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Letter to Anastasiia

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                                                                                                                                             CHAPTER I

             "Home, sweet home!"

                                                    I have been watching him for two days now, he just caught himself a boar, i could hear a sound of skin, meat being ripped apart and shattering bones, female.. she just tried to protect her litter, pointless. He was big, huge, about 400 kilograms, beast, they can grow even bigger than that, so i have heard, this one was exceptional in size, so he got my attention and i followed him for 15 kilometers or so, he was looking for a meal. Ursus arctos horribilis, just that latin name makes me shiver, not sure its fear, or just an excitement, perhaps both, although cant stop watching, once i spot grizzly bear, especially this big. But i runned out of food myself, i ate my last portion yesterday and my body demanded calories now, it was time to go back home. For a minute i thought to take a shot, i never killed one before, not that i didn't want to, i heard random stories about bear hunters, not many made it out alive, some ended up with deep wounds and nasty scars, or even without limbs.  




Like my father, they had to amputate his leg just below knee, everyone in town called him lucky, he survived thanks to old Oli anyway... good old Oli. Man lived in woods most of his life, even sold his house at some point and sometimes people wondered if he is still alive. Apparently he came to town once in a while, to trade, he didn't have any family anymore, his wife Marta, died two years after being diagnosed with brain cancer. He loved that woman over anything and everything, she was friend with my mother, both worked at clinic since i could remember. When he lost her, Oli became different man, once positive energy, full of jokes and friends with everyone, he got wordless and grumpy, almost offensive, when he actually cared to say anything. That was twenty years a go, give or take, i have never seen him since.
That night, that horrible night.. Nastenka was sleeping already, i was falling asleep. Phone rang out, rare, that we were receiving phone calls this late, i could hear mum talking, something in her voice.. something new to me. I got up and headed downstairs, stopped half way. Somehow i could tell that there was no one on the other side of line anymore, yet she stood there, looking down at phone, still holding receiver by her ear, her face was pale, bleached pale.. and she was shaking.

'Mamo?' i whispered out, but it was as if i talked to a wall, no reaction whatsoever
'Mama!' she flinched, lowered her hands and rubbed them down against her apron
   'Your father had an accident, i have to go to clinic.. go back to bed now please, make sure your sister is ok.' and she walked out

I could not understand, the way she acted, never, never! seen her like this, accident?? what did she mean by that? I was about to find out the next day...

   'Uli, Uli... get up, pleeeease, i'm hungry!' i fell asleep on a chair in our room

'Wha.. What? Nastia stop it..!' i pulled my sleeve of her hands, too sudden, she poured some tears right away.. i immediately regretted, wanted to slap myself
'I'm sorry, come here..' pulled her over to me and stroke her head

No one, but me and her were in house, wasn't long before scene from last night came to me, that fear, so unknown, what was going on??
I took her to kitchen and made her sit down by the table, she was holding her teddy bear very tight, more than ever, and she watched me, could she see that fear in me? she knew even less than me but still, situation were new to her. School holiday, this time of a year i was free to get up from bed whenever, father spoiled me, which i can see now was a mistake. Mother would never spoil Nastenka, she woke her up everyday five o'clock, i guess something that nurses are used to do.
But not this morning.

   'Where is mama?'
'She had to go to work early, what do you want to eat?' before she answered, knock on a front door we've heard
   'Hello sweethearts' Marta, she and Oli had no children on their own, but she knew how to talk to those
   'Where is mamaaa?? Nastia absolutely loved Marta, rushed to her with her hands wide open
   'Mama will come back home soon, darling.. are you hungry?' Marta looked sad, i tried to make eye contact with her but she avoided..

They came back late afternoon, Nastenka just had her nap, i somehow managed to make her to go to bed for a bit, i've heard door going unlocked and rushed downstairs. There was mom, Oli and my father.. on a wheelchair, he was missing half of his right leg..

I aimed, my scope was a bit dirty.. it didn't bother me, he was moving his head up and down as taking a bite and then chewing up, slowly looking arround, happy bear, finally got what he was looking for. Suddenly i realised.. .30 short, might not be enough to pierce that thick skull of his through, not much time to reload bolt action rifle and take another shot, and what if i miss.. run? them fuckers can reach up to 60 km per hour running, if they are pissed off, for a short period of time but still, human got no chance when it comes to run from grizzly, unless you can find a shelter where bear can't get in to, even then... i have heard of a story about bunch of miners that were attacked by group of them monsters, many died and those that survived were stuck, with bears still being arround.
So i decided to leave, this was a good two weeks, i could get reasonable coin for them dear pelts i got, i usually kept meat for myself, sharing with my old folks too. On the way to Zalesie..

