Одна из причин пристрастия людей к порочному – безделье. Когда б он возделывал землю, занимался торговлей, разве мог бы он вести праздную жизнь?
Абай Кунанбаев

ОТКРЫТОЕ МНЕНИЕ

24 декабря 2020
1470
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In still water

Chapter 1

 


The tormented unfortunate woman was chained and hung from a damp, moldy wall in a dark, closed stirring.  Being in a semi-faint state all this time, she began to come to her senses.  Her whole body ached, bleeding.  Cuts and abrasions made themselves felt.  In her eyes there was complete horror from what was happening.  She wanted to scream so hard to break this oppressive, gloomy silence, to scream to wake up, to escape from the clutches of the sticky nightmare, because everything that happened to her seemed like a wild dream, a fiction, unlike the truth.  She screamed as loudly as she could, but her scream got stuck somewhere deep in her throat, and only a soft, stifled wheeze came out through the dirty, disgusting-smelling rag that was bandaged around her mouth.  She jerked, trying to free herself from the chains, but the chains were strong, and the shackles severely chafed her delicate, snow-white arms and legs, not spoiled by backbreaking work.  Thin as a reed, in a dress torn to shreds, she was like a feather grass, swaying in the direction of a strong, stormy wind, dangerous for her, capable of tearing her out of the ground by the roots and carrying her away.

 

Suddenly footsteps were heard behind the wall.  She again tried to scream, calling for help, swaying even more and beating against the wall to which she was attached, but when the heavy iron door boiled open with a screeching sound and through the bright, painful light she saw her tormentor, she shrank with fear,  trying to run away into the darkness, into the very depths and hide.

 

Entering, he fumbled for the switch and a dim little honey lit up a small basement-type room in which here and there hefty, impudent, unafraid white rats were running around.  Taking a bloody ax that was lying in the corner, he went up to her before she could scream with one blow and cut off her head.  The head rolled like a soccer ball, and red hot blood poured from the open wound like a fountain.  Sucking on it, he began to greedily drink it, as they drink life-giving water during thirst in the desert.  His face instantly lost its human essence, began to look more and more like the face of an animal, covered with thick, black hair, and from the grown wolf's mouth, ... fangs appeared.  Grabbing the body with them, he tore it to shreds, greedily eating it and making disgusting sounds like a champ.  Having satisfied his insatiable hunger, he felt his heart suddenly pinch, and wiping away a tear ... threw the rest of the meat ... to the rats.  Sensing food, they ran from all corners to the center of the room and gathered a whole horde of greedy rats, which surrounded him, running around in blood-splattered clothes.  he lovingly took them off, kissed, admired, calling them by female names.  Each rat had its own name.  And if for others, they seemed the same, then for him they were completely different personalities and shook their character.  Here, the rat, the one that hid in the dark and stuck out only its nose, very shy and timid, nicknamed Masha, and that graceful one in dazzling white and with black big buttons-eyes - Magdalena.  She is very fond of music.  And he always plays his violin for her, but not now.  Now is dinner time.  And you can't be late for it under any pretext.

 

Having played enough with all his horde of rats, he took off his bloody clothes and, putting on a clean, expensive three-piece frock coat, left the room, not forgetting to turn off the light.
 

 

Chapter 2

 

A graceful, beautiful lady of a splendid socialite drove up in her equally magnificent Ferrari in southern night color to a dazzling, bright, tall skyscraper that housed the most expensive restaurant in the world, which was now hosting a stunning social event on the occasion of the opening of the season.  Yes, in this southern city by the blue warm sea, on the velvet, gentle coast, the season opens.  Only her legs in expensive stilettos barely touched the red carpet, when two men in red coats ran up to the car and, bowing, gave her a hand, helping her out of the car.

 

An exquisite dress, black as night, swayed in the warm wind, emitting the quiet rustle of the surf.  Her head was adorned with an exquisite little peacock feather hat with precious stones.  And the same ring: massive and with an expensive stone flaunted on her thin finger.

 

Magic, enchanting music flowed like the sea, beckoning to itself.  A no less graceful violinist met his mistress right at the entrance, playing especially for her alone.

 

Her heart was beating faster and with each beat, she understood that it was love.
 

 

- Oh, you are beautiful, my Georges!  Your music captivated me!  It is excellent!  she said smiling, holding out her thin, graceful hand to him.
 

 

- There is no one and nothing more beautiful than you, madam.  - He answered, touching his lips to her handle.  And she felt heat all over her body.

 

Upon entering the hall, she was even more surprised, since there was no one inside.  Seeing her, the orchestra began to play Strauss, whom she loved very much.  And in the very middle of the hall there was a richly set table for the two of them.  The light went out, and immediately the romantic candles were lit, which gave the music even more magic.
 

 

- Oh, my dear!  It's so beautiful!  - she exclaimed.  - Have you booked a table just for the two of us?
 

 

-  Yes, my dear.  Today the restaurant is open only for the two of us.  Tonight is a special evening, ”he replied, pulling her to him.
 

 

- And which one?  she asked, dodging the kiss.
 

 

- I want to confess my love.  Marry me!  - He knelt down in front of her and bowed his head as in front of his queen.

 

“But you know.  - she sighed, - it's impossible ... I'm married and I can't answer you ... But don't cry ... - she hugged him and touched her lips to his face, - I will love you as before ...
 

 

He pushed her away, jumped up from his knees and walked briskly to the exit.
 

 

- Wait!  Stop!  she shouted to him.  “You know how much I love you, my dear cat.  - she fumbled to him.  - Well, don't be angry ... Wait a little ... - She looked at the ceiling.  - He is already very old, this husband of mine, and sick.  Soon ... very soon we'll be together.  Wait a little, huh?  - she begged him, looking at him with her wide-open eyelashes and, noticing a hitch on his face, immediately covered him with her hot lips, leading him to that distant, unknown paradise.
 

 

Chapter 3

 

 

The mansion of old Belich, this oil tycoon, was dark and empty.  It seemed that there was no one in the house, only the wind was walking between the rooms, opening and closing shutters and slamming them, making noise.  But that was not the case.  There, in the farthest room, full of expensive collectible paintings of the Renaissance, on a wide bed lay the same old one.  like the mansion itself, old man.  HE tossed and turned from side to side and could not fall asleep.  A thousand thoughts swirled in his head.  He sat up.  There was a bottle of lemon cocktail on the table near the bed, and after drinking a little, he wanted to get up and leave the room, but felt severe dizziness and lost consciousness.

 

The next morning, he found himself in a ward with a bunch of sensors, which are thin transparent tubes, as if bloodsuckers had grown to his body.  Tearing them off, he wanted to free himself, but then his sweet and charming wife, his Magdalena, calmed him down, explaining that he had lost consciousness and that he was now in the hospital and that he should not be very worried.

 

- Magdalena.  You ...- began, it was, he, but she interrupted him, not allowing him to utter a word.
 

 

- Hush, hush ... I'm near, I'm here.
 

 

- You ... You ... poisoned me - it seemed to him that he was screaming, but his voice was not heard and only his eyes were burning with such a fire of anger that Magdalena involuntarily turned away and took a pillow ... put it next to it, like a small toy.  Then she got up and left the room.
 

 

A minute later, a wild, bursting ringing broke out across the entire squad, announcing a catastrophe in one of its chambers.

 

And when Magdalena got into her car, the doctors ascertained the death of Belich, the great oil tycoon.  According to the will, all his property went to her alone, despite the numerous relatives and nephews who were ready to challenge the will and even sue her, accusing her of premeditated death, but she was not afraid of them.  As she expected, the jury took pity and took her side, the side of her ardently loving, grieving wife, now, unfortunately, a widow.  And a month later, having sold the old wreck, she drove off with her Georges in an unknown direction.  They only saw her.  This mansion was bought for nothing by the most ordinary clerk of the most ordinary office of one outstanding, small company.
 

