The Black Gazelle

The Black Gazelle

Boris Sudarushkin



... This story is a part of "Lapland and Little Hippo Boris" by Boris Sudarushkin.

Ch. 1

-You see,- said Little hippo Boris to a young fowler, -I told you that we would get lost.There was no reason to penetrate so deep into the forest!

The young fowler was actually a student of about 19 years old. His name was Martin and he  just entered the school of ecology at the university of Rovaniemi in the northern Finnish province of Lapland which is so famous for being the residence of Santa Claus. He made a deep breath, checked his camera and answered  Little hippo: -Why can you not understand that I have to come here to take pictures of local birds for my diploma thesis? Don't you know that I'm going to become an ornithologist, a specialist in birds?!

-Yes,- responded Little hippo, -but what if we have incidentally crossed the border and are now not in Lapland and even not in Finland, Russia!... Santa does not let us  go so far away!

The hippo raised his hand with a palm of spreaded fingers up to his ear and his  eyebrows  moved up in disagreement and amusement.

-Well,- agreed the student, -let's then try to get to that glade. It looks like there starts a road.

Little hippo Boris shaking his big head followed the student towards the light between the trees.

Approaching the glade he suddenly noticed that there was somebody on the opposite side ...

Ch. 2

And sure...Little hippo was right. Under the bush there was a chaise-long with a  beautiful girl taking a sunbath in the rays of the rare northern sun. Her motorbike  was parked  nearby.

The girl was reading a book  not seeing our friends. -I  can hide here,- murmured Little Boris. -She may be frightened to see a talking hippo...and you may go and ask her for the way.

The student moved forward trying to protect his eyes from the bright sun .

The girl heard the footsteps and put her book aside looking with surprise at the approaching  youth.

-Well,- thought the fowler, -she is not afraid of strangers in the forest.

At this moment he suddenly noticed a gun under the girl's book... -Hi,- the young man greeted the girl and anxiously looked at the gun, -My name is Martin. I have got lost here and would like just to find out where the highway is ...

-Hi,- responded the girl jumping to her feet. -The highway is just behind your back...on the opposite side of the border...

-It means I crossed the border!,- said frightened Martin. -Am I in Russia!?

He suddenly recalled that the girl might not understand what he was talking about and so he explained, -I mean that I am from Lapland...I was brought there from ...from the Past...You maybe looks strange, but I really was taken from the Past by Santa...Have you ever heard about Santa?

The girl did not seem to believe in such an explanation and looking with suspision at the fowler, pronounced slowly and calmly: -When I was a kid I was dreaming to visit Lapland and Santa.

She was silent for a second and then suddenly (as if recollecting something) continued: -Well...but all this is in the Past too...So, you say you  got lost and you crossed the border?! It's strange that borderguards did not catch you...I should tell my father that his subordinates work badly...

-Subordinates of your father?- said Martin. -Is your father the Chief of boderguards?

-Exactly,- attested the girl. -My father is the colonel of Russian borderguards...So you are lucky to  have   met me,  not him.

With this words she cast a challenging glance at Martin and enjoyed the impression she made...

-Well,- murmured the young man, -it's not that I crossed the state border between Finland and Russia...You see...Lapland is a fairytale part of Finland...So,I crossed the border between fairytale and reality. That's it.

-Stop, stop, stop,- interrupted the girl. -You are saying that you are a fairytale character?!- She burst into laughter and looked cunningly at the guy, -Maybe you are a fairytale prince, aren't you?

-I am not a prince,- said Martin  resented, -but I can prove what I'm saying. If you like  we can go to Lapland together,- he suddenly thought that Santa is against such things done without his permission  and ended in a low voice, -Although it is not encouraged actually.

But the words were pronounced and the girl was interested. -Why not?-  she smiled, casting evaluating glances at the guy. - Tomorrow I'll  be here on the spot at the same time...And you take me to your Lapland, OK?

-OK,- nodded Martin being  surprised by his own courage, -but what is your name?

-Masha,- answered the girl.

Martin suddenly felt that there was something familiar in her face, but did not pay attention to it. -Well,-  he  smiled, -see you tommorow then...Thanks for the directions.

Ch. 3

...In the evening of that very day no special events were scheduled in Lapland residence of Santa Claus.

Little hippo Boris, Martin, Dasha and Veronika were sitting at the round  table, having  some tea and watching TV.

 Veronika, who was now 12 years old and  much more experienced than her 5-year-old sister Dasha, broke the silence , -...I hope you understand that it is very dangerous to go so far away into the forest... And it's not only that you can cross the border from fairytale into reality but what is even more dangerous - you can be lost there in reality and incidentally get from Finland into Russia!...What if Russian borderguards arrested you for illegal crossing of the state border?!...And what if they start shooting and kill you!?

-Oh!,- Little hippo  winked his round eyes in enormous bewilderment, -didn't I warn you?, -he addressed his question to Martin as always mimicking in his funny hippo way: little eyebrows raised making wrinkles on his childish forehead...

