The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Tag: Stirling Newberry

Spring Of A Down, Chapters XVI-XVIII

Королевство кривых зеркал[xcvii]

Hush. He will tell the story forwards, but it makes more sense in reverse.[xcviii]

He was at his house, leaving. He closed a red door and he thought “I must have it painted black.”[xcix]

His car was broken. It was a Mercedes Benz. It had been broken since 1969.[c]

So, he walked up the road. It was a long row to hoe and he would be walking for two solid days to get to where he was going.

And on that second day, the waters parted from the waters.[ci] The mirror crack’d from side to side as the man turned to the dirt path from the paved.[cii] There were trees crowded around the road and twigs dropped into the puddles from above. Again, he looked above at the clouded sky. There was no rain falling. Yet. But it was pregnant and foreboding. The late winter weather seemed waiting to drench him again. At least it was not snow.

He trudged along the basin. To his right, there were glimpses of a large reservoir. The reservoir was where the Dnipro and the Pripyat merged and converted. It was a Kingdom of crooked mirrors – which bank was which?[ciii] He realized he was more tired than he thought.

There was the quiver of spring, but not yet, not yet. Then ahead a yellow pickup truck was parked in the distance. Joy leapt from his heart. He ran very slowly because the trail was made of mud, and he had a long way to go. His eyes were fixed on the yellow back of the truck hoping that he could rest. Even if rest was in the back. Even if rest meant sitting in the rain. Anything was better than this. Anything.

So along he ran with drench green boots and tatter fur on the inside with brown coat draping and gray hat dropping. Then he saw, he saw… He saw nothing. The was no driver behind the wheel. It seemed as if the truck was abandoned. A crushing feeling made him feel more alone. He went walking; a sad walk at that.

Along the truck’s edge until he reached the driver’s side. There, there was a body. He could see red that exited towards the back. He did not see the face. It was a civilian – all the good that got him. Then he spied the keys still in the ignition. Never one to look at the teeth he opened the door and pulled the corpse out.[civ] For a moment he saw the wrinkled face. It had a white and black freckled beard. The man looked away, quickly. Very quickly. One should not look at a dead man. It would be irreligious and sacrilegious.

But in the driver’s seat, everything felt different. He felt a little bit in charge. He sat upright. His boots still felt wet and outside the precipitation went to ice, but these things did not matter. He checked the petrol and found it half full. He ignored the murmuring in his head that it was just too fortunate to find a truck with any amount of fuel in it. Coincidence.

The wheels slogged through the grime. It had been raining much of the time and the road showed the wear and tear of the late winter rain with a vengeance. He focused now on driving because his eyesight was not as it used to be. But he ignored glasses. Too fragile, too delicate, to easily lost, to easily forgotten.

He was a man, God damn it.[cv] Oleg was his God-given name.

Then up ahead there were men on the road. Infantry men. Green clad infantry men. Russian green clad infantry men.

There were only two choices, and he did not have time to choose either. The truck stopped.

The window was rolled down by inches which a manual window handle moved. Teeth.

The first man on the outside placed his hands over the door, and began to speak:

“What are you doing driving around here?” The face was young, the words were plastic. The young face stared blankly into his eyes with a brown surreptitious look.

Spring of a Down, by Stirling Newberry, Chapters 1-3

я знаю місце1

(Read the Prolog)

She looked out over the land coming spring. Rather than domes and spires of Kyiv, here there were roofs to keep the hearth warm. But was forward to the eye was the fuzziness of the trees because the buds were forming across a flat plain. Life bloomed, over and above the plains north of the capital the river flow in.2

She turns to sweep out the broken glass from the boards of the floor. Too much mess but one had to start someplace. “Maria you must keep to your duties, not look outside.”3 Maria was very practical. Unlike her sister.

The sister and her two young daughters were 2 kilometers away, still above the ground facing the heavans. The dead eyes see the days like acid rain.4 A wider look at the world beyond the cross.

Work to reach the corners and cracks. Stay focused. Down, she must turn down. There were so many dead. She remembered how the war began. It was a gloomy winter day when the world turned upside down.5 Then in the hazy snow-soaked sky, she heard bombs come blimping blinding down. She hid underneath her bed, death and life alternated between her children, and the two were mixed with feelings of pity and sorrow. It was a vision of Hell brought to the waking world.6 She looked over her bed to a burned-out candle.

