The Roof

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

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Teenagers aften dodn't understand the value of life, like in this story

1

 

In today's urban world, there are so many big cities with lots of big, tall houses.  There are entire neighborhoods built up with "nine"- and "twelve-story" buildings. And in big cities, not every local will tell you the exact number of such relatively modern neighborhoods.

 

Sasha lived in one of these neighborhoods. His windows overlooked the neighboring house, and from the window of his room he could see three neighboring houses and a piece of a small alley, which was the center of youth parties in their neighborhood.

It is no secret that each of these neighborhoods has its own distinct microclimate. There are certain social circles made up of the residents of that neighborhood. Each age group has its own specific social circle. Also, all of the inhabitants of the neighborhood know the specific places in the neighborhood. Everyone knows where "the store around the corner, where they sell vodka even to minors" is, "where the sports ground is and what time local representatives of sports youth subcultures gather there", "where this or that house is".

 

The neighborhood where Sasha lived was no different from the rest. But there was 

The microdistrict where Sasha lived was no different from any other, but there was one place that its residents avoided. We're talking about a nine-story building near the sports field. It was said that only half of the apartments were occupied, or even less, and the rest were empty. It was also said that it was better not to visit this place unnecessarily, although no one explained why. The inhabitants of this nine-story building were not even known to the neighbors. In general, a strange and very unusual place.

 

But outwardly this building was no different from most of the buildings in the neighborhood: a grayish panel house with windows in the entranceway on each flight of stairs and with apartment windows not far from them. The roof was flat, though no one had ever really seen it. This house did not look dirty or neglected, and a stranger, if he were in the neighborhood, would never have distinguished this house from the others. But a rare local resident would have dared to go in there. 

 

Sasha considered himself a lucky man in life. After all, he had a best friend, a best friend, and youth.  His girlfriend's name was Anya, and his friend's name was Igor. They loved to actively spend that very youth, having fun and having fun. And one day they decided to really interesting, and most importantly - unusual to spend their free time.

 

Sasha Mazov studied journalism at one of the universities in his city. He had white hair and an oval face. He loved to study, but sometimes he did not understand why he had to study so thoroughly this or that unnecessary subject. Since childhood, Sasha was not like those around him, neither in his behavior nor in his beliefs. Sasha's classmates did not like him, and he reciprocated. Sometimes he took part in school fights.

 

After high school Sasha grew up with the conviction that you only need to love one girl in life, to value and cherish her as the dearest thing you have. He met Julia after graduating high school. She played the guitar beautifully, just as well as Sasha himself. They liked to spend time together, sitting somewhere away from human eyes with the guitar. Sasha tried to sing, but did it just disgustingly. Julia sang for him. She, on the contrary, was great at it. And he played.

 

Then something went wrong and they broke up. Julia was unfaithful to herself first of all and then to Sasha because she started to date other people because of money or connections. What happened then, Sasha did not like to remember. A sad breakup, a showdown with her new rich boyfriend...

 

Sasha had also been friends with Anya since childhood. They had met when they were only twelve years old. One boy from the yard, clearly in an early stage of puberty, pulled Anya's beautiful long hair, and did it very painfully. One day Sasha stood up for the girl no one in the yard wanted to play with and who was so mercilessly pulled her hair.  That boy got into a fight with Sasha, giving him a nice black eye. But Anya really liked the fact that Sasha stood up for her. No one had ever treated her so well except her parents. Sasha and Anya became close, and then they became best friends. Exactly like that, not as the whole yard said about them. 

 

So Anya Korostyleva lived in the same neighborhood where Sasha lived. She was a year and a half older than him.  She also studied translation at the local university. She had dark brown hair, brown eyes, and a very pretty smile.  She had one last year of college left and then she was going to look for a job somewhere. Besides Misha, a boy who mysteriously disappeared from their group in first year, Anya in the institute particularly nobody was friends with. She did not understand her parents, because they believed that the more "normal" friends you have, the better. 

 

Igor Dziuyin lived in the neighboring, less densely populated neighborhood. Or rather, he rented an apartment there. He had a difficult fate. He had no parents, and he never knew whether they were dead or just abandoned him. He had to make a living from odd jobs, he just had to make ends meet. There were times when he would wander around for six months at a time. There were a lot of bad rumors about him.

 

Sasha met Igor when he approached him and Anya while they were playing guitar in the garden. At first Sasha thought they were being picked on by some bum or homeless guy. This strange guy with a small beard, black hair and an expression unencumbered by intelligence, suddenly started giving the guys advice on how to play the guitar properly.

 

Sasha did not know what to do, and he saw the consternation on Anya's face. But the effect of the first impression is very often deceptive, whatever many psychologists say. Igor turned out to be a perfectly normal guy with a complicated fate. And he didn't live far from Sasha and Anya. They quickly became friends.

 

Largely due to the fact that they lived close to each other, Sasha and Anya were happy representatives of the generation of the future, who thoroughly enjoyed their youth. About Igor it was impossible to say so, but he was exactly the kind of person who tries to find positive moments in everything. Perhaps because of this he was still alive.

 

On the very day that Sasha suggested a very unusual evening out, Igor had just a day off work, and Anya had done all the housework. There were no obstacles to the meeting.

 

So when they met that evening near the Assorti store, one of the outermost houses in the neighborhood, everyone was in a good mood. The friends simply wanted to have an interesting weekend evening.

