Erotophobia (Fear of Sexual Love or Abuse)


Darya Mikhailovna Pribornaya was from a small village in Siberia.  She had just turned 21 and, after graduating from the local university, had decided that she would try to make a living in the big city.  It was hard for her to decide whether she wanted to go to Moscow or Saint Petersburg, since she did not have any friends or family living in either city.  She finally decided to go to Saint Petersburg for two reasons: the first was that she felt that it would be harder to find work in Moscow since that seemed to be where everybody that she had spoken to planned to go, and secondly, the pictures of Saint Petersburg that she had seen in books appealed more to her sense of romanticism.  The night before she was to catch the train, she had gone out to dinner with her friend Irina.  She and Irina had been roommates in college, but Irina had been offered a teaching position in Odessa which she had gladly accepted, mainly as a way to get to a warmer climate.  While they were waiting for the first course to be brought to the table, Irina had given Darya a slip of paper with a name, address, and phone number on it.

“Take this, Darya.  This woman will be able to help you get a job when you arrive in Saint Petersburg.  She is my mother’s cousin and she runs a very successful employment agency.”

Darya shyly took the piece of paper and put it in her purse.  She thanked her friend for the information and said, “Now, if only she could find me a place to stay when I get there.”

“Who knows?  Maybe she will.  You must trust in our Heavenly Father to provide for you.”

“Yes, I know.  God shall provide.  Ah, here is our first course.”

The next morning, Irina accompanied Darya to the train station.  Darya had one large suitcase and a backpack.  The warm morning air was comfortable enough for Darya not to need a jacket.  The two women boarded the train and looked for a free compartment and, when one was found, Irina helped Darya put her suitcase in the overhead compartment.  So far, Darya and Irina were the only people in the compartment.  When her friend was all settled, Irina hugged Darya and then kissed her cheeks in the Russian Orthodox manner.  Darya returned the hug and kisses and managed to keep herself from crying.

“Have a safe journey, Darya, and don’t forget to write.”

“I will write you as soon as I have an apartment, don’t worry.”

With their farewells said, Irina got off of the train and waved to Darya until she could not see her any more.  She pulled her fur coat collar up to her chin and walked through the station until she got out to the taxi stand and took a cab back to her apartment.  Darya, in the meantime, was settling herself down in the train’s semi-comfortable seat.  She took a book out of her purse, sat by the window, and began to read her novel.  Darya did not care for romance novels, per se, because they tended to be too graphic for her taste.  She preferred the novels of Lermonov, Gogol, and Leo Tolstoy.  She had just begun to read “Anna Karenina” for the second time when the sliding door to the compartment was opened.  She was shy around strangers and only looked up to see who was coming into the compartment in case it was the ticket taker.  It was not and Darya began to blush when she saw that the person entering the compartment was a young man with blond hair and blue eyes.  When the young man looked at her and smiled, Darya quickly lowered her head back to the book.

“Will it be alright if I join you in this compartment?” Darya heard the man ask.  Without looking up from her book, she nodded her head twice but didn’t say a word.  The man closed the door, put his suitcase under the seat, and took off her heavy coat.  While he was doing this, Darya slowly raised her eyes to see him better.  He did not appear to be a bad man, but Darya did not start a conversation with him.  She decided that she would wait until he introduced himself before she would say anything.  When he had everything in order, the young man sat down, pretended to look out the window, while he was really looking at Darya, trying to think of a way to begin a conversation since he thought that she was a very good-looking woman.

“So, my name is Alexei Alexandrovich Vyshotkin.  May I ask you your name?”

Darya looked up and, in a fairly quiet voice, said “Darya Mikhailovna Pribornaya”.

“May I ask where you are traveling to?”

“Saint Petersburg.”

“Ah, then it seems that we are going to be travel companions for a while since I am also going to Saint Petersburg.  If I may be so bold to ask, why are you going there?  Are you going to visit friends or family?”

“No, I am going there to get a job.”

“And what sort of job will you be looking for?”

“I am not quite sure yet.  I planned to think about it while I was on my way there.  A friend of mine gave me an address for a placement center and I was going to see what they could find for me.”

“But surely, you must have graduated with some sort of degree that would be useful for you?”

“Yes.  I have a degree in psychology.”

“Psychology?  Are there no jobs for a psychologist in Siberia?”

“Not many.  Besides, I have wanted to do some traveling since I was a child.”

“But why Saint Petersburg?  Why not Moscow?”

“Moscow has never really interested me and I thought that I would have a better chance in Saint Petersburg.  So, Alexei Alexandrovich, why are you going to Saint Petersburg?”

