Kirill deftly snaked his way through the empty streets of his village like a hungry wolf following the wafting smells of an oblivious breakfast. It wouldn’t be long now. As he continued, the sun began its ascent across the purple smoke-filled sky, tinting the corners of buildings orange.
When he came to a small wooden house, Kirill stopped and shouted, “FEEE-DIIIIRRR!!” Not a sound. Even the birds were too cold to sing today. He shouted again, “Fedir, get up you lazy butt!”
Quiet shuffling of feet came from inside, and a disheveled blonde head peaked out between the flimsy shutters. “Kirill, is that you? What are you doing up this early?”
– I’m going into the forest to get the tiger. Do you want to come?
– Come on, it will be fun.
– My parents are out, babushka is sleeping, and you want me to help you hunt a tiger? I was going to watch cartoons today…
– Boy, Fedir, I didn’t know you were such a coward!
– A coward!? I come from a long line of fearsome warriors who kidnapped and ransomed Turkish sultans and Polish kings!
– You don’t even know what a sultan is.
– It’s a terrible green-eyed horned monster that eats fat little boys like you. My great-grandfather captured one with his bare hands!
– That’s great, Fedir, hurry up and get ready.
Fedir put on a red tunic, a pair of red baggy pants and a big white-fleece cap that kept falling over his eyes. He briefly knelt in front of an icon of St. Andrew before grabbing a short engraved sword which he hung at his side. Then he shimmied through a gap in the shutters and dropped to his feet next to Kirill. Grinning, he looked at Kirill’s spear.
– You’re lucky I’m so nice. You wouldn’t even kill a chipmunk with that.
Rolling his eyes, Kirill headed onward without responding. Fedir spit three times over his left shoulder and then ran to catch up with Kirill.
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- Carlos de la Gringa