 

Chapter 4

 

 

Several years passed ... Old, but still quite in good condition, Renault rolled along the sloping, hilly terrain, jumping from bump to bump every now and then.  In his back seat were two teenagers, the oldest was about 16, the youngest 11. The mood was absolutely not.
 

 

- You will see, - began the father of the family, - you will definitely like it.
 

 

- How much longer?  - Liza asked with displeasure.  She was very tired from a long trip and did not like this unexpected move at all.  However, she did not hide her claims.  - And you had to move so soon?  Why didn't you like our old little house?
 

 

- I understand, you are tired. - Mom reassured, intervening in the conversation, - but be patient a little more ... We have almost arrived ..
 

 

- No!  You do not understand!  There ... '' she paused for a minute, restraining herself, `` all my friends Max, Jane, Gulya ... all ...
 

 

- You will find new friends ... - Dad did not give up.
 

 

- Friends don't change like gloves!  - snapped Lisa.

 

And then the car braked sharply, hitting another bump and was completely exhausted, and smoke, black in soot, floated out of the carburetor, and began to smell.
 

 

- Well, everyone has arrived ... - issued the silent one all the way, the younger.  “You’re always whining and you’re unhappy with everything.”  She jumped out after him.  The fuss began.
 

 

- Stop both!  - shouted at them mom.
 

 

- Why does he imitate me all the time?
 

 

“Be-be-be!” Serik made a grimace again and hid behind his mother's back.
 

 

- Here I am!  - Lisa tried to catch him again and almost grabbed his T-shirt, but he dodged again.
 

 

- Enough!  I said enough!  They will drive me crazy ...- my mother sighed and turning to her husband asked - How long is there left?
 

 

The father of the family rummaged in the carburetor, realized that he could not do anything.  His face and hands were completely covered in soot.  Then he took the map and looked at it, smiling broadly:
 

 

- We have already arrived.  But the father of the family seemed to read their thoughts, adding:
 

 

- All looked around, there was an impenetrable forest.  And where is Home?
     

 

“There’s a house around the corner.
 

 

Everyone took their bags and walked a little along the broken asphalt and really saw a turn and then a huge, old mansion and gasped, some from surprise, some from despair ...

 

- Cool!  - said Serik admiringly, whistling.

 

“Utopia,” Liza said almost crying.
 

 

- Well, come into the house!  - suggested the father of the family and walked forward.

 

The dull, neglected castle created a gloomy impression, and the garden overgrown with nettles and weeds did not paint it at all.  The huge black eye sockets of the windows seemed to follow them wherever they went, wherever they hid.  The ugly, time-cracked windows were visible from everywhere.  Lizzie, as she liked to call herself in the English manner, even saw in one of them the outlines of a thin girlish figure hiding behind an old, velvet curtain on the second floor.
 

 

- Does someone live here?  - asked Lizzie
 

 

- No.  - the owner sold the castle long ago.  It has been empty for some time.  There is absolutely no one here. '' An elderly, but rather sweet madam answered, meeting them at the very entrance.  - there is only an old gardener. - she smiled sweetly. - But he comes here early in the morning.  You see, he has been looking after this garden all his life and now it is simply a pity to throw him out into the street.  But don't worry.  He is completely harmless, albeit sullen in appearance.

 

Digging at this time at the other end of the overgrown garden gloomy.  a hunched, bearded old man suddenly emerged from its depths and, muttering something in their direction, passed by.

 

Alexey Ivanitch, stretching out his hand to say hello, awkwardly pulled it back and was embarrassed.
 

 

- Y-yes ... - he mumbled .. - Well, please, our new home - he smiled as if nothing had happened, l trying with all his appearance to make it clear that nothing in general had happened and  offered to enter the house.  Although the house was old, it still retained its splendor: ornate marble staircases climbed to the second floor, marble, Italian tiles, albeit battered in places and faded, high ceilings depicting mysterious paintings of the Renaissance, doors made of turtle shells, beautiful sculptures of paradise  maidens with bowls, meeting them at the very entrance and a boy with a gold fish at the fountain, in which there really was no water now.  And the whole mansion itself was covered with a thick layer of dirt and dust, and in some places mold was in full bloom.
 

 

`` A little repair and it will shine. '' Father encouraged him enthusiastically.
 

 

- yes ... - said Lizzie.  - it only slightly touched the plaster and it crumbled almost all over, covering the entire space with itself.
 

 

- That's all we have.  - the father answered quietly.

 

- He's just super!  - said Serik in delight and quickly with the speed of lightning flew up the stairs to the second floor to look for his room.

 

 

Chapter 5

 

 

The old dilapidated castle was not at all happy with the arrival of new owners, rather, on the contrary, he resisted this with every particle of it, every creaking board underfoot on the second floor, a dark attic impenetrable to light, where, in addition to the old, thick cobwebs and black, fat spiders, yes  bats have never existed and nothing.  After the first owners, a little more than a whole century passed.  This is quite mature enough for a castle of this type, which contains many secrets and ghosts.  And now, as soon as Serik entered the house, he sighed heavily in a gusty cold wind that burst through the suddenly opened shutters of huge, gloomy eye-sockets-windows.  He worried and hesitated, staggered slightly to the side and creaked with each of his floorboards, and impressive cracks appeared on the clean, polished marble.  These cracks crept from top to bottom on the walls of the upper floors, and through them seeped black, smelly, like oil, slurry, which seemed to boil with rage and indignation at those who disturbed their peace.  But all these changes have remained unnoticed by the new owners.  As it remained unnoticed, that disgusting suspension also leaked from the pantry located under the first floor and tightly locked by a weighty old lock through the crack and followed the boy.  Chasing him on his heels, and where she crawled everything washed away a little bit preserved white and colored patterns on the walls were covered with black and green mold with a corresponding damp stench for her.  For a minute the boy stopped, feeling someone breathing behind his back, as if someone was standing quite close to him and breathing Serik right into the back of his head.  He turned sharply, but he saw nothing but old mold on the walls and a beating cobweb on the high ceiling. “Strange,” the boy thought, “I thought there was definitely someone here, but where is he?”  He walked a couple more steps back and looked around, but saw no one.  On this floor he was completely alone.  He shrugged his shoulders and a minute later forgot about this incident, jumped up and ran on, humming an unpretentious song: Yoh-ho-ho!

 

Lizzie didn't care what room she was in.  She was depressed and just slowly climbed up the old, creaky stairs.  Then she walked along the dark, long corridor, looking now and then into her smartphone.  But he's dead.  Wi-fi did not catch here.  When she reached the first room, she entered it and sat down on the bed without even looking at it, without unpacking her suitcase.

 

The next morning, everyone sat as usual in the spacious kitchen and at a modest breakfast.  Everyone was in good spirits, except for Lizzie.  She was indignant:
 

 

- There is no wi-fi here.  There is still no light and hot water!  And nothing at all!  Why did you have to move here!
 

 

Mom tried to calm her down, but Lizzie got up and left the kitchen, and then completely out of the house.

 

She stood in the street and shivered from the cold.  It was early morning and the sun had not yet risen high enough to warm the entire earth.  Her father left almost immediately after her, and together they left for school.

 

 

Chapter 6

 

When Lizzie entered the classroom, the class was silent for a moment.  Thousands of eyes were fixed on her.  To the smallest detail, they evaluated her appearance.  This made Lizzie a little embarrassed and shy.  One red-haired girl sitting on the windowsill noticed this and went up to her.  She was lively and cheerful, bold, in contrast to the quiet Lizzie, who only at home could swing a license, but was completely awkward on the street.
 

 

- Hi!  You're new?  You can sit next to me.  Oh yes.  I am Tiffany.
 

 

- I am Lizzie .... I mean Lisa ... Nice to meet you Tiffany.  - Lizzie shook her hand and walked with Tiffany to her place.
 

 

The class roared again and took on a life of its own until the loud voice of the teacher burst into it:
 

 

- Quiet!  I ask for silence!  she shouted, announcing that the lesson had begun.  - The topic of today's lesson is Urbanization ...
 

