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

Viktor greeted his mother warmly, and she commented again on his decision to grow a moustache, saying “Is that really the best look for you, Vitya?” Vasha called for his father to listen, and he played part of a new song he was learning on the piano. Almost on cue, the door to the communal kitchen opened. Mrs. Durakov stuck in her head and was about to say something, but seeing the imposing figure of Viktor glaring back at her, she quickly closed the door and could be heard yelling at her son instead. Zuzu, Elena’s long-haired cat, ran and hid behind the bedcurtain.

The four of them walked down to the Fontanka with Vasha taking the lead. Marina and Elena followed like shepherds trying to keep him in check and Viktor trailed with the lunch basket. The Fontanka, one of the tamed and channeled branches of the Neva, shimmered in the midday light. Rowboats, hired for two kopecks an hour, drifted lazily from bridge to bridge. As he ran along the embankment, Vasha kept trying to jump and lift his head above the wall to see the boats. “Mind how you go, Vasha,” said Marina.

They stopped at Elena’s favorite garden, a small patch of green near the embankment that had been a private refuge in this once affluent neighborhood. Viktor knew this place would bring back happy memories for his mother. He set down the basket and Marina laid out the cloth on the grass. She had prepared a lunch of beet salad topped with eggs, and there was pelmeni stuffed with cheese and a loaf of rye bread. They settled on the lawn and Marina made up plates for everyone, recalling at the last moment that Elena was not so fond of eggs.

“Thank you for remembering, dear,” said Elena.

Like the lazy boats, the talk drifted from one subject to the next – Vasha’s last day of school, the rising price of meat, Viktor’s new job. He reminded his mother again that he did not run into burning buildings, merely drive the truck. Knowing Viktor, she was not entirely comforted. They had argued when he made the decision, a day after leaving the army hospital, to join the city fire brigade. She thought he might go back to school, perhaps become a teacher or an engineer like his father, but he had other ideas and he was happy with his choice.

“Papa has a pointed helmut,” said Vasha, turning sad at the thought, “but I’m not allowed to wear it anymore.”

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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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