V. V. Bykov
Go and never come back
It was snowing. Putnitsa wandered around the frozen swamp, beginning to worry more and more. Those who sent her also did not expect snowfall, which unexpectedly began about two hours ago. Now Zoska had a clear trail, but soon it would be covered by snow. Worse, she lost her way.
The expected forester was not visible, a dull unfamiliar swamp was stretching around. There is no one to ask – there are eight kilometers to the nearest village. They did not give weapons with them-it could have failed the task, for the same reason they did not give her a compass either. She had a passport and a German ausvays, very shabby, probably many used it. A document in the name of Adelaide Augustevich, Zoska very much liked the name. And then – Zosya Nareiko, although each – his own. She had to cross the swamp, cross a small river and go to the Skidelsky railroad – there will already begin familiar places. There will be their dangers, but here it turned out to be more terrible: in the dim twilight the swamp seemed to be full of monsters. Coming closer, Zoska saw a snow-covered hummock or a snag, what else to be at this time on the swamp. However, fear grew with darkness. The girl was driving herself obsessive thoughts,
The snowfall seemed to have thinned, suddenly a hare darted from under the feet, forcing the girl to freeze from horror. Looking back, she was even more frightened, as she clearly saw the silhouette
Zoska explained that she was very frightened of the persecution, that’s why she rushed into the river. Anton ordered her to run after him to keep warm. The girl felt that her legs were derevyayut, skirt froze and became a stake. Zoska tried to ask Anton how he was close. But he only answered: “Well, it’s okay.” Well, it’s time to come, or else… “She could not understand why he was tens of kilometers from the camp, they sent her to work alone, there was no question of Golubin. There’s no power to run, but you can not stop – you’ll freeze. Zoska remembered how they said goodbye to Anton in the morning. She could not say where she was going, she only promised to come back in about two weeks. Zoska wanted to say what she needed for the river, but first, really, it was necessary to dry herself, and she happily grabbed this sympathetic help. Anton knew, somewhere near the village, there you can be dried. He advised me to cross the river near the forest ranger. Zoska was going to, but because of the snowfall she lost her way. Anton smiled: not yet out of the zone and already lost his bearings. “How are you going to be there, scout?” She had nothing to say. But do not be frightened of it, Zoska would not climb into the river, there’s no one to blame. On the run Anton looked around and realized that the village was left out. Golubin grumbled discontentedly at Zoska that they had lost her way because of her, and she wanted to shout that if she had not been there, she was not scared and would not have climbed that river, but she restrained herself, and decided that she would somehow get out. Anton saw the stack and called the girl. In the hay it was possible to dry and sleep in the warmth. In the first haystack the hay was caked and did not succumb to their frozen fingers, but in the second one a laz was ready. Anton ordered Zoska to climb into the haystack, remove wet clothes and wrap in his casing (fur coats). While the girl was pulling off her wet boots, stockings, skirt, Anton was closing his laz. He cheerfully promised that soon they would breathe and be able to dry. Anton lay down, pressing himself against the wrapped Zoska. She asked Anton where he was going? Golubin replied that they were almost on the way. Zosku was frightened by Anton’s close neighborhood, she first found himself in such a situation: on the one hand, he was her savior, but what he had in mind, she did not know and decided to keep as tight as possible. Anton promised that soon Zoska would get warm. “Better than on the stove in the hut.” Without any connection, he suddenly asked if she remembered Looks? What there were parties. Kuznetsov was at war and loved to walk. “I was young,” answered Zoska, “and there is no Kuznetsov or many.” While the girl was pulling off her wet boots, stockings, skirt, Anton was closing his laz. He cheerfully promised that soon they would breathe and be able to dry. Anton lay down, pressing himself against the wrapped Zoska. She asked Anton where he was going? Golubin replied that they were almost on the way. Zosku was frightened by Anton’s close neighborhood, she first found himself in such a situation: on the one hand, he was her savior, but what he had in mind, she did not know and decided to keep as tight as possible. Anton promised that soon Zoska would get warm. “Better than on the stove in the hut.” Without any connection, he suddenly asked if she remembered Looks? What there were parties. Kuznetsov was at war and loved to walk. “I was young,” answered Zoska, “and there is no Kuznetsov or many.” While the girl was pulling off her wet boots, stockings, skirt, Anton was closing his laz. He cheerfully promised that soon they would breathe and be able to dry. Anton lay down, pressing himself against the wrapped