The very essence of Sasha's suggestion was to climb into the attic of the very house everyone was avoiding. He had long heard these legends about the house being cursed, but he thought they were downright silly. But he had also heard from his acquaintances that this house had a great view of the neighborhood and downtown, and he could even see a couple of the outskirts of town. This was because the house stood on a kind of elevation compared to the rest of the houses. Also, especially in September, the view from that house has the character of a gloomy urban romance.

The idea was born in Sasha two days ago, when a customer in black came out of the store "Assorti" and said in a whisper "roof. Sasha, not knowing in what context the word was said, took it as an omen.

 

- Hello," said Sasha greeting him. - Today is going to be an interesting day.

 

- I do not find your idea interesting, - said Igor, - Why should we climb to the heights? Let's go to the park instead. Let's drink some beer there.

 

- I'm just saying, they say it's a great view. We can take a beer and something there- answered Sasha. - There, there's a store nearby.

 

The friends went to the store "Russia". There they bought beer and chips. Anya got herself a juice.

 

On the whole, it was a clear day. The sun was shining brightly and its light was gently shining on the very house that Sasha and his friends were about to enter. He just wanted to have a good time, not believing in silly gossip, but knowing that from the attic of the house there was a good view of the block, and with it - the feeling of height, and freedom, which Sasha and his friends so valued. Besides, there were no strangers there. It was a true retreat with loved ones on high ground. Sasha may have even wanted to look down on the world with contempt from the roof.

 

Sasha preferred a black style of dress, as did his friends. That's why he was wearing a black fall jacket and dark blue jeans on this September evening.

 

Igor was a true recluse to society, a stranger to the social system. That evening he was wearing a red sweater and dark jeans.

 

Anya always wore her favorite black raincoat in the fall, causing confusion to others. That night was no exception.

 

Anya did not really like the idea of visiting the same house, she had also heard about the stories about it.However, her youthful yearning for freedom overcame her superstitious fear, and that is why she followed the boys into the entrance of the house. Moreover, she really trusted Sasha. He would not offer her anything bad, after all.

 

When they took the elevator to the last, ninth floor, they did not notice any difference, no difference from the elevators of ordinary houses. That elevator was also dirty, with several advertisements on the wall and beer bottle caps on the floor. That elevator also smelled a bit like the others. The only difference, perhaps, was that when the guys got to the ninth floor, it seemed to them that the elevator took longer than usual to get up. It just did.

 

Climbing up to the attic was not difficult. The stairs to the attic were solid, but dirty and wet. Moreover, it was hard to see at a glance. And the attic itself was also not unlike the attics of other houses, which was something Ana did not know, since she had never climbed attics before. The floor was strewn with stinky old straw. Some junk was lying in the corner, most likely left behind by previous lovers of off-the-beaten-path recreation.

 

Suddenly the boys had the urge to climb onto the roof. It was, but now it became even clearer.

 

- We went further, on the roof, because we were going to..." said Igor with a sigh. It looked strange. Just a few minutes ago Igor had no idea why they should climb up the high rise.

 

His friends silently agreed with him. Climbing up to the roof through the skylight was not difficult. Immediately there was the very view of their neighborhood for which their friends had started all this. At least, that was the reason.

The roof of the house itself was dotted with skylights and satellite dishes. Igor, when he climbed up there, immediately tripped over the Internet wire. There were plenty of such wires on the roof, too. We had to step over them.

 

In the distance you could see the construction cranes that were building another, more modern neighborhood. Those distant houses on the other side of town were painted dark orange. Surely it was better than the old, colorless, shabby houses of their neighborhood. Closer was downtown, with its pompous and even somewhat pompous buildings. Despite their pomp, many of them were as colorless and shabby as the houses in their neighborhood. 

 

Their neighborhood was close to downtown, so the boys, unable to see the road and the small square that was between downtown and their neighborhood, looked immediately at the outermost houses of their neighborhood, which began after downtown.

Suddenly there was a strong wind. Sure enough, yellow autumn leaves flew down there, blown away by that wind. But on the roof of the tallest building in their neighborhood, their friends could only guess what was down there, so they could see far away, but they couldn't look closer because the overhang of the roof wouldn't allow them.

 

Still, the view from the building was wonderful. Igor opened his beer and greedily devoured it.

 

- You promised to quit," Sasha said ironically. Anya also looked at Igor with a slight bewilderment. But they said it only as a joke, they were friends with Igor and loved him as he was. After all, that is the essence of true friendship.

 

- So the summer passed - said Anya. - Or rather, it flew by.

 

- Yes, maybe it was the last summer of our youth. - Sasha answered. - After all, this course at university is the last.

 

- Well, for some people it is, Ihor interjected. - I, for example, don't go to college at all. Maybe my youth ended long ago. Maybe it never even began?

The autumn wind picked up. Surely it had already ripped off all the autumn leaves, which were barely swaying on their trees.  Only the sturdiest remained. But here, at altitude, again, they hadn't seen any of that.

 

- Then we can go somewhere in the park. - Anya suggested.

Sasha ignored her suggestion. He didn't want to go to any park, he still wanted to enjoy the heights.  He didn't want any beer, unlike Igor, he thought that the view, , the freedom that was so thick you could cut it with a knife, were so good that drinking beer would mean mixing that freedom with everyday trivial entertainment.

 

The driveway of the house across the street was clearly visible to him because there was a sports field between the house on whose roof he was standing and the house across the street. Out of the entryway came two guys he had known since childhood. Perhaps they were going downtown for some trivial entertainment, perhaps to sit somewhere on a bench or in a cafe if they had money. For Sasha and his friends, such entertainment was boring and uninteresting.

