“Long Live the Tsar”

The Tsar was alive. His wife and children were alive. The story about their deaths in Yekaterinburg was fabricated by those hoping to liberate – rather than liquidate – the imperial family.

This month marks the 102-year anniversary of the February Revolution (New Style March 8 – 16, 1917). The events that transpired over the course of those nine days forever changed Russia, opening the door for the October Revolution and the creation of the Soviet Union

The abdication of Tsar Nicholas II was one of the most pivotal moments of the Russian Revolution (which includes the February and October Revolutions). His subsequent assassination by the hands of the Bolsheviks was perhaps even more significant. The simultaneous murder of his wife and children proved to be one of the darker moments of this zealous movement, creating generations of folklore and myth. 

Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the Tsar, allegedly survived the tragic end of her immediate family. Although modern research has mostly undone such legends, there were certain factions present in Russia that desired to save the Tsar and his family. On the other hand, the survival of any member of that family may have undermined the sweeping reforms that divided and overwhelmed Russia in the years to come. 

Long Live the Tsar” is a short story that I wrote in April and May of 2017 – a century after the relative lull between the February and October Revolutions of 1917. The action of this piece unfolds in early 1918 in a timeline that sees the Tsar and his family liberated and whisked away by the Whites at the last minute. However, salvation awaited only beyond the scope of the Russian Civil War (1917 – 1922) and only a gambit along the Trans – Siberian Railway offered a true means of escape. 

“Long Live the Tsar” originally appeared with Slick Lit Magazine in May of 2017. 

To read “Long Live the Tsar”, click on the image below.

A locomotive steams along Lake Baikal


Author: joshuajscully

That’s my picture up there. I’m not totally sure why I look so angry. I may be thinking about how much I hated the Crypt Keeper as a child. I grew up faithfully watching reruns of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. Unfortunately, I missed the boat in terms of writing for either of those programs. I do consider both to have been wildly influential when I think back to my earliest thoughts about becoming an author and I’m grateful my parents let me watch those shows as a kid (although there were probably some nights early in my childhood my mother wished she hadn’t let me watch those shows). If you’re familiar with either program, then you know what genres are my focus. I thoroughly enjoy science fiction, suspense, the twist ending, and some horror or supernatural elements as well. Honestly, when I was a kid the Crypt Keeper scared the hell out of me. As an adult, I’ve really learned to embrace the puns. Historical fiction is a favorite of mine as well, and the root of that is shared with my profession. I am an educator by trade, and I teach American History. I consider some of the best writing I’ve ever done to be within the realm of historical fiction and I really enjoy saturating my mind in the research end of those projects. I would make the argument that storytelling is in my blood. Even my sister mulled, very briefly (about 45 minutes), launching a career as a screenwriter! My last name is one of those Irish (and, apparently, formally Manx) ones with a wonderfully researched history -“the story-teller’s descendant”. On of the first day of school each year, I do share that “my name is Mr. Scully, and that rhymes with Kelly”, just so I do not hear the myriad of mispronunciations on the first day. Several years ago, I started a blog similar to this one to highlight my middle years as a teacher. If that aspect of my life is of any interest to you at all, you can still find that blog online. During my summers, I really have time to pursue my writing projects and this blog will highlight some of that work. My first attempts to sit down and write extensively occurred when I was 15, but only a few years ago did I make setting time aside to write a priority. I’ve also benefited wildly over the years from many willing readers among my family and friends. The direction and feedback from those individuals has been invaluable. Outside the world of the written word, I am an educator, basketball coach, lecturer, and (very, very occasionally) a landscaper. I have only ever known Western Pennsylvania as my home. Although I love a good novel, I am absolutely unable to resist the power of the short story. The latter is really what I hope to be remembered for one day.

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