Zoska. She asked Anton where he was going? Golubin replied that they were almost on the way. Zosku was frightened by Anton’s close neighborhood, she first found himself in such a situation: on the one hand, he was her savior, but what he had in mind, she did not know and decided to keep as tight as possible. Anton promised that soon Zoska would get warm. “Better than on the stove in the hut.” Without any connection, he suddenly asked if she remembered Looks? What there were parties. Kuznetsov was at war and loved to walk. “I was young,” answered Zoska, “and there is no Kuznetsov or many.” that soon they will breathe and will be able to dry out. Anton lay down, pressing himself against the wrapped Zoska. She asked Anton where he was going? Golubin replied that they were almost on the way. Zosku was frightened by Anton’s close neighborhood, she first found himself in such a situation: on the one hand, he was her savior, but what he had in mind, she did not know and decided to keep as tight as possible. Anton promised that soon Zoska would get warm. “Better than on the stove in the hut.” Without any connection, he suddenly asked if she remembered Looks? What there were parties. Kuznetsov was at war and loved to walk. “I was young,” answered Zoska, “and there is no Kuznetsov or many.” that soon they will breathe and will be able to dry out. Anton lay down, pressing himself against the wrapped Zoska. She asked Anton where he was going? Golubin replied that they were almost on the way. Zosku was frightened by Anton’s close neighborhood, she first found himself in such a situation: on the one hand, he was her savior, but what he had in mind, she did not know and decided to keep as tight as possible. Anton promised that soon Zoska would get warm. “Better than on the stove in the hut.” Without any connection, he suddenly asked if she remembered Looks? What there were parties. Kuznetsov was at war and loved to walk. “I was young,” answered Zoska, “and there is no Kuznetsov or many.” she first found himself in such a situation: on the one hand, he was her savior, but what he had in mind, she did not know and decided to keep as tightly as possible. Anton promised that soon Zoska would get warm. “Better than on the stove in the hut.” Without any connection, he suddenly asked if she remembered Looks? What there were parties. Kuznetsov was at war and loved to walk. “I was young,” answered Zoska, “and there is no Kuznetsov or many.” she first found himself in such a situation: on the one hand, he was her savior, but what he had in mind, she did not know and decided to keep as tightly as possible. Anton promised that soon Zoska would get warm. “Better than on the stove in the hut.” Without any connection, he suddenly asked if she remembered Looks? What there were parties. Kuznetsov was at war and loved to walk. “I was young,” answered Zoska, “and there is no Kuznetsov or many.”
“Who knows, and we will not be back soon,” said Anton.
Zoska shivered coldly from this prospect. She did not want to die. You can not think about this, going to the task. Anton agreed, it is necessary to think about death – a war, but it is not necessary to speak. Wrapped in a casing, Zoska gradually warmed up and began to doze off.
Suddenly she was awakened by Anton’s voice, remembering how well she danced with him, then she liked it. He asked where Zoska was from. And she replied that from Skidel, she lived there with her mother. Anton knows those places. In the autumn he went to the raid with Kuznetsov. Golubin asked, so Zosya would see her mother, but the girl did not know if she could meet. After all, she is not going to visit, but on an assignment. Anton replied that his friend lives in Skidel. Zoska asked who was it? Golubin replied that she hardly knows him, he is a new man who recently settled in those parts. Zoska agreed – she was living in Novogrudok before the war, she studied at the technical school.
Anton, turning on the hay, put his arm round her shoulders. Zoska tried to pull away. After giving her the hood, Anton began to freeze, so he tightened the girl closer to him, saying that it was so warm. Zosia boasted that she is strong, knows the techniques of hand-to-hand combat. Anton replied that it would be better if she had been given a weapon, certainly not allowed to take it, but the documents are reliable. Zoska retorted, she had a shabby ausvays. Golubin replied that the scruffy documents had more faith. He admitted that he had a revolver revolver system – the most reliable document. Zoske did not like Anton going with weapons, do they know about it at the partisan headquarters? Golubin replied: “I myself know better what to do with.” He advised the girl to hold on to him, he would not be lost. Anton affectionately admitted that after their morning meeting he could not find his place, he was so scared for Zoska. She was pleased, that Anton worries and is afraid for her. Golubin tried to hug the girl, but she too resolutely rejected his affection. Anton smiled: “We’ll sleep”; let Zoska not be afraid of him, he joked. Zoska asked, maybe Anton will go further alone? “While I’ll wait,” Golubin replied. They almost quarreled that Zoska did not want at all.
