Four of us

Posted: February 17, 2014 in Four of us, Short stories, starts & writing

Четыре из нас!

Part I

Four of us. Each clad in a rag-tag mish-mash of threadbare and stained second-hand clothes. Other odd and mysterious items of abandoned apparel found along the road. In a banged out old Czech-made station wagon. Barreling along at the head of a roiling smoke cloud like a steam train. Have to yell to be heard above the racket of the motor when she’s doing anything more than about twenty miles an hour. Strong petrol and exhaust smell inside and it’s too icy to have the windows down.
Somewhere north of Nehoiu, after what felt like hours bumping and crunching along some God-awful logging road that Toy had assured us was the perfect route away from the prying eyes of authority, we stopped the car under a sky that would later bring rain and a little sleet. Just over a rickety wooden bridge from a little five-house-and-thirteen-dog village where smoke whipped and wafted crazily from chimneys in the frigid breeze. Below the bridge a fast flowing, muddy-brown river was a constant white-noise along with the sound of the wind blustering through the hissing pine trees and from time to time one of the more assertive of the thirteen dog’s bark would echo up the valley.

The remaining stone span

We were huddled under the remaining stone span of an otherwise demolished railway viaduct that stood just off the road. With dirty fingernails and cracked hands in fuzzy, black woolen fingerless-gloved, Nik rummaged around in his reeking bag of tricks for the makings of a joint. The cigarette paper stuck on his lower lip while he worked, threatening to fly off into the freezing Never-Never at any moment, flapping and flailing like an epileptic in the wind.
Constructing the smoke was one thing. Lighting the bastard was always something else. No shelter in the Lada. A naked flame could be the end of us all. So it was a tightly packed scrum in the lee of a fence, tree, sign post, whatever. Luckily, Chagas had swiped five-hundred boxes of matches in a place that was called either Vălenii or Munte (or perhaps both). We other three couldn’t think the fuck why at the time but were forever thankful as the trip wore on. So by sheer weight of numbers we’d always get the bastard lit eventually.

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