The Sacrifice of the Poet

dostoevskyI cannot see as we tread through the dark passage. The knight grumbles as we go.

“I just wanted to show you a nice night, you know. It gets so lonely here.”

I ignore him. I am soaked in sweat. We stop.

“Well?” I demand. The knight sighs. My hand is lifted up and a slot in the wall is pulled aside. I look through. It is the Baba Yaga exhibit. There is a crowd of babushkas gathered along one wall. In the center of the room is a young man; he is a bit younger than me. He is crying. He has a long waxed mustache catching his tears, his cardigan is pulled open revealing a compass tattooed to his chest. The Babushkas are chanting something. I can’t understand.

“Do you speak Russian?” I whisper.

“I speak many languages,” he says something in Russian I don’t gather.

“See,” he says, “that was Russian.”

He says something again, soft and round and lyrical. “That was Spanish.”

He coughs in my ear. I cringe. “And that was fren—“

“Got it!” I snap, cutting him off. “What are they saying?”

“I can just tell you. They do this often. The Babushkas are getting their revenge.”

I frown at the young man in the floor.

“What did he do to them?”

“Oh not him, Dostoevsky.”


“Dostoevsky, wrote a book called Crime and Punishment.”

“Yeah, I know it.”

“Well, it wasn’t just a story. Dostoevsky was responsible for killing the two older sisters of the Baba Yaga. He wrote the book first as a way to work himself up to actually committing a crime of his own. And, when he did, it was flawless. But, the Babushkas knew, the Baba Yaga knew. They managed to rid themselves of Dostoevsky, eventually, and have worked to kill any potential great writers before they can become a threat.”

I watched as I listened. The Babushkas have stopped chanting. They approach the man in the middle of the floor. They raise their cold fists. He moans. The slit in the wall slides shut.

“I can’t watch,” The Knight murmurs. The other side of the wall screams. My insides shake. I jerk my hand up. The suit of armor goes with it. I slide the small window open.

“Hey!” The Knight calls into my ear. I look out, the young man is motionless on the floor. My whole body tenses.

“Stop that.” The Knight says, a hint of fear in his voice. I struggle and manage to move one arm, then the next. I tilt my head to the right, then left. I take a breath and look at my armored hands.

“This is no fair. Give me back my body,” The Knight whines.

I look through the window. There is movement coming from the far side. A pair of babushkas walk through. Between them, a smaller, more human figure. It’s L. They lead her into the center of the room. She stands. They begin chanting.

In my ear the Knight whines “please, let me take you to see something cool. I can show you the Davinci!”

I grab onto the edge of the small window.

“You seem nice,” I say, “but please, shut up.”

I tear through the wall.


11 replies to “The Sacrifice of the Poet

  1. I saw the babushkas when I was a child. They wore black stockings and carried baskets to the market place. Over the stockings they had ankle high leather boots. In one arm or another (depending on left or right handed) they carried a woven willow basket. They were on their way to the market. It was called Patterson Market and was located between the shoe factories and a barb-wired fence. I do not know if the fence was to keep the babushkas in or the Irish out. We sold animals there – – – rabbits and little rodents called hamsters. Some kept them for pets – – – others for the evening meal. There were chickens hanging by their necks from suspended racks. There were pigs feet – – – waiting for someone to make Studanina from them – – – you know – – – jellied pigs feet – – – ummmm yuuuummm. And one man even had Etrinichki – – – sausage made of pig parts and barly. GOD – – – that was delicious.

    But now – – – the market is gone – – – the babushkas are gone – – – as well as the Studanina and the Etrinischki.

    It is all gone. But we have Micky D’s big macs and Burger Kings whatevers.

    Can someone please open a chain restaurant that offers Perohi, Haloupki, Studinina, Eetrinischki, and Kapusta soup with lentils and Papinki?

    Is that asking too much? Surely no one is eating these ingredients any longer. There must be a whole warehouse full of such good things just waiting to be bought up – – – fried up – – – boiled up – – – and eaten up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha I live in St. Petersburg on griboyedeva canal. So where Dostoevsky wrote Crime and Punishment is a 30 second walk from my front door. So he is always in the air here. Can’t escape him.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. oha, now, the story seems to write itself. I love stories which get a own life and leave the author out of control. Here the suppressed figures avenge themselves from a novel? They are right, because they have not chosen their lot themselves! Knightly roll is still not clear …. great story!

    Liked by 1 person

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