TUBE, DRAFT 1, CHAPTER 27 (EXCERPT)
Outside, on the smooth line of snow, squatted a rural depot, a decrepit one-story brick building fronted along its central unit with a pillared porch, the roof of the hall caved in, the spire bent and broken, the smooth floor of the platform cracked in places, icy drifts rippling over bald spots. It was shrouded in darkness. If there was a road leading to it, it was invisible or long gone.
“Where in the world are we?” Asked Galka again.
Olesya squinted, cupping her face against the glass. “It says NORA on the sign.” She could barely make out four scuffed black letters stamped on a white board affixed to the pediment. “Nora...where is that?” She looked questioningly at Mitya.
He spread his arms. “I don’t know. Don’t ask me. I’m a geographical idiot.”
“And all kinds of idiot in between,” supplied Masha quietly. “Except the dead one.” She passed her gaze to Olesya, who understood what she was referring to and made no comment.
“Thank God I’m still alive,” answered Mitya with a silly grin. “What can I say? My mother dropped me several times when I was a baby, but didn’t drop me hard enough to die, though it did knock out whatever brains I was born with. I don’t miss them much, though.”
This morbid image miraculously conjured a ripple of laughter out of them, six dancers crammed into a compartment designed to accommodate two. Wisp-like and skinny, they sat two at a seat, Olesya next to Galka, Masha and Lida opposite them. The boys stood in the narrow space by the door, leaning with their elbows on the edge of the upper berth.
“Does it matter where we are?” Pushkin raked his curly hair nervously. “I’d rather get this over with already.”
“This doesn’t look good,” Lida held on to her golden cross with both hands, peering outside. “Oh, I don’t like it. The idea of this...performance—”
(Photo by Brooke Shaden.)