Evdokia Petrovna Kirilova, aka Kirilikha, aka Dunya (as the village neighbors addressed her), lived alone in the house.
Her age was already venerable, she was already over eighty, but she gave the impression of a smart, hard-working old woman. She did not stand out tall and was of average fullness. She was distinguished from other elderly women of the village by an unusually long nose, which immediately caught the eye when they met, and a slightly noticeable senile hump.
Evdokia lived very economically and modestly, never posh. Her house was always clean and tidy. So she was punished by her father and mother during her lifetime: “What you will hardly undertake, everything will shine.” Kirilikha loved to say that herself. The woman kept a small farm: a goat, several chickens and ducks, a vegetable garden behind the house. She had never been afraid of work in her whole life and got up with the morning cocks, managed everything herself. In the summer I ran to the forest: I collected mushrooms and blueberries and took them to the reception point in the area.
The money was small, but this did not stop Evdokia: “I’m not lying on the stove at home!” – she always answered sympathetic passers-by. In winter, I knitted beautiful warm patterned wool mittens and socks and took them to the local market to sell. Her neighbor Marusya Tarasova (she is Tarasikha) gave her wool for free out of friendship. Besides the goat, she also kept a couple of sheep. People bought handmade goods from Kirilikha, and it happened that she stood in the cold for a whole day without selling anything. Tired Evdokia quickly fell asleep in the evening.
Waking up, Kirilikha did not immediately realize what was happening: someone pushed her onto the bed with a strong blow to the chest and began to wring her hands roughly. The light of the flashlight was right in her face, because of this she could not see anything. She wanted to scream, but before she could, someone covered her mouth with a palm. From fear, she squeezed her eyes tightly shut and thinks: “That’s it, they’ve come to kill me.” While one put a thick cloth bag on Evdokia’s head and stuffed some rag into her mouth, the second tied her hands and feet with a rope rope. Kirilikha mentally prepared for death and read “our father” in her head.
Then the offenders moved away from her and began to look for something in the house. The fact that there were two of them, Kirilikha realized by the shuffling of their steps. She lay there and did not make a sound, but in the depths of her soul there was still a hope that she would be left alive. “They are probably looking for money. What if they find it now? And then what? Maybe they will leave, they won’t touch me anymore? If they wanted to kill me, they would have strangled me right away,” she reasoned in her thoughts. And indeed, she couldn’t see because of the cloth bag on her head, but she clearly heard them throwing the rags she was covering the chest with on the floor, and then the newly broken lock of the chest splashed on the floor and the plastic bag rustled. She knows this rustle well, because she often took out this package and counted the money saved and saved from retirement for a rainy day.
Every month, several times, Kirilikha replenished her savings with small bills at face value: something from the sale of goat’s milk, something from berries and mushrooms sold, and on the fifteenth of each month, part of the pension was always received in a polyethylene package. And suddenly silence. “They’re probably looking at the find,” Evdokia thought, and mentally asked God that they leave as soon as possible. And the thieves left, leaving Kirilikha lying tied up on the bed and with a bag on her head. She could hear them hurrying, their quick hurried footsteps gradually fading and receding outside her house window.
The time was night. Silence reigned around. Dunya lay and cried from fear and resentment (she saved money not for a year or two, but for a very long time, denied herself everything and put it off). But at the same moment she was glad that she was alive, glad that these robbers did not torment and kill her. She tried to turn over on her side and it became easier, because while the robbers were in the house, Evdokia was afraid to move once again, so as not to draw attention to herself, and was afraid that she would remain paralyzed, her arms and legs and neck were numb. “We just have to wait until one of the neighbors comes,” she reassured herself. “Tarasikha has to come in at seven in the morning, we agreed with her to graze goats,” Kirilikha recalled, but seven in the morning did not come.
There is silence around, my hands, feet and whole body are cold, everything is shivering and numb, tears are flowing down my cheeks, it’s hard to breathe, my head hurts. Kirilikha feels the pressure rising, a lump of tears in her throat, and some kind of rag in her mouth. It seemed to Evdokia that these few hours until morning were an eternity and Tarasikha would not come any more. Kirilikha lay as if in delirium and something began to seem to her, or to dream: he and his neighbor Marusya are sitting on the grass in the shade of a birch tree on a sunny day, and their goats are grazing next to them on the green grass.