Burying himself in the hay, Anton pretended to fall asleep. The two under the casing would have been warmer, but he moved away from the girl, so as not to think that for this reason he ran after her. Although he was a man, and she attracted him a lot with her young femininity. Now Golubin did not remember when, for the first time, he seriously drew attention to her, perhaps in Shouts, when he was dancing with Zoska, or when their detachment left a camp and moved to a swamp. After a long march, everyone was hungry and chilled, the platoon commander assigned three to equip the detached kitchen. Two of them followed the water, and Anton set to work on the hearth-furnace, he began digging with a fuse, sweating, sweating, and decided to take off his sheepskin coat, then he saw Zoska, asked: “Did she come to help?” She replied that such an employee did not need help, poured dried peas into his hand and walked away.
All the autumn there were tasks, Anton was not up to Zoska. Golubin by nature was not from the nervous, he had enough endurance. Constant fighting and danger tempered him, there was no case that Anton was frightened or confused. Although some in the detachment was inclined to accuse him of the death of the commander. But there Anton was not guilty of anything. On the contrary, by his ingenuity he saved the four, the first jumping from the attic and shouting to the others: “Jump!” They, panting in the smoke and shooting back from the settling policemen, hardly left. Kuznetsov and the orderly rarely shot from the basement, where the police were throwing grenades. Probably, the commander was wounded and could not jump out, but what could they, four, “against three dozen insolent bobics?”. Golubin respected and appreciated Kuznetsov, he felt sorry for the sensible and brave commander to tears. Going on business, in intelligence, on operations and parties, Kuznetsov always took with him six guerrillas, among which Golubin also began to travel from summer. Now, from this six, it seems, there is no one left. At first it was not easy. The detachment gathered from different people – the district activist and the NKVD, the Red Army soldiers, the surrounding soldiers, the fleeing POWs and local brave souls. Kuznetsov checked people in battle, where they extracted weapons, showed their skill and ingenuity. Under Kuznetsov, Golubin commanded a platoon, after the death of the commander Anton was lowered to the rank and file. By the fall of the people, they began to wag, began to fight sensibly – and then the commander’s ridiculous death. “Since September, the detachment entered its dark strip, misfortunes and poured on it, one worse than the other.” The commander and three men of his group perished, then Kubelkin’s subversive group went away and did not return. Did not have time to grieve over the best fighters, as the detachment came out to smash the German garrison at the station and got under the organized fire of the enemies – suffered great losses. The lads were depressed, there was no connection with Moscow, there were various alarming rumors of battles at Stalingrad. One day Golubin heard the conversation between the bucket, a former Vileyka militiaman, with a major about Stalingrad, and examined a map from a school textbook. Seeing the map, Anton was amazed – Stalingrad was in the very depths of Russia. “You can go crazy – how far the Germans have gone! ..” For several days Golubin walked completely dead, he understood that the fate of the city is a foregone conclusion. So why are they here in this forest? What are they going to do here and what are they waiting for in the near future? True, Stalingrad still holds, but how long can this last? All this greatly depressed the partisan. “And then the Kubelkin group disappeared. that Zoska was sent to search for the tracks of the group. The girl smiled affably all the time, it seemed, she did not touch the scourge. Does she not know what awaits her? A brief meeting with Zoska before her departure for the mission turned Anton’s whole life.
In the middle of the night Zoska woke up and remembered what had happened. She grinned at her luck-meeting with the one who had already sparked a spark of interest in herself. She was pleased that someone was worried about her and worried about her, maybe she did. She thought that Anton Golubin was a good man: he came to her aid at the very right moment.
At first, Zoska was performing the duties of the nurse in the detachment with the wounded, then she began to help in the kitchen. Now her services are needed Dozortsevu, preparing from the girl connected. It’s more dangerous, but also more honorable than in the kitchen. It was the second time that she had gone there, where she had not always returned.
