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Scary stories

The boys and I went to a village because of work so that our furious guys could see from the air how things are going there and how’s life there. The village has just been liberated, but there was no way we could get into the air properly, something stops us all the time — either rain, wind or some other meteorology — but the main thing is the inconvenient place. But we found a perfect location just outside the village: our thin isthmus between the Russians and the Russians, you take off there, and you see everyone, you spit to the left — you get a Russian conscript, you spit to the right — you get a Russian recruit.

Alright, so we went back and forth like that for a day, did the job flawlessly, and then we were driving through the village. Lunchtime. Here, some women came out to us and said, “Guys, come in and have some lunch.” Each of us remembered their holidays spent in the village with their grandmas, and we know how it is: the borscht is for lunch, and if you didn’t sit down quickly at the table and eat a one-and-a-half or a two-liter bowl of soup, then you’ll make your grandma very unhappy. Because you’re “an urban and twitchy kid, but as lean as a rake!” But a happy childhood ended, and there’s no need to invite us twice. We sat in the kitchen. Yes, the bowls were the same size as before, nothing has changed in 35 years. Only it’s not borscht, but meatball soup. Delicious! We were sitting there, eating. All the guys were young there, I was the oldest and with the grayest hair at that lunch. The women all gathered there, watching the boys eating, they just stood there with tears in their eyes. Then, they decided to cheer us up to make the sadness disappear and began to tell different stories from the life of the village. But I was amazed by one very short story.

So there’s an old lady in the village, that is, a fortune-teller. She is very, very old, she is more than ninety years old. And at the other end of their pretty big village, her older sister lives. She is more than a hundred years old. She can’t walk anymore, she only rests on her bed. And the younger one goes to the older one every day to take care of her, feed her, wash her and all that. But each time the occupants took aim at her and escorted her while pointing machine guns at her from one side of the village to another one and then back home, so that she would not blow up the headquarters one day or blast the car park with an NLAW, or I don’t even know what. The woman is old, she walks slowly, or rather trudges. The village is quite big. Well, an hour and a half one way, and an hour and a half the way back. The old lady goes under escort, but not in silence. All the way there, she was rambling on about stuff to them. Who’s been in such a situation before knows how old ladies can slowly drive anybody insane, even their own relatives. But here, it is the enemy. And she tells them all the way there, “Guys, run away. You will all be killed here. Death follows you. Run, guys. Save yourself. You won’t survive. No one among you will survive. Run, guys, hide and escape.” And she goes on and on like that for an hour and a half. Then she comes to her sister. Then, she returns, and everything starts again. An hour and a half. But she didn’t curse them, didn’t put dark spells on them, there were only these conversations. And every single day was like that.

The first few days it worked somehow. But then, the occupiers found out that she was a fortune-teller. Little by little, tensions began to rise in their ranks. They started to be really afraid of her. Cause it is actually scary. Nobody wanted to escort the old lady, because it was three hours of constant terror and two packs of cigarettes. Which, by the way, they were short of, just like the other supplies. At first, they went to the command with requests. The command first told them off, then began to beat the f*ck out of them. Then the troops began to revolt a little. But Chornobaivka showed us that an order is an order, and no one gives a sh*t about the rest of it. There is an order to escort — you go and escort. But nobody cares whether you escort the old woman while sh*tting your pants or if you’re all good. There is a combat task of a f*cking senile psychopath to march on May 9 in the victory day parade on Khreshchatyk Street [official commemoration day in Russia of the end of the World War II — Ed.], so go and escort the old lady, bring the parade closer.

The only thing they did was to start sending different soldiers with her. That is, to make a rotation. Thus, almost the entire personnel of the unit passed through the village with her. And she rambled on about the same stuff to them all, day after day. “Guys, run away. You will all be killed here. Death follows you. Run, guys. Save yourself. You won’t survive. No one among you will survive. Run, guys, hide and escape.”

I don’t know why the Russians didn’t shoot her. Well, to be honest, I do know. They were afraid that they would kill her, and she would not die. Or she would die, but still, take soldiers one by one from the camp at night. Or something else. Something really awful. So they went on with her. But some soldier’s nerves snapped, and he fled the village. But unsuccessfully cause he got on his own tripwires. Because it was nighttime then. And a day after this unfortunate suicide, the Armed Forces of Ukraine give them such a blow while liberating the village that a strange thing happened: not a single soldier of their army survived. The old woman told them the truth.

That is one of two things — she rather told them the future, or she cursed them. And that’s what our villages are like in Ukraine.

March 30 at 5:47 a.m.

Ukrainian Text by Dmytro Tomchuk. Translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Apr 6, 2022

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