About an hour passed like that. Dusk had already begun to descend on the roof of the house. Igor had already finished all his beer, and Anya and Sasha were thoroughly enjoying the view from the roof.

 

- Shall we go now? - Sasha voiced the desire of all three of them.

 

They all agreed again in silence. They took turns climbing up into the attic through the skylight and then went down through the roof to the entrance of the house. The desire to go to the park vanished in all three of them, and they practically went home in silence, saying goodbye sparingly.

It wasn't even quite dark outside when Sasha got home. Usually he rarely came home this early, but this evening was unusual in every way, very different from the previous ones. It made him cringe to think that he was still going out tonight. The prospect of spending the rest of the evening in social networking didn't make him happy either, and he just went to bed, very early, which was atypical for him.

 

Anya still went shopping that unusual evening, because she had recently been actively helping her mother with the household chores. But she came back not too late, and she also wanted to sleep.

 

Igor, unlike them, spent the whole night thinking after he got home. He would fall asleep and wake up again with sad thoughts, which he felt even through his sleep.  There was no face on him after his visit to the roof of the house. It was very strange, for they had had such a good time...

 

...Sasha was with his friends again on the roof of that tall building. Only the view was much brighter, much more intense to be believable. The sun was shining brightly, even though dark clouds were streaking across the sky. They were enjoying the view again.

 

Only it was a little different. The atmosphere was much darker than during the day, and brighter, more saturated at the same time. The satellite dishes and Internet wires were gone.  Evening lights could be seen everywhere, and the sun was drawing down. But the real autumn twilight never began. Sasha had the feeling that it was all just a continuation of that evening on the roof.

 

Anya was sitting on the edge of the roof, thinking about something. Igor stood beside her, not moving. Sasha looked at them, also not daring to move a hand or a leg. He had no idea what it was that stopped him from moving; it was a fact. At that moment he stood like a statue.

 

But his friend was sitting on the edge of the roof! Was she out of her mind?

 

Suddenly another guy joined them. He appeared out of nowhere, for Sasha had not heard the creak of the attic skylight, which it made when the friends themselves climbed on the roof.

 

The young man was dressed in a brown sweater and black jeans. His hair was dark. For some reason Sasha could not make out his face. Again, however, this did not surprise Sasha in the slightest.

 

The guy walked past his friends, as if he hadn't noticed them. Or rather, he looked at them without paying any attention. It looked as if he was looking through them.

 

Then this stranger walked closer to the edge of the roof, he stopped not far from where Igor and Anya were standing. He looked up at the sky and then around. There was an inexplicable desire in his eyes, a longing for something. But our heroes didn't see it, they just didn't see his true face, just like all the people both from the present and from that guy's past.

 

He looked down again. Strange that he didn't get dizzy, Sasha thought. After all, it was very high up there, too high for him to look down from that height for long at the objects below.

 

Again he looked around his surroundings. Sacha realized that he could now move and talk, a gift that had come to him as suddenly as it had left him.

 

- Who are you? - Sasha shouted to the stranger. But he didn't pay any attention to him, he just stood on the edge of the roof. He looked up at the sky again. He had probably been told a lot about them as a child, both scientifically and religiously. He could not take his eyes off the heavens. Sasha also involuntarily looked up there, unlike Igor and Anya, who still could not move, standing like statues.

 

Suddenly the guy jumped down from the roof. Although, it was not sudden, it was quite expected. Sasha was struck by the ease with which the stranger did it. In fact, he did not jump down, but flew up, to the very heavens he had so greedily devoured with his eyes, where he was supposed to live forever, where they were waiting for him. But to our eyes it just flew down, which once again proves the deceptiveness of our worldview. Sasha realized with horror that he was thinking in his dream.

The vision disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. Igor jerked his head, Anya stood up from the edge of the roof. Everything disappeared, and the friends were glad of it. A satellite dish reappeared near Anya.

 

- What was that? What did you see? -Igor asked Anya, after they came out of their stupor.

 

- Why should I repeat it? Don't tell me you saw something else. Some guy just jumped off the roof in front of us. Did you?

-

 So did you.

 

- So we all saw the same thing. That's funny. The main thing is that we then....

 

Sasha did not have time to finish, because the noise of colossal volume prevented him from doing so. It seemed to him that the house began to collapse. Igor and Anya ran in a panic away from the edge of the roof, near where they were standing. But it was too late. It seemed to the friends that the roof was leaning forward, as if it was going to fall down even before the rest of the house.  It was as if the roof could not afford to exist any further after the young man who had jumped from it.

 

It stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Sasha looked around. There was no rooftop around him, no sense of impending disaster, no visions of suicide. He found himself in a plantation not far from his home neighborhood. He was surrounded by low trees. It was late dusk, and so he could not see the path. Naturally, his first impulse was to get out of the plantation as quickly as possible. He did not want to stay here; he did not understand why he was here. He walked toward the exit. He pushed the branches of the bushes apart, stepping over the holes, he went with firm intentions to where the exit to his microdistrict was.

 

However, he had a passing realization that even in the dark he could navigate this landing perfectly. What could that mean? Meanwhile, it was finally getting dark outside. Stars were visible in the sky.

 

He had navigated this planting perfectly, for he knew it down to the last twig of the bushes, down to the last handful of earth. This was the planting in which he had grown up, in which he had spent a certain part of his youth.