Zoska cautiously got out of the stack. There was silence all around, a little freezing. The girl ran into the stack, and then returned to the hole. It was warm here, but it’s time to leave in the morning. Anton, probably, will find a way to cross. Zoska thought, how old could he be? “Probably already at thirty, almost an old man against her.” Soon after getting angry, she fell asleep again. In a dream, she was anxious. Someone who was native to her was at the same time “like an angel and a devil”, he is elusive, and this especially tormented Zoska. Then she saw a dream, like climbing on rocks that she had never seen before, distinctly feels behind her abyss, vainly seeking support for her hands and feet, she wants to scream, but she does not have a voice. Suddenly a bear paw with claws is stretched from above. Zoska is frightened of this paw more than the abyss, breaks down and chokes in frustration. But a few seconds before death wakes up in a cold sweat. The dream puzzles and scares Zoska. Anton is no longer beside him – he is standing outside and calling her for exercises. Zoska hurriedly puts on half-baked things and climbs out of the hole. Anton tried to get into it with a snowball, but Zoska easily evaded. Golubin invited her to wash with snow: “Who will wash the first snow, the whole winter will not catch a cold! And well!” He walked over and rubbed her face with snow. The girl shrank back discontentedly. Anton asked if her clothes were dry. Zoska replied that things were still wet. “It’s okay, they’ll dry up quickly in the frost,” Anton reassured. He gradually learned that Zosia needed to cross the Niemen, for which she was given a password. The girl invited Anton to hide the revolver in a haystack, but he refused. The weapon can still come in handy. Zoska is afraid, she believes in foreboding and predicting prophetic sleep. Anton laughs that the Komsomol believes such trifles. “Wherever the night, go there and sleep,” – and throw the nonsense out of your head. But Zoska remembered how on the eve of the German raid she had a dream, as if she was overtaken by a German shepherd, and in the morning Kuznetsov barely managed to take the detachment beyond the swamp. So do not believe in “all sorts of prejudices.” Anton replied that life is much worse than dreams, and even the commander of the detachment fell into a dump – from former civilians. Here Kuznetsov was a good commander, he knew how to protect people, and not just execute the orders of the center. Anton is confident that it is difficult to fight the Germans, they have strength and power. Zoska was a “little man”, but she believed in the ideals of good and justice, “which in a boorish way and at the same time they trampled down the fascists.” She hated them for killing innocent people. And she said to herself, that it is impossible to live in the same world with this beast, that it will harm them as soon as it can, if they do not solve it earlier. So she went to the guerrillas and for eight months there is no other life for her than the forest, complete danger, hunger, cold – except war.
Talking, we went to the river. Anton began to look for a suitable place for the crossing, noticed a beaver, busily sneaking down the river. The beaver, bellowed by Anton, hid in his hut. Golubin saw a dam set up by beavers. Here you could move. He jumped to the other side, and Zoska was afraid of jumping. Then Golubin stepped into the water and caught the jumping girl. Anton soaked his feet, so he sat down to rewind footcloths, and then confidently went ahead, forcing Zoska to step on the trail. Unexpectedly stopping, so that Zoska flew at him, Anton confessed that he was in the self-winded. The girl was scared, how could he return to the detachment? Anton replied that it was too late to change anything. He can not abandon her, he is afraid for her. After looking at Zoskin Ausweis, Golubin rejected a badly glued photo. At the first check, Zoska will be taken with this fake paper. Zoska did not know what to do. Anton offered to go together, he will not be a burden to him. The girl confirmed: “You will not become a burden, on the contrary!” Anton assured, the two of us go safer. Zoska was in difficulty: how to proceed. Of course, it’s easier and calmer with him. But in the detachment of Anton waiting for trouble, she can not drive him away, and does not want. He managed to do so much for her! Encouraged, Zoska moved after Golubin. He managed to do so much for her! Encouraged, Zoska moved after Golubin. He managed to do so much for her! Encouraged, Zoska moved after Golubin.
Anton confidently went ahead, in the autumn he already walked this route. Entering the forest, I heard voices and went to check. Leaving the girl on the edge, he himself went into the forest. He saw the people at once, bypassing a thick bush. A woman was sitting in the sleigh, a peasant stood beside him, and a freshly fallen pine lay. Anton understood: this village came to stock up on firewood. He approached and greeted me, the guy was frightened, the youngster looked at Anton without fear. After talking, Golubin found out that they were driving a pine tree to replace the old rotten girlfriend. The young woman talked intelligently that they had married recently, themselves from Steblewka, she nodded to the side: “It’s not far off here.” Anton asked about the Loams, and he was shown the direction, Islet is also in that direction. Golubin asked for bread, and the young man cut off a small slice of rye bread and bacon, but did it discontentedly: very little. Anton cursed to himself: you will not ask for anything. A third, bearded man came up, asked who Anton was. “Just a man,” answered Golubin. The peasant said that difficult times have come: they live in eternal fear. “Why do not you take up arms?” asked Anton. The young woman became angry, began to protect her husband, who could not offend the fly. The guy was embarrassed to say that he might decide to go to the guerrillas. The baby cried out. Anton left, he had no time to listen to a family quarrel. Golubin remembered how he worked as a tax agent before the war, traveled a lot around the area, he had a lot of acquaintances. When the war broke out, the old life collapsed. Once, six armed men knocked at him in the hut. Among them was his friend from the NKVD. They also smuggled Anton into the partisan detachment, telling about acquaintances. Now Anton recalled the peaceful life as an unrealizable happiness. War can not see the end. Maybe they kill him, it’s good if they buried him in a human way. Seeing Zoska, he called the girl.
