Three coffins, and the following 10 stories are sketches of the last chapters of the book "In the Sikhote-Alin 'unfinished due to his death.
In the afternoon the weather turned bad. The sky was rapidly haze clouds, sunlight become diffused, shadows on the ground are gone, and all living things and hid lurking. Somewhere in the south-east of the storm grew. Harbingers of its noiseless, ominous waves down to the ground, enveloping the distant mountains, the trees in the forest and cliffs on the coast.
It was time to get in the camp, but then I remembered that, when leaving the village date, I have not made a chronometer. If it does not start tomorrow morning it will stop, and then - forgive my longitude!
We had to immediately go back. I reported this to my companion Nozdrina. He did not protest, and silently followed me.
We tried to keep its tracks, but soon lost it and went on a bear trail. She then approached the river clues, then again go deep into the forest. Sometimes we lose it, but then found again, where there was much trodden grass. Until dusk still managed to pass a fair distance, which gave us more confidence and we have added a step. Imperceptibly hid the sun over the horizon. Twilight pulled suddenly. The air turned blue, then darkened the sky, began to rain. It was at this time a bear trail, which we always held, was to take the side of the river. Assuming that it will again evidence, we trusted her. However, it went further and further into the forest. Then I decided to leave her and turned to the south-east, to a virgin forest to go straight to the river.
- As much as we do not get lost - said Nozdrin ..
But, according to my knowledge, the river should not be far away. Hour and a half dusk. The forest was rapidly getting dark, he went small and frequent rain. It was difficult to consider anything on earth. Then came the foot on fallen trees, on stone, then dropping into the lath between the roots. Our wet clothes quickly, but we have paid little attention to it and vigorously wade through the thicket.
Is ahead seemed a clearance. I thought that it is a river, but great was our disappointment when we feel under your feet sticky and wet moss. It was a swamp, overgrown with larch undergrowth of rosemary. Next him back wall was a dense forest. We crossed the swamp in the same south-east and have come under the arches of the old spruces and firs. It was still dark. We were groping, outstretched arms, and often ended up at the branches that seem purposely grown to meet us.
- A dog barks - Nozdrin said, and stopped.
But no matter how I strained to hear, you could not hear anything but the breeze running through the tops of the trees, but the sound of rain.
- That you think, - I said to my companion, and we again began to make their way through the thickets of scrub birch, kept stumbling over fallen trees and avoiding it is the one, then the other.
- It is necessary to "roar" - said Nozdrin and, putting his hands to his mouth as a megaphone and shouted with all his might, but the sound of the voice does not spread through the forest and got lost somehow muffled nearby.
Sometimes I felt like I know what the place. It seemed that for the woods right now is the river, but instead of it again and again began swamp coniferous forest. Our mood rose and fell. Finally, it became quite dark, so dark that even pitch dark. Our clothes got wet to the skin. With the hat ran water. A thin stream trickled down her neck and back. We began to feel cold.
- Do nothing - I said Nozdrina. - Will spend the night.
- Well, the night - so sleep - posted shooter. - There are many wind-fallen trees, wood enough.
At this time I came across something big, bulky. Losing his balance, I fell across some large object. I began to climb and hands feeling the long box in the form of a trough, the top boarded up.
- Coffin - I said to my companion.
- It must be close to the village, - said Nozdrin. - This is - the cemetery, so we need to keep the area as ...
I did not see where Nozdrin show, and, rising to his feet and went after him. As soon as we took a few steps, he now came to the second coffin, covered with a top korem. Representing yourself mentally as a cemetery, I took more to the right, but again, the coffin was blocked my path. Then I stopped to figure out where to hold the line.
The night was black and rainy. The wind blew all the time from the northeast gusts, then increasing, then weakening. Somewhere in the side wood creaked. It is certain to complain about the bad weather, but no one listened to his moans. All living things hiding in holes, we alone wandering in the forest, trying to get out of the river of evidence.
- Try to shoot - I turned to Nozdrina.
The shooter took the rifle from his shoulder, and I heard he cocked the shutter. Short lightning momentarily cut through the darkness. The sound of the shot, as well as cry, not spread far and stopped right there, where he was born. For a moment we still, straining eyes and ears, stood on the spot, but did not hear anything but the sound of rain and the sound of water that ran in streams on the ground. After talking, we decided to go a little bit, and if not will soon come out of the woods, build a fire and wait for dawn. Having gone a hundred yards, I saw that Nozdrin behind, and called him. The shooter immediately responded.
- Now, I'll go just a coffin, - he said.
We have overlap, and went to meet each other. When he was very close to me, I heard him fall and swore.
- What happened? - I asked him.
- Yes again coffin! The devil take him! - He replied angrily.
Finally, we came together and not to lose each other, holding hands. Eleventh coffin brought me out of patience.
- Wait, - I said Nozdrina. - Let's settle down for the night. Not go any further.
We took off their guns and leaned against a tree, and then began to break the dry branches. One knot to the ground. I leaned over and began to look for him at his feet. Casually hand I felt a big piece of wood bark.
Wanderers life experience has taught me to always keep with you zasmolennuyu jar with matches and debris celluloid. Nozdrin found somewhere bark. Shoving it under a piece of celluloid with a comb, he struck a match, and immediately hoisted a thin yellowish flame long tongue. I kept the bark over the fire, not to be flooded by rain, while the top Nozdrin imposed dead knots and resin, which happened to be growing on the trunk near the old fir. When the fire broke out, we saw in the immediate neighborhood the whole tomb, covered at the top of the gable roof of wood bark. Swayed, we began to build a fire right outside the tomb. When he broke the same as the first one, we moved it all the heat and embers from the first fire. Then Nozdrin corrected roof of the tomb, where it has fallen off a bit and proceeded. Then we began to settle down for the night. The shooter took off two pieces of birch bark coffin tires and I put them on the spruce branches, arranged so dry bed. We Nozdrina sat facing the fire, I - with the right side of the coffin, he - with his left. The dead man was lying head to the fire too. The coffin was put forward just ahead and divided us so much that we had to bend over to see each other. Under the roof of the tomb, warming warm fire, we felt happy.
As little as necessary to the person and loose concept of comfort!
After midnight, the rain began to subside, but the sky was still Morochno. The wind fanned the flames of the fire. Around him silently jumped, trying to overpower each other, the bright glare, the black shadows. They climbed up the trunks of trees and deeper into the forest, and then suddenly drops to the ground and seemed to want to get the most fire. Up from the fire billowed clouds of smoke, taking with him a thousand sparks. Some of them were lost in the air, others fell, and immediately went out on the wet ground.
We Nozdrina took off his outer clothing, and put it under the roof of the tomb, to make it dry. All night we were sitting around the fire and dozed, occasionally throwing wood on the fire, the benefit of which was not lacking. Little by little nap was too strong for us. I'm not opposed to it, and soon all finished deep sleep.
I woke up because chilled.
Dawn. Rain completely stopped and the wind is very verse. Thick fog fills the forest. The trees fell to the ground rare big drops. Leaves and grass seemed immovable. From almost extinct fire up a trickle of smoke was rising. Nozdrin sleeping on your left side. I stoked the fire and woke him up. We warmed, put on his boots and began to look around. It turned out that the cemetery, where we spent the night, consisted of only three coffins. So in the dark we kept circling one and the same place, constantly bumping into these three coffins.
At this time, drew a faint breeze. Fog started to move, and then the four hundred meters ahead we saw Oroch settlement date.