 

- Hey, today is Alik's party.  Come if you want.  Everyone will be there.  - whispered Tiffany and immediately lowered her head, pretending to copy from the board.  The teacher looked directly at her.  After making sure that everyone was silent, she continued her lesson again, passing Lizzie and Tiffany's desk.

 

- Actually, I have .. - Lizzie began to deny, but thinking that a party is a good way to establish a new relationship, agreed, - But okay, I'll come.  Who is Alik?
 

 

- There, that one - Tiffany pointed with a pen at the guy sitting in front.  At that moment, he turned and smiled at Lizzie, threw her a crumpled wad of paper.  Lizzie caught it and turned it around, and she and Tiffany read it.  It was a note: Come to Main Street at 9 pm
 

 

- Where is it?  Lizzie asked.
 

 

- A few blocks from here ... - but when she saw Lizzie's bewildered face, she added - I'll take you.  I know where you live.
 

 

- Where from?
 

 

“Everyone here knows everyone about you.  And even the fact that you moved into an old ruin, no one lived and in which there are terrible ghosts.
 

 

- Ghosts?  Lizzie asked.
 

 

- Well, yes ... They say the girl was killed there earlier ... - Tiffany spoke the last phrase louder and the teacher immediately lifted her up and asked her to answer the question she had asked the class before.

 

 - Listen to you tiffany.

 

 - Uh ... uh.  Urbanization is ... - she hesitated and did not know what to say.  Tiffany looked around, hoping to be prompted.  The class began to hiss, whispering some words ...

 

 - Sit down ... Please be careful.  - said the teacher and continued her lesson.

 

Lizzie came home in a good mood.  How could you find your friends right away!  And she was so afraid.  New school, new, unfamiliar faces.  But everything turned out to be completely different and even on the contrary, cool.  Here, only the father is unlikely to go to the party.  Lizzie played around in her head how to get out of the house, but she could not think of anything.  As soon as the evening came, she saw a car drive up to the house.  Lizzie quietly got out of the room and, rushing past the living room, went out into the street, not saying anything to her family.

 

There were two other people in Tiffany's car: a boy and a girl, all from their class.

 

 - Sit down - suggested Tiffany and opened the door for her.
 

 

Lizzie sat down and they drove off.
 
 

Alik was the star of the class.  All the girls just dried up on him, lovers, they dreamed only about him.  He was tall, stately, black-haired.  Thick hair and charming smile disarmed everyone.  In addition, he knew how to play almost all instruments.  Especially on the guitar and sang hit songs himself at his parties, which he hosted often, every week.  Besides him, there was one more person at this party, as they say star number 2 If I may say so.  Its complete opposite - long, angular, with an ugly face and with the same ugly haircut and always smelly incomprehensible, sickening smell with the aftertaste of cigarettes and alcohol.  This number 2 star was Yernur.

 

The girls avoided him.

 

- Hey, kyzdar, kaydasyndar?  - he shouted, approaching a bunch of girls and they immediately scattered, leaving him completely alone.  Nobody wanted to be friends with him.  Seeing the new girl at the party, he approached her.

 

 - Whom do I see!  Do you want a drink?  - He suggested, taking a glass of champagne from a passing waiter.
 

 

“No thanks.” Lizzie flatly refused.

 

  - Not.  Where are you ... You can't do that ... '' Yernur did not like being refused.  He grew even angrier and tougher.  Tossing the glass aside, he grabbed Lizzie by the elbow and pulled her towards him.

 

 - You will be mine today ... - he rasped through clenched teeth.
 

 

But Alik's confident and courageous hand cooled his ardor.

 - I said chill!  She is mine today.  - And looking at the embarrassed Lizzy, he added, smiling at her - my guest ...
  Beautiful, romantic music sounded in the hall.
  - Shall we dance?  he suggested.
  “I don’t know how ...” Lizzie said timidly.
 - Oh, don't worry.  I'm near.  You just trust me.  - He grabbed her waist gently and she felt how hard her heart was beating.  And a minute later she started dancing.
These were moments of happiness and bliss. Indescribable joy.  They danced dance after dance, and then, exhausted, quietly disappeared from everyone.  They went out into the garden to admire the first night stars, and when their lips were about to merge in the first kiss, Tiffany's clear, cheerful voice was heard:
  - Oh, there you are!  And I'm looking for you everywhere.  Come with me!  She grabbed Lizzie's hand and pulled her along.
 - Please introduce our newcomer - Lizzie.  Lizzie, please come out here.  Let's applaud her!
  Lizzie, embarrassed and timid, stepped onto an impromptu stage, and ... terrible green paint from somewhere above poured right on her, filling her eyes, ears, flowing down her clothes and forming a huge puddle on the floor.
  And deafening laughter and hooting, ridicule rained down from all sides.  The world seemed to collapse for Lizzie.  She tried to leave, but as soon as she took a step, she slipped and fell into this very puddle and got even more stained with paint.
 - Welcome to our 10 A - Tiffany laughed.
 - You?  - Lizzie was surprised, not understanding anything.

- So it will be with everyone who wants to take my boyfriend away!  Tiffany said, leaning over to her and then kicking her.  - You thought you could easily beat my boyfriend?  I just came to class and immediately grabbed him!  And that note and dance !!
  - But you .. everything .. not so ... understood ... - Lizzy reached out to her
Tiffany pushed her aside and took another paint can and poured all the contents over her head.  And then Lizzie saw how Alik, who had just danced with her, took Stephanie by the hand as tenderly as she had once, and led her out with a sweet smile.  It was as if the king and queen and their retinue in the form of those very sixes came out to thunderous applause from a crying audience.  The king even kissed the queen's hand, looking into her eyes with the same tenderness as before, looked into Lizzie's eyes.
  - Do you like my new dress?  the queen asked, hoping for a compliment.
 - You are beautiful today!  - said the king to his queen.
 - Today was a delightful evening!  - I'm delighted!
 - Everything for you, my dear ... - he kissed her hand and out of the corner of his eye looked around everyone, especially Lizzie.  In this look, there was a sense of superiority over all the others, as if those other were just rabble, dust and did not represent anything.  a six in the face of a pair of girls and that same angular geek would creep in front of them if they had thrown a gnawed bone, they would have run with joy and screeching overtaking each other to make their owners even more happy.  It was disgusting to look at.  Lizzie wiped the remnants of paint from her face, and silently walked through the corridor of ridicule and abuse that poured down on her like a pouring autumn rain.  The love that was just being born in her died out, leaving not the slightest trace, and a huge emptiness and disappointment, mixed with despair and self-hatred, began to fill everything without a trace about the place where Love had just been two hours ago.
  She does not remember at all how she went out into the street, walked past the king and queen, past their retinue on a dark, hopeless night.  She does NOT remember how the pouring, cold rain began, and she did not even feel it.  She just walked, walked and walked until one stranger jumped out of the car and shouted right in her face, shaking her with all her might:
 - Where are you going!  You want to die!  You can't see the roads at all!  Right under the wheels!  What if I hadn't slowed down?  Can't you see what a downpour?  She's completely nuts!
 - A-a-a-a.  - she sobbed loudly, unable to restrain herself any longer.
 - Well, everything ... everything ... Okay ... Sit down .. Let me give you a lift ... Where do you live?  he asked, exchanging anger for mercy.
  But she only cried.
  - - Nda - what to do with you ... - he reflects - And you can't leave.  You will disappear - he was just silent for another minute, and then suddenly he remembered something - you are not a daughter by any chance ... what is his?  - he rubbed his chin strongly remembering - well, of course ... He is!  - then sharply turned the car, and he drove away, leaving everyone behind.