Anton shared with Zoska the bread and fat obtained from the milk and ate his piece with pleasure. Zoska always worried about Golubin, persuaded him to return, but he intended to pursue her for the Niemen.
Anton said that he had met peasants who had come for a pine-tree to repair the hut. Zoska became angry: there are so many who want to sit tight behind strangers’ backs, hoping to survive the war. They went out to the road, but it was dangerous in the daytime. Anton turned to the forest and walked along the edge of the forest. Soon the Germans drove along the road, Zoska was pleased with Anton’s foresight. However, they soon “missed” the road, because there was no noise from there. Anton went slower, Zoska, hoping for Golubina, did not think about the road, she again all was wet. The forest is over. On the relief of the terrain, the approach of the river was felt. Zoska was glad that they had come to the right place. Several times in her childhood she saw the Neman in the summer, shrouded, not making a strong impression. Now the view of the river was completely transformed: it was heard from the abundance of water, The rapid and powerful current was fraught with a sinister force. There was a lot of ice along the river. It seemed that the banks respectfully parted, passing the river to the sea. After walking about two kilometers along the shore, they reached the conditional crossing, smoke was falling on the ravine. A fussy and spiteful dog rushed to meet them. Out of the ravine Petryakov came out, an elderly unshaven man. He reassured the little dog and invited the visitors to the dug-out. Zoska and Petryakov exchanged a password and a recall and, crouching, climbed into a tiny room carved into a ravine slope. Instead of a window, a piece of glass was inserted in the upper part of the door, a treadmill and a well-heated furnace stood. Petryakov invited the newcomers to come closer to the stove while Bormot-hin brought the boat up. He said that yesterday they were transporting from the other side the returning reconnaissance men: two living men, one alive in a shovel. Zoske disliked this conversation. Yes, There was a war and people were killed by the hundreds, but the mention of the murdered scout hurt the soul. She was most afraid of getting a bullet in the stomach, although being wounded in the head or in the chest is not any better. Zoska asked Petryakov why he was coughing, probably chilled? The peasant winced, nothing else would help him-consumption. Zoska mixed up, she did not know what was being said in such cases, and whether to console? At last Bormotukhin appeared, looking like a teenager. He complained of a strong wind on the river, moved closer to the stove. Zoska was scared, how could they get across the Niemen in this weather? After a little warmth, the teenager called Zoska and Anton to the crossing. On the threshold of the girl looked back, wishing Petryakov recovery. Anton first entered the boat, helped Zoska. The girl sat on the cross-beam, clutching the wet sides of the boat with both hands. The ship swayed menacingly, when the ice floes struck against the sides, but the bottom did not go and did not even draw water. Bormotukhin confidently wielded the oar, then rowing, then pushing away large ice floes. On the other side, Zoska hardly breathed, but Bormotukhin reassured: “Hiba is scary here?” He pointed out a safe direction to the “drva” (trees), showed where on the way back to look for the boat. Thanking the carrier, Anton and Zosya moved on.
The Neman was left behind. Quickly it was getting dark, and again it began to snow, the wind grew stronger. His impulses rushed furiously, as if they were trying to rip off their clothes. Anton asked when Zoska needed to be in Skidel. She replied that tonight. They did not have time on time: it was still about sixteen kilometers, which is almost impossible for such weather and without a road. Zoska was eager for Skidel, of course, there was her mother. But Anton did as much as the girl. For some time in Skidel settled his old friend Zhorka Kopytsky. But how he will accept Anton, people change, and then there is war. At one time, Anton helped Kopitskiy get a special group formed to transfer to the rear of the Germans. And then their ways parted.