She hated it, she hated being out of city, i could tell, we went to the same school, which was the only one for us and others from our town, considering there was no school in Zalesie. Topolin were biggest city arround, providing education, and professions , many kids were coming there from all arround.
I never uderstood why, just why they decided to start picking on her, what happened to us in past, should have never been a thing to mock at, it was her first year, not even a second month. It was a short brake in between classes... i went down to lower level to share lunch with Nastenka, i carried both of our's food so she didnt have to carry her part, books were heavy enough for her i thought, and mom liked it..
They pulled her hair, she stood there motionless, crying.. her backpack was on the floor with all stuff out..
   'Legless, legless, where is your foot? oh little bear took it???' her little pink teddy was out of backpack too.. with, what it looked like strawberry or raspberry joghurt all over it, she never leaved Uli bear out of her sight
Something snapped in me, i was always good behave, kids would stay away, thinking i was off and not part of their but i had few colleagues, none of thoose followed me at that moment, i went bad.. all i could remember was that i hugged her in the end, very strong, she never deserved anything like that...

   'Your son assaulted five members of our school, four boys and one girl, there are broken noses.. and.. traumas, we.. we know that your family had hard timein the past, and you are respected worker of Zalesie's clinic. Diego, have always been calm, good student and good pupil, but we cant have this, we are forced to remove him.. i'm sorry..' mom havent respond anything to principals words, she grabbed my hand and we walked out of the office. She was still quiet in bus, on the way home... and she havent said a word to me for next few weeks, but i could feel... i knew she was just confused, she had too much on her head so far.
That evening, i was in our room, Nastia would peek at me from time to time, i could feel her eyes on me, i tried to focus on that book i was reading, "The Eye Of A Bear".
I.. wasn't Uli anymore.. Uli was a bear from that cartoon she loved to watch, Uli Kumkoo, a little pink bear living in the forest, helping other animals, just like Winnie The Poo, only it was ukrainian version, Nastenka would call me that since she could speak.
   'Uli.. Uli, have you got any honey for me??' and she would dance arround me, i guess i never apretiated that fully..
I was just a kid, but it all has changed when she started school. Since then she just called me "D".. I thought that was a bit cold.. I guess i deserved it after what i have done to those kids..  After they kicked me out, there weren't much options arround. Next school ''near'' to Zalesie was Nadbor, but was i going there...
   'Diego, come down here!' he was drunk since grizzly...
   'Come here lad.. come over.. please, listen.. whatever they say.. don't ever be bothered, don't ever pay attention to what they think is important they got to say about you, or us.. and most important, about your sister, boy, i'm.. i'm so proud of you..' he cried, he actually cried..

I struggled to give him respect after what happened to him, Oli told me that he heard a shot and that he rushed to see what was going on, when he got there he saw bear dragging my father like a doll, Oli took a shot, aiming at its head, then at its heart, it took five shots in the end to put that one down, that animal died with boots and most of what was once my father's foot, once, in its mouth.
He just got sloppy, at some point, now that i look in the past, he was never a hunter... wrong, sorry i should have said .. he should have never go and be one, my father. He used to be a mechanic and a good one, that was until more and more people begun doing it, he lost many customers, that went to Topolin looking for cheaper solutions, well, that is how market works, right? Well it didn't work for my father, nor for us. I was about 8 at that time, he tried to teach me some of mechanics, change some tires, adjust carburetor, change oil, even have let me drive it for a bit, we had that Ada, 4x4, lovely vehicle, could go on on any terrain. But once he runed out of work, things changed, mom wasn't making a fortune in a clinic, we still had to pay bills etc, We sold car and few other things. So he figured, why not go and kill few dears for their pelts and meat, right? wrong.. he got surrounded by wolves few times, he got out but every time, every single time, mom said the same thing...

   'You are not for that, i have enough work back in clinic, how much more i have to be worried about you, and then patch you up, perhaps its a time to think    of something else to do?'

It never stopped him, i guess he still tried to provide for us, but some people are to do one thing and some to do another.. i figured.
Dad, he just got sloppy, from what i could understand, he liked a bit of a drink, became careless and too cocky, nothing that i have learned about Oli... and he was my hero, i have to admit, perhaps it was that he still had his arms and legs, hard to say really, i loved dad.. i loved my family, still do? even that they are gone now...

So i was hungry, thirsty too, lost orientation for a few hours but at last i found Bajoro, small lake near Zalesie, sure i was near home..

'Do you think its smart to hang around that idiot?' what else could i say?? i hated that guy, fucking car theft, and who knows what else...
   'Don't you call him that, you don't even know him very well, just fuck off to your woods, and stay there, fuck a dear or a wild pig or something, what else     do you know?? You don't have friends, or even a girlfriend, what the hell do you think judging him or me like that.. for all that matter? You make me sick to my stomach... get the fuck out of my sight.. you are not better than that feetless moron to me..' she walked off
It was the last conversation of ours..


What are these creatures?? What in the heavens is happening?
People would walk a cross the streets without particular point.. I thought it would be smart to stay in hide, i got to my parents house... what the fuck was going on??
I walked in, silence, went upstairs, not really sure why, no one there... then got back down, and then, i heard that noise.. as in pigs were munching  on their daily sort... I walked into living room, where sound was coming from, what i saw was ... not to describe, not to write in any books.. blood all over.. and mother.. she was feeding.. on my dad's corpse, at least what was left of it..
I took a shot.. this thing, wasn't my mother anymore.. it wouldn't chase me like a bear would... head shot does it..

Edited by Chappie
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