The student made a deep breath and said in a guilty voice: -I wanted so much to take those photos of birds...

-Well,- concluded little Dasha, -even your desire to become an ornithologist does not cost the risk of being shot at the border.

-That's very wise,- consented Veronika and looking at Martin added, -I hope everybody got it.

Little hippo took a plastic spoon from his MacDonalds collection and put some sugar in his tea...

Ch. 4

The next day Martin left the residence only after convincing himself that nobody followed him. He was going to cross the border again and  meet Masha there...

After about half an hour of walking the young man got to the yesterday glade...

There was silence around and no  traces of borderguards. It was too early for the girl to come, so the young man sat down under the bush and started watching birds high in the branches of the trees...

Ch. 5

Martin had been sitting under the bush for about 20 minutes already when he suddenly heard footsteps.

The boy jumped to his feet and the same second saw Masha standing in front of him.

-Counting birds?,- smiled the girl instead of greetings. She wore  a motobyke helmet,  T-shirt and blue jeans: -Surprised?- the girl took a little dry branch from the ground and playfully  lifted Martin's hat from his head.

Martin felt uneasy, impressed and excited - so beautiful the girl was. Trying to hide his embarrassment, he murmured: -You've appeared so suddenly...

-I know every path here,- Masha looked directly in her new friend's eyes, -but it's really a mystery for me how  you  have managed to cross the border again...

-I  say,-  Martin shrugged his shoulders, -I am not from real Finland. I am from fairytale Lapland where Santa lives. Your borderguards are not able to see fairytale characters, are they?

-Well,- the girl did not seem to trust in those explanations, -Sometimes I see fairytale nightdreams, too- With these words she looked attentively into Martin's eyes, -But what are you doing there in Lapland?

-I'm taking pictures of birds. I'm gonna be an ornithologist after graduating from the university...

-It's more reasonable,- smiled Masha, -then I  can call you "fowler"..."my fowler"... Masha suddenly took the boy under his hand and said: -OK. Let's go...Let's go to your Lapland.

Ch. 6

...Our friends were slowly walking towards the Finnish border when something very strange  started...

There was a moment when Martin turned his eyes away from Masha and looked in the opposite direction. And the same second something strange  happened...He was about  to tell  something to Masha , but...saw nobody nearby!...

The girl just disappeared...Martin stoped dead .

-Why aren't we going farther?,-  he suddenly heard Masha's voice and saw the girl  looking at him as if nothing had happened.

-Where did  you disappear a second ago?- Martin tried to touch Masha's hand as if checking whether it was  her.

- Me?...I have not disappeared,-  the girl shrugged. -We got to this tree and then you just stoped and started to look around...

-Correct,- agreed Martin, -but near that tree I had already lost you from my sight...Couldn't you please stand over there again...I just want to check...

Masha  shrugged her shoulders again and went towards the tree.

Suddenly she staggered a bit and...disappeared!!!...But at the same second the Black Gazelle, slender and beautiful, appeared beside the tree instead of the girl! She was graceful and young. The boy was absolutely sure that such kind of animal never lived here. He knew how the Northern deer looked like but that was something different...

The Black Gazelle made two more steps ahead, stopped and looked back at startled Martin.

-So...What next?- asked the Gazelle in Masha's voice as if nothing had happened. yourself!- the boy was even unable to pronounce words correctly.

The Gazelle lowered her eyes, looked at her legs and...rushed back in horror!

-What's that?!What was that?!- real Masha in her ordinary body nearly fell down into scared Martin's chest a second later.

-Well...,- the boy was trying to look confident, -you just...slow down...don't be afraid...I think  now I understand everything...

-Why?- repeated Masha inpassionately.

-It looks like you can't cross the border into fairytale in your usual appearance... the real border seems to be there. I mean not Finland-Russia border but the real border between Reality and Fairytale Lapland, you see?

-Oh, my gosh,- whispered the girl, -so you told me the,- she grabbed Martin's hand, -Let's go...Let's go to your Lapland.

Martin smiled...Hand in hand they crossed the Border.

Ch. 7

Martin and Black Gazelle were slowly walking along the forest road. It was already late at night but the sun was still high in the sky. There were no nights in the North in the summer...

-It's late,- said Black Gazelle, -I should go back home.

-Why?- asked Martin. He stood  face to face with Gazelle and touched her neck. -Wouldn't you like to stay here in Lapland?

Gazelle was silently looking straight at him. So close was she that the boy saw the pores of her black skin around her lips and his own reflection in her eyes.

-I'd like, - she lowered her head and whispered, -I'd like, but...what about my parents?...They'll be worried...You know...,- she took a pause for a second, -I'll come tomorrow. I should think about all this...

-I'll introduce you to Little hippo, Dasha and Veronika. They are my best friends,- said Martin. -And of course you'll see Santa.

Gazelle smiled sadly: -My dear, dear fowler...Of course I'll be happy to  become their friend. I must go.

Martin knelt and gently hugged the black neck of the animal.

-It's OK,- pronounced Masha with her lips only, dear fowler.

