Internet of Things: Four Technology Stories

    Illustration by Anatoly Sazanov

    I decided to share with you four stories with “intriguing” titles:

    • Augmented Reality
    • Smart House
    • AI
    • Blockchain

    What unites them (as you already noticed) is the mention of various fashionable IT words. They are all shoved by them anyway, so why shouldn’t I?

    A bit unsteady (and not always scientific) and joyless fiction under the cut.

    Augmented Reality

    Morning 4421

    I spend twenty-three hours a day without seeing or hearing anything around. I have no hearing, no vision, I can’t move. Just think, go crazy or - if you're very lucky - sleep.

    That is my punishment.

    “You thought war was a picnic?” - they told me evil when they sentenced. Completely forgetting that this is what they made me believe in.

    I try to move my arms and legs. While moving, though creaking godlessly. A few tosses into the river did not benefit my exoskeleton. I open my eyes and see the usual dusk, a colonnade, and cars rush behind it with a buzz. Everything as usual.

    I crawl out of my shelter onto the path leading around the memorial barrow to a wide staircase. Early morning and the stairs are empty. In a few giant leaps, I climb up. Several cars buzz after me. Maybe, however, it’s not at all for me. But from harsh sounds, I still instinctively try to squeeze my head into my shoulders. They are not blind, and they see the stigma.

    They put the stamp on the case the very moment they took my voice.

    I’m upstairs on the observation deck, and begin to deliberately delve into the trash cans. It is worth being careful, you cannot drop either a shard or a scrap. You can not give a reason.

    It offers a view of the square, which modern architects tried to make solemn, imitating the ancient masters. Whether they miscalculated, or whether the Martian dust disfigured elaborate facades, but the square began to resemble a tomb. She was surrounded by dead gray-gloomy houses with eternally black window dips.

    Except one.

    It was a hostel for refugees from infected areas, and it was notorious. He was considered a hotbed of infection and called "Leprozorium." Although, of course, there were no and could not be infected in it. From infected areas released only after total disinfection.

    Those who survived, of course.

    On the house with sweeping scribbles it was written “leper = traitor”.

    - Do you bask in the rays of someone else's glory? - someone said hysterically over his ear and coughed. I pulled my hands out of the trash and, just in case, took a couple of steps to the side before turning around. A man with smallpox half-faces looked at me unkindly, trembling from the cold morning wind. He was wearing the uniform of the City Service, holding a tablet, and robots-cleaners scurried around, picking up cigarette butts from cracked stoves.

    “Keep warm while you can,” the man continued, coughing every now and then. - Soon you will be kicked out into infected areas. There and the road. - He raised his head up to the monument, and suddenly shone: - Eh, well, you were not born ten years earlier ...

    I involuntarily continued his gaze. On a high pedestal, a huge radiant exoskeleton barely stood on its feet, overcoming, restraining the fiery rain. The exoskeleton was a copy of mine, only without a stigma. The inscription on the pedestal read: "To the defenders of the Fourth Armada."

    Yes, they protected.

    And the First Armada defended. And the second one.

    But we are not.

    The third wave reached Earth. This will never be forgiven us.

    I stood at attention and waited for the employee to leave with his robots. Apparently, they will not leave me a single gram of aluminum, and I will have to do a risky sortie into the yards. But the clerk was in no hurry at all, wandering around the monument and angrily muttering something under his breath. The pockmarks on his face were of extraterrestrial origin. A burning sensation in his throat that makes him expectorate every minute, too. I could understand him if he tried to understand me.

    I have little time for life. I became bolder, took a few steps and pulled down the stairs. Having reached the transition, I waited for the green signal and quickly ran across the roadway, being at the Leprozoria. If you turn around the corner and sneak along the wall, you can get to the courtyard dump. Refugees throw little, but it does happen.

    My attention is drawn to a car driving up to the hostel. She squeamishly stops a dozen meters before the entrance, without touching the tires of the puddle at the sidewalk. A woman crawls out of the car with a huge bag full in her hand. He rises right in the center of the puddle, plunging ankle-deep, and takes out a baby of about three from the back seat. The child is bald and tonsured, and I can’t guess at all whether this is a girl or a boy. The woman closes the door and says something to the driver with a smile, but he breaks down without listening.

    I walk along the sidewalk, clinging to the wall of the house, and they walk past me, holding hands. The bag hanging on the woman’s shoulder hits me on the iron knee, the recoil nearly drops it. The woman turns to me and says, looking directly at the stigma:

    - I'm sorry.

    The kid stops and also turns his head towards me. And ... smiles?

    The woman straightens the bag on her shoulder and gently pulls the child by the hand.

    - Come on, Molly.

    They go to the entrance to the hostel. They ring the doorbell and disappear behind it. In parting, Molly gives me another smile.

    This smile paralyzes me. I don’t notice how another passer-by rudely pushes me aside. From the mound, a city employee is still watching me. I dive into the gateway and hide there until he leaves. Then I return to my shelter. In the far, dark corner, I push back the stone barrier and see a pale pink glow.

    Amanita martial.

    Grinding the mined foil into dust, I carefully sprinkle the mycelium and - especially carefully - hatching mushrooms. These can often be found in infected areas, in the dark corners of landfills. If you carefully dig and remove the mycelium with the ground, then you can avoid infection. If you touch them carelessly, carelessly, the mushrooms will burst, spraying millions of spores.

    When they still grow up, I am going to touch them very casually.

    Crush a foot to the damn mother.

    With this thought, I perched on my “sleeping stone” and curled up in a ball, counting the last minutes of freedom.

    Not that the thought of revenge really warmed me. I knew this was pointless. He knew that it was blasphemous. Knew this was wrong. Father would not have praised for that. But father was the first to turn his back on me after the defeat. In this sense, I have nothing to lose.

    But if you do not think about revenge, you will have to think about how much time is left before re-inclusion. And at the end of the twenty-third hour, I will think only about one thing.

    Will they turn me on at all? Or will they leave my mind to rot in this steel kennel?

    Morning 4422

    They turned me on.

    This should symbolize great mercy. This should mean the chance of redemption granted to me.

    For me, this does not symbolize and does not mean shit.

    “Two times we have already won,” they told us. “Be worthy of the First and Second Armada,” they told us. Oh yeah. We were ready. We were ready to return as victors like them. We were ready to pace proudly in parades. We were ready to accept congratulations, drop a tear over the fallen, and lay in boundless devotion to the Earth. Of course, we were ready, we are children who grew up on the chronicles of the First Armada, eagerly clinging to the screens during the celebrations of the Second Armada. We were ready to see our whole life.

    Only here we were not ready to kill. They were not ready to see how they were dying. And someone up there, it seems, was still not ready for the fact that the third wave would be several times larger than the previous ones.

    Each missed capsule dug into conscience, like a splinter. Each of us considered ourselves guilty. Probably, it seemed to us very noble to blame only yourself for the failure.

    But for others it seemed very convenient.

    Morning reminded me of this. A traitor was written across the body with a marker. Surely teenagers, adult respectable people do not rummage through such suspicious dark corners. Thank you at least not thrown into the river, as last time. Sorry.

    Sorry ...

    I have nothing to reproach myself with. We held back the attack as best we could. I guess I was not the fastest, most efficient. I guess I wasn’t even brave. But anyone who would tell me then that I did not try would get a fist in the face.

    Now, of course, they speak with impunity.

    But when they drove us to Earth, to intercept the first bursting capsules - a pointless undertaking, because then they broke through thousands! - I was the first to run to one of them. He ran to see the enemy in the face.

    I smelled of burning. No, it's not in the memories, it's in reality. And the smell, of course, only seemed to me - I just noticed smoke and heard a cracking flame.

    The Leprozorium burned.

    Jumping out of my hiding place, I saw smoke pouring from the windows of the fourth floor. A siren howled in the distance, fire engines raced through the maze of streets. Passers-by cast a fleeting glance at the raging flames and, realizing that the house was on fire, moved on about their business. Cars whispered gloatingly while standing at the traffic lights, and drove on when the green light came on.

    I squinted my augmented eyes. The door of the house swung open and people poured out of it. They poured out and stopped under the windows, their heads lifted. They did not care.

    The last woman to appear at the door was the one who had just arrived yesterday. They dragged her out by force and threw her onto the sidewalk, and when she tried to return, they brutally pushed him out of the door.

