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Heroes Of The Revolution

The past has a long memory

All the familiar landmarks, on her route to work, lay hidden under a blanket of pristine snow. Asya stared moodily through the window. 'Why was her husband so often in a bad mood?' He was forever criticising her appearance and housekeeping and worst of all, on several nights every week, he would drink excessively and become abusive.

 

Beneath a snow filled sky, Oleg Mitkova stepped carefully across the pavement to reach the door of his small shop. Grandly titled, Computer Sales And Service, it sold a range of cheap tablets, reconditioned laptops and accessories. He'd started the business after leaving his government job in Moscow. Back then he'd been married with a son. But his wife, homesick and resentful of their diminished status, had long since returned to Russia. As Oleg waited for the kettle to boil, he opened his laptop and logged onto the usual site. His favourite model would soon be online.

 

As the bus approached the outskirts of the city, Asya's thoughts turned to her first day at Zenith Studio. It was May, just a few months ago, when Magda, the Administrator had welcomed her so enthusiastically.

"Darling, I am happy to see you. Here we can make all your dreams come true. Tell me, do you have a dream, darling?"

Asya had revealed how she'd always dreamed of a home of her own.

"For many of our users you will be their dream. Your smile of welcome, the fact you remember their name. If you work hard and follow our simple rules, you will turn what seems an impossible dream into reality."

Asya recalled how, near the end of that first shift, Magda had appeared in her room.

"Well done, darling. Before you go, send this guy a friend request and a nice message. "

The note she'd attached to Asya's monitor had read: OLEG55. 

 

It was almost dark when, bundled in sweater and fur coat, Asya left work and crossed the road by the statue honouring heroes of the revolution. Earlier, Oleg had left a message on her studio social media account:

'Room booked @ Metropole. See u @5'

The hotel stood tall and gaunt against the darkening sky. She recognised him immediately, sat at a low table, a glass of amber liquid placed next to his pack of Marlboro Red. He rose and together they walked through the hotel's deserted reception area.

"Which room, Oleg?"

"It's two hundred and ten, second floor." He indicated the waiting lift.

"You go, I will take the stairs. Leave the door open," she instructed, before turning her attention to a carousel of paperback novels.

Minutes later, she stood on the hotel corridor and counted the gold numbers mounted on solid doors. At the one left ajar, she paused and checked both ways before entering.

Oleg lay on the bed in just his shorts. Asya deposited her bag and coat on a chair. Then she removed her sweater and for a moment let him touch the creamy tops of her breasts.

"You need a shower. Go, I will prepare myself."

She waited for the sound of water before taking the Stechkin revolver from her bag.

"Small, silent and so deadly, darling," Magda had promised earlier, as she'd said a last goodbye and handed over the deeds to a prestigious riverside apartment. 

 

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