— When? — Darky impatiently scowled. The City was chilly. The Darky didn’t love to visit here, he lived outside the city, on a bank of a river. Prickly and dirty snow creaked under the feet of scurrying people like broken glass.
— How wonderful, the trees in silver! I love winter fairy-tale so much! — a girl smiled, she went backwards and looked at a young man, a groom or a husband.
He smiled and remained silent…
Darky mentally chuckled, watching them contemptuously. Winter fairy-tale, she’d read too many statuses in social networks.
— Well, let him come round. The man was beaten to death, — told him a colleague just as bright, but lighter than his friend.
Slowly moved up the others, one by one, in pairs, in groups. Darky tore off a sprig of frozen berries, put it in the mouth, immediately spat out. Bitter. By the river the same trees were growing, the berries looked the same there, but were sweet, as if eating sweet ice. Everything in this City was like that — only looked like life. He glared at the walking couple. The girl grimaced, putting on poses from Instagram pictures one by one, the man stared at the sides, sometimes smeared his eyes on the girl. The man’s gaze rested on Darky, he began to look closely, frowned as if trying to understand something. Darky turned away.
— See what’s that… — the man nodded in the direction where the colleagues of Darky were gathering.
— Where? – asked the girl, glancing to the side, where the man looked — trees, strewed with ravens, a bench downstairs, police at the house, and her interest waned. — Ah, I don’t know… and you know what I also love when it snows with so big snowflakes I wish it would be like that right now!..
— Only frozen water from the sky is missed, yep, — he muttered.
The colleague smiled.
— It’s up to you to deal with it, right?
Darky shivered, stepped from foot to foot. Actually, this was the answer. Yes, up to him. And now he needed not to miss the main point.
The girl was over twenty; she was wearing a thick scarf, a thick hat with a large pompon, she was walking without straightening her legs at the knees, giving infantilism for spontaneity. The man listened to his girlfriend’s twitter. Not the wife, identified Darky. Lived together. Several years. She thought she was a wife, that she had a family. He thought he was completely free. That someday they would come for him. Darky intended to spit but didn’t want to spit onto Nature.
The comings were saying hello, talking to each other; someone was nodding at Darky, discussed that it was up to him to deal with it. He too was nodding to someone, was smiling at someone. His bright and unflappable colleague took upon himself those who wanted to talk, in fact, he was there for this; he was as a spokesperson.
The police and the criminologists were spinning around the corpse. Darky stood apart, not wanting to interfere, letting them work. A stain was reddening on the white snow. It once had been a man. The body became a mess. Indifferent boxes of houses were staying around, a few cars. The usual city courtyard of the ordinary world. And murder. Usual. The World and the Antiworld met. Annihilation. The prefix “anti” could include anything — skin colour, hair, eyes, skull shape, language, the name of an imaginary friend — here it was called religion, sexual preferences, country of birth, the area of residence, clothing… And here it was. In the snow, there was a piece of meat left over by the Anti-Universe. And the other piece of meat left over from the other Universe was wandering around, not even realizing this collision killed it.
— Finally! — He almost cried, but his throat burst just short and loud croaking wheeze. By the house wall, leaning on it, a dark-haired boy was trying to straighten up. With amber skin and the same shade eyes, as if sprinkled with gold paint. He was very weak and confused. Well, of course. Darky approached him.
— Hi, Alik.
— Hello, — the guy tried to clear the throat because the voice sounded hoarse and deaf.
— Don’t strain, my name is Azat.
Darky — Azat — put his hand out, smiled.
— Alik, yes. I know. Can I help?
The boy didn’t yet recover from his shock.
— Come on, that’s it. Don’t be afraid of me, I won’t hurt you.
Azat hugged Alik by the shoulders and nearly tore him from the ground, dragged him to the trees in the yard.
The others stared at the couple. Alik looked around the crowd.
Azat threw off his black coat and threw it on the boy. He gratefully smiled and wrapped himself in it. He hadn’t even noticed that the man was wearing something. Darky was like a complete piece of darkness. Alik smiled at the comparison, sat on the bench under the trees. The bright colleague of Azat separated from the others and approached him, held out his hand.
— Yuliy. Yul.
— Ah … Alik. — The guy held the hand out.
— I’m Azat’s brother. Keep. – After shaking hands, the man handed him a cup, apparently, with coffee or tea.