The fact that his current path so successfully coincided with the task of Zoska, Anton was inclined to see a happy sign of his military fate. He was troubled by crossing the Neman, but it went smoothly – Zosya was silent. Golubin was sure that he was cooperating with this scout. “Not a single girl, to which he threw an eye, did not dodge it.” Now Zoska needed him to the extreme, and Anton hoped, if he tried, everything he had planned would be done, if only Kopytsky failed. “
Realizing that Skidel today did not reach, Anton began to think about a night’s lodging. The wind gradually changed direction and now it blew from the west. This promised a change in the weather, noticeably warmed, squelched underfoot. All day Anton intended to talk with Zoska to tell her about the most important thing for which he was next to her, but could not choose the right moment. He knew this region well: in the summer he had already been there and could go on for a long time, and Zoska was tired. They ran across a deserted road and found themselves on plowing. As soon as she moved her legs, Zoska walked behind her. In the distance the farm loomed, but it turned out to be polizei, who arranged a party with an accordion. Moving away from the farm, Anton walked quickly, not adjusting to the step of the girl – he knew where he was going… The God-saved hamlets met them with silence. Anton moved over the fence and helped Zoska. They entered the dark porch, and then into the hut, among which stood the coffin, several women were sitting around him. Anton was taken aback, pulled off his wet cap. One of the women got up, ducking noiselessly into the darkness, and immediately returned, giving them bread and potatoes in their uniform: “Now, do not blame me for the smell…” Do not blame me for the smell… “Anton and Zoska went out again into the night and damp. It seemed that Anton was at a loss, not knowing where to go.
Long, almost blindly, they walked along the bare plain of the field. Zoska was soaked, she could not forget the picture of these women’s funerals. But somehow one had to shake off the depressing mood: “She has a difficult task for a few days, I have to go to Skidel, on two farms, to go to Grodno, maybe I’ll be able to see Mamusia.” There is still a lot to do in life, why think about a funeral? ” Having caught up with Anton, Zoska learned that they had deviated greatly from the route and came to the Kotra river. Golubin said that Skidel can only get to the morning, but Zoska needs to pass at night so that no one will know her. Anton took his bearings and went to take them to the right. A quarter of an hour later they approached the dilapidated cage (the cattle room), in the corner of which a cube with a preserved stove was fenced off, on which once fodder and water for cattle were heated, heated the room. Anton melted the stove. It was warming, Golubin hung his jacket and Zoski’s jacket. She took off her wet boots and stockings, sat down on Anton’s already dried casing. They had a bite of bread and potatoes. “For the mention of the soul of that grandmother,” Anton joked gruffly. He asked Zoska if her mother knew that her daughter was so close? The girl answered that her mother had probably buried her, since the spring she had not seen her. Golubin retorted: “People could see Zoska and tell her mother.” Anton once again repeated that for Zoski’s sake he went to “waggon”, because he fell in love. She had not yet admitted to love, it was scary and pleasant. “You know, I, too,” she said softly, “you’re good.” Anton began to kiss her, Zoska tried to evade, but the guy held her tightly in his arms. “Her strength and will have disappeared, leaving all in fear and the warm bliss of his embrace. She only felt that it was not necessary, that they acted badly, with a clouded consciousness, she almost clearly understood that she was dying, but there was some kind of joy in this death, and most importantly, there was a consciousness that she was dying with him. “She woke up suddenly, from an alarming push from the inside, and, fearing to move, opened her eyes, it was already dawn, the stove went out and it got colder in the room. “Zoska needed time to gather her thoughts.” It was too late to feel remorse, she thought, she was consoled by the only one in her position thought: with every but now it’s war. I was going to the nineteenth year, “what’s good, do not grow old in the girls for long or worse, die, never knowing either love, nor men. ” About Anton Zoska thought: “he is a nice, prominent man, brave and not an ohalnik, but in what happened between them, probably, a large part of the blame falls on her, too.” She thought she would feel uncomfortable with Golubin when they got out of the dark defensive, Zoska realized that she was ready to go to the end of the world with Anton, especially now, after this road and this overnight stay in the curb.
From the street came a voice urging the horse. Anton jumped up, thinking what was going on. He shod his boots and went out the door. Zoska hurriedly pulled dry boots, every second waiting for the team to run. Soon Anton returned with a revolver in his hand. He said that the policemen drove it. Zoska could not understand the changes that had taken place with Anton. He sat wicked and depressed, his hands drooping feebly.