    - Do you admire the creature? - I heard a familiar cough nearby. The trash admiral and his garbage flotilla walked around me, frozen on the stairs. His voice brought me to life. I jumped down, leaving a terrible crack on the sidewalk, and pulled across the street right under the wheels of cars. Cars buzzed, but did not even think to slow down.

    I ran to the Leprozorium and grabbed onto the ugly stucco with manipulators. A fire engine taxied with a roar and screech. They'll probably tell me to step aside.

    “Step aside, son." It sounded almost affectionate then. And then the foreman shot a shotgun into the capsule and, without letting me come to my senses, hit me with the butt.

    Therefore, I did not wait, but crawled upstairs. Crawled, clutching at the windowsills and frames. Clinging to cracks in the walls, for pretentious growths, for attaching antennas.

    On the fourth floor I knocked out the glass and dived right into the raging child. Having twisted my vision to the maximum, I, like a dog looking for a master, rushed from door to door, looking closely and listening.

    I found Molly in the bathroom of one of the farthest apartments. I don’t know how she guessed to hide there, closing the door tightly, but this saved her life. I knocked out the door, grabbed it in my arms and jumped back into the corridor. Having broken out the door of the elevator shaft, I looked up and down: the elevator dangled below, engulfed in flames. Having swung, I grabbed onto the cable and climbed up, clutching the girl to me. She clung tenaciously to me, closing her eyes in fear. She still does not know that we adults do the same.

    After a few jumps, reaching the last sixth floor, I climbed to the technical floor, and from there - knocking out the hatch - I got out onto the roof. There I sat, leaning against the wall of the outlet of the ventilation shaft. He sat holding the girl in his arms.

    She opened her eyes and looked at me. Her face was slightly smeared with soot. She was wearing a gray jumpsuit, larger than her size, worn over a white T-shirt. A cold wind pierced her to the bone. I moved over so as not to chill her even more.

    - Where's mom? She asked.

    I extended one arm and showed it down. The girl stretched her head in that direction, but did not see anything - it was far to the edge of the roof. Below, there was a noise, rumble and swearing exclamations of firefighters.

    Molly put her trembling hand into her pocket, pulled out a crumbled piece of biscuit from there, and immediately put it in her mouth. It seemed that this had calmed her down a bit, and she asked me:

    “I'm cold.” Give me a hug.

    Without waiting for an answer, she pressed herself against the cold metal. Weak or strong - I did not feel. An exoskeleton was not created for this.

    “Hug me,” she repeated.

    I covered it with my hands, carefully, trying not to damage it.

    And she stopped trembling.

    This was wrong. It was illogical. This was against all the laws of physics. I would tell her if I could say that it is most reasonable for her to curl up on the roof itself, shutting herself off from the wind by a ventilation pipe. But do not huddle in a cold metal case.

    But she snuggled up and warmed herself up. And, breathing more evenly, she asked again:

    - Sing me a song.

    I could not.

    They took my voice from me. Will I remember my last sentence before the verdict? Why did I tell her?

    Oh yes.

    Indeed, in the capsule was a living creature. Of course, I did not know for sure ... But the foreman did not know either. He saw the same thing as me. The creature hiding in the corner of the capsule was not a killer. It was not a soldier. It was not a fanatic. It was a frightened child.

    “Stand aside, son,” the foreman told me then. A shot, a blow - and here we fly back, I am constrained and disarmed, and he bowed to my ear: “Sorry, bitch? And you did not regret our children, huh? Do you know what infection they brought with them? ”

    He was right. He was monstrously logical right. Is it intentional, is it accidental, but they brought with them alien flora and fauna to us. What was it - your favorite cactus pots? Hamsters in the cages? A herbarium hidden between pages of books? Pocket acorns? For us it was death. Infected areas appeared where the bursting capsules fell.

    Therefore, I was then returned to duty and again given the order to kill. And I was killing. I followed all their orders, knowing full well who I was shooting at. We were found guilty anyway and were still tried.

    It was then that I allowed myself to admit that I felt sorry for them.

    “I killed them because it was necessary. But I could not spare them flying through space to certain death. That would be inhuman. ”

    These words were worth the voice.

    I suddenly realized that I was swinging Molly from side to side and was mumbling to myself some forgotten melody.

    I suddenly realized that Molly was singing along with me.

    She could not hear me. No one could hear me. I didn’t have a voice!

    She sang along for another minute, and then wearily fell asleep. Following her, my body also fell asleep. Sight lost, sound lost. I froze, sitting on the roof, with her in my arms. I could only hope that the fire was extinguished and we were discovered. For twenty-three hours I was just thinking about that.

    If only they did not decide that she died.

    If only they had time before the flame reaches the roof.

    If only they had time before the house collapses.

    You are welcome.

    Morning 4423

    I wake up at the bottom of the river. I sigh to myself, roll over and crawl on all fours to the promenade. Clinging to potholes in concrete made by me last time, I pull myself to the surface. I cling to the park fence, drag myself through it and fall into the flower beds. Without waiting for the guards, I immediately rush to the exit and hide in the gateway. Winding around the yards, in twenty precious minutes I get to my hometown. From far away I see a shining monument. I run a little more under the disapproving rumble of cars - and I see black-open windows, dead, burnt. From time to time people in uniform stick out from the windows and carefully examine something. Patrol car at the entrance. A crowd of residents surrounded a woman with a child. The sight of a girl makes me joyful and sad at the same time.

    Glad that she was alive.

    Sadly from the world in which she will live.

    I do not hear the words, but I see that the residents are screaming at the woman. In turn, supporting each other with an approving hum. A policeman is standing nearby and seems to be trying to call them to order. Squintingly wrinkles his nose. He does not care about Molly and her mother, they are all equally disagreeable to him. He looks at the leper = traitor and nods thoughtfully to her.

    I understand what is happening. They arrived, and a fire broke out on their floor. This is a simple causal logic. We flew to protect the Earth, and the Earth was infected. Guessing is not necessary, who is to blame.

    I do not notice how the king of garbage cans and his vassals reappear near me. A cough would have to give him out per kilometer. He seemed to be holding back for a long time especially for me.

    - Are you staring again? You like it when people feel bad, right? It's all because of you, creature. They, like refugees, look at us refugees because of you.

    He apparently wanted to spit on me, but coughed, bent over in half.

    I did not wait for him.

    Quickly hiding under the colonnade, I moved the stones away from my hiding place. Gently dug up the soil and pulled out the mycelium along with the still unripe mushrooms. I went out with her back into the light - and if someone pushed me at this moment, then he should only blame himself. I slowly reached the robot cleaner closest to me and kicked him. He in surprise opened his mouth, where I pushed the mycelium along with shreds of earth.

    She was still too weak to argue right now. Further it is not my concern. Too little time.

    Like yesterday, I rushed across the road without bothering to obey the rules. Like yesterday, I got angry beeps in the back. Unless the fire engine seemed around the corner, like yesterday.

    I was sorry that I could not shake hands with the one who pulled Molly out of my arms. Even if he then threw me into the river.

    The crowd parted before me. I entered, like a leper, into a circle of lepers. The policeman was speechless from such impudence and stood with his mouth agape as his hand reached for the gun.

    But I was speechless.

    I poked a finger at the burnt windows of the fourth floor, and then pointed to myself.

    The crowd buzzed.

    "Right! He was hanging around here all the time! ” - voiced some tall man in training.

    “And I watched the girl from the very arrival!”, - confirmed the woman in a colorful scarf.

    I managed to see Molly before my mother dragged her into the crowd, obeying ancient instincts. She snuggled into her mother and looked at me in both eyes. She did not smile. I understood why, but I was a little offended to leave without seeing her smile.

    Her mom turned around. She was mortally scared. She was mortally tired. She has come a long way, fleeing death, and has lost all that little that she had.

    I could not envy her.

    She nodded to me, and I read in her eyes, “Thank you.”

    A policeman came up to me at the end of my only hour.

    I knelt down so as not to fall on anyone by accident, and plunged into darkness.


