The Russian’s eyebrows converged as his gaze darted between Victor and the gun. He slowly reached out his hand and picked up the weapon, thought for a moment, and then stood and leaned over the desk, offering the gun to Victor. Just before it was within Victor’s reach, the Russian yanked his hand back and put the gun back on the desk. He sat down and glared.
“You lie. That’s not how communism works.”
“Sure it is,” said Victor.
“No!” said the Russian, slamming his mammoth fist on the desk. “You tricked me with capitalist spell.”
Victor laughed and shook his head. “You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”
“I do!” growled the Russian. “You don’t tell me about communism—you are criminal.”
“Stop it, comrade,” laughed Victor. “You’re embarrassing yourself.”
The Russian became flustered, pointed a menacing finger at Victor… but found nothing to say. He slumped back in his chair, loosened his collar and sighed. “Give me a break, dude,” he said. His Russian accent was gone.
“You got me, all right? I’m not an expert on communism. But I haven’t got much to work with, you know? You try acting like a Russian general based on the limited understanding of an eleven-year-old.”
“Wait,” said Victor, leaning forward almost off his seat, “what are you saying? Are you… Gary?”
The Russian (or former Russian) laughed. “Nah, man, I just work here. I’m just part of the curse.”
“Whoa,” said Victor. “If you’re part of… you’ve gotta help me. You must know how to get out of here, right?”
He looked at the Russian, who was now sitting upright, his face gripped with terror as he stared over Victor’s shoulder. Victor turned around but a sudden flash of light prevented him from seeing anything other than a glimpse of a silhouette, a human form. The light vanished, and with it whatever had petrified the Russian.
Victor turned back and faced the desk; the Russian sat still, staring blankly ahead.
“What the hell was that?” said Victor.
The Russian appeared vacant, and only said, “I am traitor. I have betrayed mother Russia.” His accent had returned.
He picked up the gun and held it to his right temple.
“Wait, no!” said Victor. “What are you doing?”
The Russian squeezed the trigger and a mild crack sounded, like that of a cap gun. A puff of talcum powder burst from the left side of the Russian’s skull, and he fell forward, clunking his huge, lifeless head on the desk.
Victor sat in shock. He watched the Russian’s upper body lying on the desk as the talcum powder descended and settled. As the final snowy speck came to rest on the Russian’s ear, the lamp flickered, buzzed and went out. Victor sat in darkness, unable to see a single thing around him.
“Hello?” he called, and then waited. “Is that it?”
A tiny, faint light, like a glow-in-the-dark marble, began to shine above the desk. It grew to the size of a tennis ball and soon lit the entire room.
“Oh cool,” said Victor. “It’s another one of these.”
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