Irina Tyunina

Увлекаюсь языками, рисованием, туризмом (в прошлом, рафтинг), играю на гитаре. Творчеством занимаюсь со школьного возраста. Пишу стихи и прозу. Публиковалась в журналах «Огни Кузбасса», «После 12», «День и Ночь», «Наш современник». Выпустила 3 поэтических сборника.

Отрывок из произведения «A One-Syllable Tale»

Motka was discovering the world syllable by syllable.  As soon as she was able to get over the Speckled Hen tale, she suddenly realized that in the kindergarten Vovka hadn’t been lying that the scribbles in the book conceal a tale. From then on she couldn’t help wishing to be good at reading, so she couldn’t but do it! At last, with Natalie Semenovna’s patience and Motka’s persistence she managed to read well by the spring. She was reading the words out beautifully, putting on a special expression. ‘How can it be different? – Otherwise the tale doesn’t work out!’ She read through all the kindergarten books. Granddad Gabriel was really fond of listening. Granny Mary would now and then stand in the doorway and put in:

— The old one and the small one are the two sides of the same coin! You’d better stop filling her head with foolish stuff! Let her work in the kitchen garden or do the chores! There will be more use in the long run.

— You’ve got it wrong, woman, — replied Granddad. – The little one is learning the wisdom, and here you are with your kitchen garden! Let her have fun while young. There will be time to tire out!

The tales burst their mysterious pages open for the girl. So many things were happening there! Motka imagined herself the heroine of this or that tale as though in her simple life a bright little window into a fascinating pure reality was opened all of a sudden. So she was reading aloud with inspiration while Granddad Gabriel was invariably sitting beside, pretending to be busy with something useful for the home, but in fact he was deep into listening. Granny would just twist her finger at the temple, meaning both.

As a gift for the end of the first school year Granddad brought Motka a thick book of the world’s fairy tales. He specially went to the large town shop where they sell books to get it. How beautiful and colorful the book was! – When she wasn’t reading, the granddaughter would stealthily caress the pictures with her finger; and she was seeing herself wandering somewhere at the heart of the forest in the red sarafan. And Ivanushka was a true fool to find the one like her in the wild, to rescue her from the Snake, and live together happily ever after.


Time flows from stone to stone like a fast river. The neighbor girl Vasilina has grown up into a real beauty: stately, blond, with a long plait reaching her waist – a picture of a princess! She started her ninth year. A little bit more, and adulthood would knock on her door.

Motka often saw her off to the school bus with hidden melancholy. Anyway, that girl always had a companion to see her off. Every day boys carried her bag in turns. ‘I wish I could do so?’ – thought Motka. Yet, Vasilina didn’t hurry to go out with anyone. Whoever in the village had invited her! ‘Keeping herself for a Prince,’ – realized Motka.

Meanwhile, the town had walked up the ten kilometers left to the village. A man wearing a suit arrived and gathered everybody to announce that ‘from now on, they will be townsmen; their two houses have already been built opposite each other. The whole infrastructure is ready’.

— What the hell is that? – asked old Daria.

— Shops, it means, — explained Uncle Theodor.

‘Their village was planned to be pulled down as the town needed space to grow further.’

— How can it be? – The women threw up their hands. – Where should the cattle be?

— Oh, how dark you are! – said the neighbor Valya, Vasilina’s mother. – Sell it. We won’t need it in town anymore!

The villagers were plunged into genuine grief. ‘How could you abandon the native huts, whose walls you touched to stand up learning to walk? What about the kitchen gardens? Could you compare them to the town people’s dachas? All’s pretty in them like in the picture, and… lifeless. Life doesn’t occur from time to time: it goes sledding; and bringing hay to the red cow called Zorka. Who will now rush to the duck pond at the crack of dawn to greet it?’ You cannot help it. They won’t be asked. Be happy with the flat while it’s given; or you risk losing the roof over your head! They say in one village the residents wouldn’t move – no way! Their settlement was burnt to ashes at night. They could hardly survive! That IS progress!

Having gritted their teeth, the folks sold the cattle, packed their things, took pets with them – how can you abandon them? – And headed for the new abode. There were two high-rises standing on their own as though a deep well had been dug from the ground to the sky; the whole village sentenced to be swallowed by it. They say it’s possible to behold the stars from the bottom of a well, but could you really do in town? The flats were good enough, really spacious: each inhabitant had his own room along with a living-room and a kitchen. Yet, there’s not the same expanse as in the village. Breathe in the town air, and you’ll feel so sick at heart as if you were deprived of home.

Valentina decided to leave the old Tresor at the abandoned place. Lonely and mournful, he was keeping his eyes fixed on the household setting off for the new life. What should you do? Motka took a tight grip on Vasilina’s dress on the verge of crying:

— How dare you leave him? He’ll die!

The girl smirked with her beautiful eyes and threw Motka’s hands off like dust:

— What the hell is he for? It serves him right.

Earlier, Motka had read about it in the tales but now she could see it with her own eyes that such things happen when one has a young and beautiful face with his soul being as black as the mire. The tearful girl ran up to Granny Mary:

— Let’s take Tresor. They’ve left him! How can he live alone?

— Where shall we all live, then? – sighed Granny. – We’ve got Bobby.

— They’ll be together. Let them sleep under my bed. I’ll feed and walk them.

— OK, — Granny agreed. – It doesn’t befit people to abandon the elderly and friends in trouble! – She held her hand out to the dog. – Come on! Ours you’ll be now.

Tresor raised his graying face, giving Granny Mary an examining look right in the eye, then hung his head and cautiously neared. Motka and Tresor climbed into the body of the lorry, she hugged his shaggy neck, the understanding Bobby sat on the other side — they set off. They were rolling along the country road into their town fate not daring to take their eyes off the sad duck pond as though they feared that you could close your eyes for a moment and wink the dear past away. That was terminal. Unless the village vanished beyond the turn-out, the old dog was staring at it intently. It seemed to Motka that his eyes dewed with tears.


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