Necklace by Denis Trusov
translated from Russian by Peter Berdovsky (Zebbler) & Kevin Fennelly
She dove into him. Two, three, four times a day.
Pencil dive, head first, somersaulting, twisting, from a running start, or just from standing still – she dove into his waters, eagerly screwing into his depths.
She was smooth and daring. Her movements were calculated - yes - smooth, daring, and precise.There, under water, consumed in his expanse, she fought to reach deeper every day.She took her time, unbroken by failure. Persisting, even though his depths seemed impenetrable, even though he was resistant, constantly shutting her out, squeezing her out of himself. Each day she would dive in again and again, stubbornly ignoring the ear-piercing pressure."Why is she like that, what is she doing it for?" he thought, "Let them swim, simply wade on the surface. I don't mind that, but the bedrock is mine—I won’t let her reach the bottom.”
But, oh, how persistent she was! She took hold of massive stones and let them drag her down deeper. She tried with all her stubborn strength, but even the extra weight didn't help. It was then that she paused to think—to think about who he became and about who she did not. As she was reflecting, her thoughts became heavy, so heavy that suddenly, without using stones or other tricks, she descended to the bottom reaching his bedrock within a moment.And there, buried under dark tentacles of seaweed, she found giant shells. Perched on the sandy floor, she began to open them. Each one softly radiated light from a glowing pearl trapped inside. The glow dispensed the darkness of his depths and slowly, with each pearl, her thoughts grew lighter. They became as light as bubbles, pulling her and the pearls to the surface.
And so, day after day, she lifted pearls from his depths, while he whirled and bubbled, bursting clouds of muck, sending after her all of his squids and sharks, crabs and barracudas, - all in vain attempts to stop her.There was nothing he could do, but feel her vibrant tan body penetrate the depths of his waters, taking all his pearls one by one.
So there came a day, when her knife pried open the last of the shells, and the last of the pearls was lifted to the surface. She sat on his beach and threaded them. He breathed and whimpered quietly, his tide lapped at her bare feet like a dying dog licking the boot of a knacker, his killer, not hoping to be spared, lacking any strength to bite, fading, forgiving all.After some time the necklace was finished. She put it on her neck and stood up. He stretched out in front of her, now irreversibly changed. Mile after mile, all that was left were still, dead waters, no longer blue and turquoise, but impenetrably black. There was no movement in his body, not even a ripple.
She waved her arm a few times to say good bye as she walked away into the sand dunes.