Dec. 22nd, 2010

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Rakitin's room surrounded him in insulating silence. Sometimes there were footsteps, doors opening and closing, sounds of the evening muffled behind the walls. Rakitin was in an armchair with a book in his hands. He was not, in any effective sense, reading. His eyes fell blindly over the familiar letters. It was curious what flat symbols words could be.

By now the nameless man would be in Moscow.

Tell yourself a story, Leshovik had said.

He was waking. He could see and smell the nylon of the bodybag and feel the pavement through the thin fabric. He would be hazy from the drug, but he would remember what he had to do. He felt for the knife at his feet and cut himself loose, found the cache sewn into the bottom.

The light above Polya flickered, then held steady. All day he had been a step away from the world around him, but that was not unusual. The consistency of strangeness made itself a protective normality.

The nameless man was dressing quickly, counting the money left for him. He was in the shadows at the mouth of the alley, checking the street with cautious eyes. He was in the city, free, holding the secret of himself.


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The Groznyj Grad Living Novel

December 2010

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