The Visit

Feb. 18th, 2010 12:31 pm
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[personal profile] cheslav_oleksei
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: 2010-02-20 08:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I expect Lasha has a disturbingly good understanding of how it all works, actually."

Nika's expression was mild, laced with studious humility.

"One that doubtless exceeds mine. The apple, the tree, the relative distance of jettisoned fruit. You know."

He glanced toward the kitchen, brow furrowing, lips contracting slightly.

"Regarding Avadya..." he said, "You're not alone. I think it was a surprise to everyone."

Nika paused, studying nothing.

"Including me."

He frowned, then flicked his eyes back to the looming ruffian, whose face reflected a certain familiar emotion, or deliberate lack thereof.

"They found her in the Fontanka. Drowned."

Nika's lips parted, briefly.

"The report was quashed, and the photographs..."

Were gone now. Disappeared, no doubt disposed of permanently.

"But Ilarion said that when he saw her floating under the bridge...she was in a white silk pegnoir."

He centered his gaze on the man's, dropping his voice to a tone of soft persuasion.

"Aleksandr is a wreck, priyatel. A real chocolate mess. Forewarned is forearmed."


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February 2010

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