 

Suddenly, in the distance, he heard a melodic guitar strumming and a girl's tinkling voice. He went toward the voice, not fully knowing why he wanted to do so.

 

He didn't have to walk long. The melodic guitar playing and the magical voice were getting louder and louder. He knew that these sounds were coming from a small clearing where he himself had long loved to sit, but he had no idea how he knew it.

 

He passed a couple of bushes, and came out into the clearing. A fire was burning, and in the darkness he, to his great regret, managed to make out both the one who was playing and the one who was singing.

 

The one who was playing was none other than Sasha himself, a year younger. Maybe Sasha had just met someone who looked a lot like himself, he was about to walk up, apologize, and ask how to find his way to the exit. Even though he knows her, he will still ask how to find her.

 

But no, that man was Sasha. He was dressed all in black, had dark hair and a round face. On the guitar he was playing Sasha's favorite song, the very one he had listened to a year ago that matched his mood at the time.

 

The fire illuminated poorly the girl who sat next to Sasha from the past and sang tinkling. She was wearing a black leather jacket, and that was all that Sasha, the one standing at the edge of the clearing, could make out.

 

He saw the girl's face. It was completely white. Suddenly there were holes in her skin, her lips were gone, her eyes were leaking out. The skin disappeared altogether, leaving a bald, half-rotten skull with flies flying around it.

 

Instead of fear, however, confidence came to Sasha. A wild, incomprehensible certainty. He was simply certain that none other than Yulia, his ex-girlfriend. They had stopped communicating a year ago, then about three months ago Sasha learned that she had tragically died in a car accident...

The phone rang in his pocket. He did not even look to see who was calling, automatically picked up the phone...

 

- Hello! How are you?"- a pleasant voice on the phone said a banal greeting.

 

Sasha was so dazed that he almost let the phone out of his hands. It crashed.  Then Sasha cried out, not knowing until the end how loud the cry was. The guys around the campfire continued nonchalantly playing and singing the same song. They didn't stop. That Sasha, who was sitting next to Yulia, also had a half-rotten skull...

 

Sasha could have sworn with everything he had that the voice belonged to Yulia...

 

Sasha's head went round and round. For the first time in his life, he fainted.

 

 

3

 

When Sasha woke up, he was on the roof again. The sun was shining brightly and the weather was exactly the same as when he had first climbed up on the roof.  The worried faces of Anya and Igor looked down at him. 

 

- Sasha... What happened to you? - He heard Igor's anxious voice.

 

-As soon as we got up here, you just fainted. We tried to talk to you, we even patted you on the cheek, but you didn't react, we thought the worst...", Anya added. - But you were alive, you were warm, I could feel it!

 

-Anya, do you really think that a person is alive, just because they are warm? -Igor answered. He liked to voice abstract philosophical phrases in extreme situations.

 

- What happened to me? We were leaving here, I went to bed, then we came back here in a dream, some guy jumped off the roof, then the house collapsed, and I found myself in a clearing...with Julia...

 

Anya and Igor looked at each other.

 

-It looks like he hasn't quite recovered yet,? summed up Igor. - Well, he'll be alright now and we'll all go downstairs. I think he has a headache. It's an attack. He's had one before.

 

- Julia? Julia who? She...he told me..." said Anya as they took him to his feet and gave him time to come to his senses.

 

- Do not worry, he is delirious. Probably a sunstroke, - answered Igor.

 

- In September at six in the evening? - Ironically observed Anya.

 

- Well, it's possible, anything can happen...

 

Anya looked sympathetically at Sasha, who couldn't come to his senses.

 

- I think we should just come down from the roof and call an ambulance, don't you think?  - Anya suggested.

 

Igor did not have time to answer.

 

A silhouette of a tall man appeared in front of them. He had black hair, a bald spot in the middle of his head and a short beard. He wore a black suit and a gray shirt. He had a cane in his hand.

 

- How do you do, young men! And how did you come to be here? No one from the county has dared to climb on this roof for ten years.

 

The friends looked into the eyes of the stranger. He gave the impression of someone they could trust.

 

- I know your names. Let me introduce myself. My name is Akhem-Safei. I won't tell you my long story. I will only tell you that I have seldom come down to earth lately. - The stranger said in a husky voice that subconsciously inspired respect.

 

Igor and Anya looked at each other. The sight of Ahem-Safei commanded respect. Demonic look, black hair and long beard... 

 

At the same moment they noticed that Sasha was not with them. He was lying two meters away from them. Where was he now?

 

- And where is Sasha? - Igor asked either Akham-Safei, or Anna, or himself.

 

- I will tell you about him. But first things first. Ten years ago a young man threw himself from the roof of this house. He wanted to commit suicide and finally decided to do it. He dragged it out to the last minute...

 

- Where has Sasha gone? - Igor asked angrily.

 

 

 - Have patience!!! So he was like you, very similar to ...Sasha. Not in appearance, but in character. He was an ordinary guy, even better than many, his knowledge, starting from the history of the ancient world to the latest trends in rock music, allowed him to tell many interesting stories to his friends and acquaintances. - Aham-Saphea's voice was meaner and meaner-The truth is that those entertaining tales were of little interest to him. He had friends, for a certain time he was just a happy young man. He had a girlfriend.  But then life went wrong for him. His company, the same company of friends, like-minded people, fell apart. His girlfriend left him, having met a more "interesting" and in fact - a rich young man.  He still had two friends, but one of them betrayed him. I don't want to go into details, they just aren't important. The other moved to another city. He also had a friend, but they quarreled, as this very friend was given this task by her new young man, blinded by jealousy. So, he faced society's incomprehension. His parents loved him, but did not understand his soul. Moreover, he believed that he had chosen the wrong specialty for himself and his whole life was bound to be hell, at best, an existence. He understood that it was too late to change anything.