    Molly woke up on the bus. Mom dozed nearby, leaning her head against the window. When the bus bounced on bumps, she winced in a dream. Outside the window stretched ripe, ripe fields. There were a lot of people in the cabin; they slept or sat immersed in telephones. The driver chewed a toothpick and looked at the road - it was visible in the mirror. And then he suddenly noticed Molly and winked at her.

    This was enough for her to understand: everything will be fine. And she purred a song. Quietly, almost to myself, so that she would not be scolded for noise.

    - What is this song? - her mother will ask later. Molly doesn't know herself. She only remembers the roof piercing the wind. And the man who defended her.

    Lulled by her own song, she pressed herself against her mother and fell asleep soundly.

    Smart House

    The house was awakened from sleep with Zhenya. She opened her eyes - and the house helpfully let the coolness of the morning into the bedroom, the smell of earth and apples and the gentle, timid sunlight. Somewhere beyond the tops of the trees, dawn was breaking.

    She always got up earlier to enjoy the silence in the company of a coffee mug. However, today, judging by the bubbling of the TV from the living room and the empty half of the bed, she got ahead of her.

    Eugene got up and sighed. The house seemed to come to its senses and carefully closed the doors so that the TV could not be heard. Zhenya went down the stairs to the courtyard. Leading her hand along the railing, she felt droplets of dried paint. Where the sun and rain exposed the tree, it would not hurt to tint. But Wife did not want to change anything.

    Walking to the veranda along the cobbled garden path, past the lawn with crackling autowatering, she involuntarily peered into the living room window. Kostya was sitting on the sofa, his back to the window, staring at the television screen. Biting her lip, Eugene entered the kitchen porch, and a few minutes later returned with a cup of coffee. On the cup it was clumsily written in “mum” in blue letters.

    After inhaling the burning smoke and sipping milk foam, she squeezed her eyes shut — tightly, to the color spots in her eyes — and then she sat down in an armchair and began to watch the sun rise. When it appears entirely, Eugene will stop looking and go into the house. She knows that the sun will jokingly jump over the house and hide, plunging the veranda into darkness and leaving her alone. This thought frightened her, and she did not linger on the porch in the afternoon.

    But that is all later. So far, her sun is with her, peeking timidly from above the tops of the firs, as if from behind a blanket.

    The door creaked. On the threshold appeared Lenya, sleepy and ridiculously disheveled. In pajamas with anchors.

    “Hi,” he muttered sleepily, squinting from the sun.

    “Good morning, bunny,” said Eugene affectionately. Putting coffee on the table, she held out her hands - go, I will hug you.

    Lenya obediently approached and gave himself a hug. After a little stir, he himself wrapped his arms around her neck, his nose buried in the neck. She felt his breath.

    Then he raised his head and asked, peering into the distance.

    - May I go to the forest today?

    Zhenya pressed him tighter to her.

    “Come on another time, baby,” she answered.

    Lenya frowned and moved away, trying to slip out of her hands. My wife really did not want to let him go.

    - I want to go to the forest.

    “I know,” she continued calmly and lullingly, affectionately, “We will definitely leave when I rest a little.” We came here to rest, remember?

    - I can go alone.

    “But I will worry about you.” You don’t want me to worry?

    The question was not rhetorical. Eugene looked probingly at her son, waiting for an answer. He glanced from the forest to his mother. In the end, he gave up and, biting his lip, shook his head.

    “That's good,” she smiled approvingly, “go change and come have breakfast.”

    He obediently headed for the door, and suddenly hesitantly froze on the threshold.

    Zhenya was wary. I turned to ask what happened, but the son had already disappeared behind the door.

    A little later, after breakfast, exchanging an empty plate for a glass of juice, she casually asked:

    - The house says that you left the room at night. Something happened?

    Lenya lowered his head and did not answer immediately.

    - I woke up at night. I saw the moon and ... scared. She was scary.

    Eugene squatted beside him and hugged him.

    “Why didn't you call me?” Did not come?


    “I didn't mean to upset you.”

    “My poor,” she stroked his head, “be sure to call me if something happened, okay?”

    Lenya nodded slightly. As if reluctantly.

    As if in reality he would not want to call her at all.

    Eugene relieved her trembling chest and said as affectionately as she could:

    “Well, go play.” I will come to you soon.

    After washing the dishes and leaving instructions to the house regarding the products, Eugene went to the living room. There, besides a bubbling TV and a silent spouse, there was also a huge bookcase.

    “I would have done something quieter,” she threw through her teeth to her husband, but he did not answer. Bubnezh prevented her from concentrating.

    “Children's fears ... Children's psychology ... there was something somewhere ...” The house, as if hearing her thoughts, helpfully turned over the shelves of the cabinet and put out a weighty volume with a sweet little peanut on the cover. Eugene took the book and stopped in indecision. I looked at the chair in the living room, looked at the TV. Then she looked hopefully at the clock, and then, already without hope, at the veranda, which was gradually disappearing into the shadows.

    “I'll go to him,” she decided.

    Climbing up the creaking stairs to the second floor, she entered Lena’s room and sat in a rocking chair. Leon sat at his desk and painted. She looked over his shoulder. Forest, dark blue sky, their house, casually brown, and a black spot in the sky.

    “Wow,” she said, “it's great.” What is this? - She pointed to blackness.

    “This is the moon,” Lenya answered and cringed.

    “But the moon is yellow.”

    - Yesterday it was like that. Black.

    Eugene looked at her son incredulously.

    “I'm sure you just dreamed it.” Just a bad dream.

    “Do you have bad dreams?”

    Eugene bit her lip.

    - Yes, son. Dreaming. They all dream.

    She sat in a chair, opened a book and began to read, trying to understand every word and not miss anything important. When it got dark and the house lit an electric light, in Zhenya’s head was a mess of terms, techniques and teachings of all stripes. Looking out the window, she saw a moon creeping behind the clouds. Round, yellow, it seemed to swim in the waves, like a huge shiny fish. Smiling, Eugene looked at her son. He watched the cartoons, his eyes fixed on the screen and mouth open. In the glare of the screen, he unpleasantly resembled his father.

    “A leon,” she called, “a leon.”

    The son reluctantly turned his head to her, still squinting at the screen.

    “Come, look how beautiful,” she beckoned to him.

    He paused the cartoon, rose from the floor and walked with interest to her. She pointed to the window, and he obediently turned his gaze to where the moon was floating in the clouds.

    He froze.

    His eyes suddenly glazed. He seemed to stop breathing, and his heart seemed to be trying to break out of his chest. Eugene saw it, felt as if it was happening to herself.

    “What ... what is it?”

    “The moon ... is black,” he whispered. - See?

    Eugene once again looked out the window. The yellow moon. Still yellow.

    "What's happening".

    - Lena ... She's yellow. You see?

    Zhenya’s chest was cold. She just read something like that today.

    Lenya, who turned away, reluctantly looked out the window again.

    “Black,” he muttered and lowered his gaze.

    It seemed to her, or he was ... ashamed.

    “So ...”

    - Lenya, - she squatted down next to him and insinuously asked: “Why are you deceiving me?” The moon is yellow, but I can see it perfectly.

    Lenya was silent.

    “You thought I won’t believe you that you saw a nightmare yesterday?” I believe. But now you are not sleeping, and the moon is ordinary, yellow, as always.

    Lenya was silent. There were tears in his clear eyes.

    - Lenya, do not be silent. Explain why you are lying to me.

    - She's black! - Suddenly he blurted out fiercely, - Black! Go away from me!

    His face was distorted and blushed. He escaped from her hands, hid in his bed and covered himself with his head.

    The wife was very hard to maintain apparent calm. She sat up straight and casually walked to the door. Holding the handle, she haughtily and coldly said over her shoulder:

    “I'll leave.” And you sit here and think about your behavior. One.

    Zhenya went out and locked the door with a key on the machine. Or did the house do it for her? She didn’t remember. The veil was already sleeping from the eyes in the bedroom. Eugene sat on the bed and looked at her own hands. For a moment, she saw old wrinkles and ugly-convex veins encircling bones.

    “The teenage crisis? She asked herself. “Separation?” - She was confused in terms, ages and techniques. Her thoughts were generally confused as if someone had thrown stones at her head, breaking the slender rows of crystal locks.

    “There is ...” she decided to think out loud, “there are two options.” - Her voice was trembling, she did not recognize herself. “Either ... either he ... moves away from me ... deliberately rereads me, or ... something is not right. - She suddenly came to life. “Yes ... Of course, something is wrong.”

