Twenty-Eight

I was in the water, ice above me. I could vaguely perceive some kind of commotion above me: people or animals running all over the place.

Then I was on my feet, the Siberian man behind me, holding my shoulders. I was staring into my belly, it looked frozen: turquoise and light purple.

Next, I was lying on my back, on the ice and two polar bears tore my belly open and started to feast on my guts. I couldn’t move. I didn’t feel pain, but it was strange, watching them eat me. The Siberian man knelt down at my head. “It’s okay” he said. The bears transformed into people and they were looking for something in my belly, searching around with their hands.

Out of a sudden, I was in my childhood home, in the kitchen, at the entry of the room, staring at the colourful fly blind.

Then we were outside, and I saw our pine tree decorated with naked, shabby dolls, hanging by the hair. There were also two people unearthing dolls buried in the yard. I started to feel dread.

We were inside again, and the dolls were now tied by the hair to the strips of the bug blind… then they all disappeared. The strips started to move, as if there was a draft, and I wondered if somebody had left the kitchen door open. I turned to check, and I saw a group of dolls marching in.

The Siberian man hugged me from behind. “It’s alright” he said.

I wanted to run away but I didn’t move. I needed to understand what was happening. A dark cloud entered the kitchen, like a thick smoke, like a huge, black cotton candy. I was afraid. The Siberian man kept on whispering in my ear “it’s okay, it’s alright, you are doing well”. The darkness was filling the room, and I was close to panic.

“Breathe. slow. And now, we’ll walk out”

“But it’s in the way, it’s blocking our way.”

“We will walk right through it. Ready, steady, go.”

And on we moved, slowly, step by step. The Siberian man was gently pushing me. The darkness felt like a huge, thick, sticky spiderweb.

“is the spider around? is it a black widow?”

But the Siberian man didn’t reply, just kept saying “one more step, one more step, we go, we go, we keep going”. And we were outside, in the yard. The whole house was swallowed by this dark cloud, this thick spiderweb.

“is he inside? my father?” I asked the Siberian man.

“not now, now we walk away”, was all he replied, gently grabbing my arm, pulling me towards the gate, onto the street.

“But maybe he’s inside, we should go back for him.”

“no, not now.” he said, closing the gate. I wanted to go back and search for my father, but the Siberian man blocked my way. “Not now. really not now. you’ve had enough” he said, in a soft but firm voice. He hugged me, and gently pushed me until I started to walk away with him.

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