While Zoska was training in the chamber, Anton ran over the equipment and through the open gates saw two sleds, who were lugging their riders in black overcoats, lazily: policemen. The fright passed, the policemen paid no attention to the equipment. Before Anton came scraps of phrases: “Stalingrad,” “given,” or maybe “taken,” strained, he heard the “offensive” and thought that the Germans had launched a new offensive on the Volga. He did not have any facts, but Anton decided to hurry: we must end up with “partisans”, take care of our own head while it is still on our shoulders, and “take root in a new, German way, life…”, since nothing happened with Soviet. He informed Zoska that the Germans had taken Stalingrad, she did not believe it. This news did not embarrass her. She was still going to do the job. Anton began to explain: probably soon the end of the war, if the Germans were fortified on the Volga. While Zoska was running “to the wind,” Anton considered how to start a conversation and convince her to go to the Germans.
Suddenly Zoska appeared with a white face: she found the murdered Surovets-demolition from their detachment, next to it was the body of the partisan, Anton forgot his name, they were killed in the back – “police” work.
Anton feels like he was trapped, how to get out of here, in the field he will be seen five kilometers away. Anton began to explain to Zoska, since the Germans took Stalingrad, it means that soon the war is over, and there is nothing to wait until they are stung in the forest by dogs and starved. You have a mother in Skidel, and I have there, I told you, the chief of police Kopytsky, my fellow countryman from Borisov, he should help. Let’s stop at you. We will live like people, like husband and wife. I fell in love with you, Zoska, “Anton finished. She thought that Golubin was joking, but he confirmed that he was speaking very seriously. Zoska considers this a meanness. Yes, she has not lived at all, she wants to save her life and her mother. But going to the Nazis is worse than death. “We must lose the last conscience, they are the plague of the twentieth century… It’s impossible to live with them, they are animals.” Anton objected, if with them in an amicable way… Zoska against. Anton began to get angry. He is sure: Germans are bastards, but they win, “and we are compelled to reckon with them.” Zoska does not believe that the Germans have won, Moscow, the Urals, and Siberia have not yet been taken… “We are people, and we will never accept them, even if they win.” You say: there is no choice. They are our choice. ” Anton was surprised, as the girl “on-propagandized”. But Zoska objected, propaganda had nothing to do with it; she has eyes and ears, she is sure of her rightness, offered to forget this unpleasant conversation for both. Anton replied that the conversation can be forgotten, but the essence remains. He somehow thought that Zoska loved him. The girl answered: “That’s the whole point, otherwise there would be another conversation.” She again began to send Anton to the detachment, promising, after returning,
Golubin answered, enough, he honestly fought eight months, no longer wants and she will not be allowed. He is sure: with Zoska, we must act decisively, and listen less to her objections.
The rest of the day they remained silent, standing at the entrance of the gate and not taking their eyes off the deserted road. Zoska wept, she was depressed by the closeness to the dead and “this absurdity”, conceived by Anton. She wanted to live, but the way of salvation offered by Anton, she did not fit. Zoska feverishly figured out what to do. I did not want to go further with Anton, and it’s impossible: she will fail the task, ruin people, so she began to persuade Anton to return to the detachment, but he did not go away, keeping a watchful eye on her to keep up. Zoska saw the farm and persuaded Anton to go there, he conspired to leave Skid-la five kilometers away. They came to the farm and, going around it, found themselves in front of the owner. He said there were no strangers in the hut. Anton asked to warm up, the owner invited me to enter. In the hut reigned a semi-darkness. Near the melted stove, the hostess was busy, at the table
M boy-teenager was reading a book. Anton said that they went in to rest. Zoska talked to the boy about a book that lacked a few pages at the end. Zoska once read the “Mysterious Island” and recounted missing pages to Vatsek. The hostess fed Anton and Zoska, boasted that the son – an excellent student, even showed a letter. Zoska wanted to take a little longer, but Anton zasobiralsya on the road. The girl categorically refused to go any further with Anton, she understood: the fight was to be fought, but firmly decided not to yield. As soon as the young people argued, the mistress sent her son to another room.