    A saving thought brought her to her senses. She resolutely got up and quickly left the bedroom. On the stairs she listened - her son was quiet in the room. Going down to the living room, Zhenya found Kostya in the same place. The television continued to emit light and sound.

    Eugene sat next to her husband and, looking at his unblinking profile, said firmly.

    - Kostya, we need an evacuation.

    These words did not make any impression on her husband. She repeated them louder. With anger she shoved him in the shoulder - and her palm hurt. The pain seemed to have opened some kind of contact in her head, and she suddenly heard her name on the TV speakers.


    She turned to the screen. Kostya looked at her from there and smiled.

    “I don’t think you noticed that I was already gone. I don’t blame you, it's really hard to notice how time is flowing. In case you suddenly forgot, I left detailed instructions for the evacuation in the bedroom, in an envelope on the table. I would like it to be different, but how it happened. Goodbye."

    The screen blinked, and now he smiles at her again.

    "Zhenya. I don’t think you noticed ... "

    Click. Darkness and silence. The living room has become a crypt. And Zhenya was already rushing along the stairs, tripping over such familiar steps. Burst into the bedroom, eagerly grabbed the envelope. I opened it, soaked up and down, and glared at the instructions.

    And then she clearly and loudly pronounced the Order.

    The house went out. The light turned off. The world has gone out.

    With trembling old age hands, she took off her glasses and shook her gray head. Eyes re-accustomed to the twilight of reality. The house, turning to an old bent servant, helpfully opened the doors in front of her - she realized that she herself could not cope. A gray, dull door, not a hint of wood. Plastic walled walls. Stretching wires under the ceiling and flashing indicators of hundreds of devices. It seemed to his wife that she found the house naked, lifted from bed, pulled out of a deep and good sleep.

    In general, the way it was.

    It was easier for the house. He easily recognized his young mistress in the old woman. Faithful servant.

    Eugene got up and staggered, leaning on the framed handrails, and went out to the stairs. Another door opened in front of her, and she entered Lenya's room.

    On the bed — bigger than she used to see — her son was sitting. He looked right in front of him and did not see anything, because his eyes covered electronic glasses.

    “Mom,” he called in a raspy bass.

    “I'm here,” she whispered barely. Having hobbled to him, she stroked his head with the miserable remnants of past whirlwinds.

    “I don't see anything,” he trembled.

    Eugene unfastened the clasp on the back of her head and took off his glasses. Moonlight struck his whitish eyes, and he closed his hand.

    Eugene examined the glasses. The house lit a light and put a screwdriver in her hands. With difficulty recalling how she set up all this herself, Eugene removed the eyepiece cover. Chips flashed, and there, among the copper constellations, she saw a fly adhering.

    Carefully picking her up with a screwdriver, Eugene squeamishly threw her to the floor.

    “We need complete disinsection,” she muttered, screwing the lid back in place. She looked at her son. He stared in amazement at his hands, covered with graying hairs.

    - Mom ... How many years have passed?

    “I don’t know, son,” said Zhenya, finishing her work. - It does not matter.

    “You said we'll try.” We will try and come back. We are back.

    - Calm down. - She touched his head. He did not turn away, did not move away. On the contrary, he clung to her, hid his face in her dress, so as not to see what was around.

    “Is this ... is this a bad dream?”

    “Yes, baby,” she said calmly. Then she carefully put on her son’s glasses and fastened on the back of her head. Then she helped him lie down, almost collapsing under the weight of his body - thanks to the house for supporting me.

    Covering with a blanket, she kissed Lenya on the forehead.

    “Go to sleep,” she said gently. - And when you wake up, everything will be the same.

    - I'm scared. Sit with me, please.

    “Of course.” She sat next to her and stroked his arm. Her face was calm and peaceful.

    “Just a malfunction. Thank God it's just a malfunction. ”

    She purred one of her lullabies under her nose and looked out the window. There, on the waves of clouds, a yellow moon floated.

    “Get ready for the return,” she commanded quietly at home.


    Ruslan sat at the lecture and pretended to listen and record the teacher. His friend Nikolai thought that in fact Ruslan was listening to him, and therefore continued to chatter in a whisper.

    “The Djinn is a breakthrough.” This is such an artificial intelligence, which has not yet been. Alexa and Siri will squeal like knots when they release it. I saw beta in action - it's something. This is a breakthrough.

    - What is the breakthrough? - absentmindedly asked Ruslan, - Another voice assistant.

    - “Another one?” - sobbed Nikolai, - Do you even know what the trick is?

    “No,” answered Ruslan. He was tired of this chatter - that from the side of the department, that of the neighboring school desk - and he looked meaningfully at his watch. Goodbye to Linda was an hour, three minutes and forty seconds. Thirty nine seconds. Thirty eight…

    - ... calculation of the life plan, you know, fool?

    “You yourself are a fool,” snapped Ruslan, “explain in a human way.”

    “Look,” Nikolay began patiently, “you set a goal,” he jabbed a finger in his palm, “like:“ I want Tesla in a year. ” Well, or the botanical option for you - “I want a red diploma”. And the "Djinn" makes you a clear plan, a sequence of actions, you understand? This is not for you to order a taxi and not for mom to call, this is your personal guardian angel. Got it at last?

    Ruslan did not answer. Ruslan watched the second hand. She has long gone beyond the allotted boundaries of the lecture.

    His tension was transmitted to the teacher at the blackboard. He glanced at his watch, looked regretfully at the mentally absent students - and waved his hand.

    - That's it for today.

    Ruslan quickly put the tablet into his bag and flew out of the audience with a bullet. Nikolai sadly looked after him, and then quietly turned to the phone:

    - Genie?

    “I listen and obey,” the oriental voice deliberately answered.

    “Remind me how many people should I advise you to install?”

    * * *

    At three in the afternoon Ruslan arrived at the place and stood in a designated place opposite the station. From there, he could see the ancient clock on the tower. He checked with his own - they hurried for three minutes.

    He really did not want to stick out of the habit on the phone and miss her appearance. And not to notice it was as simple as possible - the closer to evening, the more people on the street and the darker the sky. So he just turned the mobile phone in his hands and struggled with an acute desire to call or write to her.

    “Calmly. Agreed, then agreed, ”he mused,“ she is always late, but she comes. There is nothing to panic. ”

    At three-seventeen, when Ruslan checked his watch for the hundredth time, checked to see if the phone had run out of power overnight, and felt through the eyes of each of several thousand passers-by, she left the underpass. In jeans, not in an autumn light and short jacket, and a thickly-wound colorful scarf. She walked, holding a telephone in front of her and talking something into it, and scanned her eyes with her eyes. Then Ruslan noticed and smiled. An inspiringly mischievous twinkle flashed in her eyes.

    Ruslan went to meet her. They met at a fountain in the square around which a noisy kid was running, and held hands - Linda had already managed to hide her phone in her purse. She smiled at him, mockingly embarrassed, and looked at the train station clock.

    “Oh, I seem to be late again,” she said, “have you been waiting long?”

    “Not at all,” Ruslan smiled.

    - Then let's go!

    * * *

    They walked along the embankment, stood on the bridge - he hugged her to make it warmer - and then plunged into the thicket of old houses and shabby factories. Once upon a time, puffs of thick smoke burst from mighty chimneys. Now, it seems, birds nested there.

    The narrow streets were dark and romantic, eerie. Ruslan and Linda chatted about nothing, straying from recent events to memories accumulated in less than twenty years. Ruslan was happy. He was only confused that Linda kept glancing at the phone screen as if she was waiting for something. Something like jealousy overshadowed his joy. If he hadn’t lost his ability to reason calmly, he would have noticed that their route changes every time after such a peep.

    They went to the automatic avenue, where unmanned vehicles — huge buses and small robotic rickshaws — were moving in test mode and went along the unusually wide sidewalk.

    “This is so that people get used to it,” Ruslan explained, although Linda didn’t ask him anything. “And many are afraid of robots.”

    “Why be afraid of them,” Linda shrugged, “just cars.”

    - How to say ... See, a pedestrian crossing?

    It was hard not to notice. He shone with a zebra in the middle of the avenue, and a red curtain hung in waves along it, in which the bulky robotic bus was just braking.

