Chronicle of the Dead City (Part - 4)
Memories of Alexander Esaulov
The day rolled towards evening. There were more and more patients. I had to make a difficult decision: to evict patients from other departments of the hospital - surgery and narcology. The number of hospitalized people has exceeded eighty. At about eight o'clock in the evening I was summoned to the city party committee to V.G. I'm a little boy. A few minutes later I ran up to the building of the executive committee. The extensive parking lot in front of the White House was literally packed with cars: Volga, UAZ, Zhiguli, Moskvichs of various colors and purposes. There were patrol cars, and escort cars with two and three flashing lights, black GAZ-31 and GAZ-2410 - management vehicles, in general, it became clear that something out of the ordinary had happened.
The third, city committee, floor of the White House was unexpectedly crowded. In the recreation, a group of lieutenant colonels, colonels and several generals stood talking among themselves, often looking back at the doors of the reception room, where the chairman of the Government Commission was located in the office of the first secretary, then at the door with the inscription “Secretary of the city committee AN Vishnyakov ”, where someone else was sitting. The almost complete absence of junior officers and enlisted personnel was striking.
"Who will the generals and colonels command?" - I thought. I opened such a familiar door to A.S. Gamanyuk. A map was spread out on a large conference table, over which two officers in naval uniforms were bending. They were talking quietly about something, tracing the map with pencils. V.G. was sitting at the side table. Little man and wrote something in his diary. A tall and stout colonel-general with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union on his chest was standing near the window with a cigarette. I cheerfully crossed the threshold, but, seeing all this, I involuntarily felt intimidated.
The task was extremely clear - to organize the delivery of the injured to the plane, which was allocated for this purpose by Colonel General Ivanov. The plane was in Borispol.
Passing a group of officers standing in the recreation, out of the corner of my ear I heard the word "evacuation". Everything went cold inside me, as the word "amazed" was not mentioned.
- Did it come to this? Well, it can't be ... Taking out the city is not on paper ... Some nonsense ...
In a restaurant located very close to the White House, a wedding was thundering. At first they shouted "Bitterly!", And then drawn out:
- Ra-a-az! Two-ah! Three-and-and!
In the cinema "Prometheus" doors opened and a thick crowd threw out.
Mothers with children went to the children's cafe on the pier.
And V. Khodemchuk was already buried under the ruins of the block, V. Shashenok had already died, some of the stricken began to "grow heavier", already thought about evacuation, already ... already ... already ...
Time flew by terribly fast, and things were done so slowly. The ordered buses arrived - two freshly washed "Ikarus".
There were not so many passengers - twenty-four people and two bedriddens, for whom an ambulance was allocated, but I ordered exactly two buses. The flight is special, there shouldn't be any disruptions. I even froze with horror when I imagined that the bus broke down and we were standing on the night road! It took a lot of time to prepare documents: medical records were filled out, test results were recorded, accident reports were drawn up, etc., and so on. We selected a doctor and a nurse (I don't remember their names now) who were supposed to accompany these guys all the way to the clinic (running ahead, I’ll say that they themselves will then be hospitalized in the same clinic). It seemed to me that everyone was pulling rubber, they were not working fast enough, they were delaying, and I constantly urged Vladimir Alexandrovich on. Most recently, he confessed:
- You know what, Yuryevich, by a miracle I didn't send you to FIG, I don't know how I endured it, you exhausted all my nerves.
Whatever it was, but at about ten in the evening we started loading. The patients went out one at a time. Striped pajamas, gray earthy faces. There are no jokes, no jokes, which are so common when three dozen men gather, but there are no complaints or groans. They are silent and focused. That's twenty four. Now the stretcher is being carried out. Several guys in pajamas, who stood silently at the door, turned their heads at once. The stretcher is fully bandaged. At the corner of the mouth, attached with a piece of white plaster, a thin transparent tube sticks out. Oxygen, I realized.
The stretcher is carried by four: two in white coats and two in pajamas. They carry it carefully, fearing to inflict unnecessary suffering on the lying person, and he is unconscious, and this is probably for the best, because at least he does not feel that huge all-consuming pain that has spread over his recently fine and healthy body.
A thin, short guy got out of the bus and, clasping his stomach with both hands, as if he was bursting, staggering, went straight to the flower bed.
Grasping the mountain ash with one hand, he suddenly bent almost to the ground.
- Oooooo! - came to me. The guy was throwing up with a terrible, unnatural force. I ran up to him.
He straightened up and looked at me with incomprehensible dark eyes. He was bent again, and again a drawn-out agonizing "Y-e-e-h!" Was heard. True, he would feel better if he still vomited, but there was nothing, and only a viscous trickle crawled from his lower lip.
They brought out the second stretcher - the same bandages, the same tube at the corner of the mouth. The stretcher rolled gently into the ambulance.
In front of the Kopachi we were overtaken by a special escort car - a yellow Volga with three flashing lights on the roof. I got into it to have access to the radio, and we rushed off.
The airwaves were filled with conversations, however, they were all monosyllabic: I understood, I accepted, I have a reception. The sergeant, so to speak, the navigator of the crew, reported on each village he traveled. In Ivankov "Volga" stopped for refueling, the buses pulled to the side of the road, opening the door, I heard the familiar, painful "Y-e-e-x!" This sound spurred on more than the best whip.
Twenty kilometers after Ivankov we met a long, thirty buses, column.
- Where is it carrying them at night?
There was a noticeable increase in negotiations on the air, and new callsigns appeared, which, as I understood, caused surprise among my companions:
- Look, and this one is here!
A long line of lights appeared ahead.
She was rapidly approaching, and at last the bright beams of the headlights cut across the eyes. It was an endless column of buses: LAZs, LIAZs were walking, bouncing with scanty backs, PAZs and Kubans were rolling, imposing Ikarus with a flying inscription “Flight” on board and two-car, with an accordion in the middle, were rolling smoothly. We drove a kilometer, two, three, ten, and the column did not end and did not end.
- Really evacuation, - burst out from me, did it come to this?
- Well, I have not seen this yet, - said the sergeant, turning to me, - oh and business ...
And the column kept walking and walking, and each car first splashed a dazzling beam of light in our faces, and then hit us in the ears with an instant-short "shhhhhhh".
At three or half past four in the morning (or in the morning) we arrived. At night I didn’t really figure it out, but, probably, it was part of the Boris-Polish airfield, where the military aircraft were based. General Ivanov's plane was waiting for us there. Together with us, the political officer of the local police department drove onto the takeoff field.
For a moment, blocking the light in the opening of the open hatch, the pilot ran down the ladder.
- Are you from Pripyat? We have been waiting for you for a long time.
The doctor came up:
- Well, Alexander Yuryevich, are we going to start landing? Then walkers first.
In a long, silent line they climbed the ladder. I read somewhere: "death touched the forehead with its wing." She did not touch these guys, she burned with a strange invisible fire, and the further, the more this terrible seal manifested itself on their faces, in gait, movements, silence. Teeth prints on the tongue ... Radiation burns to the extremities ... A state of euphoria ... A terrible sound of "y-e-eh" ... They walked along the ladder, like normal living people, they walked on their own, without help, but something alarming and eerie relentlessness so clearly emanated from them.
© A. Esaulov
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