“Ah, Siberia bores me.  I have a friend with an apartment near the Winter Palace and he has promised to try to get me a job in the theater.  I have always wanted to be an actor.”

“An actor?  Oh my, that sounds exciting.”

“I suppose so.  But I will have to get my guild card first.  They will not just hire someone off of the street, you know.”

“No, I suppose not.”

At that moment, their conversation was interrupted by the ticket taker and then by an old woman with a small brown suitcase who decided that she would join them in the compartment.  Once the old woman was settled down by the other window seat, Darya used the interruption and resumed her reading.  Alexei Alexandrovich, apparently, was also finished with the conversation and began to read a newspaper.  Around 4:00 PM, a woman with badly dyed blond hair and a potato-shaped body came by the compartment rolling a cart with a samovar, glasses, and various pastries.  Darya bought a glass of tea and a black currant bun, and looked out at the passing scenery.  Alexei only bought a glass of tea and the old woman bought nothing since she was fast asleep with a setka (a net like bag) filled with oranges in her lap.  A forest of birches flew past the window of the speeding train.  Darya sighed and sipped more tea.

When nighttime came, Darya, who had been talking to the old woman, who lived in a small village east of Omsk, finished her conversation and got a woolen blanket that she had brought with her out of her suitcase.  She managed to get to sleep, despite the chill radiating off of the train window and the semi-hard seat.  Alexei had left the compartment so that he could smoke one more papirosa (a filterless cigarette) before turning in for the night.  It would be a couple more days before the train got to Saint Petersburg and Darya would begin her new life.

The next morning, Darya woke up around 5:30 and saw that Alexei was finishing putting on a black and red sweater.  He looked over at Darya, smiled, and asked her if she would like to go with him to the dining car for breakfast.  Darya returned the smile and said that she would be delighted.  The old woman had left the compartment in order to use the restroom and she had taken her oranges with her.  Alexei told Darya that the old woman probably didn’t trust anyone since she was a product of the Soviet system and that she probably would have charged them if they had asked her for an orange.  Darya lightly slapped Alexei on the shoulder and chided him for making fun of their elders.  Darya had been raised to respect her elders but found Alexei’s flippancy a bit amusing.  When they got to the dining car, there was a cardboard sign taped to the window which read “Breakfast is served from 6:00 until 8:00”.  Darya checked her watch and saw that they still had fifteen minutes to wait.

“Well, what should we do now?” she asked him.

“I suppose that we could get some exercise and walk back to the compartment or go stand by a window and smoke.”

“I don’t smoke, and it seems to be a waste of time to go back to the compartment.  We would lose our place in line.”

“I doubt that we would have to worry about that.  Besides, in the new Russia, long lines are a thing of the past.  As well as shortages.”

“Maybe in the big cities, but some of the smaller places still have occasional lines.  Even in Omsk, lines are not unknown, but, you are right about shortages.  They are not as bad.”

“I have been in Moscow and they have what use to be called GUM (government universal stores) which is more like the malls in America.  There are many different shops which carry products which, when Gorbachev and Yeltsin were in power, you would never be able to find unless you had connections.  Nowadays, Thank God, we can call ourselves a civilized nation.”

Darya crossed herself when Alexei said “thank God” and then noticed that an oily-haired man was walking towards the door from the dining room.  The man unlocked the doors and pushed them back so the couple could enter.  Alexei led Darya to a table and, as soon as they were seated, a waitress came up to their table.  She gave them a slight smile and took their orders.  The waitress soon arrived with two cups of tea and when she left, Alexei took a sip and then said,

“Well, it seems that we have two days left on our journey.  How shall we spend the time?  We both can’t be reading all the way to Saint Petersburg.”

“That’s true.  Do you have any suggestions?”

“I did bring a pack of cards with me. Do you know any card games?”

“Not really, only Solitaire.”

“Then it seems that I will have to teach you how to play.”

“That will be fine, as long as we don’t play for money.”

“For money?  What sort of person do you take me for?  I would never gamble with a beautiful woman.”

Darya blushed when he said this and was saved from further embarrassment when the waitress arrived at their table with their breakfasts.  They both ate without further conversation.  At the end of their meal, they both had another cup of tea and then returned to their compartment.  An hour later, the train pulled into the station at Sverdlovsk where the little old woman quietly collected her possessions and got off the train.  While waiting for their trip to continue, Alexei took down his suitcase, opened it and brought out his deck of cards.  Darya folded down the small table which was situated at the window sill and Alexei moved over to the other side.  He explained the rules of Gin Rummy to her and when she told him that she understood, they proceeded to play.  They had just finished their first hand when a man with his wife and two small children entered the compartment.  The husband asked if it would be alright to share the compartment and Alexei and Darya told him that it would not be a problem.  The couple put their suitcases under the seats while their children stood out in the hallway looking out at the station.  Soon, the train began to move and the two boys came into the compartment.  The husband asked Alexei and Darya where they were going, and when he heard that they were going to Saint Petersburg, he nodded his head and said,

“Ah, so you are both students?”