    - I see. Bright what ...

    - Cars and so they see, they do not need all this light. This is for people to be less afraid.

    - Shot down someone?

    - In general, never. Neither at the transition, nor anywhere else. They react faster than humans.

    Linda looked again into the bag where the phone screen shone. And before Ruslan had time to ask a cautious question in order to dispel suspicion, she suddenly released his hand and simply declared:

    - We’ll check!

    A moment later, she was already climbing over the fence. Ruslan came to his senses when she was already stepping out onto the road - right under the headlights of an approaching roboriksha. She, noticing the barrier, abruptly turned on the high beam, forcing Linda to squint.

    Who knows what was found on her a moment ago, but now Ruslan saw - she was afraid. Her knees suddenly trembled, she stretched her arms towards him, as if she wanted to return - but in terror she could not move.

    A moment - and he jumped over the fence. Roboriksha sharply turned the lantern in his direction, frantically calculating how to go around violators. The brakes creaked, the wheels slipped on the wet frozen ice. Ruslan kicked off the asphalt and pushed Linda away.

    She flew into the fence and clung to it with both hands. Roboriksha skidded, she frantically fought off mathematics from real-world physics, and almost won. Passing in centimeters from the nose of Linda, she slipped through without touching her, and only at the end she caught Ruslan's side. He was thrown to the side and knocked over on his back. The left arm hit with an elbow - and the cutting pain below the shoulder deprived him of consciousness.

    * * *

    When he came to, the rain fell on his face. He heard a siren, and saw the road blocked off with a red glow. “Emergency shutdown,” thought Ruslan.

    Linda was sitting next to her, and at first it seemed to Ruslan that she was talking to him. Only she did not look at him - she looked at the phone.

    “Genie, what the hell is wrong?”

    “Please clarify the question,” purred an oriental voice.

    - I did everything according to plan. Tardiness, walk, hugs on the bridge, non-lethal injury. I do not feel any increase in happiness.

    - I estimated the probability of success at seventy percent. Allah himself would not have predicted better.

    “In the ass your math,” she barked, “what else can I do?”

    “Nothing in this scenario,” answered the telephone cheerfully, “I can guarantee the result only with some ...”

    Linda waved and threw the phone somewhere in the dark. In the distance, an ambulance siren howled, approaching.

    “Linda ...” Ruslan whispered and tried to rise, but the pain in his hand riveted him to the wet asphalt. Linda looked at him evilly, turned around and quickly disappeared into the assembled crowd.


    Record: 4abbe6bc-ae28-42c8-9c84-c96548923f0d
    Previous post: 4e792675-0ede-4bd8-a97e-ab3352608171
    Subject: Narzaeva Svetlana, 12 years
    Status: Dead
    Cause: The specified

    entry: dd752b29-11db-43dc-945f-c22db3768368
    Previous post: 4abbe6bc-ae28-42c8-9c84-c96548923f0d
    Subject: Artyom Shilov, 35 years old
    Status: dead
    Reason: to be confirmed

    * * *

    The door creaked. Ilya flinched and turned around. Instinctively he turned around, realizing that he was impersonating himself with his behavior. From this understanding his hand trembled, and he dropped the e-passport on the counter.

    No one came for him. Just a man sitting on a bench in the corner went out through a creaky door, leaving dirty footprints on the floor. He pulled on his hat and wrapped himself in a gray wet cloak, he quickly walked along the wet road.

    Ilya turned back and crossed his eyes with the blonde behind the window. Swallowed. She smiled on duty with lilac lips, took the e-passport that had fallen from his hands, and led them through the terminal. While the terminal was thinking about something, blinking LEDs, she began to examine his photograph, biting her nail thoughtfully.

    “Wow, where you got to,” she whistled, glancing at the address. - So everything is serious?

    Ilya shrugged and tried to regain his composure.

    “I ... I'm going to my wife,” he answered inconsistently.

    - Oh, congratulations. “Her interest has waned.” “Isn't it faster by train?”

    “I'm not in a hurry,” Ilya smiled nervously.

    “I still want to live.”

    The terminal squeaked and shone red. The blonde curled her lilac lips.

    - Alas, not this time. Try it tomorrow.

    Ilya took the e-passport from her hands and asked with poorly concealed despair:

    “Is it a little work?”

    - Work? Full, ”the girl waved her hand. - Here you have a construction site and a new freeway. Just out of luck.

    Ilya put the e-passport in his pocket, turned and stumbled to the exit. The right leg ached and hurt, as always in the rain. And onegrobuilding prosthesis was left, and it worked equally badly in any weather.

    Having hobbled to the exit, Ilya suddenly realized that he did not thank and did not say goodbye to the girl. He felt ashamed, which led him into some kind of confusion. “After what you did, are you ashamed of such nonsense?”

    He turned his head, but the girl had already left somewhere. Ilya shook his head, pressed on the creaky door and went right into the rain.

    He did not have a hood, cloak or umbrella, only a document folder, black, fastened with buttons. He raised it higher, shutting down even the phone from the rain. Its only sun.

    “Sorry, I was distracted for a while,” he wrote. The answer was not long in coming:

    - Not scary. Have you made up your mind? Will you come - Inga asked him.

    Ilya looked away from the phone and looked straight ahead. A chain of concrete blocks lined up on the left and stretched far to the horizon. There, it merged with a thick-smelling railroad, rattling trains on the right. Somewhere there, on the edge of the earth, she was waiting for him.

    “I will come,” he answered. “I'm on my way.”

    * * *

    Inga had to put down the phone - she almost ran a trolley over the baby who stood in the middle of the aisle. He thoughtfully sucked a pacifier and looked at a colorful poster that read “The Lottery of correctional labor is your chance for redemption”. While Inga was thinking about how to go round the child, a gaping mother jumped out from behind the counters, grabbed her child and left, casting a contemptuous look. The kid also looked at Inga and for some reason smiled.

    She felt awkward. “I don't understand them at all,” she thought.

    She looked at the shopping carts. The crib is cheap, plastic. Bath. Large roll of plastic film. A tin of paint. Roller. With a dozen little things. And ... she seems to have forgotten something important.

    - Can I help you? - The consultant came out of nowhere, smiling at the same time with his face and a brilliant badge.

    “Um ... Yes,” Inga came to, “I need a means to clean the walls.” Something stronger.

    - Heavy pollution?

    “Yes ... Dogs, understand?” Everything is dirty.

    “Ah, of course,” the consultant shone and began to rummage through the product. Inga praised herself for her inventiveness. Too boldly praised: immediately from the depths of her mind a viscous fear arose and asked her a question: “What would he say to that?”

    And he immediately voiced the answer. In his voice, of course:

    - Wow, how smart you turn out to be

    Her legs gave way. Like in a fog, not remembering how she paid, she left the store and dragged the heavy purchases home. A cold wind blew and drove from the north a gigantic black thundercloud. The packages were striving to cut her fingers with their twisted handles.

    “What would he say to that?”

    “You are so strong.” As many as two packages!

    Fear hit her legs, pumped her heart with blood, making her already pale face whiten. She reached the house with a machine gun, went up to the sixth floor and only there, in the apartment, having thrown her purchases to the floor, she allowed herself to catch her breath. I sat down on a stool in the hallway and began to rub my frozen palms. Furrows from the packages burned her white skin.

    Memories of his last call burned her memory.

    “I'm coming back on Friday.” You didn’t think that we would part for a long time?

    Inga looked at the calendar. Another Wednesday.

    She glanced at the purchases. The back of the crib cracked. But now it did not matter. She took a roll of film and dragged it into a small room. There were still footprints on the floor from the legs of the bed, which she could hardly pull out from there the day before.

    The phone buzzed. Inga threw the tape on the floor. I closed my eyes. Counted to ten. I took out the phone. I opened my eyes.


    Message from Elijah.

    She exhaled and sat down, squatting down the wall. Before answering, she sobbed several times, struggling with a roll of despair, took a deep breath. And only gaining the strength to smile, she opened the message.

    - What do you think, who will be with us - a boy or a girl?

    Surprisedly pleased, she replied:

    “I don’t know.” And who do you want more?

    - Let me think ... Let there be a boy.

    - All of you are like that, give you the boys) And what would you call him?

    - Exactly on And!

