At the beginning everything ran smoothly. I was standing under a tree touching different shoots. She was speaking about herbs. Then I lay down on the grass next to her. We were absolutely naked but I did not feel cold evidently, because it was after a good run which both of us had enjoyed before. I was in a perfect mood.
There was a feeling of some kind of lightness and the sensation was not only in my physical body but somewhere inside me. Everything started when I felt something on my hip was nipping, biting or pinching me. I lifted my head and looked, there were some kind of bugs, ants and a beetle on my leg and hip.
I swung my arm to smash them off but did not have time enough to do it as Anastasia intercepted my hand.
Then she stood on her knees before me, bent over and pressed my other hand to the ground.
I was lying on the ground as if I had been crucified. I tried my best to get free but alas, I realized that it was absolutely impossible. Then I pushed with all my might but she was retaining me easily and while doing it she was even smiling. I was feeling the increasing sensation of crawling, bilking, biting and pinching all over me and my conclusion was that they had started to eat me.
I was in her hands in the literal and figurative sense of the words so I was trying my best to appraise the situation.
Many other thoughts crossed my troubled
mind within a moment.
I produced a howl of despair:
Anastasia continued waving her hand and forcing herself to smile at the watchful surrounding. She glanced at me and slowly, not running as usual, went to the lake with her head drooped.
For a while I was pondering what to do.
I wondered whether to go back to the steamboat, and how would I find my way to it?
So, I went to the lake. Anastasia was sitting by the water, rubbing in her palms some kind of herb and rubbing its juice into the injured spot on her breast where one could see a huge black and blue spot, the result of my bite.
I stayed for a while marking time near her in silence and then asked,
Without turning her head she said,
She continued to rub in the herb's juice.
For a while we were quiet.
Then feeling ill at ease without even realizing what I was saying, I asked,
I felt a kind of shame for my behavior.
I gripped the bunch of the
herbs which was near by, vigorously crushed them in my palms,
kneeled before her and started to rub the black and blue spot with
my wet palms.