Short Stories


The ray, piercing the ragged fog of the cloud, was tickling the ground, a bird hung in the sky, the community of fluttering insects crunched with rigid wings in muddy smudges, with a wing cutting a circle in the sky a bird fell down like a stone. Barely alive, the semi-cooked worm stirred in the pitch darkness of the labyrinths – the greasy, glossy earth, crumbling and falling apart, revealed its bowels.

The bent figure sat under a hot beam, the features softly blackened in the peels of the counter-light. The slimy, mucous shoulders should have belonged to a woman, but a man could have turned out to be too – powerful hands had not been digging the earth for a long time, they did not sow grain, stinging mechanisms did not cut seedlings ripened in gold, fuel – daily required replenishment – was grown in the Babylonian towers of laboratories encircling them planted with hanging gardens of greenhouse tiers. Potatoes, adhering to traditional technologies, were cultivated from tubers, the visible subsoil of which turned into an ear, strong enough to withstand the vine crowning it. Giving a permanent harvest – at least in those periods when, turning the sun-loving head, the stalk managed to catch the capricious rays of the sun, – the plant exceeded any of its predecessors in the value of the nutrients contained in, and perfectly extinguished the need for food, fertilizing its inedible parts future. Sunlight, although intermittent, replaced the electricity that had once supplanted it. Poor, bunched clusters of solar panels were used on those frequent occasions when the sun went down. Most of all “moles”, people of that profession, whom, oddly enough, were compared with them before, relied on artificial recharge. The earth shook, the Poles were in a fever, typhoons licked its tormented surface, tearing up the last shreds of vegetation from its bald head, molten rivers, scraping the banks, flowed into tar lakes. They were waiting for glaciation, they were waiting for the greenhouse effect, frightened by hellish fiery with its croaking calling a boiling asphyxiation.

Everyone was shaking, everything was swaying. Those plots of land that were considered relatively calm were marked and documented, as far as possible under conditions of constant pitching. It was on them that the Babylonian towers of skyscrapers were erected, on which beans and other fruitful plants were being grown, entwining them with flexible stems. Inside the towers, numbered boxes were located one above the other. Boxes, more like a honeycomb than a dwelling, were an option of compact convenience, the administrative compartment, which was entirely studded with employees sticking out of their chairs, was right there. Schools, kindergartens were located at the very top – craning their neck through a cloud scarf, the tower almost touched the crown of the sky, only here you could really see the sun. Directly participating in the “resettlement of peoples”, the population, flowing down the inner walls of the tower as they grew older, moved to a lower level, but even this did not reconcile the person with the fate prepared for him – the person was still afraid to be buried alive. Collapsing day after day, crushing under itself all the everbuilding legs, the tower, like the Colossus, settled down lower and lower. The lower levels became natural layers of the burial of those who at least a little, but lived on their own. By a terrible irony, climbing up almost to the top of immortality, a man died crushed by his own hands erected facilities. Where a new plot was previously assigned to the house, a new level was now assigned to construction – the lightness of materials, meticulous constructions made it possible to rush infinitely – the desire for life was restrained only by a layer of a rarefied atmosphere. The professions that could still be applied for outside the towers included archaeologists and scouts, essentially the same breed of people. Scouts are the same archaeologists, only romantics, only digging the earth, believing in the best, still hoping to find a relatively stable layer of land on which, like on a drifting ice floe, it would be possible to build a new tower.

– Found it! – the girl shouted to someone over her shoulder.

– Give up, it seems to start again! – came out to her in response. The girl glanced cautiously at the shadow that had crept behind.

From every spit of the wind the tower swayed like a gutta-percha, and although there was not a single case of the tower scattering, there wasn’t one that would not be eventually swallowed together with all its belongings – a giant sticking out of the ground overnight turned into a cultural layer, a “gift” for future archaeologists. When the tower collapsed to the ground, archaeologists were the only ones who could come to the rescue of the survivors, but there was no question of saving everyone, even a handful of people could hardly be brought over boiling, hot land to an overpopulated, swollen, barely accommodating existing residents the neighboring tower. If one was in distress, from the other, they could only watch the crash. If the sun was shining. The bravest of all, if only lava hadn’t eaten them up to their bones, sooner or later also became the property of a small cohort of worms and their own colleagues, future representatives of their profession.

Driven not by a thirst for treasure, but by a thirst for knowledge “moles” dug the earth. Having cleared what was found from the ashes, the girl put the finding in the backpack. Treasures had not seduced anyone for a long time. In conditions when boxing barely followed the contours of your body, you would not litter it with unnecessary things. Traces of the catastrophe that befell the once prosperous barbarian civilization came across more and more often. As an incorruptible source of knowledge several old-timers were left in the tower, several encyclopedic specimen were under state protection and lived with all children at the very top, and that was they who said that long ago most of the population had been dissolved in the lava, like in acid ... with all their flocks ... In general, the old-timers spoke a lot ... They talked about libraries in which books had been sitting on chains, about disks on which whole libraries had been stored, about houses dressed in waterproof clothes, about stockings strong enough to pull out the whole tower by the roots. Little was believed in their stories, even finding more and more evidence of their words.