Suddenly two tall healthy men came up and one yelled: “Give me the money! Quickly!”. Evdokia woke up and trembled even more, thought: “The robbers came again, came back for my soul, decided to finish me off after all.” “Tweety, where are you? Are you sleeping? Let’s go graze the goats,” a neighbor Tarasikha shouted from the yard. Kirilikha, hearing the voice of her friend Marusia, was very happy, but she could not answer because of the rag in her mouth: only a quiet mooing turned out. “On the other hand, go around the yard, Marusya. From the yard! The door isn’t locked there. The thieves left it open,” Evdokia mentally prompted her friend. But the neighbor stood at the door for a few minutes, then knocked on the window and, not hearing an answer, stomped a little more and began to call someone on her cell phone: “Hello, Ivanich, there’s trouble here. Kirilikha died, I’ve been knocking on her for half an hour, and she doesn’t answer and she doesn’t have a phone. Can you come over? We have to do something.” Kirilikha was glad to hear what she had heard, even though Tarasikha had already recorded her as dead. “So they will come and release me soon, I have to be patient a little more,” Dunya thought.
Half an hour later, a motor rattled at the house, which sounded like the car of the chairman of the local village council, Ivan Ivanovich Tsymbalyuk. Everyone in the village knew this sound. Immediately Kirilikha heard the voice of her neighbor Marusia: she repeated what she had said to Cymbalyuk on the phone again. They entered the house. Evdokia was not seen immediately, but only after the lights were turned on. Tarasikha, horrified, rushed to rescue her friend: “Oh, alive! Who is this for you, Dunechka?! What kind of monsters did this to you?”. Evdokia could not speak, and only after they took a rag out of her mouth and untied her hands, she pointed to a kettle of water standing on the stove. Ivanich immediately realized and gave her water. After taking a couple of sips, Kirilikha burst into tears even more. For forty minutes, Marusya’s friend calmed her down, and Tsymbalyuk went out on the porch to smoke and talked to someone on the phone. When he returned he asked:”Well, Evdokia Petrovna, tell me what happened?”. Evdokia sobbed and said, “My savings have been stolen.” “How much was stolen?”Four hundred and eighty-five thousand!” replied Kirilikha. “Wow! What did these grabbers look like?” Tsymbalyuk continued. “I couldn’t see them, they shone something in my eyes, it seems with a flashlight, I only realized by the steps that they were together,” Kirilikha answered, wiping her tears. Tsymbalyuk immediately called the police and reported the incident.
An hour and a half later, a police car drove up to Kirilikha’s house. The investigator Ognev and the local district policeman Pyshko got out of it. Both are tall, dressed in uniform. Ognev worked in the investigative department recently. He was transferred here to the district half a year ago, but they spoke only positively about him. Since he has solved a lot of cases in half a year. He was strict and laconic, but he knew his job and devoted all his time to it because he did not have a family yet. Pyshko was older and more lazy, but he knew every dog and every bush in this neighborhood. His plot included several nearby villages. He has been working here as a district inspector for a long time and therefore Ognev often turned to him for help. The guards of the law questioned Evdokia Petrovna for a short time, about fifteen minutes, and they examined the house and the broken chest for the same amount of time. Having recorded the testimony, Ognev and Pyshko immediately went to the house of Stepka Belyavogo. His bosom friend Sashka the Elephant was also staying with Stepka Belyavy. Both of them had already been behind bars more than once and at that time they were both in a state of alcoholic intoxication. They were the ones Ognev suspected of robbery and robbery of Kirilikha. Both were immediately taken away and taken to the district police department. In the village, they began to say that the bandits who robbed Kirilikha were caught. No one doubted that they were Stepka Belyavy and Sanya the Elephant. In the department, they were pressed hard, forcing them to split and tell where the money was.
