Piotr Siemion, “Bella, ciao.” about the book
The main character in this iconic story, drawn from literary texts, as well as from pop culture and movie scenes, is the self-proclaimed Colonel Zest, who makes a pact with Satan to save the port city and the people trapped there. He heads a militia made up of internally deformed soldiers, giving their lives shape and purpose, even though the task he assigns them turns out to be one big lie in the end.
Personal choices and tragedies, passion unexpectedly bursting from the fire of feelings, the desire to live in conflict with the desire to die – all this takes place against the background of the well-known Polish-Polish war, the struggle of impudence and glory, when the ideas of beautiful Poland and civilized Europe fall apart. In a homeland divided, hostile, “alien”, ruled by resentment, there seems to be no future for our heroes. But will they find it abroad – in a country “Children won’t have to take up arms. They won’t bow to snowmen. They’ll drink milk, paint pictures at school. They won’t encounter a snare in their lives”?
In the infernal scene depicted by Simeon in the film, there is a faint hope borne by the women: a German captive, a Polish murderer, and a child abandoned in the woods, reunited in a family worth recovering from its ruins. Ancient World: Love.
Piotr Siemion, “Bella, ciao” (cover)
Piotr Siemion, “Bella, ciao.” Part of the book
Seven of them walk across a land without maps, across a vast expanse. They have a stray world around them – a bloodstained piece of land, a shroud at dawn. Not the realm of approval, but the plundered Millennium Stadium. Out of the blue steam appears new land before them, silent sands, and a dry forest, piercing them as they go like predatory plants. They are smugglers, who raised from the ancient land only a rustle of blood, the consonants of common Polish speech, scattered in the pre-winter sky.
There are seven of them, but the number is a coincidence: the eighth sank recently. They’d been walking through deserted woods for a week, and eventually calmed down that the pilot wouldn’t notice them – though the expanse over the trees had died, as if the flight had been interrupted by a lack of fuel or gravity jumps. Here everything is new to them, even the trees, strange silver – on the ground scratched from old maps but not yet included in any other record. They feel the pursuit of it, but that’s not news. They’ve been gone for a long time. After a few calendar changes, they lost track. When petrified people wake up, they only know that it is getting colder. If all this is a fairy tale – as they secretly believe – a fairy tale about Poland, then it is merciless.
After weeks of walking, they descended from the moraine into the valley. A cube looms from a small hydropower plant. Colonel Tensky stops: “Get down!” , whispers and gestures to lie in the leaves, among the cool trunks. up to glasses. The dirt white hall in the valley looked like a torn skull. Behind him, trees opposite the slopes. Closer: iron gate, row of conifers. Next to the hall there is a lock or guard. Trafostacja – columns and bundles of broken wires. A wall with puddles and a flood, large pipes descending from a slope into the stream. On the other side, the far shore, like a dead hand, the wreckage of the plane protrudes diagonally from the water – a double tail with faint marks on the tail.
For weeks they have been staying away from human settlements trying not to get lost. Always northwest. It was covered with pine forests, then labyrinths of silver beech trees on successive mounds of moraine. During the day the villages they passed through were dripping red on their roofs. Sometimes there was motors buzzing from the road. Who has the fuel now? You know: no one is good. They wore deeper into the woods. Red leaves in a sticky substance under your feet. Every morning, the frost curled the grass thicker and thicker.
Tyński points his binoculars behind the power plant toward the mouth of the valley. On the horizon loom the village buildings. No chimney smokes, dogs are silent. It’s empty.
– Let’s go!
They calmed down, got out from behind the trees in a whole crowd and crept toward the gate in a mist of mist. Mud hits underfoot, and moisture trickles down jackets and coats. Tensky’s knees are scattered. Shortly before. No place to go back. I won’t climb where they came from. Valley of no return who is already running? Since August, they have been hiding for pastures in woods or deserted dugouts, and at the next dawn they again set out through the wilderness. Irreversible.
Maybe there will be a first aid kit on the premises, something for the pain? Probably not, the whole land was plundered – Tyński extinguished himself. Where are the locals, a million or two locals? Lost in the great evacuation of previous winters, scattered in a snowstorm? Or maybe someone is targeting them from the high windows of the hall? It would also be a solution for Tyński.
Zero, sir! Nobody! – There is no sniper, from the window Cluj waves forward. Its round cups bring out rabbits. – The machine is just a nice factor! Skull with lightning on each hull!
They cross the gate one by one. Its severed wing plows the grass. Tyński is first again. Behind him, the masked Lieutenant Dredd, still a small hairpin curved under the backpack. They enter the yard carefully. The dog house is empty. Tyński heads north from the gate, toward the mouth of the valley. This way they will go tomorrow. But first eat, sleep! Remove your shoes from your bloodstained feet for a few hours.
– Cleric, go back to the gate and kikuj – Tyński recommends to the youngest of them. He is a coward, let him prove himself. – Awe, give him a razor.
The young man grunts something, scraped his chin, but under the colonel’s gaze, he stopped and took the pierced iron in his hands. Old Marston is their only dangerous weapon. All good weapons remained in the East. They are in civilian clothes, in hooded cloaks, and jackets and hats without badges. Only the eternal clown Topka has a fiery helmet on his head, for style sake. They look like a bandit, not an army. The short barrel is easy to hide under the canvas. At first, they carried a drum ejector. He drowned himself at night when they were crossing the river in a leaky boat. They had a kilometer of cold current to cover. On the other shore, they found depths and whirlpools. If it wasn’t for the finger-like wicker on the beach, they would all have drowned like puppies. Only on the cliff did they notice that the unit status had dropped to seven.
Now they trample the stairs, push the door and gather at the entrance, and freeze in admiration, for the hall is like the interior of a large crystal. Above there are two rows of turbines – a black sheet metal helix mounted on a fixed flywheel. Rubber beams and thick copper threads. Concrete floor filled with glass and rubble. Torn and shredded cables. Polished foreign skulls and plates.
“Varlig…” Topka spells, slipping the golden helmet off her head. – Means?
“If you’re not putting your fingers in,” Kluge says, flashing his glasses. – Because the ashes themselves will remain.
– I’m not afraid anymore. Only they don’t get tired… – The tube grins for him.
From the Iron Fair, Dredd escapes and jumps his heels in front of Tensky. In the back of the living soul too! The colonel nodded absently. They are camped out in a cold control room filled with metal lockers with screens. Someone has systematically broken watch glass into a million pieces. They drop wet dumps on the cement. A flash of fire.
“Another canned,” says Kluge, curdling his mouth with crackers.
He bites greedily, and the bandage is loosened from his left hand. Show the world gray blisters again, purple burn scars. Tensky, resisting bad opinions, shrugs his shoulders.
– Stare and share! until anything.
The clip just can’t be…
Do it, Tensky said.
He tries to wipe the mud from his shoes on the edge of the wall so that the laces can at least be felt. It doesn’t work well. Knees still hurt.
From Under the Storm of Black Hair, a clip that makes his appearance crooked, tired, and grumpy:
– I don’t need to eat. I have to wash myself. It’s good for you, you can pee on the shelf and everything. I am standing on my feet for two days. Maybe I can find it in this house next door. Some aquarium, something.
– Don’t lie there alone.
The clip attaches to the iron at the waist.
– Eh there. From the finish line, I’m between the eyes. God, maybe gray soap will be found? God God …