Chapter 7
  Serik was already in bed and almost fell asleep.  As I heard rustles in that dark corner where there is a closet.  At first he caught that it was a mouse or, at worst, his favorite spider, but the spider slept in its glass cage and could not get out of there.  Serik, just in case, turned on his side and took a flashlight from the bedside table and dedicated it to them and, making sure that the spider was in place, began to illuminate that very dark corner of the room, that closet.  He clearly saw the door of the closet open with a loud creak, then with a sharp, thunderous crash, then it opened again and closed again by itself.  From such horror, Serik's hair stood on end and screaming
  - Mum!  - he ran out of his room straight into his parents' room, jumping onto their bed like a little three-year-old.
  - What happened to you?  - asked mom - Calm down ...
  - There ... there ... -
 - I'll go and check ... - the father got up and left the room.
  Serik calmed down a bit.
  - Can I stay here to sleep?  he asked mom.
  _ well, of course ... - she answered, smiling .. She hugged him, holding him to her chest and he fell asleep ...
  Alexey Ivanitch came to his son's room and turned on the light.  He saw nothing of the kind.  The cabinet doors were open.  Only the inverted rack where the son's pet lived.  The spider jumped out of its hideout and is now hunting somewhere in the corner.  Most likely, it was him who was scared by the sleepy son.
  He turned off the light and left the room.  the closet doors slammed shut on their own.
 - what is there?  asked the husband's wife.
  _ nothing ... - he quietly answered her - just the rack turned over and the spider jumped out of the shelter.  I told him, we just didn't have enough spiders.
  -Let him sleep with us today?
 _ he's already big ... he's a man, after all ...
  _ Well, at least one night, eh?  Look, he is already asleep with might and main and so sweet ... - she looked at her baby with love.  After all, no matter how old the children are, they will still be babies for the mother.
the father sighed.
  - Okay ... - he agreed, - but only today ... - he went to bed and immediately fell asleep.

  The car stopped right at the gate of Lisa's house.  The rain has already stopped.  Lizzie got out of the car and quietly made her way into the house.  She went into the room and curled up in a ball for a long, long time crying and shaking from the cold on her bed under a warm blanket.  She could not get warm in any way.  And she felt that someone stroked her back.  Lizzie thought.  that this is mom and she felt warmer from this thought.  And she fell asleep like a child.


Chapter 8

  In the morning, Lizzie flatly refused to go to school.  She locked herself in her room and did not open it.  Barely the father managed to persuade her.  Trying to be as gentle as possible, he asked why she didn't want to go to school.  But she was silent.  And the father was also silent.  Then he sat down on the edge of her bed and said quietly:
  _ This world is not sugar.  This world is full of cruelty.  There will definitely be those who want to humiliate you, break you.  It gives them great pleasure to see your tears and your suffering.  You should not pay attention to them, give in to them.  be stronger, be better, don't let them break you.  Don't give up for anything.  Go to your goal, and then those who will love you and support you will surely come, despite all your shortcomings.  These people are good.  Hold on to THEM.  They won't leave you in trouble.
  Lizzie listened to him.  Her tears dried up.  She stopped crying.  Slowly emerged from under her blanket and looked straight into the eyes of her father.  Her father smiled and hugged her.
  - Now get dressed and go to school.  You will definitely win, you will achieve your goal!  I believe in you!

There was a tiff again between Tiffany and Alik.  No matter how hard Tiffany tried to approach him, no matter what excuse she looked for, he only growled at her, not allowing her to approach him.
  Once he squeezed her in the toilet and gave it out right in his face, breathing fumes:
  - You ruined everything for me!
  She looked frightened into his eyes and did not understand anything.
  He spat and hit the wall forcefully, leaving a large dent on the wall.
 - Don't come close to me!  Do you understand me?!  he growled through his teeth.
  But Tiffany knew how to persuade Alik and knew what he wanted.
  “I have another surprise for you ...” she began.
  He ran up to her and almost slapped her a hefty slap in the face.
  -I've told!  No more surprises!  I'm fed up with your surprises ...
 - This is what you want ... Well ... I wanted ...
  - How do you know what I want?
  She smiled guiltily, trying not to betray that she was very afraid of him ... But her heart was about to jump out of her chest ... It was pounding right in her throat, not allowing her to breathe.  Stephanie slowly slid down the wall ...
  What kind of love is this ...? - she thought. - And I cannot with him and without him too ...
   Tiffany had a girlfriend who was in eighth grade.  Verochka.  A real angel.  She had only a mother, and no father.  Vera studied well, and even went to a music school to see ballet.  Everyone was surprised how talented and pretty she was.  She did not have friends for the reason that Vera's mother was very strict with her, although she loved her immensely.  Mom was just very much afraid for her.  She did not trust those strangers who were spinning around her, those boys.  But Tiffany was a neighbor, and therefore she was allowed to communicate with Vera.  But one day Vera disappeared.  The mother immediately ran to the police, but there she was told that her daughter was already quite an adult, and perhaps she just ran away from home.  They asked her to wait.  But Vera's mother somehow miraculously persuaded them, and they promised to clean the neighborhood around the microdistrict.  BUT found nothing.  However, hype was raised.  Alik and his queen walked quietly.  And only they knew why Vera disappeared ...

That evening, right after school, they drove Alik's car to Vera's house.  Vera played with the hoop, twisting it masterly.  Tiffany got out of the car and called Vera.  The girl obediently approached.  And then Alik invited her to drive in his new car.  Alik knew how to win over.  As soon as he smiled, all the girls lay at his feet.  But Vera, as if sensing something, did not dare, hesitated.  the plan was about to fail.  everyone was nervous.  In the car, besides Alik and Tiffany, there were two more: Yernur and Karim.  Yernur was nervous and suggested that Alik leave and give up all this.  But Alik raised his finger up, making it clear that Yernur should shut up.  Yernur knew that Alik didn’t like to be opposed, especially in such a case, and shut up, shrank, sat quietly, as they say, tail between his legs.  And then again Tiffany came to the rescue.  She smiled at Vera, took her hand and led her.  When everyone was seated, the car started to move.  They drove around the city for a long time, ate ice cream, drank, and then the car drove far outside the city, into a remote, not embraced steppe.  It was already dark.  When the boys were having fun with Vera, and Vera screamed for help, Tiffany sat quietly in the car.  She didn’t come out when Alik pulled Vera into the street, when he raped her, didn’t come out when she called for help.  Didn't even look.  She inhaled calmly, sipping on cigarettes, one after the other, dumping the ash out the open window.
They left Vera to die in the steppe.  Her whole body ached and ached.  She couldn't even move her fingers.  Mentally said goodbye to life.  Most of all she felt sorry for her mother.  Tears rolled from her eyes.  Verochka to rise.  She tried with all her might, overcoming the pain, but could not.
 - Help!  She screamed.  It seemed to her that she was screaming, but in reality, only a barely audible, rough whisper came out of her throat ... The rope with which Alik was trying to strangle strongly squeezed his throat.  There was a thick, bloody furrow around his neck.
Suddenly she heard something or someone sneaking up.  This something was getting closer and closer.
 - For help!  - she whispered, shouting with all her might, but seeing something, she immediately cowered, trying to crawl away, hide.
The moon was full.  She clearly saw how the man, gradually turning into a monster, howled throughout the steppe.
 -  What is it?  Oh God ... No-no!  She shouted, covering herself from the monster with her hands.

Chapter 9
  Lizzie could not sleep at night.  Towards midnight she heard screams from the street, as if someone was calling her.  She looked out the window but saw no one.  Just lay down when I heard a loud knock.  Someone was tapping at the window.
Loudly, without stopping, frantically.  As if it was under a downpour in a wet, chilly autumn.  This surprised her because Lizzie's room was on the second floor.
  There were deafening knocks again and some kind of satanic laughter outside.  Again, someone called her name.  Then the cabinet doors opened with a crash and immediately slammed shut with a whistle on their own, the light turned off and then went out again.  Everything was shaking, all her things spilled out of the closet and some black, ominous shadows floated along the walls.
  With a scream of fear, she wanted to run out of the room, but someone locked the door from the outside and as she did not pound it, how she did not try to get out, she could not open it.  At the last second, almost without thinking, she crawled under the bed.  Her heart was pounding very hard, her breath propped up to her throat.  She saw how someone in red leather boots walked up and down the room, then there was a strong roar, the pleas of a young woman to spare her, the ringing and grinding of metal, and after a couple of seconds the bloody head rolled right in her direction, to the side,  where Lizzie was hiding.  A large, just huge puddle spread all over the room.  Lizzie stopped breathing.  She shrank even more, hiding in the darkest corner of her hideout, and closed her eyes, mentally reciting a prayer.
  In the morning Lizzie woke up under her bed.  She crawled out of there.  The whole body ached with pain.
  There is no trace of a nightmare in the room: not a pool of blood, not a bloody young woman's head, not anything ...

