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An Unfinished Story /by Gela Chkvanava/
Size: 205x145 mm
Number of pages: 280
A collection of stories about the war. The protagonist of the first story (which bears the same title as the whole collection) is an ex-soldier who lives with the memories of his wartime experience. The plot unfolds around one crucial event: the protagonist's step-father, Rezo, escapes to Sokhumi. It's the town where he used to live and which was lost during the war. One day he leaves for Zugdidi: "In Zugdidi he went as far as the bridge on the river Rioni, made the sign of the cross, stepped onto the bridge, crossed the river, and went straight to Sokhumi – to the town where there was his house, the grave of his wife and everything that he missed so much, especially due to the bustards calling him 'the refugee rat that escaped from home."
AN UNFINISHED STORY
by GELA CHKVANAVA
Summer had been drawing to a close. The weather was typical for that time of the year – drooping one's spirit and filling one with the sadness of the approaching autumn.
Now the sun shone and then hid behind the clouds.
In two hours the exchange was to be started: three corpses and one man alive were to be exchanged for two of our living men. One of them was from the intelligence staff. According to the preliminary information the enemy knew nothing about it.
The position of the first combat company had been designated as the exchange site. A young high ranking executive was in charge of the preparation. He said, a grave provocation was expected from the enemy.
The first combat company of the battalion had six of their own snipers, another two groups of three snipers were invited from the second and third combat companies. Under the order of the young battalion commander they were divided into pairs and dispatched as anti-snipers by the following principle: one of them had to be local, the other – invited. The battalion commander divided the private houses standing along the dislocation perimeter into six equal sectors and respectively assigned the six groups into action. The worst daredevil sniper under forty, Zaur was assigned to the immediate spot of the exchange operation; however he, under the excuse of being exhausted, chose another sector.
One of the to-be-exchanged corpses was shot by Zaur.
At the time being Zaur did not care about his victim. From time to time he threw a glimpse at his shell-shocked partner who never got tired of talking and had already told him the contents of two movies.
Zaur, sitting up on an old spring mattress laid on the floor, firmly confident that the exchange would be an ordinary one, without any excesses, was fulfilling his assignment rather reluctantly. He knew the perimeter just as well as his five fingers and could perfectly do without the explanations and the orientation. Whereas his partner Kakha, the movie admirer, invited from the third combat company, much younger than Zaur, rather saddened on account of a big pimple on his right cheek, did not waste time in vain and observed the surroundings with a binocular.
From the interior stairs of the two-storey house with the windows enclosed by iron gratings from the outside, a sound of footsteps was heard. After a while the first battalion commander Mamuka came into the room, a clean shaven guy of about
Zaur's age, of a middle stature, with lively eyes and mercury-like mobility.
- Hey, now, sure you can deal with one-another all right? – he asked, a lavish smile radiating his face.
- Humph! Just look at him! – said Zaur getting angry half-heartedly, as if it was the case he had been repeatedly angry with.
– Why? Well, I am sober, am I not? – putting a bold face retorted Mamuka, hanging his submachine gun over a chair back and putting up first his one leg on the chair, then the other. He tucked his trouser legs down into his boots and winked at Kakha nodding his head in Zaur's direction, as if saying: -- See, what a bogyman he is?
Kakha sat down on a chair with a wobbly leg, straightened the sniper's rifle leaning beside him, picked out of his pocket a broken mirror piece and observed his pimple in it.
– I tell you, it's not a boil! Just a pimple, don't you believe me? –said Mamuka hurriedly to Kakha before the latter could say anything.
– Get lost, you! Don't you have anything else to do? Leave us alone, why, you have been cawing down on us since morning! – said Zaur to Mamuka with a lesser irritation this time.
– Do you think I am delighted to approach the carper like you?.. It is Gedevanich who's been eating me up, saying, just go and see the guys, see and check all the duets! – angrily retorted Mamuka and heavily dropped into the chair. – Well then, I was nice when I dragged the mattresses with my own hands from the house two houses away from here, wasn't I?..
– Oh, don't tell me now you are not fond of checking and inspecting yourself at all!
– That young sucker, the brigade intelligence officer of the special department said: "Your sniper has elected a wrong position," that's what he said about you. So Gedevenich instantly flashed. If only could see how he flashed! He said: "Some
of our combatants have shot as many bullets as many gunmen my sniper has picked off! If he were a fool he would not be alive so far, that guy has been fighting since the beginning of the war," that's what he said. No, say whatever you like, our Gedevanich is a cool guy indeed, he knows how to protect his people. As to that intelligence officer, I'll go and see what place he has chosen; he said he'd talk to the sniper as well, but when he heard your name, he changed his mind. They know you, you -- son-of-a-bitch, everybody knows who you are!
A Calm Swim /by Irakli Charkviani/ An Unfinished Story /by Gela Chkvanava/ Antonio and David /by Jemal Karchkhadze/ Argentinian Pitbull /by Sandro Naveriani/ Buy Our Souls /by Zurab Lezhava/ Caucasian Chronicles /by Mamuka Kherkheulidze/ Cinderella's Night /by Kote Jandieri/ Count-out Rhyme /by Tamta Melashvili/ Dagny or a Love Feast /by Zurab Karumidze/ Flight from the USSR /by Dato Turashvili/ Four Lands and Four Pillars /by Natalie Davitashvili/ Grandma, Ray and America /by Mariam Bekauri/ Herself /by Nestan Kvinikadze/ Kazakhstan’s Sorrow /by Tsotne Chikovani/ Memphis /by Teona Dolenjashvili/ Mosquito in the City /by Erlom Akhvlediani/ Music in the Wind /by Rezo Cheishvili/ November Rain /by Nugzar Shataidze/ Of Old Hearts And Sword /by Aka Morchiladze/ Tamro /by Beso Khvedelidze/ The Children of Nightfall /by Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili/ The City of Man /by Guram Megrelishvili/ The First Robe /by Guram Dochanashvili/ The Inflatable Angel /by Zaza Burchuladze/ The Iron Theatre /by Otar Chiladze/ The Literature Express /by Lasha Bugadze/ The Moonlit Garden /by Naira Gelashvili/ The Naked King /by Rati Ratiani/ The New Book /by David Kartvelishvili/ The White Bridge /by Rezo Gabriadze/ War Game /by Basa Janikashvili/