    - Hah, why this?

    - Ilya + Inga = And ... Ignat?

    - Not.

    - Hippolytus?

    - In no case. Better give a different letter.

    - Igor?

    Silence. A long, drawn-out silence.

    - Inga? All is well?

    - Lets change theme.

    * * *

    In the evening, Ilya got a seat on a bench at the railway station with the proud name “Ozernaya”. Most of the trains followed by without braking, so the platform was empty. The bench under the canopy did not have enough boards, but this Ilya did not greatly sadden. At least it's dry.

    He received several letters from Onegrobostroy. The first of these was called the “Dismissal Order”. Ilya removed the entire pack without reading. There was no turning back.

    He pulled the foot prosthesis forward, exposing the metal foot in the rain. The piece of iron was all the same.

    His tired look caught on the faded poster of the civil society renovation. The silhouette of the “investigator” robot and the inspirational inscription that has already become familiar.

    “Machines figure out criminals. Punishment is the task of citizens. Together - on guard of justice. ”

    They were called "investigators" only by the announcers in the news. Ordinary people called them “trackers”, and also “grave diggers”. The robots took the bodies for examination and launched an analysis of the incident - a complex simulation called an “investigation”. Ordinary people called it "fortune telling."

    “Typical fortune-telling lasts three days,” thought Ilya. - I have time. Now I’ll rest a bit and go on. ”

    He closed his eyes for a moment and, apparently, dozed off, when suddenly a too loud roll of thunder made him start up and wake up.

    It turned out to be not thunder, but the abuse of an old man who tripped over an elongated prosthesis.

    - I set my skis here! - He was indignant, rising from the wet asphalt. - And now I'm generally wet.

    Ilya shook his head to wake up, and smiled weakly.

    “Sorry, father,” he said amiably. - Sit down, dry out.

    “I just didn’t have enough scandals,” he thought with annoyance.

    The old man grumbled for appearance, but accepted the invitation. He sat up, laughing, like a sparrow, and also extended his left foot forward.

    - What do you have, your leg does not bend? He asked.

    Ilya barely bent his leg and slammed his heel on the asphalt.

    - It bends. Only uneven.

    - Onezhrobostroevskaya crafts?

    - I guessed.

    The old man promptly lifted his trouser leg and exposed the foot prosthesis. Outwardly indistinguishable, according to the standard patterns of the Onega plant. Only fitted perfectly. The old man moved his metal fingers - and the pistons in his lower leg obediently rustled, softly, melodiously.

    “Here I am amazed,” the old man continued, “whoever meets the Onega prosthesis is terrible hack. And you, I’m lucky. Master from God.

    Ilya looked at the old man's prosthesis as if spellbound. Mentally disassembled it into pieces, lovingly blurred his eyes and reassembled, bend to bend, line to line, like a flower. He rarely had to see his own work in business.

    “He did everything right,” he thought smugly, and immediately became ashamed: “And yesterday, is it also right?”

    “My grandmother was unlucky,” the old man darkened and took out a squashed bundle from his bosom. - Will you?

    “I don't smoke,” Ilya shook his head.

    The old man put a cigarette in his mouth and continued, forgetting to set it on fire.

    - The legs were taken away, put two prostheses. Most importantly, I tell her - wait, where are you in a hurry, let's stick one in and see. And she dreamed that she would be so lucky for me. But I know statistics, I see that these parasites-masters usually give out. It’s not enough to kill such masters ... The

    old man kept talking, said while the rain drummed on the roof, and his accusatory speech lulled Ilya.

    “Exactly,” he muttered through a dream, “it’s not enough to kill.”

    He leaned back on the shabby-rough wall of the stop and closed his eyes. He wanted to stop thinking about dentures and the plant. Before the eyes surfaced the image of Inga. Still, smiling - just a photograph, a picture in the dark. And this drawing blurred like fog, spilled colors in the rain.

    Ilya was thrown into the cold whirlpool of sleep.

    * * *

    Toward night, Inga cleared the room, leaving only a heavy bureau table near the window, and spread the film. The film was transparent, through it traces of bed legs on the floor were still visible. These marks made her nervous. They reminded that not everything can be washed off even by the most powerful means.

    Thinking about the tracks, she involuntarily looked at the wall, at the empty, faded rectangle and a lonely sticking nail.

    “I can fill this void,” she told herself and was surprised at her own insolence. She went into another room, opened an old creaky cabinet and removed a box that was forbidden to be taken out.

    Everything that Igor did not like was stored in her.

    Inga stopped in indecision. She lifted the cardboard edge and immediately caught her father’s displeased look in the photograph. At the same time, it seemed to her that someone was standing behind her and pulling her heart, as if by the strings, so suddenly it froze and so rattled again.

    She could easily imagine what he would tell her. It was scary to imagine.

    “He did bad to me.” It wasn’t worth it.

    She turned furtively, as if she had climbed into someone else's house and rummaged through other people's things, then with two hands she took out a framed photograph and pressed it to her chest so that no one could see.

    “You shouldn't have done that,” she repeated. “That will piss him off.” And nothing will come of it. ”

    But someone stronger, bolder dragged her, resisting, back to the room. Her hands themselves raised her father's portrait and returned to its rightful place.

    “Like that,” she said in a whisper, stepping back a couple of steps. - Like this!

    She suddenly swept indescribable joy. Like a puppy dragging a bone from a sleeping dog, it circled in place. Then she winked at her father and went into the bathroom to wash herself from dust and sweat.

    “It was a troublesome day.”

    Having doused her face with cold water, Inga looked at her reflection. Joy gave way to bitterness. A pale shadow, a ghostly likeness of that Inga, whom she was recently.

    At the clinic, she was no longer embarrassed to say that she looked bad. It was said that it was enough to be sad about one's father and drive oneself into the grave.

    “All this time,” Inga thought, “have they not seen?” Or didn’t want to see? ”

    She examined herself. She touched her thin shoulders with her fingers. Then, as if for the first time, she saw scars and scratches on her wrists and sat on the edge of the bath, examining them.

    “They always scratch painfully,” she thought. - The pussies have a pathological fear of people in white coats. They can be understood. ”

    Inga closed her eyes and tried to remember herself on the day of graduation from the ham. “Then I dreamed that I would heal the animals. I wanted to see them happy, I wanted to see their smiling hosts. I did not know that I would often have to put to sleep ... ”

    She looked again at the scratches. They have long healed, dragged on. Those who can be cured are scratched. Doomed do not scratch. They look in love with eyes and believe in you, until the very end they believe.

    Six months ago, when Igor was so suddenly sent to another city, Inge brought a dog. A beautiful Labrador named Friend. Beaten, he feebly wagged his tail and humbly awaited his fate. The owners paid for the euthanasia and left without even turning around. Either Inga was scattered that day, or the dog turned out to be lucky, only he survived the injection. Without waiting to be taken to the cremation, he suddenly found himself and just left. With his second chance, he could go anywhere. And he went back to his masters.

    From them, he again got to Inga on the table. She stroked his poor, broken head for a long time, and then broke off this circle.

    * * *

    Запись: c64cc26a-6e5e-4788-b8cc-7e4c4103d871
    Предыдущая запись: dd752b29-11db-43dc-945f-c22db3768368
    Субъект: Артём Шилов, 35 лет
    Уточнение причины смерти: предумышленное убийство
    Вердикт №1
    Обвиняемый: Илья Карпов, 31 год
    Месть: допустима

    * * *

    They loved the theme at the factory. He liked to have fun and amuse himself, arranging innocent pranks. Even Tyoma believed in justice. In his opinion, Ilya was all too easy. Due to injury, he was taken to the factory under a preferential program, leaving the “normal guy” out of work. The plant even gave him a prosthesis - just like that. Disgusting in quality, outdated, made “on the hell” with the same theme. But still Ilya got a gift.

    And if so, then for justice's sake, the cripple should have been a little complicated. To be honest.

    A hundred stretched woods, sawn steps and randomly unpowered machines later justice was still not considered restored.

    The first letter received in the morning was from the factory and began with the words “YOU ARE TRUPS”. Ilya was not surprised. For some reason he suddenly felt childishly offended. “If Tema had done this, they would have praised him.”