  Chapter 10
Chapter 10
  The firm where he worked, Alexey Ivanovich, finally went bankrupt.  And He stayed on the street.  To support his family, he decided to start his own business: grow an orchard and sell apples.  The harvest should be very good, because the soil in these areas is very fertile, and besides, Aleksey Ivanovich had a very good assistant - that very gardener.  A bit weird, silent, but well-versed in his business.  Gradually, everyone got used to him and simply did not pay any attention to him, except for his father.  He already understood him perfectly.  All day and night they spun in the garden, looked after the seedlings, protected them from all kinds of pests.
  This gardener had the same red leather boots that Lizzie had seen.  And this confused her, making her think.  And yet, Serik didn't like it either.  Whenever the gardener tried to say hello to him, he just ran away, hiding behind Mom and Dad.  And the gardener in despair only dropped his hands and, sighing, went about his endless business.
  Serik generally became strange.  One good thing for the parents was that he no longer hid in their room, did not scream with fear, did not scream at night in his sleep ...
 - - The man has grown!  - the father was proud, and my mother just smiled.
  But Lizzie felt.  that everything is not as it seems.
  Once she went into his room late at night to wish him good night and did not find him.  She examined the whole room and under the bed too, but did not find it .. When she was about to leave, she saw Serik, or rather her feet, in the far, inconspicuous corner.  And a moment later she disappeared in the darkness.  She ran there and saw a hole in the wall.  Serik slipped through ... this hole, which was in a large wardrobe closet.  Without thinking twice, Lizzie hurriedly followed him.  Serik climbed further and further down, moving deeper and deeper along the manhole.  He disappeared and reappeared in front of her.  For some time she completely lost sight of him.  These unrealistically thick, dense cobwebs on the walls and in the corners, wherever possible, garbage, trash, unbearable stench did not prevent her from continuing her journey.  I wanted to give up everything, but I can't.  They crawled for a very long time.  Some black, fat, terrible spider jumped out of its shelter and jumped right at her.  With great zeal, clenching her teeth almost to the point of pain, until she gritted, she threw him off her with disgust and fear and quickly, as soon as she could, rushed forward.  Serik talked to someone all the time.  That someone was a girl, at least she had a female voice, but she did not see her face.  The opening was very narrow.  Since Serik was smaller than Lizzie, it was easier for him to get through the hole.  He walked light now and then lost sight of.

Finally, They went into one room.
  - Quiet, - said Serik, turning to Lizzie.
  - So you knew.  I'm coming for you.
  - Magdalene told me.  That you saw everything and that you will definitely come ...
  - Who is Magdalene?
  - My friend ... - Serik answered quietly, pointing at ... the mouse ...
 - And where is your spider?  - asked Lizzie
  - He was killed ... - Sighing and almost crying, Serik answered ...
  - Who?
  But Serik only pressed his finger to his mouth and repeated again:
  - Quiet, otherwise they will hear ...
  The room was small and dim.  An unpleasant, musty, non-penetrating, dense fog with the smell of oil and smoke poured from the room.  Lizzie rubbed her eyes to see at least something, and Serik coughed and choked on the smoke.  And when after a couple of minutes the fog cleared, they were finally able to see the room.  On the walls and on the floor, it was bubbling, gurgling, liquid suspensions slid down.  It seemed that it was one living isolated organism, living according to its own, only known to it, laws.  One such goo began to creep up to Serik, burning everything in its path.
  - Careful ... - Lizzie pulled him towards her, instantly grabbing him by the hem of his shirt.
 - What are you doing?  - asked Serik, not understanding anything.
  - - Look ... - Lizzie pointed to a fat puddle from which smoke poured.
 - Oh!  - cried Serik, feeling how his legs began to burn, covered with red.  He immediately jerked his leg back to a safe distance.
 “Hush…” Lizzie whispered, rushing forward.  She stopped, listening.  Barely audible rustles came from somewhere.  Then everything was quiet again.
One single paw, screwed somewhere on the side of the front door, dimly illuminated the entire room, leaving most of it in the darkness, but that was enough to make out the most important thing.  There, by the door, there was a table with medical devices, the very ones that are used to pull something out of a living body or cut on something still alive.  There were shackles and rings bolted to the wall to hang a person by the hands, there were some old, but still strong lattice chambers and all kinds of mechanisms that only a patient with a great imagination could think of to torment the victim and kill her.

There was a screeching sound outside the door.  Someone was opening the door ... A minute later, they saw how someone entered the room and started looking for something, turning everything upside down.  He had those very red boots ... And this someone was ... a gardener!  Lizzie's eyes bulged out of horror and surprise, her hands shook.
  Lizzie dropped her flashlight.  the flashlight rolled straight into the middle of the room.  Hearing the roar, the gardener stopped, listened, then turned around and, seeing an object that broke the silence, picked it up, continuing to peer into the darkness, took one step, then another.  He was approaching Lizzie.  The mouse, sitting all this time on Serik's lap, escaped from his embrace and rushed forward, crossing the man in boots.  Realizing that it was just a mouse, the man calmed down and got down to business.
  Lizzie could hardly catch her breath.  When the flashlight fell, her heart almost stopped.  Well, thank God, it did.  .. Quietly, on her knees, she crawled behind the standing, stuffed with something plump bags.  Everything was clearly visible from here.  The flashlight was just a couple of steps away.  If you slip quietly until he sees….  In one jump, she was at the target, grabbing a heavy piece of iron lying near the flashlight, crept up behind the gardener and with all her might, with a swing hit him on the head.  He staggered ... But he did not fall, did not lose consciousness, as Lizzie expected, but turned to face her, looking at her with bulging eyes that crawled out of their sockets, sparkling with fury.
 - Run!  - shouted Serik.
Lizzie was confused and dropped the piece of iron.  He picked it up and began cutting it with even more furious force, trying to hit it.  Lizzie dodged as best she could, but a couple of heavy blows broke her skull, and she fell to the floor. He calmed down.  Triumphantly, he approached slowly and bent over her.  He devoured her like a hungry animal, pounced greedily, tore out pieces of flesh and swallowed them without chewing.  The pungent smell of fresh blood and meat spread throughout the room.
  Serik, who saw all this, no longer cried.  His tears dried up.  He just stared blankly, not realizing where he was and what he was doing here.
  Serik saw how a previously familiar person gradually turned into a huge wolf.  From the beginning, his hands, covered with thick, black, greasy hair, turned into huge paws with sharp claws, and then paws began to stick out of the boots, and gradually the whole body became wolfish.  A couple of moments later, a huge, fanged muzzle was already breathing right into the face of Serik, dumbfounded with horror.  And before h, Senik managed to scream with fear, regaining consciousness, the wolf grabbed a bone lying on the floor, which seemed to Serik as a huge someone's head.  After eating, he left his little room and went upstairs.
  Chapter 11
Serik.  woke up wet with sweat.  It was just a dream.  Nightmare.  Screaming, he jumped out of bed and ran into Lizzie's room.  But she was not there.  Fear rolled to my very heart.  Fear of the inevitability of fate.  But the mother who came out to the screams calmed him, saying.  that she left for school early. Serik began to wait for his sister from school.  He sat near the front door, looking at her all the time.  Gardener Joe spun around in the garden as if nothing had happened, helping his father.  A couple of times he passed Serik and even tried to pat him on the shoulder in a friendly way, but in all his movements there was something terrible and repulsive.  Serik looked at him with horror, but he was even more afraid that the dream he saw would come true.
A couple of hours later, Father and the gardener entered the house, Father was very pleased and even happy.  He put his work seals on a clean one.  mother's starched snow-white tablecloth, smeared with earth.
 “You know, dear.  A big apple harvest is expected this year.  And this is the merit of our dear Joe.  If not for him, we would be completely bankrupt.
 - What are you saying?  Mom asked in horror.
 - I say it as it is ... - he went up to her and kissed her on the cheek.  She smelled of roses.  He loved this delicate scent very much.  “You smell so good.  I would eat you like that.
  - Hush ... - my mother was embarrassed, - there are children ....
  “You know, honey,” he said louder so that everyone could hear, “I managed to sell a dozen apple seedlings today at a very good price for me.  So that we are very rich today!  And if things continue to go on like this, then I think we can even go this summer somewhere to the islands ... To the Maldives or the Canary Islands, or wherever, just wish!  There is enough money for everything!
  Mom smiled.  Joe confirmed that it is, they sold well today.
 - It should be noted by all means!  - suggested the father.
  - Yes, I will cook a gorgeous dinner!  - said mom - I'll start right now.  Let's call the neighbors.  As soon as we arrived, we didn't even really get to know anyone.  So we live - as savages!  Inconvenient already.  A festive commotion began in the house.  But only Serik did not touch it at all.  He just sat there.  Leaning in the corridor, right by the door and not looking up from the window.
Finally, a car drove up to the house and ... aunt got out of it.  Lizzie was not there.
 -Mum!  - shouted Serik.  - Where is Lizzie?
The mother, who was somewhere above, quickly went downstairs, hearing the screams of her son.  She, with the tenderness that only mothers have, hugged him and calmed him, said that Lizzie was fine.
 - She's not okay .. She was killed! - shouted Serik
  - What are you talking about?  - asked mom. - You dreamed something again?
 -No.  I didn't dream.  It was Lizzie and she was eaten by a huge monster!  - then he pointed to the gardener, who was swarming in the garden right outside the window .. He looked at Serik, not looking up from him, directly drilling him with his big, wolfish eyes.  The gardener went into the house and brought a huge, beautiful bouquet of red and yellow roses that grew near the house, and put them in a vase on the table.
Serik stepped back and ran away into the depths of the house with a wild cry.
  - What about him?  Mom asked.
  - I'll see ... - said the aunt.  She ran after him, but he was nowhere to be found.  Finally, she found him in the bedroom, under the bed.
  - Do not be afraid...
 - She's already been eaten ... - he barely uttered crying.  - The gardener ... he is a monster ...
Aunt hugged him, hugging him to her chest, and tried to calm him down.  Her heart was breaking with fear.  But she tried to control herself.
 - No.  He didn't eat her.  She'll be back soon ...
 - I'm so scared.  I'm afraid for her.
Aunt Rose was silent.  She wanted to tell her brother about her doubts about this strange gardener, but she had no proof.  A brother would never believe that a gardener is a monster.  And even more so for the baby.  The gardener is quiet in his father's eyes.  calm person.  unable to harm anyone.