 

And he wanted to live. He just wanted to live the youth life like everyone else, he just wanted to have a girlfriend who loved him, he just wanted to have friends. After he was alone, he didn't despair, he kept fighting for life. He met people, but all his introductions were short-lived and insincere. In short, he opened his soul to people, and they spit in it. They talked to him for a while, but they did it to aim their spit at the most painful part of his soul.

 

He also had talent. He was great at writing poetry and prose. But no one was interested in his work. Of course, because now in fashion ironic detectives. That is at best.

 

Anya didn't notice that she was on the edge of the roof again. She looked down. Igor was standing beside her, and not far from them was Achem-Safei.

 

- He didn't understand why he had to live a tortured life. - Ahkem-Safei went on. He thought life should be seen as joy and he tried to bring it to others. He wanted to do that, but others pushed him away. They did not want to accept him as he was, and he did not want to change. Or rather, to bend to everyone.

 

He was finally disappointed in his life. He just didn't want to live anymore. He didn't understand what it was for. He didn't think there was any meaning to life. He didn't want to exist. And when he had a big fight with his misunderstanding father, who thought that his son, like an animal, should be satisfied with being clothed and fed, and didn't understand why his son didn't want to be a teacher at school, he came here.

 

Igor heard a piercing female scream. But he didn't even turn around, looking only into the eyes of Akhem-Safei. For a moment he realized that something terrible had just happened.

 

- He dared to take that step. It was the last straw. You had the opportunity to watch the last minute of his life, Igor. And you know, right now, he's up there, and he has no regrets. After he did it, and his soul separated from his body, he felt for the first time truly free. He gushingly described the feeling to me. Everyone considers suicides cowards, but he was a noble, brave, resolute man, who had the courage to abandon a miserable philistine existence.

 

- And what about Sasha? - Igor asked, unable to endure.

 

Again. You see, how selfish you are. All think only about their own. In your eyes there is not a drop of sympathy for this young man. Sasha followed him. Before he died, he saw a vision-one of the most vivid memories of his life.  He was just sitting with his ex-girlfriend in a landing near his house... And you never even knew about it. Were you a real friend to him?  Sasha recognized the guy who was jumping off the roof as himself. That was him. Ten years later.

 

Igor and Anya opened their eyes. They were lying on the roof of the house. Anya was on the very edge of the roof. At least that's where Igor could see her.

 

It was late twilight. There was an unnatural noise below. Igor got up first and looked to see what was going on down there. There was an ambulance standing below. From above it seemed so small. But Igor could see the corpse of his friend on the ground, and the people gathered around him, and Sasha's sobbing mother among them, even through the twilight from this height. There was someone else there...But Igor couldn't see who it was...

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

Her best friend on her own eyes decided to say goodbye to this life. Under mysterious circumstances, he was laid out on the ground, and Anya lost not only his friend - she was mercilessly ripped out of her soul.

 

Anya thought for a long time after that night, what made Sasha do it. It was as if she had been asleep when she heard the story of the guy who had killed himself ten years before, on the same roof. She did not remember many of the details.

 

Then she learned that Igor had been detained on murder charges. Allegedly, it was Igor who had pushed Sasha off the roof. How convenient that was! Blame it on a guy with a dubious reputation who had no money for a decent lawyer and no one to stand up for him. Most likely, Igor would be pinned with a few more "charges.

 

Anya Korostyleva just found the strength to live. It was already her big victory. After a course of psychological rehabilitation, after her parents' complete misunderstanding and distortion of what had happened, after her best friend Igor, who had survived, had been sent to prison for a long time for "manslaughter", relying on the testimony of an old grandfather, who "clearly saw how the son of a bitch shouldered Sasha off the roof". that was, indeed, a very big win.

 

But she did not succeed in everything else. After everything that had happened, she had become withdrawn and unsociable. She could not believe that her friend had committed suicide in front of her and she had failed to save him. Her second best friend had been falsely accused of this, and once again she had failed to help him. She was annoyed by her own powerlessness. What kind of friend was she? How would she look Igor in the eye when he got out of prison in a few years, if he got out at all?

 

She became withdrawn and unsociable. Loneliness, which she used to perceive as a curse, was now seen as a blessing.

 

It was a blessing that she had her own room. It afforded her solitude and was a source of great happiness. Before, she had yearned for friends, for company, for like-minded people. Now all human company was foreign to her.

 

No one believed her. Some half-demon-half-man had suddenly appeared out of nowhere and told the life story of the guy who had jumped off the roof. Or was she imagining it all? She was in shock, but she remembered that night down to the minute. She tried to mentally replay those events in her brain. Anya from memory, immediately after leaving the clinic for urgent psychological rehabilitation, wrote down the story of that stranger... what was his name... she did not remember, as well as the events of the whole ill-fated evening.

 

Winter came, in her institute it was the New Year's vacation. Only this winter there was no snow. It was damp and warm.  Before, she had resented wishing for a real winter. Now she just didn't care. She spent twenty-four hours shutting herself in her room, remembering that night down to the last detail, trying to find some rational basis for what had happened. 

