Maya Tsulaya: Short Stories
To Valeri Arcania

The enemy was penetrating the town. People were fleeing, trying to save their lives and the lives of their kids. Whole neighborhoods were devoured by the fire. Crash... explosions… howling of aircraft engines…

In a tiny room inside a small apartment of a huge building there was a man sitting in front of  an easel. He was looking at an unfinished landscape: Black Sea coast… Esplanade with fine lanterns…Semicircular hotel “Abkhazia” hiding behind the palm trees…

From the street he could hear, cries, gnashing of  wheels of armoured personnel-carriers and tread of running feet.
The artist looked around. Pictures on the walls, the pile of canvas in the corner…  All the results of his hard work, products of his talent. All his life he had worked on them. In them he had put his soul, his skills, his creative ideas.

Outside the racket increased. Loud explosions made windows tremble. The whole building seemed to shiver.
The worried artist glanced at the window, then at the door.

”I should run! But where should I run?”

...The door was kicked open, and two soldiers with green bands around their heads broke into the smoke filled apartment.
A huge pile of canvaswas smoking in the middle of the living room, and over that weird bonfire  was the creator’s corpse rocking quietly in the air...

September 1, 1994

Translated into English by Andrew Andersen