Once, walking around the castle, she wandered into the unfinished, or rather not prepared for life, part of the castle, behind a curtained, huge wall-to-wall, cellophane.  A huge hole gaped behind the cellophane stretched from ceiling to floor.  That part of the castle was completely shabby, strewn with construction debris, the walls and ceiling were moldy, the old wallpaper lost its former, luxurious look and just hung like snot, breaking off and sliding down the bare, slippery walls.  But, all the same, it still retained some elusive charm, some kind of mystery.  She wandered through the rooms, going into one or the other.  In one of them, the most beautiful, she found an old, yellowed photograph of a beautiful girl in an old, expensive dress, one that has not been worn for a long time now.  Maybe our great-great-grandmothers wore it?  On the reverse side it was signed: “I will always love you.  Your Magdalena
  So romantic!  - thought Rose.  - This castle hides so many secrets!  - Excited, she ran out of the room and almost knocked down the gardener who had just come in from nowhere.
 - What are you doing here, lady?  He asked. You can't be here.
  - Why so?  She objected.  She didn't like it at all when she was reprimanded as a naughty child.
 - Well, you know ... There is rubbish everywhere ... construction is underway ... anything can happen ... Get hurt, hurt yourself ... well, not much ... - answered the gardener, embarrassed by her look and slipped inside the room, closed the door immediately behind him.  Right in front of her nose!
It was a little unpleasant, but Rosa found the strength to restrain herself and remain silent.  But after a couple of minutes, when she was about to leave, she heard a soft whisper coming from the room .. “Who is he talking to?  - Lightning flashed through her head.  Rose stepped closer and opened the door slightly.  And what she saw startled her.  He looked around, as if looking for something.  And when he found, he hastily picked up this from a heap of rubbish lying around and stroking it carefully, like the most precious person in the world, he kissed this:
  - There she is!  - wiping the photograph of the girl with his dirty sleeve, he said quietly.  - I've been looking for you for so long!  Do not look at me so!  You yourself are to blame!  You and only you are to blame for what happened between us!  - he caught his breath a little.  His breath caught in his spitting emotions.  After a pause for a couple of minutes, he added - Now you will never leave me!  You will always be mine and only mine!

The next day, she ran to the library to find something about this mysterious castle.  And that's what she unearthed.  It turned out that this castle belonged to the secular beauty Magdalena.  She got it from her first husband.  She was married early, at about the age of 15, to an old rich man.  Magdalena's parents were impoverished nobles and in order to somehow make ends meet, they gave their young daughter to an old man.  However, she did not live with him for long.  He soon died of an incurable disease.  And Magdalena herself left with her lover who knows where.  But the ubiquitous yellow press writes something completely different.  She claims that the old rich oil tycoon was poisoned ... and she herself, in a strange way, disappeared ...
 “Only it seems to me that she didn’t leave at all…” Rose said aloud.  That same gardener never got out of my head.  - And what was he doing in her room?  And so angry when you saw me there?  Surely hiding something….  It's all strange ...
In one of the yellow newspapers, Rosa learned that the name of Joe's lover is the same as that of the gardener.  Her doubts began to build up like a snowball.  And in the evening, she intended to go to that part of the mysterious castle again.
  As soon as everyone fell asleep and the lights went out in the house, Rosa stealthily went into that forbidden part of the house, passing through the cellophane film curtained in the entire corridor.
She seemed to be in the same bedroom again.  Hiding in a wardrobe, she waited.  Suddenly everything floated before her eyes: walls, windows, ceiling….  A dense fog floated from somewhere outside.  After another couple of moments, she saw barely distinguishable, blurred images of human figures: a man and a young woman.  They fought.  The woman tried to leave, tired of everything, and he wanted to stop her.
 “It's over,” she shouted.  - It's all over between us!
  - No!  No !! ”he shouted, trying to stop her.  - Magdalena listen, you can fix everything.  Give me a chance!  Well, at least just listen to me….

- What do you want to tell me:?  What else I don't know?  Have I seen this whore?  I found you in my house!
 -No!  No11 - he begged.  He begged for a long time ... Then he fell silent.  It seemed that he resigned to his fate.  Sneak ... But after a moment his eyes shone with a strange light.  He grabbed a heavy iron candlestick standing on the bedside table and smashed her head with it.  She immediately fell.  And blood flowed from my head, filling all the space.
Suddenly, a strong wind blew into the room through the open window, and the fog dissipated.
 - What was it?  - flashed through Rosa's head.  - Is it really….
The next morning Rosa found a beautiful, red rose and a note on her nightstand: “I beg your pardon, dear lady.  I really scared you then.  But I assure you, don't be afraid of me.  ...  This will not happen again.  Sincerely yours Joe
After reading it, Rosa shuddered and threw it away with disgust, as if it were a dead mouse, throwing it on the floor.  After dressing, she went to the window.  It was early morning.  Raindrops pounded on the glass, crying and finding no comfort.  The whole world, nature itself wept with grief.  A sad melody rang out from somewhere below, from the lower floors.  Someone played a beautiful but very sad melody on the violin.  This melody attracted to itself, bewitching.  Rose went downstairs.  The brother and daughter-in-law also went downstairs.
 - Who played the violin?  Have you heard the violin?  - asked the brother and when he saw Jozha he was very surprised.
  “Forgive me, I didn’t want to wake you up…” he began, “but the latest events in the house touched my heart greatly.  I dedicate this melody to Lizzie. '' He cried, sighing.  - Sweet baby ... Where is she now?
  From the last words the daughter-in-law could not resist and burst into tears, went upstairs.
 - Sorry ... - she said, leaving.