    But this petty insult faded in the face of a chilling fear. Status update on his case has come. Just a day and a half, and not three, as he hoped, the cars sentenced. Now even the old man of old had the right to shatter his head without a twinge of conscience.

    “If only I could go faster,” Ilya thought gloomily, wandering along the railway tracks. The streets would be shorter, but the chances of catching someone’s eyes were higher. By night, he will probably get to the next Post Office and will again try his luck at the Correctional Work Lottery.

    “I have to get lucky.”

    Rain clouds rumbled somewhere south, but the sky was covered in gray haze. Ilya was weaving, dragging his naughty leg, and the trains were walking by. Commodity, passenger - chain, one after another. We drove heavy concrete blocks, a huge train, four hundred wagons - to build new residential boxes. Following were the cars loaded with people - they stared blankly out the windows, at the floor, at the ceiling. Someone was holding phones and, if the train was not traveling very fast, Ilya managed to feel their predatory gaze. They saw him, managed to read in the news his accusation and sentence, and eagerly stretched their necks, trying to make out. The oppressive boredom of their trip was dispelled by vivid dreams of how a chain in their hands falls upon the accused's head. They clung to the windows, remembering his bewildered face,

    Ilya hid his face behind the collar of his work jacket and hobbled forward. There was no other choice.

    Toward noon, he decided to take a break, sitting on the bank of a stream under a railway bridge. There, at least no one could see him. He took out his phone and wrote to Inge that everything was fine. She didn’t answer.

    “If you go all night,” thought Ilya, throwing small pebbles into the river, “tomorrow I will be there.”

    Suddenly the phone burst into a trill. Call from an unfamiliar number.

    Ilya was about to fold, but suddenly thought: “What if it's from Inga?”

    And picked up the phone.


    - Yes? He asked timidly.

    “Hai, Ilya,” someone’s female voice said familiarly, “this is Nadia.” From the post office, you were with us yesterday.

    Ilya remembered. Similarly, a blonde with lilac lips from the post office.

    - I remembered your number, I felt that it was useful. I see you have serious problems?

    “There are few,” Ilya answered restrainedly.

    “So I have ... some difficulties.” - The voice sounded meaningfully. - I thought - can we help each other?

    Ilya began to guess where she was driving.

    - Sorry I am…

    “Come on,” Nadia persistently interrupted, “I checked everything, you have a preliminary marriage.” You have not yet seen each other in the eye, so for a couple of months you’ve been chatting online. Bullshit, not marriage, is easy to reverse. I work up to three and I can pick you up - have you drowned nearby? Quickly get registered, sleep and that's it - a delay on the occasion of paternity in your pocket. In the end, you follow this to your Inga, right?

    Ilya seemed to be doused with cold water.

    “No,” he almost shouted into the phone and dropped the call. “No, no, no,” he continued to convince someone in a whisper.

    “I really want to be with her,” he said, “I did not know what would happen.” I didn’t want this to happen. ”

    He put the phone in his pocket and began to get out from under the bridge. The prosthesis treacherously slid off the gravel, and Ilya had to almost crawl on all fours.

    “Nothing,” he thought, “rates have fallen. Bonuses for revenge now - a penny. Not that in the forties. And then - they can still clarify the matter. If the system regards this as revenge, the bribes from me are smooth. Revenge is the right of everyone. Yes, they’ll clarify the matter, ”he encouraged himself.

    A couple more kilometers along the piece of iron - and it was time to turn into a matrix of concrete blocks. Residential areas. It is equally dangerous that night, that day.

    “Now they’re not hunting as before,” Ilya thought, peering into the half-empty streets. No one looked in his direction. Nobody wrapped a chain around his fist. Already not bad.

    Ilya hardly turned his back on the railroad rescue track and timidly moved towards the houses. He walked, looking at his feet, with his hands in his pockets. He walked, and the rattle of the prosthesis on the asphalt seemed to him a deafening clang.

    “Killing such masters is not enough,” he repeated to himself, and grinned sadly.

    In front of the deserted highway, he stopped and looked around. Empty, not counting the electric car rushing at full speed.

    “They drive like crazy,” Ilya thought and decided to wait, nervously swaying in place.

    The electric car braked right next to it. The side window fell, and the bright purple lips insisted:

    “Maybe you can sit down?” Or will you loom?

    Door opened. Ilya was confused. What to do - to sit down? Or continue to stand, attracting attention? Now, the first onlookers began to turn on them ...

    Ilya cursed to himself and sat on the seat, putting his right foot on the road and holding on to the door.

    - Can you stick a leg? - suggested Nadia, straightening her hair.

    “We're not going anywhere,” Ilya said as calmly as possible. - What do you need from me?

    - I already told you. Do you need to ask, or what? For the person who committed the double murder, you break too much.

    Ilya felt a lump approaching his throat. He removed the phone from his pocket and saw one unread update.
    Запись: 7eec7b1c-a130-455d-a76e-ea4064434e51
    Предыдущая запись: c64cc26a-6e5e-4788-b8cc-7e4c4103d871
    Субьект: Светлана Нарзаева, 12 лет
    Уточнение причины смерти: убийство по халатности
    Вердикт №1
    Обвиняемый: Артём Шилов, 35 лет
    Месть: невозможна (обвиняемый мертв)
    Вердикт №2
    Обвиняемый: Илья Карпов, 31 год
    Месть: рекомендуема
    “You are now number one in the charts,” said Nadia. - If someone needs premium ones, then you can get pretty good for you. Moreover, you are a cripple, even I can handle you.

    “It's a lie,” Ilya whispered. - False.

    “I am amazed,” the blonde pouted and clutched the steering wheel. - Do you make such offers every day? Say “thank you” and drove.

    Ilya stared apathetically at the telephone. “I remember her eyes,” he thought for some reason. -She was laughing. I forged that little prosthesis from her laugh. I could not be mistaken. ”

    “Ale,” Nadia shoved him in the shoulder, and Ilya glanced at her baitingly, “are we going?” Or should I go out and call those guys?

    * * *

    On Friday morning, Inga woke up determined.

    “Yesterday I euthanized twelve innocent pussies,” she told herself. “And today I can handle it.”

    She washed and dried her head. She found a half-forgotten tube of lipstick in the bowels of the bathroom. She unfolded a new black dress without frills.

    She tried not to forget anything that Igor could not stand.

    She spent the next two hours waiting. I sat in the kitchen, on a stool in the corridor, on the floor in the room. And smoked a lot. The phone got in the way, and she laid it on the table.

    Every now and then she cast a glance at her father's portrait, and this encouraged her.

    Igor never called, never knocked. She knew that very well.

    But when the state key turned in the lock and the door handle clicked, it paralyzed.

    When the door creaked, her heart sank with fear. Inside her, she was whimpering and scratching for her dead friend. He requested back to his beloved hosts.

    Igor entered and stopped at the threshold, studying the changes.

    He smiled, pulling the strings.

    “Well hello,” he said gently. - Did you miss it?

    Without waiting for an answer, he went in and began to pace the room, looking around, as if on an excursion.

    “You look good,” he remarked. “I always said that black suits you.”

    Inga blushed and looked down.

    - I see, you started a repair? It is high time. - He turned on his toe, and the plastic film rustled vilely. From this sound, Inga got goosebumps on her hands.

    Igor noticed a portrait on the wall, walked over and gently raised his hand, holding his fingers on the bottom edge of the frame - as he usually took her chin.

    “Now she’ll break it and leave it,” Inga encouraged herself. “And then ... then ...”

    - An old acquaintance. - Igor smiled ... - I almost forgot how he looks. Why did you even hide his portrait? - There was a reproach in his voice. Inga's heart sank. The Inner Friend tightened his ears.

    Igor made a circle around the room and headed towards her. He walked as if not noticing that she was sitting in his way. Closer, closer and closer. When Inge thought he was about to step on her, Igor stopped. He looked down at her and his eyes flashed.

    - You did not think that we would part for a long time?

    Inga could not stand his gaze. She turned away, bowed her head. As if she were to blame for something.

    Something was beating inside. Beating and screaming. Only Inga did not hear.

    Igor stepped away from her and turned to the window, with his hands in his pockets.

    “Rumors reached me here,” he began pointedly, “that someone has divorced you for a preliminary marriage.”

    Pause. Silence. Just tapping his fingers on the glass.