“No.  I am going to meet a friend there who says that he can get me a job in the theater.”

“And I am going to try to get a job working as a psychologist.”

“A psychologist?  Oh my!  Good luck with that!  I suppose that I should introduce myself and my family since we will be companions for a while.  I am Iosef Yakovich Shmidt and this is my wife Elena.  The two boys are Daniil and Robert.  I am an engineer and my wife is a third grade teacher.  We live in Orel.  We are coming back from my cousin’s wedding.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you all.  I am Alexei Alexandrovich Vyshotkin and this is Darya Mikhailovna Pribornaya.”

With the formalities out of the way, Darya and Alexei continued their game.  They played until it was lunchtime and went to the dining car, leading the way for the Shmidt family.  The Schmidt boys were lively and Darya was enchanted by them.  She had always loved children and hoped to become a mother one day.  Because of her orthodox upbringing, though, Darya was a virgin and had only been in love once.  She had been sixteen and the boy, who was a neighbor since she could remember, was eighteen years old.  Unfortunately, they had gone out to the woods with some friends for a campfire and party, and the boy had gotten drunk.  Darya, who had never touched alcohol in her live, was disappointed with him and disgusted with him when he tried to take her out of the campfire light and talk her into having sex with him.  When the boy grabbed her by the waist and tried to kiss her, all of Darya’s allusions about this boy were abandoned.  She pushed the boy away from her and, not realizing that the boy had a firm grip on her blouse, almost died of shame when her blouse tore and exposed her bra.  Darya was shocked, but recovered quickly, and ran out of the woods crying.  Her friend, Irina, came to her aid, covered her with a blanket, and forced her boyfriend to drive them back home.  After this incident, if anyone around her made any sexually explicit jokes, her cheeks would turn a bright red and she would quickly and quietly leave the room.


The day was warm and bright by the time that the train finally arrived in Saint Petersburg.  Alexei offered to share a cab with Darya after finding out that the office that Darya was going to was only a block away from where Alexei was staying.  Darya was grateful for Alexei’s concern for her and promised him that she would let him know when she found a place to stay. When they arrived at their destination, Darya gave Alexei a hundred rubles as her share of the cab ride.  They collected their luggage from the trunk of the cab and went their separate ways.  Darya opened the door to the employment agency and asked the secretary if she could speak to the manager.

“May I ask for your name and reason?”

“Yes, I am Darya Mikhailovna Pribornaya from Omsk and I have a reference from a friend of hers back home.  I was told that she may be able to help me.”

“One moment, please.”  The secretary got up from her desk and gave a short knock on a door to the left of her desk.  Darya didn’t hear the girl receive a reply, but she went in anyway.  A minute later, the secretary returned and was followed by a well-dressed woman in her early sixties, whose brightly-dyed red hair was tied into a bun at the back of her head.

“So, Olga Petrovena, speaks highly of you.  How is she doing?”

“She is doing very well.  Her daughter has gotten a teaching job in Odessa?”

“Odessa?!?  If I remember Irinushka, she’ll love it there; she always complained about the cold.”

Darya smiled and said, “She still does.”

“Well, as you know, I am Masha Dmitrievna.  Now, before we talk any further, I’ll need you to fill out an employment form.  Have you registered with the Police yet?”

“No, I’ve just arrived thirty minutes ago.”

“Alright, we’ll take care of that during your interview.  Zhenya, please give Darya a pen and the form and notify me when she is done.”

“Yes, Ms. Shchedrina.”  The secretary then opened a drawer in her desk, took out a pen and a three page form and handed them to Darya.

“You may sit at that small table to fill out the form.”

“Thank you very much.”

Darya had no problem with the interview and since Masha Dmitrievna owned an apartment above her business, she gave Darya a room of her own.  Now that she had a place of residence, she went to the local police station and filled out the forms of residency.  Darya received her residency card and went to a local cafe for lunch.  After the waiter had taken her order, Darya heard a familiar voice,

“So, are you all settled in?” Alexei asked.

“Ah, Alexei Alexandrovich, what are you doing here?”

