Since the moment the construction of the metro began in the village of Murino and the line of urban development has come very close, rural life has changed. There was a rumor that the village would be demolished and the city blocks would grow in its place. Local residents, in anticipation of resettlement, became lazy, nobody had already planted asters, dahlias, delphiniums in front of the house for the passers-by, and only the old lilac bushes reminded of the former splendor of the local gardens. Urban hooligans more often visited the village. Having lost their way in a bicycle school, they boldly drove around the Murin alleys in search of adventure. Rural boys were the only ones who still guarded the boundaries of their world from the city invaders, but those became more and more every day.
Through the open wicket at full speed Sergei entered our yard:
«Let’s go to the school, they beat our people!» — he commanded, awkwardly rolling over and with difficulty turning his old bicycle.
On that ill-fated day, I idly wandered around the yard — it was strictly forbidden to walk behind the gate. I was punished by my parents, but when I heard my friend calling, I rushed to the garage for my father’s bicycle without hesitation. How heavy and cumbersome he was! A huge, high frame, wide saddle, curved steering wheel, it seemed gigantic. Legs hardly reached the pedals, and the chrome frame painfully crashed into the perineum with each braking and jumping off the saddle. I mastered, firmly holding both hands behind the wheel, pushing my foot under the frame and, hanging all over the body on the side of the bicycle, twist the pedals and keep the balance. The main thing was not to forget to tuck the skirt into the panties, otherwise it would fall into the bicycle chain and stop the movement.
Now, remembering my childhood, I am amazed by this lightning desire to come to the rescue without knowing who is right, who is to blame, without fear, without fear of the future punishment. This pure sense of solidarity, without any doubt. With a run-in to wedge into the crowd of fighting boys and in this confusion of bodies that have strayed into one tangle, to beat with their fists, to scratch, to tear clothes from strangers, forgetting about good manners, about parents, about teachers. Having forgotten everything, with the ecstasy of fighting to the point of utter despair, to frenzy, to the moment when the enemy will falter and run, grabbing his bicycles from the ground and cursing us dirtyly. And then, out of breath, wiping the blood from the broken lips, fall into the grass without strength and feel how a salty warm liquid fills the mouth, and belated tears flow down their temples. This happy feeling of the victory won made us unite and united us. All of us, the last teenagers of a dying village.
The city began to act in secret, securing one by one and brutally beating everyone who participated in the previous brawls
I rode along the dusty road, trying to catch up with Serega. Rural streets were deserted. Evening has already come, here and there in the windows lighted blue lights. A hard working day let the inhabitants out of their grasping embrace, passing them into the arms of the sofas and television programs. Our bicycle race was held without witnesses. I thought agonizingly which of the guys could get into trouble. The city recently changed tactics and after several unsuccessful skirmishes began to act in secret, securing one by one and brutally beating each participant in the previous brawls, wishing to remove all the malice and resentment for the lost battles.
The school was located on the site of the ancient Count’s manor Vorontsov, on the high and steep bank of the Okhta River. Behind the river stretched the valley, overgrown with tall grass. Now, at the end of summer, the grass dried and dried, it had not yet been set on fire, and it, like velvet, gilded with a soft gleam in the last rays of the setting sun. On the shore — not a soul. There was no one in the schoolyard. We put the bikes on the ground and went along the birch avenue, dedicated to the memory of the heroes of the war. Serega vociferously whistled.
— It’s strange. Maybe they killed each other? — he asked and looked around in confusion.
«Yeah, but the great ones ate it,» I snickered. From the intense, agonizing expectation of the battle, I trembled with a small tremor, and I could not restrain irritation and anger.
Without a word, we headed for the backyard of the school. There, near the stokehold, was the most protected place from prying eyes. A large pile of coal blocked the entrance to the sports ground. But there was no one here either.
Serega came to me very close, almost right. I could feel his breath. It was sweet, like newborn puppies. His lips, slightly puffy, regular in shape, with raised corners, seemed to grin.
— What are you doing? — I asked and slightly pushing him away with two hands.
«Were you in vain?» There’s nobody here. Can, with you we will fight? — he said as if in a joke and, looking me straight in the eye, smiled impudently and in response pushed me with his hand in the chest.
Already with half a year as my breast has started to grow. She was swollen and painfully ill both day and night. The sharp pain in his eyes darkened. The pain was so strong that it gave rise to an instantaneous response. Serega could not restrain himself on his feet and flew into the coal dust. It was insulting, especially from the girl. The smile instantly disappeared, his face twisted into a grimace of rage.