She tried not to think of it again but the harder she fought the more vivid the movie it was.7

“Maria?” A call from the door. “Maria Petrenko? It is me, Pavlo Pavlenko.”8

Yes, she remembers who he was. At other times she would think little of him because he was a skinflint. But that was then this was now. She stood up and brush her light blue dress off of soot and coal. “It will take me a moment.” There was a door, but it was clear not locked, or even closed.

From below she heard: “Everything is moving more slowly.”

Down the curved steps, she went with a new curve to her back. At the last steps she saw the back way and the white-bearded face was brought into view.

“You have come some way to get here.”

“It is true.”

“What brought you here?”

“The hammer banged reveille on the rails, and I had to get up.9 I had to get up a set my life in order on this fine day.”

He stood there wavering.

“That is quite stark – whatever do you mean?”

“I am dying. I was before the war, but I did not know it.”

“What happened?”

“You know the office in the center of town?”

“Which one?”

“A doctor has come a set up a waypoint for people to flee.”

“I know the place.10 But are you fleeing?”

He hesitated. “Could I come in and sit down?” A smile played with the edges of his mouth.

“You will have to sit on the stairs because the is no chair.”

He shuffled to the stairs, remembering a time when they had been carpeted. “I was thinking on it.”

“Why did you stop thinking on it??”

“I was told by the physician that I was dying, and quickly, so.”

There was a rich pause because in the old days she might have wished for this, were she was honest with herself. Which she often was, when alone.

Then the heard a flowering like popcorn, only from the trees.11 Pop – pop – pop. The room tilted by some fraction of 90 degrees as if the rhyme was helter-skelter with a drone of bass climb underneath. The sky was above in blue synergy holography from light to dark, tripping the light fantastic.12

Then they were falling and, flailing, grabbed at each other, winding up in what amounted to a hug.. All went dark for an instant.

She tilted her head, seeing, finding something almost fetching in his visage though not his face.

And then an instant later hey both looked up. The roof was ripped from below as a bomb had exploded mere meters awat. The plane moved on with thrust.13

Quietly she spoke: “That was close.”

“It matters little to me, a reprieve from the death which is soon to come.”

She skipped a beat. “I am sorry”

“Now you are.”

“Forgive me for the transgressions I may have committed.” She looked into his face but no glimpse of what lay beyond was forthcoming.

“It is not important – at least not to me. Instead, I will see the dead.”

“Who is to bury you?”

“That is why I came. I want you to make sure I am lain to rest.”

“Why me?”

“Because I am sure that you will do this as you did with your sister.”

“How do you know what happened to her?”

“That is the secret I wish to confess to you.”

Her heart clenched.

He continued: “I was having an affair with her. Anastasiya was going to me.”

“What about her daughters?”

“She was dropping them with her friend, the Doctor.”

None of this she knew. “So, you wish me to bury you for the sake of my sister?”

“Most people do not care for the testament which binds us.”14 And he continued, “Everything in the world is coming to an end.”

“I will do this even to the apocalypse.”


It was daylight and the birds did nestle among the cold stone fascia of the many buildings that lined the Rynok Square, to the English tourists Merchant’s Square. one of many in the town once called Lviv. He wondered why someone would name a town after Leo when it was so peaceful. His eyes moved the many statues of real, legendary, and mythical figures which dotted the observation tower which overlooked the host of old, even aged, splay of buildings in this now wartime city. It was of course not supposed to be this way and at the same time, it was the way it had been since 2014.16 As it would be, so it seemed, for some time to come.

Stirling Newberry Could Use Some Books

Stirling’s doing reasonably well, and is at the stage of boredom induced near-madness which people who have spent a long time in medical institutions will be familiar with.

As NBBooks reports, he’d like books.  To me he said he’d like history and economic books.

If you want to send him some, please send them c/o his fiance:

Stirling Newberry
c/o Mi-Jeong Kim
19 S. Russell St. Apt 3
Boston MA 02114

Stirling still has some mobility issues, but he can get around using a cane, and that’s a vast improvement.  Still has aphasia as well.

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