**Part one of six in The Babushka Society story line. For all the stories together, click here**
Once upon a time, it is Saturday.
N and I work at his office on Saturdays; a calm loft-like space with a single window to smoke out of. They’ve been doing construction on the building for months. Today it is still. The windows are dark. The doors are locked.
N makes a face as he pulls the usual door.
“Odd,” he says.
“Shouldn’t be locked.”
He walks across the courtyard to another door. I see him jerk on it. He frowns.
I light a cigarette. I watch him pin-ball around the courtyard trying doors. He tries two doors and three. Finally, one opens. He motions to me. I hold up my cigarette. He sighs and lights one too. We meet in the middle. I look at the open door.
“What part of the building is that?”
N shrugs. “I’m not sure, they’ve been working on it a while.”
I snap my cigarette to the ground. N snuffs his out and tosses it in the dumpster beside us.
We go through the door. It is dark. The only light reflects of the red of the walls. I pull out my lighter and flick it. I don’t see the end.
“Have you been in here before?”
N shakes his head. I feel more and more claustrophobic as we continue, as though we are walking down a straw into a can of Coca-Cola. Even the air seems to be narrowing.
Finally, the end. A black door, a red knob.
N puts his hand on the knob.
“Wait!” I whisper, “look, I don’t believe in any pattern to things or, like, any symbolism in the real world. But, if I did, this certainly would be the time I turn around.”
“What’s it means?”
“Uh, like when colors and stuff have meaning in stories.”
“Ah, yes, it is the same word in Russian,” N looks back at the door, “so, what does black and red mean?”
I consider it. “Blood?” I decide.
“Blood?” N repeats in a tone that floats between curiosity and mockery.
“Yeah, blood. So, that’s, like bad, let’s go back.”
“But, without blood, we’d die.” He smirks.
He opens the door.
To be continued…