«I’ll kill you,» he said through clenched teeth, clutching a piece of coal in his fist, and I realized that I had to run.
Fighting with strangers is one thing, but like that, without a reason, starting a fight with a friend living in the neighborhood was something disgusting. The flight seemed to me the only way to save our relationship, and I ran what was wet. How I hated to run away! The toot of his feet was heard very close, every second it seemed that he would grab me by the braid. From this heart raced frantically in the throat and temples, the knees were ready to buckle at any inopportune moment. Somehow I managed to reach the bicycle and start moving ahead of Serega. He realized that he could not catch me, and with anger shouted after me:
«Do not come back home.» I’ll catch you anyway.
This was not an empty threat. Everyone knew his uneasy character. He never let anyone down. Guys never quarreled with him. Serega did not forgive even the slightest familiarity, especially to the girls.
Breaking away from his persecution and leaving the dirt road on an asphalt road, I felt my mood completely deteriorate. I did not want to return home. Returning from work, parents will certainly arrange a swagger for disobedience. Having left for the outskirts, in the fields, I saw in the distance, against the background of a dying crimson sky, the dark silhouette of a large wooden structure. Weight — so it was called in the village. Giant truck scales under a wooden roof.
The day went out. Swiftly dusk. Evening twilight deprived the nature of color, dipping everything around in the black and blue palette. The window like a lighthouse in the darkness burned in the distance a cozy, yellow light. It attracted and attracted to itself. The wheels of the bicycle moved heavily along the field road, which was rutted by trucks. My legs ached from the hard work, but, anticipating a warm welcome, I did not slow down. Working there as a woman Valya I knew from childhood. She also welcomed me every little while, meeting me at candles with candies, taking them out of the secret pocket of her lower skirt. The fact that she worked in a small room at the weight, issuing receipts to the drivers, I knew firsthand. Often after school she visited her. She treated me with sweet tea from a faceted glass in a metal cup holder. We sat with her on either side of the table, littered with papers, on old stools and talked for a long time about everything in the world. Now this light seemed to me the only hope of salvation. An island of tranquility in a raging sea of troubles. The fact that a wise old woman has lived will certainly help, I did not doubt and like a moth flew to the fire. The work day was long over, but the light in the window was still burning — it means that the woman Valya is still there. I was in a hurry, the dusk covered me from all sides, and from the surrounding silence I felt uneasy.
I drove up and dismounted. The door was tightly closed. I wanted to knock on the window, but, looking into it, I was dumbfounded. In the window stood a naked man. Tanned back and snowy buttocks were strained, muscles appeared under the skin, excessive hairiness gave his figure a resemblance to a demonic being. From under his hands, women’s legs protruded in both directions, like the skeletons of broken wings. One rested on the heel of the window frame, the second, bent at the knee, rocked to the rhythm of the movement. The man evenly moved his hips. I heard muffled moans. He leaned forward, and from behind his shoulder I saw the face of Wali’s woman, distorted with martyr grimace. The kerchief had moved away, black and gray hair from under him had got out on his forehead. Widely opened eyes looked upwards. For a moment, it seemed that she looked at me and looked directly at me. A mortal terror seized me. I rushed to run without dismantling the road, but the bike did not want to accelerate and act with me in a synchronized rhythm. His wheels got stuck in a rut, and I could not start moving. Fear grew with every minute. And now it seemed that the door swung open and two naked people rushed after me to destroy an inadvertent witness of their terrible crime. Finally I managed the bicycle, he reluctantly gained speed. In his ears there was an unceasing moan. I was afraid to turn around, it seemed to me that those pursuing me were flying through the air. The darkness enveloped from all sides, became something eerie and fatal, like a train dragging into the underworld. I drove across the field in the direction of the village as quickly as never before. As I moved away from the weight, it seemed to me that what I saw was not so obvious. I thought that all this could have happened to me, like a terrible spirit weight, all covered with wool, with broken wings, specially enticing late passers-by, lighting a light at night there. At an extreme rural house under a lamppost, dimly lit up the street, I stopped to catch my breath. Here, for the first time, I was able to look back and look back. The fields that stretched before my eyes with a black mass filled everything around. The weight was no longer visible in the pitch darkness. The light in her window went out. I grew more and more convinced that it was a meeting with the other world. I recalled many stories told to me in my childhood about the fallen angel, luring children in the darkness of the night. The joy of salvation gave courage. I saddled the iron horse and drove toward the house. Waiting for me at home, the bashing no longer seemed so terrible, and the desire to return to the arms of the parents overpowered all previous fears of punishment.