It was time to part...

Martin sat down on the log watching how the Black Gazelle was slowly going towards the border...

At last she staggered as if disappearing in the air and at the same moment he saw real Masha in her usual appearance: in jeans, T-shirt, and motorbike helmet in hand.

-Hey!- she cried  waving her hand from the opposite side of the border, -See you tomorrow, OK?!!

-I'll come with the hippo!- rejoiced Martin. -Be careful at the border...Borderguards may shoot!

The girl waved her hand again and disappeared in the bushes...

Ch. 8

The next day Martin (with a bunch of red roses) and Little hippo Boris were sitting under  the tree and waiting for Masha to come.

The fog descended  on both the forest and the bushes and the Russian border was not  seen. Birds were singing high in the branches of the trees and a light wind was moving the high grass by the sides of the road.

-What if she can't see us in the fog?- worried Little hippo. -I think it was a mistake not to ask for Santa's permission for such actions. Maybe He could arrange your date with her ?

Martin was going to answer something, but at this moment our friends heard a voice:

-Marti-in!!! Hello-o!!! Where are you-u?!!!

-It  is her!- rejoiced the boy -She can't see us in the fog! I  am  running  to her!

Grabbing his roses, the young man rushed towards the border...

Little hippo tried to follow him but was soon left far behind because his feet were so short that he  couldn't just be that fast. Lifting his round kiddish eyebrows and wrinkling his adorable childish forehead, he was just murmuring: -Please, please...Do not hurry...Please...Wait for me...

Running out of the forest on the border line, Martin immediately noticed the graceful sillouhette of the Black Gazelle...

She was standing just at the border...There was no green grass around, only grey and decomposed hay and yellow (dead and dry) ferns preserved from the previous summer...

-Hey!- cried the young man. -It's me!...Run here! Do not stand on the border! We can be overheard by borderguards!

The Black Gazelle turned her head. Having noticed Martin, she joyfully nodded at him and went straight on...The drops of dew made her black skin glitter as if her body was emanating light...

...Many years later Martin still was  able to recollect every detail of that minute: ...The fog was leaning at the ground and above it the slim figure of Gazelle was moving towards him as if painted in front of the forest with sparkling black black that it looked  deep dark blue...

He was already able to see her big sad eyes... She nodded at him again and...

That very second he heard the gunshot!

-Hands up over there!- heard the boy the Russian borderguard's shout.

The Gazelle rushed towards Martin but at the same second one more shot struck her...

Like a flower cut by a scythe the girl fell down...but under the glance of horrified Martin, she (out of her last effort) got to her feet, crossed the border line and...fell down into the ravine on Finnish side...

Martin lost sight of her for a second and rushed towards the ravine. A moment later he saw Masha in her jeans, T-shirt and with motorbike helmet, lying on the ground...Her eyes  were still open and the hint of a smile was still playing on her pale lips.

Throwing his roses on the ground the boy knelt and hugged his girl... dear fowler,- whispered Masha.

He was trying to find her pulse, but it was useless already...His glance noticed how the roses, thrown all over the ground started to melt into pools of blood...

...But even now one thought did not leave his mind: "Little hippo can come here in a minute. He is too childish to see all this."...

The wind started to take the fog away...Martin heard hippo's footsteps on the road...


...And what about the Black Gazelle?...

She did not notice the moment when the sleep overcame her. She dreamed as if she had jumped and flawn into the sky above our forest...

And her flight was delightful and so long that she even stopped working her legs and was just looking down where the trees and lakes and rivers were speeding back...And it was  neither  day nor night...There was no sun anywhere but she saw everything vividly...And the sky was black and somewhere near the horizon she saw the end of our forest...and further ahead she saw the white sparkling of snow fields...and over this white radiance behind the horizon she saw Lapland...And she tensed all her muscles to stream over there...And she already did not feel any pain when her feet touched the ground....



Dear Sir: I suppose you’ve erred grammatically in this sentence:

The girl heard the footsteps and put her book aside looking surprisingly

To prove my point I supply a few examples from the original literature:

"Well, well!" said the King, sitting up and looking surprised. "Why didn't my magic belt work, I wonder?"

Sophie glanced up, looking surprised.

OR : "Are these our enemies, then?" asked the boy, looking with surprise upon the fat little King.

I imagine I’d spot quite a few other blunders of a native Russian but don’t feel like doing so.
I fully understand the tremendous challenge you’re faced with and my sympathies are with you.

Сергей Елисеев   09.01.2019 22:40   Заявить о нарушении
Исправил... Есть там наверняка ещё ошибки - не в этом суть. У меня и в русских текстах ошибки проскакивают.

Борис Сударушкин   09.01.2019 23:00   Заявить о нарушении
И у меня тоже. Но в русском ГОРАЗДО меньше. Он для меня почти как воздух. А английской - рубашка с чужого плеча.

Сергей Елисеев   09.01.2019 23:42   Заявить о нарушении
На это произведение написано 8 рецензий, здесь отображается последняя, остальные - в полном списке.