 

Her room had become her true temple of solitude.

 

Behind the wall, she could hear her parents preparing for the new year. When necessary, she would leave her room to help her mother or father. But each exit from her room to the rest of her small apartment became more and more unbearable and unbearable for her.

 

Her parents would leave the house to go shopping at the nearest store, which was near the broken road that turned right, and our heroine would remain in her home, remembering that very evening. No one in the world understood her. Her parents had their own unwavering, established version of events. Anya remembered the conversation with her father that followed the day after the unfortunate events.

 

- Anya, why did you go to the roof with those friends of yours at all-Anya completely agreed with the first sentence of her father's speech, but then her father gave his own version of the events-they were drugged, both of them! If they hadn't tested you for it at the clinic, I would have thought you were fucking around with them, too! - Dad pounded his fist on the table. - One stoned man shoved the other. Anya, and if it had been you, they could have pushed you, too!

 

- My friends are not junkies! We're just... - Anya choked back tears of grief and rage. She remembered Sasha's smiling face. She remembered how he had protected her from the pack of dogs that had attacked them when they had gone for a walk last year. She remembered how she and Igor had rescued her from the dreary loneliness when everyone had turned their backs on her. "Turned away again, just like now," she thought. thought Anya. Only now there was no one to save her.

 

- Yes, yes, of course. I know people like that. You know, hell, I'm glad that that drunkard Sasha was gone. You wouldn't have learned anything good from him. Instead of sitting at home reading books,he's.....

 

- Don't you dare talk about my friend like that! - Anya shrieked, jumping to her feet. -?...

 

- Did you really sleep with him? - My father answered nonchalantly.

 

Unable to hear any more of this nonsense from her father, who never understood her, Anya hurriedly dressed and ran out into the street.

 

Once she was outside, she felt a little better. The oppressive atmosphere of the family home, full of misunderstandings and contradictions, remained outside the front door. Anya walked a couple of houses down her block. Despite the morning of the work day, there were rather few people on the street. In fact, Anya noticed only one elderly neighbor who had gone out into the yard to feed the pigeons.

 

Anya had noticed long ago that something was wrong with the whole world. The world had lost its colors, everything had become gray and closed off. She was absolutely sure that it was the consequences of that very evening. When your best friend jumped off a roof in front of you, the colors of life somehow lost their brightness after that. She was sure it wasn't the world that lost its colors-it was she herself who began to see everything in a gray light.

She remembered all this as she sat in her room on a pre-holiday evening. Her parents were alarmed by her reticence, but her father had long since given up on his daughter. She thought she had gone down the wrong path a long time ago and was doing everything wrong.

 

- She'd die in a goddamn dumpster. Well, we didn't have a daughter. - summed up her father that morning after Anya ran out into the street.

 

The rest of her acquaintances' versions of what had happened were not much different. True, Anya heard them only over the phone, the next moment she hung up.  Some thought that Anya was hiding something, others thought that Anya was under a lot of stress and that she had forgotten a lot because of it. You bet. One of your friends is pushing another one off the roof!

That can make you go crazy!

 

By the way, in the time since the tragedy, Anya had only met two acquaintances. And they looked no better than she did, if not worse. Most likely, something happened to them, too, thought Anya. But she never told them about her troubles when she met them, and her acquaintances, in turn, never shared their experiences. In fact, they were just acquaintances, not friends.

 

Another curious fact was that Anya always met all three of them at different times, of course, but in the same place - near the right-hand bend of a broken road two houses away from her house. But Anya didn't pay any attention to them.

That morning, too, she met Misha. It was just as gray and bleak. Bare trees and gray sky, cawing crows in the sky-what kind of New Year's mood could she be in?

 

She used to study with Misha during her freshman year, but then he disappeared. Many in their group thought that Misha had transferred to a more prestigious department, or even moved to another city. No one of their professors, who probably knew the truth, ever told them what happened to Misha. Soon everyone in the group forgot about him. Misha was almost an outcast of the group.

 

- Hi," said Anya, "are you Misha?

 

Strangely enough, since his disappearance, Misha hadn't changed much. And it had been a few years already. He wore a gray shabby jacket, black jeans that he wore as a freshman, and a knit cap with a hole in the back of it.

 

- Hi, Anya, Misha answered calmly. - How are you doing?

 

- Oh, better not ask. Did you hear about the tragedy in our neighborhood, when the guy jumped off the roof?

 

- Yes, of course. That kind of news travels fast. Why? - Misha answered excitedly.

 

-I was there. Didn't you see me being filmed by almost all the local cameras after I came down from the roof?  - Anya asked.

 

- Oh my God...so it was your friend...and the creep who pushed him... Oh no, I rarely watch TV.

Anya felt the rage boiling inside her.

 

- Nobody pushed him! - Anya roared in such a way that Misha moved two steps away. It was suicide!

Misha stared at Anya in a daze.

 

- Well, I do not know exactly ... - Misha was dumbfounded by her cry.

 

-Misha, I'm sorry, I've completely lost my mind-said Anya, lightly touching his arm. And these misunderstandings with my parents... I was there, and I say that he jumped off the roof by himself... And you? Where did you go?

 

-Anya, I'm sorry, I have to run. It was nice to meet you -said Misha, intending to go to the right on the broken road.

 

-Misha, wait ... -Shouted Anya, but there was no sign of Misha.