But these two stood their ground, and they also provided an alibi for themselves. On the night of the robbery, they were drinking together with two friends: Masha Bykina and Anya Tolstokhina, who later confirmed this. And they were also seen by their neighbor Vasya Busel, who came to swear because of the music playing loudly at night, and also subsequently confirmed the alibi of the White-haired and the Elephant to the precinct. By the evening they were allowed to go home. Ognev was upset that the investigation was coming to a dead end and decided to go to Kirilikha again. “What if I missed something? There is no one else to rob in the village, there are only a few pensioners living here, and these two recidivist drinking buddies and a couple of wayward divorcees,” he reflected to himself. The next day he visited Evdokia Petrovna again to interview her in more detail.
Kirilikha confirmed that the thieves were not drunk, the smell of alcohol was not heard from them. Then Ognev clarified whether Evdokia Petrovna noticed any oddities that night? “Yes, it seemed wonderful to me that the robbers entered the house very quietly, I didn’t even hear,” the woman replied. Ognev noticed a clue in her words and began to gather in the department to analyze everything once again.
“Son, and you try to find my money. I was collecting them for a rainy day. Suddenly I will lie down or die and no one will want to take care of me without money and there will be nothing to bury me for,” Kirilikha wailed.
“I’ll try to find it. Don’t worry, social services are now taking care of the elderly. Don’t you have any relatives?” – the investigator asked.
“I have a daughter,” Evdokia Petrovna replied.
“What’s her first and last name? Where does he live?” Ognev continued. Kirilikha gave her last name, first name, and said that her daughter lives here in the regional city. She specified the address exactly: the street and the house.
By evening, Ognev had already requested records from the necessary surveillance cameras from the regional department on the night of the crime. And it was established that the car registered to the spouse of the daughter of Kirilikha left the city at one o’clock in the morning and returned back around four in the morning. And also during a search in the garage at the house where Evdokia Petrovna’s daughter, Elena, lives, they found a package with stolen money.
The amount was not all, the attackers had already spent some of the money. Elena later admitted that she and her husband wanted to make repairs in the house and buy a new car, but there was not enough money for everything. She considered her mother stingy and did not ask her for money.
A few months ago, Kirilikha was visiting her daughter. Elena asked her mother to go to the bathroom to wash. She did not agree, though, and at the same time took a bag with her, to which the daughter said resentfully: “Mom, what are you doing? Why do you need a bag in the bathroom? Are you afraid that we will rob you?”
Kirilikha listened to her daughter and left her bag on the bedside table in the corridor, but in vain. While her mother was in the bathroom, Elena checked the bag, found money there, and after counting them, she was stunned – almost half a million. “Is she feeding on the Holy Spirit, putting it off all her life?” wondered Elena. “Although why does she feed on the Holy spirit, she has her own vegetable garden, a small farm: there is a goat and a domestic bird. Utility bills in comparison with urban ones in the village are scanty. Old people receive an increased pension after eighty years. Mother is already eighty-four years old. Where should she spend this money? That’s what I posted.”
After the departure of her mother to the village, money did not leave Elena’s mind. She continued to reason: “The mother is old and does not think much, and if she dies or falls into unconsciousness? So there will be “well-wishers” who will come and search the whole house, find money and appropriate it. And then you can’t prove to anyone that this money was. It is useless to ask her for money, she will not give it anyway, she has become very stingy, she will suffocate rather than help her own daughter financially. Why do you need such money, Mom?!” And Elena decided to cross the line…
The husband did not have to be persuaded for a long time, he immediately liked the idea of a quick replenishment of the family capital. And they did not hesitate to move on the case. Elena knew her parents’ house like the back of her hand, with her eyes closed she could navigate well there and find what she needed. They did everything quickly and before dawn they returned home with the money.
Only one thought of regret with a note of anger was spinning in Elena’s head: “Why did we hide the money in this damn garage?!”
Although Kirilikha’s health began to fail recently (the pressure often rose, the tremor of her hands and feet increased), she still came to the court. Elena did not even raise her head in the courtroom, so as not to look into her mother’s eyes. “Your Honor, it’s all my fault, I didn’t give them money. They did it so that other people wouldn’t steal the money. After all, I have already become old, I will die soon or, even worse, I will become a bedridden. After all, the children will have to take care of me and they will have to bury me. They didn’t do it out of spite, let them go,” Kirilikha asked the judge.
The judge only looked in her direction, grinned mentally at Evdokia Petrovna’s words and announced the strictest sentence…