To Embresure. Joanna's Page 1. Door 1

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To Embresure. Joanna's Page 1. Door 1

Сообщение  Vlad в Ср 2 Июн 2010 - 0:55

The day happened to be strange, Bulgakov's, from the very beginning. Before she had something to do in city. Overnighting in her Moskow's flat, she on her way to her cottage passing the church decided to come in.

Along the church fence beggars were sitting right on the asphalt among whom Uzbek or Tajik was noticeable; he was in a crimson-green striped quilted robe and in boots with galoshes despite the heat. On his knees a skullcap with coins was lying; one of his eyes was bandaged with a transparent woman's headscarf with lurex. When she gave alms to him, an old man look asquint at her with his other weak-sighted washy medusa's kind eye, begin to bow down, smiled showing his widely spaced decayed teeth and mumbled something unintelligible in his own language.

The service just began, there were few people at the confession, and she approached recollecting that she hadn't confessed for a long time. After standing at the liturgy she didn't stay for a public prayer and hasten to her car. An old man with his eye bandaged with a headscarf was still sitting at the fence. He glanced at her from the lurex with his healthy eye, and now it was bright yellow like a warning signal of a traffic light. But the strangest thing was not this eye but the fact that an old man suddenly pronounced in an old-fashioned and ceremonious manner and in perfect Russian like a merchant from Zamoskvorechye,

"Congratulations on the Memorial Day of the saint and the most Orthodox martyrs Boris and Gleb, mother'!

Being perplexed she put into his greasy skullcap all coins left in her purse and ran away. Suddenly her surprise changed to a discovery that today was really 'Boris and Gleb', and it was a strange southern old man who told her about it, and she herself standing the service somehow shut her ears to it. And now she must phone Varya if she was in Moscow and convey her congratulations to Gleb; today they were surely getting in touch on the phone. And of course let Varya give her regards to Ganya...

Varya turned out to be in Moscow and told Joanna to come in any case, because today Yegorka and Iris would be present; they would celebrate Gleb's name day and then tonight they would see Iris to an airplane to the USA to give birth to a baby. Her parents insisted on it, and Yegorka ("you know what the use of him is in this regard; he is always too busy) consented to it. So they would sit and celebrate together, hearten Iris and pray for everything to be all right.
Varya told Joanna to come immediately in order to help her to set the table. Though the regulations of the Gold Mount didn't encouraged eating delicacies, Joanna dared to buy a teacake and some fruit for Iris and future baby.

In Zlatov's flat everything changed: two adjoining rooms where children once lived with the separate entrance from the corridor were filled with computer desks. Some clever boys worked there; something continuously peeped and screeched. Varya explained that now the press centre of the Gold Mount was there. To the question about icons, library and pictures she assured with a mild smile that everything was taken out and reserved i.e. it worked and brought profit and benefit, and now they had their own exhibition hall, reading hall and so on.

About the cake Varya told that it was a dissipation and 'white death' but very beautiful; she gave instructions about setting the table and informed that Yegorka brought Iris out of city to the priest Andrey to get his blessing before her long way and childbirth. What was surely known was that there would be a baby-girl, the science was progressing, and it was decided to name a future girl Maria - the most honored name in both sides of the ocean - Mary.

The entrance door banged, it was Yegorka.

"Mom, I have some things to do here; I must contact some people; could you accompany Iris? She is downstairs in the car; it is difficult for her to go upstairs one more time... Vladik and Nikolay (the driver and the bodyguard) are there with her; let them go for a ride; I don't need them here... My regards to father Andrey and come back as quickly as possible. Hello, Joanna. It is so nice to see you here..."

Joanna immediately understood that something had happened. She had an intuition for such things. She opened her mouth but Yegorka hushed her. And only when the lift with Varya went down, he carried Joanna to the kitchen and closed the door behind himself.

"What's happened"?

Blond-brown and dark-eyed Yegorka, 'lightweight', wore shabby jean cloth; all their life such people are being addressed as 'young man'. Yegorka was a person of dominant influence, a liberator of souls and leader of that mysterious 'Association of the Heavenly Law Confessors', a knight on a white horse.

"How now?" she almost yelled.

"First of all, hush", he spoke in his ordinary tone which was commanding and imperative, "Are your wheels here"?

"It is there on the embankment like a grey mouse. What next?"

"I see. It's very good. Now you will go downstairs, get into your car and read a newspaper. Is there any newspaper there"?

"It seems to be so. I have 'The News World '".