 

Anya never told anyone what she really experienced and saw. Perhaps she was going to tell Misha about it at the time. But he had some urgent business to attend to.

 

Anya decided to take a longer than usual walk that morning, but when she saw that very high-rise in the fog ahead, that very one, she decided it would be better for her not to go home after all. 

 

After the tragedy, Anya only went outside to get groceries. That store was on the first floor of the very house behind which the broken road turned right. In the distance, as if in a fog, she always saw the very high-rise from which Sasha had jumped. Immediately at that vision her heart went in her heels. Her eyes just hurt from looking at that house. Immediately afterwards she ran home. 

 

5

 

 

Slowly the last day of the year came. Putting on her mask, Anya left her room to help her mother set the table. Her father was in a better mood than he had been that morning. Except that he was worried that after she'd spent New Year's Eve with her parents, Anya would go out to celebrate with "bad company," just like the last time she'd gone with Igor and Sasha. Anya assured her father that this time she would definitely not go anywhere. He looked at her incredulously.

It was an ordinary, very typical New Year's Eve for her family, and as such unusually boring. There was an artificial Christmas tree by the wall, which they traditionally decorated every year. On the wall beside the tree hung yellow and green garlands. On the table were Olivier, herring under a fur coat, and other standard New Year's Eve dishes. My father was dressed in full dress, with a blue vest and white bowtie, and pants. My mother wore a simple housecoat. Anya wore the very black dress she had not taken off for days. She always wore it when she stayed home. In Anya's mother's opinion, that dress was too short.

 

-Why aren't you drinking today? Usually you were a fan of this business, especially on holidays with your buddies. -Said her father.

 

Anya did not listen to him, and neither did the program "The Blue Light", which her mother and father watched. For some reason this program was from last year...

 

She was waiting for one thing: to meet the new year as soon as possible and go to her room. Naturally, right after the chime, her parents would go to bed. It used to strain her young soul, but now it was just fine. She would retreat to her room in search of the much-coveted solitude.

It was twenty minutes until New Year's Eve.

 

Anya could have hoped that the old year would leave all the tragic events behind, that the new year would bring that very new joy. But she was too old, she had been through too much pain to believe that. A new year is just a big new unit of time. No more, no less.

 

Finally the president on TV made his speech and the chimes struck twelve

...at twelve o'clock. Oddly enough, the speech was for last year, too. Or so it seemed to Anya...

 

Her father opened the champagne. He prudently poured "a little bit for everybody".

 

-We'll finish the bottle tomorrow,? he said. -Just a little bit. We have to drink in an intelligent and cultured manner.

 

With these words they entered the new year. But Anya was more worried about the events of the old year. It was on this "magical night" that she believed she could at least save Igor. She didn't know how, but she was sure that he was in danger in prison.

They sat around the New Year's table for another half hour, then Anya's parents went to their bedroom. Anya retired to her room. They agreed to clean up the table tomorrow. Everyone wanted to go to bed.

 

-There's really something wrong with her,? said the mother, showing her father as Anya walked silently to her room. - It used to be impossible to keep her home by force after twelve.

Anya wished her parents good night and closed herself in her room. The thunder of the fireworks prevented her from concentrating. She thought that this was the night she might come to the realization of what had happened and she would think of a way to save Igor.

Maybe she was just going crazy. Maybe she should have just rested, relaxed on New Year's Eve. No, she was definitely paranoid.

 

 They just went to the roof...Did they just go to look at the view? And who had suggested that? Hundreds of times she remembered that it was...Sasha? Or someone else?

Anya began digging into her memory again.... 

 

Suddenly Anya heard a loud cracking noise. No, it wasn't the noise of fireworks. It was a crackling noise right next door, as if the source of the noise was right in her room. Anya plugged her ears, unable to bear it. That crackling sound was so similar to what she had heard on the roof that scary night. God...

 

A man with black hair and a long beard appeared before her. Behind him, the outlines of a vision formed instead of the wall of her room: September, the gray roof of a house, Sasha jumping from it, Sasha lying on the ground, then the ground coming closer and...

Anya recoiled with a shrill shriek from the creepy man and the images she saw behind him. She tried to leave her room, but the door was locked.She began to scream, but the creepy man only laughed in response to her cries.

 

In an instant he was at the door, grabbed Anya by the hair, picked her up like a feather, and tossed her to the other corner of the room. Anya cried out as she banged her head painfully against the wall. She lost consciousness for a moment, and when she woke up, the scary man was by her side again. He grabbed her by the hair again. ...

 

-Your pain,? said the scary man The demonic look, the black hair, and the long beard... it was just an illusion. It was also an illusion that I came to you when you were on the roof. In fact, it was you who came to me... It doesn't hurt you at all now, does it? Do you know why?

 

Anya could not agree with him. She screamed at the wild pain the stranger was causing her, holding her by the hair.

 

Finally he let her go.

 

-You don't remember me? I am a virtue to you. I will tell you the secret of that evening that tormented you. You wanted to know what really happened...

Anya's eyes lit up. She had forgotten that a second ago this man had hurt her and seemed to enjoy it.  But she remembered who this man was.

 

He helped her up. She was still holding her head.

 

- Come with me, Anna.

 

A moment later they were on the roof. Anna saw herself, Sasha, and Igor. They were talking about something. Then Sasha came to the edge of the roof.

 

- Sasha! Igor!" shouted Anya with all her might.

