The Portrait of Baba Yaga

 

“Bad idea,” The Knight whispers in my helmet. I can’t help but agree. All the babushkas have turned. Slowly, L does as well. She smiles. My ears go cold.

“Hey.”

“Hi,” I stutter, awkwardly.

“It’s okay,” she says. I’m not sure if she is talking to me or the babushkas, who look murderous. I back toward the wall either way.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

She laughs. It is cold and sharp. I can feel it in my own throat. It hurts.

“I am perfectly fine. You look a bit,” she raises and eyebrow, “warm.”

The Knight’s voice whispers in my ear “run.”

“No. I have to save her.”

“Doesn’t look like she wants to be saved,” The Knight informs me. He is right, she doesn’t.

“Silly boy,” L says. I have to remind myself that I am older than her, though I don’t feel it at the moment. I look closer at her eyes. They are black from lash to lash.

“You’re not L,” I say.

Not-L shrugs. “Not anymore, no, I had to get back to my hut somehow. And, it’s not like you were desperate to get to a museum. So, I took advantage of your friend who only wanted to make you a bit more, cultural.” Not-L rolls her eyes. “Though, this was not the knight who was supposed to take you. No matter. You, like the fool you are, came to me anyways,” she says.

“Who are you?”

She takes a step toward me. “Can’t you guess?”

I nod slowly. I do know.

“Baba Yaga.”

She makes finger guns at me. “Bingo baby,” she says. Then, says it again to the air, “bingo baby.” She sighs. “English is strange, like spitting marbles. Either way, It suits me I think.”

She does a little jig in L’s jeans. She smiles.

She starts walking toward me.

“You know, we are helping, really. People are so confused these days. Aren’t you confused? We are living in the generation of confusion. Why don’t we go back to simpler times. When things made sense. But, this isn’t about that. You won’t live to see it.”

She is so close by the time she finishes talking, I can feel her breath. My legs feel weak. Her mouth begins to open. It goes wider and wider. Thick iron teeth bulge out of her gums.

Then, my arms move without my brain. They push L aside and then my legs are moving.

“Sorry, kid,” the Knight whispers in my ear. I don’t fight him. From behind me the Babushka’s are scrambling, L is hollering after me. I can feel it on my back, like being chased by thunder. The knight carries me to the exit of the museum and it opens. I fall onto the ground.

“Go!” the hollow voice calls from within the suit. I pull myself up and dash out into the cold, wet and wobbling. I get an idea.

I head for the closest friendly liquor store.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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