"That's fine. You will read "The News World" as if you were waiting for someone. Put the mirror so that it can be seen what is happening in front of the house. If you notice something, let me know," he offered a mobile phone to her.

"What will I notice"?

"Wait... Maybe it only seemed so. Well, you know that we have endless shakedowns, threats, and recently it happened very often..."

"What do they want?"

"They want us to disappear, close your almshouse' as they say... It's normal; it means that the process began... Simply it seemed to me that I had seen them. They bent down but I saw them. Three men with submachine guns having caps with cuts on their heads like gunmen a la russe. I saw them at a traffic-light then one more time. Something hindered them, I even know what... It's Mercedes-600, a dark blue one; its number is stained, a dark blue almost black one. They need me... I doubt they followed the car with my boys; they are watching me. They will be hanging about somewhere here until I go out... If you notice a commotion at the entrance door, phone me. Wait for our people and follow them; the boys will replace you."
"Oh, and what about..." she perplexedly looked at the table filled with food and immediately understood that she blurted out a stupidity.

"Go, I will do everything. And another thing: their Mercedes has different headlights: white and yellow ones.

The unsmiling maximalist Yegorka chattered very seldom. She understood that everything was very serious.

She exactly performed Yegorka's instructions but no matter how she gazed at the vicinity of Zlatov's house, nothing could be seen. She leafed over all the newspaper and completely calmed down for a while. "It has different headlights - white and yellow ones. Well, they are different and what of that?" She thought that something like that already happened today. "They are different: white and yellow ones. O Lord, the beggar! An Uzbek or Tajik with different eyes and zamoskvoretsky accent. It's nonsense; what does an old man have to do with it?"
But it was he who directed her to Varya; she would long ago have been at her cottage and walked with her dog Anchar...

Unpleasant chill ran across her back. But at this moment Yegorka's car drove up. Iris and Varya without any problems went into the entrance; the boys duly stayed downstairs at their post. Nothing happened...

Joanna followed them and exchanged kisses with Iris who became noticeably roundish and without usual tan (doctors forbid her to get a tan). She admired at the professionally set table, thinking that a talented person was talented in everything. Yegorka again hushed her and she humbly listened to undeserved compliments to her address about table appointments.
Some more guests came from 'the press department' and sat down to the table. They tried to get Gleb on the phone bur there were some problems with the telephone line. For every case Varya dictated a telegram and said that tonight (the plane was departing about midnight) she would try to call again.

Sitting at the table they soon began to talk about businesses and problems of the Gold Mount, and Joanna, saying goodbye and going down to the car, planned to go to her cottage but for some reason changed her mind. "No, it's better to watch for an hour or other but then her heart will calm down. She will make sure that they left, that nothing happened and cross Yegorka and Iris on their way."

She had no specific action plan if case of emergency; she returned the phone to Yegorka.

Ten years passed since the time when her country where she grew up and spent her life and which she loved was captured by a many-headed dragon. He tore the country into parts, by a piece for every head, ruined, defiled, defamed and befouled all things around. He gorged one and all: warriors, adult bread-winners, old people, virgins and children. He gorged not only bodies but souls, forcing them not to serve high ideals but making them food for his insatiable many-headed lust. The dragon infected the country with his bloodlust and people gladly snatched up leavings of bloody food from the master's table, not supposing that it was blood of their neighbors. They even gorged these neighbors by themselves.

She got used to the dragon, to his invincibility and to seeing that his victims quietly were digging their own mass grave, only imploring to pay for digging, so that they could have means for drinking alcohol and eating before their death. She got used to seeing that perjurers were becoming saints and those faithful to death were becoming traitors, that everything was now wrong, that artillery fired at our own soldiers, that white swans became black ones at the sight of everybody, a lion surrendered to a gnat and the head voted for its separation from its body. Money turned into dead papers, half-naked women of all ages in wheels or without them were moving around the city, and nobody now paid attention to all kinds of extrasensory individuals. Planes fell to peoples' heads, our bombs fell to our peaceful houses, and old women, coming out of its ruins were interested not in the destiny of their neighbors but in the end of one more episode of the film 'Santa-Barbara'. Heroes of films whom young people formerly imitated live out their days as court jesters and many Ivan Besdomnys with candles and in underwear pursued black cats around the Patriarch's Pools. She got used to seeing this embodied absurdity and that all sensible and reasonable was impossible from now on. She convinced herself that this entire Apocalypse was foretold in the Bible, that it was impossible to withstand the wheel of history and that Yegorka Zlatov with his wonderful 'Association of the Heavenly Law Confessors', the son of Varvara and Gleb, only existed in some other dimension, inaccessible for the dragon where the way for the dragon was prohibited.