.... Lizzie was nowhere to be found.  She never returned from school.  The worried parents called all their acquaintances and girlfriends, classmates, but in vain.  It also turned out that she was not at school.  Nobody took her to school and she herself did not come that day.  Tortured by the daily worries and repairs of the house, her father forgot to take her to school, and when he saw her later.  That she was not coming down to breakfast, I thought that my wife had already taken her.  My wife thought that her husband took her to school early in the morning, as usual, so she didn't worry too much.  If she was not at school, then where is she?  The police refused to look for her, citing the fact that teenagers often run away from home, and then return as if nothing had happened.  This is normal at their age.


  Chapter 12

People began to disappear in the city.  Just like that, disappearing into nowhere.  No footprints, no prints, no witnesses, nothing.  And this time, according to the incoming call, a young woman and her minor daughter, a high school student, disappeared.
In the morning, her friend came to fetch the girl.  Together they should be beaten to go to school.  She knocked on the door but was not answered.  She pushed open the door.  The door was not locked.  Then she went inside.  Everything lay in its place, as before, as well as yesterday, when she was here with her friend and Aunt Frosya, the friend's mother, treated them to pancakes.  Everything was in its place.  Sasha walked further along the corridor - no one.  The door to Anna's room was open, but she was not there, and neither was Aunt Frosya.  They just disappeared.  The police who came to the call did not find anything.  No prints.  It has been speculated that they were lured out of the house.  And most likely, this someone from among the people they know well.
  It turned out that a few days ago, a man named Wolf, who had served time in prison, had returned to the city.  He is known for having forced a young woman to leave the barbershop in broad daylight, threatening her with a pistol.  Then they took him and put him in custody.  Well, the Wolf had an alibi this time.  His girlfriend, Nina, assured him.  That was with him that night.
Anna's mother was divorced.  The husband turned out to be a drunkard and she, having endured all, left him, taking her daughter.  She rented an apartment in another area of ;;the city and began to live a calm and happy life ... until she disappeared without a trace.  And one more thing ... Some neighbors saw how Mrs. Frosya talked to a certain person, a gardener.  She asked him to remove a huge tree that was about to fall.  This old tree was growing right under the window of her house.  It was already eaten away with might and main by worms and simply rotted from the inside, forming a huge hollow with human growth.  But the tree remained standing still ... But there are no owners ... No mother, no daughter ...

Everyone was interviewed: neighbors, relatives, acquaintances, just passers-by ... Gradually, the circle began to narrow, and only three remained.  Mrs. Frosya had a son, Karim, from her first marriage.  Hot-tempered, not working anywhere, not studying in either college or institute.  This two-meter big dilda barely finished school three years ago and wandered around the city idle.  Ranged from one party to another.  Neither the words of his mother nor his father had any effect on him.  But about a month ago, he suddenly took up his mind.  Quit drinking, got a job.  I even came to my mother and asked her forgiveness.  She seemed to forgive him.  The neighbors saw him kneeling in front of her and crying, begging to forgive her.  Forgiven or not is unknown, but did not interfere with the communication of brother and sister with each other.  She even allowed Anna to stay with her brother.
When Anna first came to her brother's rented apartment, she saw a mess.  She immediately set to work cleaning.  And Karim went to work.  In the evening he brought a bag of sweets and some food.  They sat down at the table and had supper.  Laughing and joking, we had fun.  But then, after Karim, along with old friends, went to the party in the car of his friend Alik, he seemed to be replaced.  Karim started drinking again.  And when he drinks, he starts swinging his fists.
This time, too, Anna was awaiting her brother's return home with horror.  She hadn't been able to get through to him since yesterday.  His phone was silent, and when, at last, he took the pipe, then by his voice, she realized that he was drunk as a lord.  He just swore at her, promising to deal with her.  Anna packed her things in a suitcase.  She was not going to endure this anymore, realizing why her mother did not want them to communicate.  But she did not have time to leave.  As soon as she approached the door, the door opened wide, and a drunken Karim burst into the house.  Seeing Anna, he began to make fun of her, but she was not in the mood.  She answered him rudely, reproaching him for drunkenness.
 “You’re like a mother!” He shouted in fury.  - Now you decided to teach me!  He yelled.  With fists in a rage, without thinking, he pounced on her.  Anna dodged, protecting her head, slipped into the room.  He followed her, tearing down everything that came to his hand along the road: dishes, sideboards, walls, TV, everything.  Somehow he had a knife in his hands.  Anna remembered that she had hidden all the knives beforehand.  But when she saw the knife in her brother's hands, she was dumbfounded with horror.  Overtaking her, he struck one after another, cutting through the air.  until the knife plunged into the soft belly.  Seeing the blood, Karim became even more brutal, turning into a monster.  But then Anna was barely rescued by the ambulance doctors called by the neighbors, after Karim left in search of alcohol.  After spending a week in the hospital, she came out on receipt, which my mother gave.  Mother took her.  They did not claim their brother.  Again they believed his crocodile tears and prayers ...
   ... So, the police had two suspects in their arms.  The gardener somehow did not fit into the number of suspects.  Well, he came to help, and left without completing the assignment.  For some reason, one inveterate thought revolved in my head that the lost mother and daughter were dead.  And the more days passed, the more intrusive this thought was.  And also this Vera, who disappeared without a trace.  Even her corpse is gone.
Chapter 13.
One fine morning two little girls were playing at home.  The two sisters were friendly and cheerful, they did everything together.  We played together, cleaned the house together, cooked a simple breakfast together.  The mother of two girls, Zoya, was very happy, for them, she was happy.  Somehow her fate was not successful.  The husband went to another.  Everything was fine.  Zoya always tried to smile, did not show her mind.  that she didn't like something, that it was hard for her, she never complained.  She did not complain when her husband was fired from his next job.  Only in his eyes did she understand that it was hard for him.  Silently, without asking anything, I cooked them on the table and fed them supper.  She even joked, lifted his spirits, remembering the times of his cheerful youth.  They studied together, graduated from high school together and got married right after school.  And the girls did not keep themselves waiting long, appearing in December to the delight of their parents.  He doted on his daughters.  He got a job.  At first he worked as a petty clerk, then got up.  The boss was good, understanding, humane and everything was fine.  We even bought an apartment, a car.  Then everything went downhill.  Here, too, Zoya did not complain, did not bother her husband with the question Where is the money?  I understood that it was not easy for him himself.  The bosses have changed.  Instead of the old one, a new one came from the south.  He is a tight-hearted man, a tug  I dragged everything that was bad, and forced me to sign fake documents.  On paper, all the parts are brand new, brand new, but in fact they did not even see them, and did not hear what they were supposed to do by law.  The plant where he worked collapsed completely.  He was already breathing poorly, and with the arrival of the new leadership, he completely closed down.  And Zoya did not complain, did not contradict her husband, did not make a scandal.  Then my husband spent a long time, almost a month at home.  They lived on the fact that she would be able to earn some money somewhere: to wash the floors in the entrance, bake cakes for someone, to order, sew a dress, also to order, if asked.  So they interrupted.  But what a joy she had when her husband got a new job!  Let him be a chauffeur, but he got a job!  He took the bosses wherever they wanted.  They paid, of course, not so much, but they paid!  And Zoya blossomed!  Every day she tried to please her husband: either she would bake pies with cherries, and with meat and potatoes, or arrange a romantic dinner by candlelight.  Everything for his beloved!
  Therefore, I was very surprised when one day, when I came home from work (I got a job as a nanny in a kindergarten), I saw my husband packing his suitcase.  To the question: Where?, He answered calmly: I fell in love with another.  And he just left the house, didn't even look back.  Zoya didn't cry.  She was so shocked that she could not even cry.  Only at night, when the girls fell asleep, she sobbed into her pillow.
  For what?  - flashed through her head.  But there was no answer.  The black, impassable night could not answer her question.