“Why the same thing as you are.  May I join you?”

“Please do.”

“So, did you get a job and a place to stay yet?”

“Yes.  Masha Dmitrieva, my mother’s friend, helped me to get set up on the registry and, since she had an apartment in the same building, she has rented a room to me.”

“I’m very glad to hear that.”

During their meal, the two former traveling companions spoke of many things.  At the end of the meal, Alexei insisted on paying for Darya’s lunch.  At first, she objected, but realizing that she was low on funds, she finally accepted his generosity.  Even though they had only spent three days together on the train, Darya was beginning to fall in love with Alexei.  She knew in her heart that such sudden feelings were unseemly, but Darya tended to feel tenderness to those she trusted.  Before she knew it, Alexei was asking her if she would like to visit the Winter Palace with him on Saturday.  Darya, at first, was reluctant, but eventually decided that there would be no harm in it, so she agreed.  She gave Alexei a phone number that she could be reached at.  He folded the paper and put it in his coat pocket.

“I’ll see you Saturday then; say around 9:00 AM?”

“That will be fine.  Until Saturday.”


That Saturday, Alexei arrived at Darya’s residence in a taxi and they crossed over the Neva River to the front of the former Winter Palace.  The great building had been the residence of the tsars, but was not an art gallery.  Darya was fascinated with the gold gilt and pale green color of the building’s facade.  Alexei paid for their tickets into the museum and led Darya through the galleries.  Darya stood in silence at some of the pictures that she had only seen in books.  She had always leaned towards the 18th Century Romanticists, but could never decide who her favorite artist was.  Occasionally, Alexei would make some comments concerning certain aspects of paintings that Darya had never thought about, and when she noticed these insights, she fell more in love with the paintings.  After several hours of walking through the galleries, they took a break and went to a cafe.

“So, have you had a nice day?”

“Oh, yes, it was wonderful.  I just loved seeing paintings in person that I had only seen in books.  Some of them were new to me, but I still found them fascinating.”

“I am glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself.  Now, if my company is not too tedious to you, I have an idea for tomorrow.”

“Alexei Alexandrovich!  How could you even think that you are tedious!  That’s ridiculous!  Now what do you have planned for tomorrow?”

“My friend suggested that I visit Pavlovsk and I would be honored if you would consent to go with me, unless you have other plans?”

“Nonsense!  Of course, I would love to go to Pavlovsk with you.”

“Wonderful!  Then I will pick you up tomorrow and we shall take the hydrofoil over there.”

After they finished their lunch, Alexei and Darya decided that they would walk back to her apartment.  When they arrived, Darya, uncertain on whether she should invite Alexei up or not, decided that since Masha Dmitrievna had said that she would be gone most of the day, said nothing.  She liked being with Alexei, but she was shy about being alone in an empty apartment with him.  At that moment, Alexei made the decision for her; he kissed her on her cheek and said that he would see her tomorrow.  Darya unlocked the door and walked up the stairs to her apartment alone.  When Masha Dmitrievna came home, Darya told her all about her day with Alexei and that they would be going to Pavlovsk tomorrow.  Masha Dmitrievna said that she was happy for her, but then told Darya that she had expected to take Darya to church the next day.  Darya had not even thought about going to church and she felt torn.  On the one hand, she wanted to see Pavlovsk, which she had read so much about, but, on the other hand, she did not want to offend Masha Dmitrievna, since the woman was a friend and had done so much for her.  Masha Dmitrievna saw the confusion on Darya’s face and came to her rescue.

“Don’t worry, we can go next Sunday.  You should go see Pavlovsk; I’m sure that God won’t mind if you miss one service.”

“Oh, thank you, Masha Dmitrievna!  I will definitely go to church with you next Sunday!”

“Good.  Now tell me more about this young man of yours.”

“Well,” Darya said blushing, “I can’t really say that he’s my ‘young man’, but he is a perfect gentleman.  He plans to be an actor in the theater.”

“And is he handsome enough?” Masha Dmitrievna slyly asked.

“Yes, I suppose.  I never really thought about it.”

“Well, I suppose if he is nice enough to you then he can’t be all bad.  Would you help me put the groceries away?”


