The Visit

Feb. 18th, 2010 12:31 pm
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Later, Cheslav would always remember it was winter when Avdotia Isaeva died.

Cheslav Oleksei remembered the Siege as an eternal winter, even though he knew intellectually that the seasons must have changed during those two and a half years. Yet when he caressed the place in his memories that knew starvation and fear and aching desperation, squatting in bombed-out buildings and eating stringy meat nearly raw, taking his knife to the veins of a man for the first time and finding fleeting solace in the slow grind of hard flesh, that place, those memories, were grey and tinged with frost.

Now, there was real snow on the ground in front of the Isaev estate.

The estate stood as always, imposing and elegant, a tall historic townhouse facing the wide road. The snow around the curb been recently plowed but was blackened with mud from the tires of many recent visitors, like the first shadow of tarnish on silver.

Cheslav drove himself, and parked his white Moskvitch in front, instead of going around to the back like usual.

The night air felt crisp, and very heavy.

His breath streamed between his lips like smoke. Seeing it made him want for a cigarette.

There were few things Cheslav Oleksei denied himself, but he denied himself a cigarette now. Instead, his hand went absently to his pocket, and felt the weight of the bottle within.

Cheslav wore a black wool coat that spanned his broad shoulders and swirled around his boots as he walked up to the townhouse's front door. Above him, most windows were darkened save for a couple that were faintly backlit with the softest of warm glows.

No other signs of life.

He allowed it was possible that no one was home.

His heavy brow knit low over his dark eyes.

Cheslav had even features, for the most part, a straight Greek nose and squared-off chin, and a long, angular jaw. It was the thick brow that glided his face with a touch of menace, and betrayed his coarse birth.

Rather, both his jaw and his massive form, tall and thick with muscle like the butcher he'd once been, and Cheslav knew it mattered as much where you'd been as where you were.

He reached for the wrought iron knocker, but then changed his mind and rang the bell, instead.

Date: 2010-02-19 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cheslav nodded, slowly.

"Boys are resilient," he murmured.

He remembered his company, and turned his head, smiling in brief apology. "Well, young men, that is."

This particular young man was very well-spoken in a way Cheslav interpreted as well-read and well-educated, yet still grounded. He comported himself with a confidence that belied his boyish face. He looked all of sixteen to Cheslav; he spoke like he was at least twenty-five.

Still, there were few young men who enjoyed being mistaken for boys.

Cheslav glanced back toward the kitchen.

"My wife died several years ago. My son took it as well as can be expected."

Cheslav did not add that he had also taken it as well as could be expected, though he knew his circumstances had been much different than Aleksandr's.

He slowed his steps. The door to the kitchen stood at an angle, half open. Half closed. Light spilled into the dim hall.

"There...hasn't been much said, about Avdotia's death."

Cheslav paused, hesitating.

"Is there...anything I should know?"


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February 2010

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