Yet Unpublished Projects
The Cave, by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
...How blithesome she was.
Her ears, like halves of a large pearly shell, had no trouble separating sounds from echoes; the walls reflected the murmurs and ringing of falling drops, which weakened and multiplied, then drowned in the tangle of moss over and over again, bouncing off the wall. The threads of sounds spanned the Cave; at this moment they seemed thin, sparse, and perfectly harmless. Insects fidgeted within dank crevices, the sluggish river muttered inaudibly, and two small tkhols were in the process of mating one tier below. The calm breathing of the Cave; an absolute silence would be unattainable in here. In an absolute silence the sarna would feel blind.
She moved her ears, leisurely sorting out the threads of familiar, safe sounds; she raised her head and stepped toward the water, her hooves soft and soundless on the ground.
The Migrant, by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
There was no noise, no flash of lightning. Only a moment ago the street was there, foggy and moist; the clouds parted slightly, and two or three stars peeked through the long gap, making no promises. Reflections of streetlights gleamed in the dark windows, in the windshields of parked cars, and in the wet pavement. Crocodile walked staring straight ahead, water splashing under his shoes; the drops were nothing like the fat, squelching, manure-infused drops of spring soil. These were delicate sprays of flighty urban puddles adorned with rainbow oil slicks.
Then everything around him dove into a thick pile of cotton wool: the street and the stars, the lights and the pavement. Crocodile took a few more steps and stopped: walls grew on both sides of him. A puff of wet autumn air still lingered in his lungs, but his nostrils already inhaled another kind of air, dry and conditioned, lacking all scents. Blue lights replaced the stars above his head. Panicking, Crocodile turned; his wet footsteps, four of them, stood out on the dark floor of the long empty corridor.
The Knights of the Forty Islands,
by Sergey Lukyanenko
I've always wanted to see daybreak. No, not sunrise – sunrise is not the same as daybreak; it is the beginning of a morning. I wanted to seize that split second when night steps back, dark sky becomes lavender, translucent, faintly pink on the east side. But grasping the daybreak is just as difficult as catching the moment of falling asleep.
Only a second ago, night is all around, heavy and solid, seemingly more dominant in the pre-dawn hours. And then something changes imperceptibly. One minute passes by, then another… And you realize that the air is lighter, dark sinister silhouettes turn into plain trees, and the sky becomes clear and delicately purple. This is daybreak. Perhaps it comes when there is no more strength to endure night. It’s not yet morning; it’s simply the end of the darkness. It is daybreak.
The Beam, by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
On the day of his thirteenth birthday Dennis took Jackie for her regular walk; once they reached the edge of the park, he let the dog off the leash. The air rested like pond water in the fall -- in layers. In the shade it felt cool, but the sun caressed Dennis’s face gently and whimsically, making him tilt his head up and smile.
A tall sinewy man with prematurely gray hair dribbled a basketball on the court. Dennis had seen him before -- they always exchanged greetings. Dennis assumed the man lived nearby, otherwise what would he be doing in the neighborhood? As Dennis approached the court, the man threw the ball to him, catching the boy by surprise:
“Happy birthday, Dennis!”
“Thanks,” slightly taken aback, Dennis tossed the ball back. The neighbor attacked the basket, and the ball spun in the net like a caught fish.
“I have news for you. It so happens that your mother sold you to me.”
The Ritual, by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
His steps resonated in the thick silence, lingered in the corridors, the echo bouncing between the walls, invisible in the darkness. Eventually the sound grew duller - he sensed a barely discernible musty puff of air and quickened his steps.
The walls parted. Light no longer reached them, even though the torch still burned bright and steady. The vaulted ceiling faded into the blackness.
He had been there a multitude of times. Then where did this meddlesome feeling of a certain presence come from? Hadn’t they, whose names were carved into this stone, vanished, sunken into oblivion?
The torch snatched an irregularly shaped pillar out of the darkness, heavy and squat. Its surface seemed to be veiled by a layer of intricate lace.
Valley of Conscience, by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
I am a monster.
On the outside, I don't look any different from millions of other people. I have a round face, brown eyes, dark hair, narrow lips and soft ears. In April I get freckles. I don't seem dangerous. Most people like me.
Listen! I need someone, at least one person, who knows the entire truth about me. Would you allow me to write to you? Only write, nothing else? If you would rather I didn't, you don't have to answer.
I wasn't always like this.
It started when I was twelve or thirteen.
Some day, later, I will tell you.
Pandem, by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
On February 29th, the most bizarre date on the calendar, David Hammer, an employee of a well-respected town newspaper, was returning home a bit later than usual.
The evening was humid, and it felt as if spring was very close. At Charing Cross, David took the train to West Croydon. The train car was practically empty; the only other person was a kid of about eighteen who immediately collapsed on the seat, closed his eyes, and gave himself to the music that flowed into his black headphones.
David stared at the window, watching the distant chains of lights and his own sad reflection. He was tired; his wife was going to be angry, as she always was when he stayed at the office later than usual, unless it was Friday. On Fridays, he was allowed to grab a beer with friends until 10 pm. However, today was Wednesday.
The train moved softly and almost silently. The kid in headphones jerked his foot in time with the music. David leaned back and relaxed; at that moment the back of his head got very warm and someone’s voice -- young, almost childish -- said cheerfully and just a bit shyly: