Nestling Doll

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”Grandpa, have you always been a Woodmaster?”
“No, I was a scientist in the past.”
“Who are they, scientists?”
“People, who always asking questions, but never satisfied with the answers.”
“Sounds like me.”
“Yes,” old man smiled and petted little girl’s hair.
“Does that mean that I will be scientist, when I grow up?”

He did not answered, thinking of his own life. Long time ago he was promising bright physicist, but during Stalin ruling no one was safe, no matter how smart you are. Even genius Landau spend a year in GULAG for anti-Soviet propaganda.

Old man, after fifteen years in prison, was released, yet not allowed to go back to Moscow to his family and favorite job, because he was considered “politically unreliable”. Instead, his wife moved to Siberia with their daughter. His mind become restless without proper exercise, and birth of granddaughter Anuta with her endless stream of questions, was a blessing for him.

“Where did you learn, how to make nestling dolls?” Interrupted his thoughts Anuta.
“Oh, That was my long life passion. I was lucky to meet Woodmaster Zvesdochkin while visited Sergiev Posad.”
“How many dolls were in his Matroshka’s?”
“Twenty four.”
“That’s a lot!”
“Someone made fourty eight!”
“Can you make more? You told me, that things can be divided to the smallest particles.”
“That’s atoms. Not exactly the same with Matroshkas. But look what I have for you!”
“Wow, sixty of them here!” Anuta almost lost the count.
“How did you do that?” She finally pulled the tiniest doll from the inside.
“With magnifying glass.” Smiled old man.
“Oh no!” Little doll fell to the floor and rolled to the crack by the wall.
“Poor Dolly, now she lost in the dark forever.” Said the old man.
“No, she is not!” Anuta wiped the tears from her cheeks.
“You have to divide me, until I become size of Dolly, then I can go under the floor to find her! And then you will just have to assemble me back to my original size.”
“Well, there are only two possibilities..”
“Yes or no”. The girl finished his favorite saying. “I know. And I am picking ‘yes’.”
“We will think about it tomorrow, but now I must put you to bed.”

The girl fell asleep fast, holding her new Matreohka tightly.

“Careful, my feet are sensitive!”
“Who is there?” Anita barely squeezed herself through the crack in the floor.
“I can’t see anything!”
“Turn your night vision on.”
“Simple. Just use your mind. It can do a lot.”
“Oh no, I am afraid of spiders!” Yelled Anuta, streaming light from her eyes into the darkness.
“I am not just any spider, I am the King of Web!”
“Why are you here?”
“I lost member of my family, little Dolly. I must find her!”
“Sure! But first, help me to get my kingdom back. Can you smell a rat?”
“I don’t even know what she looks like.”
“She smells and looks ratty, and has an ugly naked tail, strong, like a whip.”
“I see one! In the corner!”
“That’s her. You must come up with the plan, for how to get my crown back, or she will take over my kingdom.”

All of a sudden, Anuta heard many tiny voices, coming from the dark:
“We can’t let rat become our Queen! Power is all she cares about!”
“And she doesn’t believe in science!”
“Or climate change! While it’s getting colder and colder in Siberia!”
“Order! Order!” yelled the King of the Webs.
“That is why we have our royal accountancies here. What is your name?”
“Anuta, the Queen of Particles.”
“Do you have a plan?”
“Yes. I will turn this rat into stone. Dirty gray stone, that can’t eat anyone.”
“What is wrong with being gray?” voice from around the corner sounded offended. “Why is that everybody think, that if you are gray, then it means that you are uneducated? For your information, I graduated from Downstreet Academy of Science and have a degree in Environmental Con-Fusion.” Rat sounded angry.
“Besides, I don’t think that you are in a position to negotiate.”
“Why?” asked all the voices at once.
“I have a hostage.”
“Prove it!” demanded the King of the Web.

And Rat appeared in the streaming light, holding the little Dolly in her sharp teeth.
‘What to do?’ Thoughts in Anuta’s head were running in circles, like little squirrels in the spinning wheel:
“Let my Dolly go, give the crown back to the King of the Web, and I will not disassemble you to a tiny particles smaller then atoms.”
“Can you even do that?” rat skeptically opened her mouth!

Oh what a mistake! Little Dolly fail on the floor. Rat tried to catch her lost her crown, an empty sardine can, which rolled to the spider’s feet. Happily he put it back on his head. Justice prevail!

Unfortunately Rat escaped, as they always do, hiding in the darkness.

And Royal ball began! All the moths, rain worms, ants and other noble creatures of the Earth were invited, and Anuta herself had an honor to have a first dance with his Majesty, the King of the Web.

The old man covered the girl’s body with the blanket tucking it under her. She was talking to somebody in her dream, holding the Matroshka in one hand. But wait, what is it in her other? Little Dolly, that was lost last evening? And now she was back? How was it is even possible?

Then he smiled into his white beard: “Yes, God doesn’t throw dice with Universe”, but according to Mary Poppins, “Everything can happen, if you let it.”

About the Author: 
Olga Vyaersi is a graduate of Tiraspol University in Moldova with a degree in Russian language and literature. But recently she embarked on a journey to tell stories in English. She hopes you may forgive her grammatical and syntax errors and still enjoy this short story.