A Stroll Through Taynisky Garden

Read along with the author in this screencast.

The foreign donations that Anna Kovskaya accepted to her newspaper should have remained secret. Last year, Sergey Ivanoff put a hit on her colleague for taking gifts. Afraid that Ivanoff knew of the monies and that he planned to now target her, Anna and a friend slipped a bug into his pant cuff while he dined that day. With the knowledge that he and his hitman were meeting in Taynisky Garden that evening, Anna entered with her spy-tech powered on.

From a spot by the evergreens, she surveyed the long paths that surrounded an Olympic-sized garden bed. A mother chased a child onto the grass. An old man smiled at the tourists gathered by the bend. Anna’s heart raced when she spotted Ivanoff and the turned head of his companion on the path. Through a lens in her sunglasses, she took pictures of him, his gray coat and fur hat, the color of the winter sky.

With slow, weighted strides, Ivanoff led his friend forward, and together, they filled the cold air with hot breath. Ivanoff’s smacking lips stung Anna’s ears, and she zeroed in on a toothpick, hanging from his mouth. When a young soldier on a park bench saw the two men, he put away his phone and hustled out of the park.

Behind a group of tourists that were blocking his path, Ivanoff eyed the tour guide. “Sorry. So sorry, Mr. Ivanoff. My apologies. Excuse me. Excuse me, let’s everyone move out. Forgive me, please, sir,” the man pleaded, bowing and nudging his group toward the exit.

In front of an open walkway, Ivanoff snarled and grunted. He coughed, and as the last of the tourists to left the park, he exhaled before continuing his steady march. The men approached the turn. He tilted his chin upward. “This American music is irritating me.”

“We think that the Americans forwarded another stash. This time, to the girl,” his companion whispered.

Ivanoff’s face burned as red as the recording light in Anna’s pocket. The steam from his breath billowed like smoke among the gray clouds. “I want her dead. Anna. Before the end of day.  Dead and dumped. Spray her. Spice her, I don’t care.” 

The two drifted out of the park and vanished behind a crowd of overcoats that poured into the road beyond. With shaky hands, Anna powered off the device, keeping her head low, she scrambled up the block. The controller in her pocket knocked against her legs as she sprinted to a cafe, blocks away.

At a table in the back, Anna posted the photo, the recording, and a donation request to her YouTube account. The video went viral. Contributions poured in. Anna checked the comments on her post during a flight out of Moscow. A private message from an unknown user read: “I happen to know. For a fact. Ivanoff and his companion ain’t gonna to be strolling through Taynitsky Garden anytime soon.”

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