    - It was a little rash, agree. - He sharply pressed his hand on the glass and slowly led down - to a nasty creak. “It was worth discussing with me first.” Your eternal manner of complicating everything.

    Now he was annoyed. The steps accelerated, he made another circle around the room and again stopped in front of her.

    - Apparently, I have to deal with this problem?

    “No,” Inga answered muffledly.

    - Sorry, what?

    - Not. She raised her head and stood up slowly. He left her too little space, had to get up, clinging to the wall.

    “I understood you correctly - will you go now and correct your stupidity?” He asked peremptorily.

    “Yes,” she answered.

    “Good girl,” he said somewhere to the side and stepped back. Inga, as if in a fog, went to the table and pulled out a drawer.

    When Igor turned back to her, a blued barrel stared at him. And two frightened eyes looked over.

    Inga was waiting for his reaction.

    Igor didn’t lead an eyebrow.

    “Ingochka,” he smiled affectionately. - I am the second person in the city. Even if I rinse your beautiful face right now, I won’t be anything. No entries on the blockchain, no consequences, no revenge. Nothing. And if you at least think about ...

    A shot came.

    Inga barely held the gun in her hands. Her ears rang, she almost fell, her back against the table. Opening prudently squeezed eyes, she saw Igor wriggling on the floor, holding on to his bloodied thigh. In his eyes, hatred, mockery, rage - but not a drop of fear.

    Inga squeezed into the table and aimed the gun at Igor. And he, blushing with anger, reached out to her.

    - You're in deep trouble! He barked. - Another movement and - you are finished.

    Inga glanced at her father's portrait. He smiled at her from the wall.

    “I'm pregnant,” she lied.

    Igor froze.

    “I’ll blow your beautiful face right now,” Inga continued, “and I won’t be anything.” And in a year of deferment, I will find a way to get out. I will find.


    Finally she saw.

    Fear in his mocking eyes.

    “I ... you ...” He blushed terribly and reached for her again, clinging to her former humility.

    “Thank you, Friend,” thought Inga.

    And then interrupted this circle.

    Ten minutes later, she sat on the balcony and smoked, looking now at the gray clouds, then at the swarming people below. She saw two grave robots - thin as poles - rushing and flew into the porch. I heard how they drove through an unlocked door and began to circle the room. One of them drove to her balcony, carefully scanned and sped off. The second packed the body in a plastic bag, hung it on itself, as if on a hanger, and promptly fired it.

    There was a room, blood stains on the film and splashes on the wall. These marks are washed away.

    Inga really wanted to feel relief. She took a drag on her cigarette and blew out a stream of smoke. The smoke cleared, mixed with the gray sky. Relief never came.

    “You didn’t think that we would part for a long time?”- an echo sounded in her head, and she was not even surprised at how her heart tightened with fear.

    “It looks like we won't part at all.”

    She looked down. The gravedigger with the bag just turned around the corner and nearly knocked a man coming out of there. He recoiled from the robot, like a ghost, and pressed into the wall of the house. And then, looking around, he stumbled along the path in her direction.

    Inga dropped the cigarette and put her palms on the railing.

    In a cripple, she recognized Ilya.

    * * *
    Record: bb7ece22-3f5d-4739-a8dc-8125219f141d
    Previous post: 7eec7b1c-a130-455d-a76e-ea4064434e51
    SUBJECT: Foresters Igor, 38 years old
    Clarifying the cause of death: premeditated murder
    verdict №1
    Defendant: Inga Karpova (Shepelyov), 28 years
    Revenge : recommended
    * * *

    They sat on the floor next to each other, not touching each other's eyes. A pistol blackened between them - lying like a faithful guard dog.

    Inga smoked and listened to Ilya’s heavy breathing. Ilya was troubled by lack of sleep and cigarette smoke. The air was filled with the realization that they were still strangers, strangers to each other.

    Inga put out her cigarette on the film and exhaled noisily. Ilya struggled with sleep and tried not to close his eyes.

    Falling asleep now would be quite inappropriate. Better to say.

    “You ...” he cleared his throat. “You should know what happened.”

    Inga did not answer, staring at one point in the area of ​​her shoes. Then she suddenly woke up, feeling awkward, and nodded shortly.

    “That girl ... of the Light.” I saw her once. Faced at the entrance, when I walked into the workshop, and her mother took her out in a wheelchair. She said something, and the girl laughed. I have never heard such a laugh before. Cheerful, sincere. I came to the machine, and the chef gave me a drawing - a small prosthetic leg. It has never been easier for me. I swear to you, it was a masterpiece. I imagined how she would run, laughing, and work, work ... By the end of the shift, everything was ready, it only remained to calibrate. Only calibrate. My changer came - Tyoma. Although we didn’t get along, I hoped that at least he could handle it. At least calibrate as it should.

    Ilya clenched his fists from powerlessness.

    - In general, a month later, in the middle of the day, a chef comes and gives me this same prosthesis. Asks to carefully disassemble for parts. And Sveta ... Sveta died. She stumbled, fell and hit her temple. I spent half a day with this prosthesis. Just sat and looked at him. Half an hour before the end of the shift, I came to my senses and decided to check the calibration. - Ilya was silent for a little while, gathering his courage. - Probably it was better for me not to do this. It was necessary to disassemble and forget. In general, when Tema came, I ... - Ilya hesitated.

    - Hit him with that same prosthesis? - Inga slowly finished for him.

    “Yes,” Ilya answered exhaustedly.

    - Clear.

    She picked up a pack from the floor and began to take out the next cigarette. Ilya turned to her and touched her palm. Inga barely restrained herself so as not to pull her hand.

    - And you? What happened to you?

    “Sorry,” Inga answered colorlessly, “I am not in the mood for confession today.”

    “Tomorrow we may not have one.”

    The pale shadow of a smile.

    “You must be right.” She released her hand, put a cigarette in her brightly painted lips, and held up a lighter. - There was one person who was very offended by my father. They didn’t divide something. With this man we had ... an affair. That is, it was my romance, and he just avenged his father through me. Then his father died, and the man stopped even pretending to be as if he were in love.

    “I see,” said Ilya and looked around. Close room, dark. And stuffy, like before a big thunderstorm.

    The phone buzzed in silence. Inga and Ilya startled and looked at each other. Then Ilya slammed his pocket, took out the phone and read the message.

    - What is there? - Inga asked without much interest.

    - They write that you and I are number one in the charts. A family with three murders. Decent premium.

    Inga grunted.

    - That's how ... What else do they write?

    - That in our place would hurry up with a delay.

    “Wow,” Inga took a drag on her cigarette, feeling something light up in her chest, “that's what they want ... People.”

    Ilya turned off the phone and looked at her. Then he took courage and asked.

    - Tell me ... Didn't you yourself want to?

    “I wanted to,” Inga answered, thinking. “And she even believed - a few days ago - that everything will be fine with us.” What we really will ... will be a baby. And the three of us will survive, deal with all this.

    Ilya nodded. He imagined it to himself. Something bright, sunny ... Until everyone washed away the rain and blood.

    “And now ... now what do you think?”

    Inga turned to him and answered. Firmly, viciously - but she was not angry with him, Ilya felt this.

    “To drag another man into this world ... To hide behind him?” And then count the days until the end of the grace period. And they, she nodded to the phone, will count. And if our baby is born, they will not forget him either. We have already given ourselves to the slaughter. And now we’ll give it back?

    The phone buzzed again, trying to talk about something important. The important thing is not for them.

    “No,” Ilya shook his head, “we will not do this.”

    He threw the phone through an open door into the corridor - not on a grand scale, but how pebbles are thrown so that they jump from the water. He knocked about something loudly and fell silent. Inga watched him, and then turned to Ilya - he leaned on the wall, closed his eyes and smiled.

    “True, we had little choice then,” he said sleepily, “but at least ... at least I can sleep a little.”

    Inga moved closer to him, hugged him, and he laid his head on her lap.

    “Wake up when they come to kill us?”

    “Sleep,” Inga said tiredly and stroked his hair. With her right hand, she gripped the gun tightly and looked thoughtfully out of the gray window.

    The steps on the stairs forced Inga to pick up her knees and extend her arm forward. She cocked the trigger.

    “Just try to get in,” she whispered. “Let at least someone try to get in.”

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