Anastasia

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In the name of love

“KNOCK KNOCK.”

The aggravatingly, high pitched voice, carried easily through the sound proof, cellar door.

“Oh my God, it is five-thirty in the, morning lady.” Nadia groaned through prolonged yawns. As she crawled from her sleeping bag. Nadia smiled as she caught a glimpse of Anastasia. Who was still, sound asleep.

“Hello. Anyone home?”

Nadia rolled her eyes, as she staggered to the hatch.

“Mary, contrary to what you may believe, most people are sleeping right now, what would you like?”

“Well, considering you won’t be here for very long. I wanted to, make the most of my time with my granddaughter.”

“Mary, she’s sleeping. I’m not going to wake her up, so that you can... I don’t know, bake brownies, or whatever.”

“Maybe if you would shut your mouth for five seconds, and listen to what I have to say, for a change. You would realize, that I’m not asking to.” “Bake brownies, or whatever.” She stated, using finger quotations.

“Fine, go on, what were you going to say?”

“Every Sunday morning we visit Damienkas' grave, and bring him new flowers, before Ed goes to work.”

“No.”

“Nadia, I-”

“No, I don’t care. You are not going to fill my daughters head, with your delusions.”

“First of all, they’re not delusions. You were driving the car, so as far as I’m concerned, you did take him from me.” Mary gritted her teeth to halt the tears.

“Look, I don’t want to turn her against you, She already lost one parent. I would hate, for that sweet child to lose you too. Please, Just let me take her, to see her father.”

“I wanna go.” The apprehensive voice of a little girl, emerged from the bottom of the ladder. Catching the attention of both women.

“Baby doll, y-you heard that?”

“I wanna visit his grave. I wanna go, Please mamochka?”

“Okay, fine.” Nadia began. “But on one condition.” Mary’s slight smile faded, as she threw her head back. “And what would that be?”

“I’m coming too.” Nadia smirked, making direct eye contact with Mary.

“I’m going to be with my child the entire, time. And you, are going to say absolutely nothing, about you know what. That’s the only way this is happening.”

Mary nodded and looked to Ana, whose smile was taking up half her face. A seemingly innocent display of a grieving child.

What no one knew, and what no one would believe if they heard it, was a far more sinister perception of reality. The very thought of entering a graveyard was exciting, it was thrilling for Ana. Although, walking through a burial ground, could not even hold a candle, to the immense pleasure she experienced, while taking a life. It was most certainly, the next best thing.

The sky, was a faded orange and the sun burnt halfway over the horizon when they finally arrived at the cemetery. The gate was coated in moss, with a rusted golden glow from beneath the mold. A shoveled, cobble stone path cut clear from the gate to the end of the grounds. Where a decaying mausoleum, stood tall, and proud. Lining the walkway, an abundance of bare willow trees provided, a sense of disturbance, and dread. Each stone they passed seemed to grow. Not only in size, but in detail, with statues of disembodied angels, and huge metallic crosses, with intricate designs. All set, with even the son of God, hanging lifeless, by his granite-sculpted, hands and feet.

“Here he is.” Ed held Mary’s hand as he dropped to his knees, extending his arm for the wilted twigs, drooping in the vase below. In their place, he set a dozen white roses.

“He was a true light, in such a dark world.”

Mary choked back the waterworks, as she grazed the top of her sons’ headstone. It was made of jet black, granite, not unlike many others, in this cemetery. A statue of mother Mary, holding the Catholic Bible, towered over his tomb.

Ana stood back, watching the pain exuding from her mother. She wasn’t crying, but her expression was clear as day. It was a beautiful scene, of the symbolic side, of death itself. Ana concluded as she silently scrutinized. She didn’t quite understand why everyone was so sad all the time, around death. How they didn’t beam with joy for hours on end, after experiencing death. Even her own mother cried and cried, after every single murder. It was ludicrous. The whole thing really. All Ana could do was take in the beauty.

The sun burning a beautiful, crimson across the heavens. The sensation of spiritual beings, floating around, near, and through, each one of them. It was gorgeous. Each stone told a story of a life. One, that was tragically taken in an artistic calamity, of events, leading to that final breath. Or maybe, It was sudden, like a wave undertaking its victims. Drowning them, in a matter of seconds, under a force so strong, and so mighty. They just had to give up and die.

Nadia held her bottom lip from quivering, with her front teeth. Her brows were upturned. In a display of indisputable, distress. Causing several, deep lines, to form on her forehead. Her cheeks were glowing red, and her hands were practically vibrating. With palms, soaking in sweat.

His stone was polished black, with a white, rectangular slab at its base. Due to the fact that only eight years had passed, since Damienkas' death, the grave, had not yet lost, its gleaming finish. In comparison to the ancient, aura of this cemetery, Damienka’s tomb was a blatant outlier. His plaque read,

In loving memory of Son, Father, and Husband. Damienka Lee Mikhailov. February 25 1974 - December 24 2000.

“He died on Christmas eve?” Ana broke the silence, with a prying curiosity.

Nadia kneeled to her daughters’ level, and held both of her hands, tenderly. “Yes sweetheart. Your papa, was an amazing man, and he died far too young. But you know what? He lives on through you.” Ana gave a synthetic smile, as Nadia pulled her in, and held her tight.

When Mary saw this, her heart sank to her stomach. Stepping closer to her granddaughter, who was nuzzled in the embrace of her mother. With immense hesitation, Mary put aside her resentment for a moment. Laying her hand on Nadia’s shoulder.

“He most certainly does live on through you sweety-pea.” Mary shifted her tone to a soft whisper, as she put her lips to Nadia’s ear. “And... you to.”

Nadia acknowledged the sentiment, nodding her head. As she placed her hand on Mary’s.

“Thank you.” Nadia let her guard down, just enough, for a smile to appear. Catching the tears, that she could no longer hold back. In the crevices of her dimples.

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