- Vol. 03
- Chapter 01
LaikaThey picked me up on Petrovka Street in the dead of winter and I was glad to go with them.
Kudryavka they called me, though there was one who refused.
“No names” he insisted “Never names.”
And I noted the blue of his eyes, pale as the pond ice in Izmailovsky Park, and just as hard.
But his meticulousness intrigued me. The way he searched and questioned and measured. The way he noted things down and nodded occasionally, “Interesting. Interesting.”
So I gave him a name. Mister Chelovek. Check. Check. Check.
Every day he checked. Probing me, prodding me, measuring and watching.
“Just what is it you want to know?” I wondered.
Though I too learned some things. As the spaces they enclosed me in grew smaller, ever smaller, I understood what freedom is and I longed for Petrovka Street.
“Interesting” he said “Interesting.”
Then one November day when they had learned enough, they strapped me down and sealed me in.
His face appearing briefly through the glass, his palm pressed against it.
“Goodbye Kudryavka. Goodbye.”
And from a distance, a distance which was neither time nor space, I watched him, with his straightened back and his thrusting chin. I listened to his proud proclamations, to his list of facts and figures, and saw the many ways this anchored him to earth, while I floated free, weightless and boundless.
The sphere of blue below me now, the same cold blue I had sometimes seen reflected in the Izmailovsky ice.
“This is something you will never know” I thought.
You will always be bound. You will never see the stars as they rush towards you, never have them glisten and burn in your eyes. You will never feel lifted beyond.
And as I tilted towards the darkness, my joy was tinged with sadness, and I called to him one last time.
“Goodbye Chelovek. Goodbye.”
And there are nights when he lies awake and cannot dream when he hears me, and his blue eyes soften in the crease of a smile.