Vasilisa the Beautiful

**Part two of six in The Babushka Society story line. For all the stories together, click here**

“You were right. Yep, you were right,” N says.

We both turn back. The door is gone. We slowly look back onto the room. A gilded hall that ends in a stage. Tables near-by are layered in Turkish cakes and steaming kettles. The quarry of a few hundred Babushkas all turn at once.

“Fuck,” I whisper.

“Yes, fuck,” N agrees.

The Babushkas nearest to where we stand start toward us. I’ve only ever seen them move so fast in the Metro.

“Totally fuck,” N says, then adds, “can I say that? Totally fuck?”

“In this situation, sure.” We back slowly away.

It’s no use. Two Babushkas roll forward, one granite, one marble. The granite one has a crusty teabag replacing one of her foggy diamond eyes. The marble one wears a musty green bonnet.

The one in the musty green bonnet begins speaking in Russian. It’s the first time I’ve heard a babushka speak. The words come in a rough melody.

N listens to her speak without nodding. When she finishes, N turns to me.

“Don’t fight,” he says, simply.

“I wasn’t planning on it.”

The babushkas move in. They take N and I under the arms and lead us from the hall.

The cell they toss us in is pleasantly lit, but secure. Bars line the small cube in a row of identical cubes.

“What is going on?” I say to N.

N shrugs as he tugs on a couple of the bars. He looks around. He peers at something lumpy and light blue in a cell down the way.

“What is that do you think?”

I look at the soft blue lump. It moves a little.

“I think it’s a person.”

N starts calling out to them in Russian. The light blue lump turns slowly. A beautiful maiden. She sits up. An exquisite length of hair slides down over her shoulders. I suddenly feel self-conscious.

N continues calling things over to her in Russian. He asks her name. I understand that but not much more. The Maiden responds in a soft lyrical tone made for her lips.

N and her exchange more words while I attempt to blindly fix my hair. Finally, N thanks her and turns around.

“This is no good.”

“What’s her name?” I ask.

N raises an eyebrow at me.

“Vasilisa the beautiful.”

“She sure is,” I say.

“No, that is her name.”

“Her last name is the beautiful?”

N nods.

“Right. Did she tell you anything else?”

N nods.

“She’s sixteen.” He pauses.

“Oh.”

N smirks at me.

“Anything else?”

“She said she was walking through the woods looking for something for her stepmother and then she came upon a house on hen’s legs. Then, a man made of metal took her.”

“So she is bat-shit. Great.” I sigh and sit down on the cold floor.

N looks thoughtful. “Maybe. It sounds familiar for some reason.”

While he ferrets around in his own mind I sit back and shut my eyes. The girl down the way begins to sing. It is slow and lovely. I don’t understand a word of it.

I’ve never been in a cell before. I always thought I’d be terrified. Maybe I’m more afraid of uniforms than bars.

N starts muttering to himself. I open one eye. Then two. He is pacing, his muttering is speeding up. His eyes are growing.

“What’s wrong?” I ask. Vassilissa the beautiful continues to sing in the background.

“Listen,” N says. I listen but anyways. I manage to translate a few words.

“eat…leg…teeth…run…” then a word, over and over “Babayaga…babayaga…babayaga…”

I frown up at N.

“What is a babayaga?”

N looks at me, honest fear in him.

“Not a what.”

To be continued…

See how the story began by clicking the link below:


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