Anton was puzzled. He felt fooled. He was not afraid of the hosts, he would cope with them with weapons, but Zoska needed him alive, and with it still had to suffer, he felt it. Anton began to tell the hosts that the woman was obstinate, but Zoska abruptly replied: “I’m not your woman! .. You’re lying, you’ve never been my husband!” Anton was angry with the girl who brought the situation to a scandal, which has to be settled with strangers. Anton could not go to Skiden alone – he could be mistaken for a spy, he needed a hostage like Zoska. Like all business people, the Germans adored guarantees. “But here take it, this guarantee, petrified in its wild stubbornness on the bench at the table.” Anton tried all the ways, he was afraid and did stay with his nose. Demanding a rope from the owner, he tormented Zoska’s hands behind his back and tied them, he also tied his feet. Then he demanded from the owner a horse, not to drag her five kilometers on herself. But the horse was not in the village. Anton did not believe, went with the owner to check the barns. He closed the hostess and his son in the next room. While Anton and the owner were absent, Vatsek opened the door, untied Zoska and pointed out to her the back door for the stove. Zoska jumped out into the night and was about to run to the forest, but then she thought that she would be with the hosts of the farm. Picking up an ax, she hid around the corner. She had to stop Golubina. Seeing the shimmering shadow of Zoska, Anton recoiled to the side. The ax just cut the casing on the guy’s shoulder. He did not long, but cruelly beat Zoska, she hoped that he would kill her. But he needed him alive: otherwise how to appear in the Skidel police. Zoska decided that you must die before he dragged her to Skidel. She will grab Antonov from behind his bosom and kill him and himself. Then I thought, why kill yourself is better than him.
Anton found out from the owners where you can take a horse. The nearest farm is two kilometers away. Anton sent his master there, threatening: “But you’ll be cunning, you will not bring a horse,” I’ll burn the village. “Did you understand?” Anton gave the owner an hour to understand the axis, this hour of time became a measure of her capabilities. For this hour, something needs to be done, then, probably, it will be too late.
Anton gave the hostess to sew the hood cut by Zoska, and he pushed the Nagan into his pocket, and Zoska did not get it anymore – Zoska tried to move, to lean against the wall, Anton forbade, and again bandaged her. called Anton a traitor. “He objected:” Who forced him to do this? “He did not intend to betray her.” I wanted to live with you. As it should be, humanly. And you are making a traitor out of me. “Zoska answered, let her betray, not the first, one was already choked with thirty pieces of silver, but Anton did not seem to touch the ancient analogies.
He scolded Zoska for ingratitude. She wanted to kill him, and he helped her for two days, without her, she would have disappeared. Anton was partly right, but she did not ask for his help. Now Anton hoped for the price of her life to buy her own. Zoska bitterly thought that it would be better for her to quietly drown on the Shchar, than to experience so much emotion and even the upcoming torment.
Anton occasionally looked at Zoska, thinking, let him disappear, if such a fool. How many would have been found in the detachment of men who, for the sake of such a snot, would risk risking their heads, saving her from the war. But he decided, left the detachment, led her through the hornets of police nests, protected, warmed. And she? Than for all this repaid? It would have been seized by the Germans so and so would have shaken all the information they needed. So let her serve him, save his life now. Of course, his conscience tormented him, but he tried not to listen to his thoughts: “If you listen to your conscience, you will soon throw off the hooves.”
The owner was not there, Anton asked the landlady: “Your kurkul did not run away?” She answered that she would not run away, but would lead the horse.
Zoska did not notice how she dozed off, crouched on the cold floor. She felt uneasy, not understanding her reason. In the dream in front of her was a spring green field with a white bell tower of the church. She did not feel physically, but she knew that there was someone who was kind should have just appeared before her. Zoska knew, he should be respectful. There were people all around, they were also waiting for him. Suddenly Zoska saw that she easily and freely hovered over the crowd, then became heavy and began to drastically decline. People ran after her, trying to grab her with long, grasping hands, she tried to dodge, waved her hands, gradually turned into black wings of a bird. And Zosya herself turned into a bird. But the wings did not help her to fly, she was on the ground, in a huge snowdrift in the snow field. Then she seemed to be separated from the bird and saw her from the side, spread out in the snow. The bird was dying, and along with her, in despair, Zoska seemed to die.
But no, she did not die, woke up with the consciousness that the situation had changed. Anton opened the front door, into which the host burst in and behind him three more armed men. The sergeant ordered one of the visitors to search Anton. Golubin was frightenedly justified that he was his own, “from Suvorov…”. The newcomers turned to Zoska. She realized that they were from the Lipichansk brigade. Anton said that she, too, from Suvorovsky, and tied it because Zoska wanted to spill over to the Germans. “You’re lying,” the girl cried, shuddering. One of the visitors recognized her, even named her. Zoska objected that Anton wanted to betray, the owner can confirm. But the owner did not understand much about Zoski with Anton and did not know who was telling the truth. Zoska was unleashed. Now they tied their hands to Anton, threw a sheepskin coat and took them from the farm. Zoska was also taken with him.