So they lived for two years.  They are she and her two daughters.  Leaving for work, Zoya once again looked at the players together, smiled and headed for the exit.  Elder Sonya followed her to close the door behind her mother.  Leaving, Zoya once again kissed her and told her not to open the door to anyone.  There were terrible rumors in the city, and she was very worried about her daughters.
Two hours later there was a knock on the door.  Sonya ran to the door, thinking that her mother had returned, but it was an old neighbor.  She asked to buy her bread, in the store opposite.  Only five minutes from home.  The girl remembered her mother's instructions, but she could not refuse the old grandmother and, opening the doors, ran into the store.
  And she was gone.
As it turned out later, she nevertheless bought a couple of rolls for the granny and brought it to her.  A grateful grandmother gave her a couple of coins for ice cream.  Joyful, the girl ran back to the store, now to buy her favorite treat.  On the way, one adult approached her.
 “Hi, kid.” He smiled.  - Would you like some ice cream?
  The girl nodded back.
   - I have the most delicious ice cream at home!  Come with me.  - he smiled broadly.  He was so kind and affectionate that the girl stopped being afraid and obediently followed him.
This very scene was recorded by surveillance cameras overlooking this section of the street.  But his face was poorly visible due to the tilt of his head and the high brimmed hat.  All forces were sent to find the child.  Everyone was involved: the police, search volunteers, and the public.  As it sank into the water.  There is nowhere.  We combed the entire area - in vain, zero results.  A mysterious man in a hat and brown leather boots, tall, a little stooped, just disappeared into the crowd.  Almost the entire population of a small town fits this description.  And one more not unimportant fact - all crimes were committed on the full moon.

  Chapter 14.
Improving the moment, Rosa approached her daughter-in-law, mother of Serik and Lizzie.  And she said she needed to know about something.
After informing her daughter-in-law of her suspicions about the gardener that he should not be trusted, she asked her to follow her.  Rose showed her the same mysterious room.  She told her.  that she saw the murder happen here.  And that the killer is the gardener.  But the daughter-in-law did not believe her.
  She believed her husband's word, and her husband believed the gardener.
  In the evening, after dinner, Serik unexpectedly approached his mother:
  - Come on, I'll show you something!  - Serik grabbed my mother's hand and dragged her along.  Having heard all this, the father, sitting in the hall for another newspaper, followed them.
  Together they went down to the basement.  The basement was littered and barely lit.  Hands have not yet reached here.  The house was slowly renovated, but the basement has not been touched yet.  We went down if we urgently needed something.  Trash is still left about the previous tenants.  It was covered with a thick layer of dust and cobwebs.
What was not here: paintings, as it turned out to be a fake, of the Renaissance, old shabby photos of a beautiful lady in red, about whom there were all sorts of rumors, such as that she ran away with her lover, killing her husband, furniture, too, worn out  fell down all sorts, pipes, meters, switches and the like.
 - Well, what did you find there?  - asked Serik's father.
  - Somewhere here.  Now ... there should be a door here.  - Serik was frantically looking for something, feeling the walls.
  --It?  - asked the father - He opened the very door that Serik had been looking for for so long.
  - Yes-aa-ah ... - Serik stammered in surprise.
  - You knew too ... - Mom was indignant - What is going on here?
  - The gardener is a real monster!  - shouted Serik.  - And he killed and devoured people right here!  There are even all sorts of tools!  And it happened in our house!  And the worst thing is, dad knows about it!
 - Wait!  “Wait!” Said my father defensively.  - I just saw this door first and thought that you were looking for it.
The father tried to open the door, but it would not open.  Then he picked up a thin piece of iron lying about and broke the lock.  The door opened.

What was inside really surprised Serik.  The room was empty!  No table, no medical instruments for torture, no torture chambers, nothing.  Only in the farthest corner were shackles and rings of some kind attached to the wall.
Seeing them, Rosa ran up to them, yelling that this was proof of her words and that the gardener had simply dragged everything else out of the room under some pretext.
  The father grabbed his head and silently left.  This was already the limit.  To accuse a person of murder without any evidence.  What a childhood!  Okay, kid, but she's already an adult.
  Seeing her father's irritation, Mom simply smiled, trying to find a compromise solution:
  “Let's do this ...” she thought for a moment.  - I have long wanted to do one ritual.  Purification rite.  Even at the time when we just arrived here.  But I couldn't get my hands on it.  And now I think we need to do this rite.
We will go through this ceremony with the whole family and ask the gardener to come with us.  He's like a friend to us, isn't he?  Today I will prepare everything, and tomorrow we will eat by car.

The next day, everyone got into the car and drove off.  On the way, the car suddenly stopped.  Like no breakdowns, no apparent reason.  My father was already beginning to get nervous.  The sun has almost set below the horizon.  Suddenly a female figure appeared ahead.  Like a cloud, she floated on the ground, without touching it.  The headlights of the car were on and everything was fine, we saw her.  It was the ghost of a girl who had recently disappeared.  She looked like the very same Vera.  Pictures of her were posted everywhere, so they easily recognized her.
She walked in front.  The car started and they followed behind.  Rather, the car itself drove them after her.  The domes of minarets appeared on the other side.  Cemetery.  A cold shiver gripped Serik's entire body .. Large drops of sweat appeared on the gardener's face.  He was trembling all over.  The father, taking this for fear, made fun of him.  But Serik knew, guessed what it was.  He hugged his mother.
 - We have already arrived ... - said my mother.

They went on, stopping at the grave of a noble man, and recited a prayer.  There they were already expected.  A large circle of fire was outlined on the ground.  And you had to go through it.  They also explained that the circle is the sun, and God is the light.  Light conquers darkness.  Therefore, a person should stand in the center of the circle and stand until prayers, suras are read.  After that, it is considered purified.
All were cleansed, but when it came to the gardener, they could not find him.  He just disappeared.  A wild wolf howl was heard throughout the area.  The wolves were close.  Emshe (the doctor) told them to immediately stand in the circle and not go out from there, so that they would not hear and see.
 

 

And they saw and heard a lot.

 

 

The kind and quiet gardener called them to his place, said that the wolves were gone.  But they did not dare to violate the order and did not leave the fiery circle.  The gardener was furious and furious.  His eyes were bloodshot, his hands were thick.  black, greasy, shiny coat and soon he himself turned into a wolf.
 

- What have you done?  - shouted the wolf-gardener - I considered you my family!  I trusted you!  First Magdalena.  My beloved

 

Magdalena betrayed me ... Then you ... I will never forgive you!
   

The father wanted to get out of the circle, his heart sank, he felt guilty that he had succumbed to the agreement of his wife and slandered his faithful friend.  He had already taken a step, but his wife grabbed his hand.  She just clutched at him in horror.  Emshe began to read the Koran again and the fire burned with renewed vigor.  The wolf circled around them.  They stood all night.  And when the first rays of the sun appeared in the sky, the wolf shrank into a ball.  And the higher the sun was, the smaller and smaller the wolf became, until it completely disappeared, turning into ash.
 

Then Emshe explained to them that all the calamities in the city were due to the werewolf.  When Alik and his company left the girl to die in the steppe, the wolf ate her.  He also took the little girl away, and the mother, and he also ate the daughter.

 

- But why didn't he touch us?  - asked the father
 

- I do not know.  Maybe left for later ...?
 

- And in appearance you will not tell ... Quiet man ...
 

- N ... yes ...
 

The end.


© Copyright: Райса Каримбаева, 2020
Свидетельство о публикации №220122401295 


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