A volley of fireworks came from behind, the girl started, a man flew down from the top tier like a burning fire. There were some moneybags on the tower. With an eternal thirst for excesses, with an indestructible desire to live on a big foot, the rich, no matter what the conditions, tried to arrange themselves at least in miniature belpoks – by eating full bag sums, climbed to the very top and then, spraying sparkles of champagne in all directions , flaming comet bodies flew down ... A violin whined after it ... Not everyone was ready to leave with his head to work day after day, continuing to work, calculating the parameters of the walls and then erecting them in anticipation of the moment when everything was whistling with failure pouring into tartarars of a crumpled close hostel flattened by the weight of a tower, not everyone had enough elementary strong long nerves ...

Eccentrics who did not want to take advantage of the citizen's inalienable right to their three arshins also occurred among ordinary inhabitants of the tower – the body was immediately seized in such cases for the purpose of further lawful disposal of the parts contained in it. Concealment, which only relatives could decide, became not just a luxury, but a criminally punishable crime – everything that led to the weight of the tower was forbidden – any trifle, a toothpick, drove the nail of the tower deeper into the ground. In the context of the ongoing grandiose construction of materials for everyday needs, there was not enough handicraft production, and the black market was florishing, skulls went to utensils, goblets were a special price – genuine works of art, for which richer people paid fabulous money. .. It was considered especially chic to sip wine from such a cup during one of not for all parties ... The only musician who lived on the tower (once procured by the bosses from the Government, you could buy everything on the tower for money, but a ticket to the upper level), dreaming of an orchestra, bequeathed to make himself a flute - not a word-of-mouth greedy advice, unlike an eternally floundering ordinary one, worked fine in crowded conditions, non-trivial recipes on how to tibia were passed from mouth to mouth to make musical instruments, horns, flutes and other useful tools in everyday life - combs, knives, forks ... The recipes were so plentiful that it was sometimes unsafe to return to your compartment with dark stairwells.

A thin, slender creature removed a strand off her forehead, brushing off the rest of the soil with a soft pile. The girl was a specialist in antiquity. Smooth, identical, in the form of a rectangle cards, only differing from each other by squeezed out on each cavitation, came across more and more often. The crowding of the finds indicated that they could belong to the same era, the even distribution within one layer made it possible to assume that it was some kind of cult object - penetrating all layers, it was not the property of any particular caste. Old people said that this cult possessed all minds ... and others laughed at them ...

“And this will collapse ...” the girl said looking at the shaking structure.

“It’s not going anywhere,” the man confirmed.

Not having gone a hundred meters, the man sharply grabbed the girl by the sleeve, the layer of soil cracked, both froze on the edge of the abyss that opened in front of them – a hollow gaped into the guts of a void scraped into the bowels of the earth, which previously contained earthly entrails. It took twice as long to go around the abyss, the couple continued on their way – danger is not something that cannot be used to.

–And why did they always carry this item with them? – shaking her backpack, the girl straightened the strap, the man stepped step by step along her crumbling trail, the soil left under his feet, rivers began. - If it was an object of worship, then it should have been kept in a special place intended for this ... Temple ... Sanctuary ... Why, every time, leaving the walls of your home, take it with you? - What for? Do not you know? The man stared at her back. The girl did not turn around. “Then, so much later that this item was found in his pocket by two archaeologists,” the man joked. The girl did not pay attention to the joke, of course it is possible, and from their bones someone will someday be dusting off the dust of millennia and yet ... – Зачем? Разве ты не знаешь? “Some kind of pocket civilization ...,” – she continued stringing words into assumptions. - Leaving home, everyone stuffs the god into his pocket ... Carries him everywhere ... Or maybe all this was done in order to be able to pray everywhere? - the girl beamed, as she always shone when it seemed to her that she had come across something worthwhile. - The men kept it at the very heart ... No, they were definitely priests of some cult ... The man grinned and yet, no matter how ridiculous the idea was put forward by his companion, the man always sniffed it carefully like a dog, and even if he didn’t like the idea at first, he never threw it aside, but put it aside, as if letting it lie down so that later, at another time, under other circumstances, to return to it. In one thing she was exactly right - they really needed this item! Otherwise, why carry it everywhere with you!? The uniformity of all the finds they found did not give him rest. And so that old-time survivors from the mind did not say there, too little text did not allow them to be attributed to objects serving as information or some kind of knowledge, this was not a book, but something completely different - some idea enslaved all minds so much that her stupefied people even wrote their identical names on each of these plates. - It’s a pity that it is constantly shaking, we can’t advance any further ... Walking with a sweeping step, thinking about what was just said, the man sank deeper and deeper into thought, comparing, analyzing, twirling artifacts this way and that. “And what if the old people are right? ... The item itself does not represent any value, but is only the key that opens the treasure chests? ... “A thirst for accumulation, and this is a universal drive ...” - the man suddenly stood up as a pillar, his shoes immediately got stuck ankle-deep in the swamps - it was just dangerous to stand on some sections of the earth, the girl pulled his hand, there were only a few steps to the tower, it was necessary to hurry until the sun went down. – Жаль, что постоянно трясёт, и мы никак не можем продвинуться дальше... Hiding in a shaky building, two went into the archaeological compartment, on the shelf were recently found trophies, several in thin stockings of mummies, in incorruptible rags supposedly to men belonging to the remains, and a huge number of shabby, only slightly crippled hard rock cards - the finds barely began to add up to a single picture. The next time the sun came out, the girl and the man again went out on the shuddering earth in search of the imperishable that the civilization of the holders of plastic tablets left behind.
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