— Thank you. — Alik took a sip. Delicious hot liquid warmed from the inside. Yeah, although it wasn’t cold. For some reason, in daytime, it was colder. Alik was drinking tea or not tea, something, something delicious and hot and was looking at the yard. Police cars, a crowd of people, slowly the memory began to come back.
— You’re from the police, right? — Alik asked.
— Well, you could say that, — smiled Yul.
Alik looked at Azat and Yul, so different, and vaguely similar, something in their eyes. The national security, probably, Alik understood.
— I don’t know them. I mean, I’ve seen them a few times, they all hang out here. We never had … I mean, we never had a fight. I don’t even know why they’ve followed me… I can show you who. Further, a blow and I don’t remember anything more. Apparently, then it wasn’t interesting anymore, and then… they killed someone, right?
Alik reached his neck out to consider anything behind the police.
— Yes, they did. And that’s why we want to take you with us. It’s dangerous here. And staying here for a long time is dangerous. —Said Azat.
— Where? Where to take?
— Somewhere safe. — Hemmed Darky.
— Well… Okay, but I need to prepare.
— After. First, we get to the place, and then, if you want… It’s important. — Azat wasn’t looking at the policemen; he was looking at the guy.
— Well, okay.
The other colleagues of Azat and Yul remained silent but watched carefully what Alik said and did. He felt that he could talk to anyone; everyone would be polite, friendly, willing to help. Maybe he knew something important? And why is there so many of them?
Two more came, and saw Alik, smiled imperceptibly exchanged incomprehensible signs with the others, as if not to disturb.
— Well, sit down, take a breath, come round, — said Azat with a smile.
Alik smiled weakly in response.
Azat took a deep, satisfied breath. It turned out good.
— Ed, well, something became clear? — a police officer addressed to an investigator.
Ed, a man with a nice but tired face, sighed noisily.
— No fucking way! A boy lived, he studied at the Institute, either a biologist or a botanist, who ever disassembles them. Went to the store and local scumbags attacked him on the way back, the saleswoman in the store saw how the gang was gathering, and a few went for him, what’s his name, Alik Kim.
- Youth runs wild, like monkeys, that will grow from them? — the policeman shook his head.
— Mold. Has grown already.
— This is our future, isn’t it?
— Not ours already, — Ed Gorsky snorted, spat in the snow and lit a cigarette. — Different rubbish will kill us before the future begins.
The policeman nodded.
— Where are so many crows from?! — Ed got suddenly angry.
— They had been here when we got here, Ed, maybe they live here.
— Creepy, — Ed shivered, — and all keep silent.
He wanted to throw a cigarette in the snow, for some reason changed his mind, took a few steps to a trash can and went to the body and the criminologists.
— Are you back? — Azat asked.
Alik nodded, even smiled, vividly, and almost confidently.
— Not afraid of me?
— Well, then it’s time.
— And still where to? — Alik asked, wrapped in a coat of Azat.
— Homeward. — Azat put his hand to his hair and the back of Alik. The coat began to shrink the guy, spreading in him with darkness. Alex gave a stifled yell.
— Don’t be afraid, we are the ones who are good, — smiled at him Azat. The black impenetrable gaze became ruthless. Just for a moment before Alik’s honey eyes got covered with darkness. Not a big deal, he would get used. In the snow, in the place of the guy lay a black feather. Azat picked it up and stuck it in the shoulder, deeply, blood appeared around, easily and not widely he waved his hands, and the raven rose up from the ground.
— Depart. — Yul croaked.
— Maybe, in groups, to be imperceptible? — someone suggested.
— We’re crows, who cares? — Yul laughed, soaring into the sky. A flock appeared from the trees, darkening the sky for some time. Ed looked at the flock thoughtfully, but he couldn’t tell what he was thinking about.
— We were engorging so much, there are such portions!.. — the girl in the knitted hat was telling that to the man. About the trip to Egypt. The man painfully in the eyes, and maybe in heart, was watching the flock.
The flock was flying through worlds, flipping through the Multiverse like a book. The route home they knew perfectly. Azat was carefully covering his feather and flew a bit slower, Yul and a few other Ravens were quietly and confidently covering him from all sides. Purely accidental, under the hatred of the huddled together uselessness came the incarnation of the intelligence of Nature of one of the Real Worlds beyond the physical universe. That’s why those who come gathered to look at the first steps and the first words in real life of the future Great Nature that gives Life.