She knew from the very beginning that nothing could happen with Yegorka. God's Intercession protected him because the Lord didn't send trials beyond measure and not by chance gave Yegorka to her hopeless perishing country "Not an hair of your head perish", she convinced and persuaded herself but for some reason couldn't go away.

"As usual, they shoot at the entrance door when a victim gets into a car or in the entrance itself, or plant a bomb, or fire through a telescopic sight from lofts of adjacent houses... the boys surely checked the entrance... no, she will wait in any case; she will go to her cottage, and laugh at her fears. If only our people didn't notice from the window that she, stupid woman, sticks here. It is good that it is becoming dark."

In the boring 'The News World' it was now impossible to discern any line when they at last went out: Yegor, Iris and Varya. They kissed each other. Iris sat in front near the driver. Yegorka with bodyguards sat behind. She bent down for every case and heard a noise of departing car.

The entrance door banged behind Varya.

There now, she could get under way. She turned the ignition key and at the same moment saw in the mirror crawling black Mercedes with its headlights, swinging in the twilight: white and yellow ones.

"O Lord, it can't be, it shouldn't be..." But it was happening. As in a nightmare the Mercedes with different eyes coming from unknown place crawled from the black abyss of the arch and turned right. She immediately understood, growing cold with terror, that there at the chemist's it would turn around and go just under her along the road under the embankment and like a black different-eyed demon swiftly follow Yegorka's car rushing to the airport. In her enlightenment as quick as lightning she saw the Mersedes coming close to them, hitting the wheels of their car and piercing the driver, Yegorka and Iris with the future baby, a girl by the name of Maria, the most honored in both sides of the ocean, with a burst of machine-gun fire. The motor would roar, the different-eyed headlights would flash and the unpunished, not caught and not judged Mercedes would rush into the night winning as ever. And there would be no Maria, no Iris, no Yegorka; only the night and this black Apocalypse...

And there was nothing she could do.

"Not if I know it. Never!" Violent superhuman fury, all hatred of this decade accumulated from day to day, which was formerly supressed by her mind, caution and instinct of self-preservation, suddenly exploded inside her like a dense nucleus, similar to that primordial and cosmic one, from which all galaxies spread in every which way with a speed of light. It was a point of monstrous density ready for an explosion. The hatred to this many-headed dragon's spawn all-defiling and all-gorging: Homeland, sacred things, purity, destinies, bodies and souls.
"Not if I know it!"

She knew what to do. She had no fear, no hesitation but only thrill and delight when she planned to stop them and fly into their stinky and voracious throat as a deadly gag and tear them into pieces. Maybe, in the same way people went to embrasures and ram attacks. "To stop up! From far away, from her childish past, maybe from some film, a light and pure call of trumpet was heard. 'Arise, drummer!' and something powerful 'Stand up and go'.

The blood in the temples of her head strictly counted out seconds. "She must go down from the embankment as carefully as possible - what happiness that she put her car by the head towards the road! - and then push gas pedal."

"My dear, wait for one more moment!" It seemed to her that her Zhiguli car trembled with impatience preparing for a jump; they were now like one body. Different-eyed Mercedes didn't see a danger yet. Turning around, it rushed right to her, roaring with its powerful motor and picking up speed; its headlights became blinding. It was the wheel of history that she was called to stop. "O Lord, help... That's all. It's time."

The car jumped on the embankment, the steering wheel began to twitch in her hands; the motor roared. The heartrending wail of the klaxon on the right, the headlights beginning to rush about, brake chatter. "That's all, boys, it is finished."

"Gorge, monster"! She shouted or thought with delight, throwing this triumphant shout of hers into approaching open fire-spitting mouth. Everything began to whirl around her together with her flesh, consciousness and soul: iron and horrible apocalyptical crash, fire and ruin of the whole lot.

His teeth pierced her but horrible pain soon calmed down, the world turned over, something flashed and banged and fiery reflections began to rush about in the whirling world.

"It's them, them!" She understood by her weakening consciousness. "Now they won't reach Yegorka. It's finished!" all her nature sang and shouted perishing, crushing and whirling together with her car, and inexpressible unearthly delight was in this deadly agony. "Maybe, in the same way grain dies turning into other dimension. It wins after being perished. I have done it. Is it really so?"

