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Heroes Of The Revolution

Because Viktoria wanted to keep her occupation a secret, she travelled seventy kilometres each morning to work. 

Today was the first of November and the familiar landscape lay covered by a fresh fall of snow. Gazing from the bus at the uniform whiteness, her thoughts turned to husband, Ivan. He had changed  since she started her new job. Often in a bad mood and forever criticising her appearance and housekeeping. Worst of all, on two or three days each week he would drink to excess, become abusive and accuse her of cheating.

*

Oleg Gavrilenko felt every one of his fifty-six years, as he picked a way over the packed snow to the door of his small shop. He reached in his overcoat for his keys then stooped to unlock the metal grill. Once inside he silenced the alarm, raised the blinds and adjusted the door sign. Grandly titled, Computer Sales And Service, the shop sold a range of cheap tablets, reconditioned laptops and accessories. He had started the business ten years ago, after leaving Russia. Then he had been married with a son, but his wife resentful of their situation and homesick, had years since returned to Moscow. As Oleg waited for the kettle to boil, he opened his laptop and logged into the usual site. His favourite model would soon be online.

*

As the bus neared the outskirts of the city, Viktoria remembered her first day at Zenith Studios. It was May, just a few months ago. Magda, the studio administrator had welcomed her effusively.

"Darling, I am so pleased to see you. Here we can make all your dreams come true. Do you have a dream, darling?"

Viktoria told her about her teenage years spent in an orphanage and how she dreamed of a home of her own.

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

As Viktoria left the room, Magda reached for the phone and dialed her contact in Moscow.

At the end of that first day, Magda appeared in her room.

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

The note she stuck on Viktoria's monitor read: Oleg55. 

*

Her shift over for the day, Viktoria left the studio. Bundled in sweater and fur lined coat she crossed the road by the statue honouring heroes of the revolution. Her boots sloshed through the dirty melting snow.

'How beautiful it had looked this morning from the bus.'

Oleg had left a message on her studio social media account: 'Room booked @ Metropole, see u 5pm' She was ten minutes early.

He sat in the bar at a low round table, a glass of amber liquid and a bottle of tonic next to his pack of Marlboro Red.

"Hi, you are early, looking good." They walked through the faded opulence of the hotel's deserted reception area. 

"Which room?"

"It's two hundred and ten, second floor. They have a lift."

"You go, I will take the stairs, leave the door open," she replied, before giving her attention to a carousel of paperback novels with lurid catchpenny covers.

 On the silent corridor, Viktoria counted the gold numbers mounted on solid doors. When she reached the one standing ajar she glanced quickly from side to side before entering.

Oleg lay on the bed in just a pair of shorts. He watched as she placed her bag and coat on a leather tub chair, before removing her sweater to reveal the creamy tops of her breasts, cradled in a black lace bra. She sat on the bed and let him touch her for the first time.

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

Viktoria waited for the sound of the water, before taking a small Stechkin revolver from her bag.

"Small and deadly and so silent, darling," Magda had assured her, before saying a final goodbye and removing all trace of Viktoria from the studio's database.

 

 

 

 

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