markan, through the opennwindow, towards the blue hills of Lindenvale. He raised hisntied, puffed-up hands, and wiped his mustache with thenback of his hand.nHis mustache gleamed and bristled, like the fur of a blacknwolfn* * *nStill the Chetnik was shot, for someone else signed hisnexecution.nH: * *nLong after the war, Veso Vlahovic would wake upnshouting in the night, his face and hands clammy. Thenfamily thought he had TB, but the checks revealed nothing.nThen Veso started drinking, and was pensioned off as anveteran.nThirty years later, in 1983, he said to Vojin Vlahovic, “Inn’45, we captured some Boskovici, and one of them was justnfifteen years old. He cried, and begged us to spare him butnMico opened him up with a Schmeisser. ‘Take this fornVukota Vlahovic,’ Mico shouted.n”But the remaining Boskovic said, ‘The boy was awaynwhen Vukota was shot.’n” ‘What do I care,’ Mico shouted, and shot the Boskovicnwith a single bullet in the gut. ‘You never wept over us!’n”What am I to do?” said Veso to his nephew.nBut Vukota Vlahovic’s grandson could tell him nothing.nMontenegrin by choice, unproven by ordeal, he listenednand pondered. He poured his uncle some brandy and theyngot slowly drunk. In the gloom of Veso’s hut they sat andnstared into the fire, and Veso’s eyes were bright as when henwas a child, and the war had just begun.nFor Immediate ServicenChroniclesnNEW SUBSCRIBERSnTOLL FREE NUMBERn1-800-435-0715nILLINOIS RESIDENTSn1-800-892-0753nnnAPRIL 19881 27n