The Nevsky Wall
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Chapter 2   -  Black Raven, I'm Not Dead

The buildings still smelled of cured leather and glue, but there was some relief in the upper floors, which caught the winds off the gulf. The larger of the old workspaces, like the one on Viktor’s floor, had been divided, then later redivided, into communal flats. Some were relatively spacious, and some, like the ‘bachelor cells’, were little more than broom closets with a bed and a lightbulb.

Before climbing the five flights of stairs to the apartment, he glanced over the news board that stood just inside the entrance to Building 7 – a reflex really, but a necessary reflex if you didn’t want to run afoul of some new directive or local regulation posted there. It was as his father had taught him, “Bad luck is one thing – you can’t control it – but there’s no excuse for being ignorant.” Among the layers of overlapping posters and announcements someone had placed a note: Taken – our dog Anzor. Why? Please bring him back. with a detailed pencil drawing of the missing pet.

The steep metal stairs groaned with each step. Viktor stopped at the third floor landing to catch his breath, then continued. Laundry was hanging down the middle of the long hallway that led to the apartment. When he walked in, Marina was mending a school uniform, and little Vasha was swooping around her, arms outstretched, pretending to be an airplane on its way to the North Pole on yet another death-defying expedition. “Look Papa, I’m Chkalov! Mama’s an iceberg!” and he swooped and banked and made a churring sound. “Oh, that’s not entirely true,” said Viktor, as he grabbed Marina from behind and gave her a kiss.

“Is that so?” she said, and she took a playful swipe at him. “So how is your brother? I hope you told him about today. She expects him to …”

“He seemed fine, but I don’t think he’ll make it this time. I did my best.” Viktor removed his shirt, walked across the cramped living space, and took a clean one from the shelf above Vasha’s bed, which was folded up against the wall. An archway covered by a thick curtain led to the couple’s small bedroom. A door opposite opened to a kitchen that was shared with two other families. The ceiling on this floor was high, but only the original factory walls extended to it – the walls dividing the rooms were shorter and open at the top, so the intimate sounds and smells of daily life were also shared between neighbors. Secrets were impossible.

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Chapter 2   -  Black Raven, I'm Not Dead

One Response to “Chapter 2”

  1. Subin says:

    pratix mnogo dalag sms,nadiavam se niakoi da go pro4ete.Edinstveno ne moga da rabreza za6to e nujdo da e v kletka,kato toi e paraliziran taka ili ina4e ne moje da se dviji ..choveshkata jestokost e bezkraina,no nie 6te se borim za tova .LETb4S ADOPT nie xorata obichasti jivotni sme s vas i hi4 ne sme malko!!!

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