And when everything stopped, became silent, calmed down, when she being squeezed, crushed from all sides, a small part of consciousness sinking in a large ocean, feeling pain as if it were separated from her, managed to think one more time that yells, flashes, and roar of fire were left at their Vampiria. And her vision of Yegorka's car rushing along the highway and arriving in due time for a midnight transatlantic flight was blissful and paradisiacal.

"Stop, o moment... In this beautiful moment in the pre-war blue sky a kite launched by her father flew eternally, she eternally danced with Ganya on fluffy Regina's carpet without her shoes, and Yegorka's car eternally rushed along the highway in eternal safety, hastening to midnight transatlantic flight.

That time everything was happening in other dimension. Somebody's voices and touches, responded in her with the same pain 'that was not hers', anxious but more often curious spots of faces, a stretcher and blinding lamp over her head... Then the lamp turned into the moon or the sun; it couldn't be discerned because of clouds crawling from everywhere. The clouds closed up and it rained, the drops were sharp, scorching; they mercilessly pierced her. Joanna could hardly save herself from them in a half-dark and stuffy orchard or gallery where one could move only along narrow boarded path. When she moved aside, drops-needles again pierced her face, neck, hands. Joanna tried to go only forward, paying no attention to tubs with dried stems or empty picture frames along a pavement.

How stuffy it was; it was harder and harder to breathe, planks creaked under her feet but she didn't feel her feet. And all of that reminded her of something very old and horrible. It was a woody brown rectangle, to which she is inevitably came. Four rhombuses with peeled paint, a crookedly nailed handle...

"It's the door with rhombuses! O Lord, please no. Now she will wake up and this old childish nightmare will become a simple bogeyman story that was lost in the time."

But she couldn't wake up. She went back, right and left but everywhere fiery needles pierced her neck and hands.

She gasped and had no strength to struggle. The door was slowly opening. Joanna was pulled into it like into a black crater; black water half and half with black clay stuck her eyes, nose, lips...

And the door banged with a boom.

Behind her there were no gallery-orchard, no fiery piercing needles, no black water half and half with black clay, no Joanna herself. There was only final Joanna's thought. It stopped like a freeze-frame in a desperate "It is finished!"

From now on his motionless thought was Joanna herself. That was all left of her now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

"That's all." The film frame stopped forever. Eternal Joanna - a thought by the name 'That's all'.

It was the end of the film where she played her life. The light was turned off, the audience went home. Everybody went away except her.

"That's what the hell is. No scorching pans, no nonexistence. Only immortal dark thought that nothing will ever happen. And somewhere there is Eternal and Beautiful 'Everything', from which she is separated forever."

"Why are you yelling and lamenting"? flattering whisper penetrated into pitch darkness. "Joanna, you still have a chance to come back. You will only drive past the temple, and there will be no Uzbeks with different eyes and no Mercedeses... You will wake up in Luzhino with a light headache, and that's the end of the matter. Agreed?

"But what about Yegotka?"

What do you need Yegorka for, we will dispense with Yegorka," the Whisper tenderly rustled.

We will turn your film back and add two more episodes with a happy-end. And Yegorka will be left in the previous episode, can't it be so? A sudden death of an actor, unintentional correction...
You are a professional film maker, Joanna, aren't you?

Joanna-thought said 'no'.

"Well, if that's the case, there's nothing to be done," the Whisper said with disappointment. My business is to propose it to you."

The door with rhombuses, which was slightly open for a while, behind which a Moscow's street smelled of a gas, was shut again with a booming sound.

But Joanna knew already that it was not a full end if a choice was proposed to her. There was another door to the past. There was staircase there leading to the second floor into her childhood, to the sources of Joanna's being. "She must only rewind the tape to the beginning, and her mommy was behind the door as ever... And mommy will surely save." But as before there were neither doors, nor walls, nor no Joanna herself. "O Lord," Joanna-thought said.

All at once a thin gold ray pierced the thick darkness like a saving wire and draws her. Joanna turned out to be bricked up into a wall and again felt her body - a concentration of unbearable agony and hellish cold. She was pressed from everywhere by this wall, and there wasn't not a breath of air under a strangely white and blinding sun, around which white masks floated and go around in a slow dance.

And like a spirit from a bottle she must escape from this body, which was stuck in the wall.
"O Lord'!

A gold ray helped her. In a break of the wall she now could see illusory yellowness of a lamp over the staircase, chipped steps, mommy's silhouette in this yellowness and her stretched hands, pulling her precious Yana out of agony, cold and tightness.


After sudden fairy lightness everything began from scratch, from the first frame of the film. She first thought, "I want" and surprised at this newborn 'self' of hers.


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