 

-Fool, they can't hear you. You are in completely different dimensions. - calmly answered the man, who was undoubtedly not human and whose name was Achem-Safei.  -No, don't get your hopes up. You cannot change the past, but you can know it. The future cannot be known, but it can be changed, Anna. But you don't have a future anymore.

Sasha looked around, then looked dreamily into the sky. Anya and Igor, the ones in the past, rushed toward him screaming. It all happened in a split second. There was an inexplicable desire in Sasha's eyes, a longing for something.

He jumped. He stepped down.

 

Anya was closer to the edge of the roof than Igor. But it was too late. Sasha had already crashed to the ground.

 

-Anya!" shouted Igor, seeing his friend go over the edge of the roof. - Anya!

 

Igor was still far away. He ran through the real Anya and Acham -Safei. Meanwhile, Anya from the past straightened up and looked up into the sky, then at Sasha's body, which lay below.

 

- No!!!"-shouted the real Anya, who was standing next to Akhem-Safei.

 

- Yes, Anya. - answered demonically, Akhem-Safei.

 

-No!!!-shouted Anya, who was standing beside Akhem-Safei. She tried to flee to her own past, to save herself and prevent her death. But she could not move.

 

Igor had no time to grab Anya. She stepped down after Sasha. Whether from shock or because she loved him...

 

- You can't change the past. - He said calmly to Aham-Safei. -There was a bend in the time arrow on this roof, in case you hadn't noticed. The young man who jumped off the roof before you is the same Sasha, only ten years older. Sooner or later he would have done it, see?

 

Anya and Akhem-Safei were back in their room.

 

- You are dead, Anya. Your parents, when they learned of your death, could not stand it. They left, first your father, then your mother. The heart burst.

 

Anya sobbed. She couldn't say a word.

 

-Hell is not devils and frying pans, as the wretched people on earth imagine. Sometimes hell is an illusion of a continuation of a person's previous life. By the way, did you ever wonder why your world was limited to three houses, the clinic you went to before you died-actually the morgue-and the road that leads to the right?

 

- What if I... I'm dead-sobbing, Anya forced it out of her, then where is Sasha?

Akhem-Safei laughed demonic laughter. The laughter shook the walls of Anya's room.

 

- Do you think we all share the same hell? No, it's different for everyone.  Sasha lives in that last house. He already understood that he died before you did. He was smarter than you.

 

- So... I can see him?

 

- Naive! -shouted Akhem-Saphei. - Hell is different for everyone! You live in different circles of Hell. You will never meet, even if you were close to each other. Perhaps you will meet Igor when he passes through your circle, as you met Misha. Turning the broken road to the right is crossing into another circle of hell.

 

- Igor? Did he, too...

 

- Killed himself in the "prison" at the first chance he got. Couldn't bear the weight of the past and abuse.

Anya looked helplessly at Akhem-Safei. Tears rolled from her eyes.

 

- And you people think it's that simple? Meet me after death, "I'm coming to you." Ha! There's only endless loneliness ahead...

 

Life in the other world, which is sometimes romanticized and extolled, was a hundred times more unbearable for Anya than the earthly life, where she also repeatedly sinning thoughts of suicide.

 

She is doomed to live with the burden of memories, doomed to look at this cursed house and turn left forever ... forever ... without any hope.

 

 

 

The afterlife, that world, or simply hell - call it what you will - was not a romantic retreat for misunderstood souls, but just a dirty, smelly and meaningless den where souls live forever, from day to day, from year to year, from century to century, with no hope of changing anything. In hell you live without your friends. You are alone. Anya herself realized that the parents behind the wall were just passing through her circle. Soon they will be gone, too.

 

Somewhere in her subconscious there was an urge to jump off the roof that night, and when she saw her friend flying off the ground....that was just an excuse. She wouldn't be able to catch him. She found just an excuse to kill herself. Momentary stupidity, recklessness.

 

-Why is nature so cruel that it doesn't let us correct any of our mistakes. Why didn't we go to the park that night? - She said calmly, in the voice of a man who had made peace with his destiny.

 

Akhem-Safei looked at her with a curious look.

 

- Hm. Not every human would dare ask a demon for a favor. All right, I'm listening.

 

- You are very powerful, and I know you can do it. Tell the people on earth sometime, the ones who are already close to suicide. I'm guessing there are thousands of them. Tell them, through their dreams or gray reality, to live. That they put away foolish thoughts. That they live, enjoying every minute of their lives, breathing in the air of youth, no matter what difficulties stand in their way.  After all, life is ...

 

Akhem-Saphei was surprised at this earthly girl's request. The last time he was so surprised was when Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake.

 

- I guess now you know what it was that dragged you to the roof that night.

 

- a subconscious desire for suicide? - Akhem-Safei interrupted her.

Anya nodded. Scolding was heard from behind the wall. Her mother and father were arguing again.

 

- ...Life is a priceless gift. - Anna continued- Tell them that it's as sad here as it was there. No, it's not... Tell them it's a hundred times worse. There's only one difference. In that horrible earthly life, as those on the verge of suicide call it, there is always hope that something will change for the better. Either you will change, or happy circumstances will do it. But there is a way out. Life is a field for hope. As long as we breathe, we have hope.  There is no such hope here... There is no way out...eternal torment in hell...Live...love, break up, believe, disbelieve, appreciate those around you, curse those who betrayed...but live...

 

Akhem-Safei for the first time in centuries looked sympathetically at the earthly creature after death, who after his last words burst into tears on his shoulder.

 


Submitted: September 28, 2022

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