The next morning, the young couple arrived at the dock to board the hydrofoil to Pavlovsk.  Darya knew a few things about the former tsarist summer home and, from what she had read, was anxious to see the various fountains.  They had no sooner boarded the hydrofoil, when Alexei asked Darya if she would care for something to drink.  She told him that she would like a mineral water.  While Alexei was going to get the drinks, Darya looked overboard, watching the air-blown ripples of the water as the hydrofoil skimmed in the air.  Her attention to the ripples was broken when she heard a voice next to her.  At first, she thought that Alexei had returned, but then she felt a large rough hand grab her buttocks.  She let out a scream and turned to where the voice had come from and saw a middle-aged man with bleary red eyes and a badly shaven face.  Instinctively, Darya’s hand quickly rose and she, as firmly as she could, slapped the drunk man, who staggered backwards and, thanks to the action of the hydrofoil, fell to the deck.  Darya, slowly realizing what she had done, put her hand to her mouth and ran away.  She did not get far before she ran into Alexei, who had two bottles in his hands.

“Darya!  What’s happened?  Why are you running?”

“Oh, Alexei, this horrible man came up and grabbed me!  I thought that, at first, it was you, but then I looked and saw his horrible red eyes and…”  It was at that moment that Darya, taking a sip from her bottle of water, noticed the other bottle that Alexei had brought.  It was a large bottle of beer.

“And what, Darya?  What did you do?”

Darya lowered her head and quietly said, “I slapped him.”

Alexei laughed and told her, “Good for you!  Now it’s over, let’s go find a seat and watch the scenery before we get to Pavlovsk.”

Darya nodded her head and followed Alexei, but she found herself re-evaluating her opinion of him since she didn’t trust anyone who drank alcohol.  She debated whether she should tell Alexei about her feelings or remain silent.  Soon, the hydrofoil slowed down and the lovely gardens of Pavlovsk came into view.  Before getting off the hydrofoil, Alexei threw his half-full bottle of beer in the trash bin, which, when Darya saw this, caused her to be less paranoid.

Darya was having a good time, walking among the beautiful plants and creative fountains that were the main attraction.  When they saw a group of children running around a small tree, screaming and laughing, she was unsure of what they found amusing until, hidden in the low and trimmed hedges surrounding the cobblestone circle, a spray of water shot out and sprayed a little girl who had been running around.  Darya then noticed that the tree was not really a tree; it was a fountain.  What caused the children so much pleasure was, as Darya later found out, that the hedges concealed water pipes which would shoot small bursts of water randomly at the people.  The children thought that this was caused by stepping on certain cobblestones, which could have been true, but Darya, like the children, did not care about the mechanics.  They were just having fun.  After a couple hours of strolling through the grounds, Alexei suggested that they get some lunch.  They found a small cafe which had been set up on the grounds near the mansion.  Thankfully, Darya noticed that Alexei ordered tea with his meal.  After lunch, they walked back down towards the pier to return to the city.  Halfway there, Darya felt Alexei take her hand.  Darya was not one for displays of public affection, especially with a man who she was not really in a relationship with and so, as gently as she could, Darya slipped her hand out of his.

“I’m sorry, have I done something to offend you?” Alexei asked.

“Well, no; it’s just that I come from an orthodox family and I am not one to show affection in public.  I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.”

“Don’t worry about it; I understand.”

The trip back to the city was a bit uncomfortable for Darya.  She liked Alexei as a friend, nothing else.  She admitted to herself that he was handsome and very nice, but the thought of being completely intimate with a man, disgusted her.  Not that she was interested in women (the very idea never even crossed her mind), it was just the very concept of sex frightened her. Her female friends had told her of their experiences with their boyfriends, but when they became too explicit, she left the room.  Her mother had not even explained the mechanics of sex to her; she would only say that it was “a woman’s duty to her husband”.

One hour later, they were back in Saint Petersburg.  Alexei walked home with her and shook her hand in farewell.  When Darya got back into her apartment, she put the incident out of her mind and made herself a cup of tea.


Six months later, Darya was walking home late at night from the clinic where Masha Dmitrievna had gotten her a job.  She was an assistant to the head of the Psychology Department and she was happy in her job.  The only thing that bothered her, on occasion, was the fact that after their trip to Pavlovsk, Alexei never called her.  It saddened her because she thought that they were friends, but apparently Alexei had other ideas.  She had just crossed over the bridge by the statue of Peter the Great, when she saw a poster on a kiosk.  It was for a play called “The Happy Wanderer” and one of the actors listed was Alexei A. Vyshotkin.  Darya was glad to see that Alexei had his dream come true and she noted where the theater was located.  She decided that she would go see him in the play; maybe she could get Masha Dmitrievna to accompany her.  With a “chaperon” with her, if she got to talk to Alexei, it would be less uncomfortable.  She walked up to the tram stop and waited for the tram to take her to her fairly new apartment.  When she got home, she called Masha Dmitrievna and asked if she would like to go to Alexis’ play with her the next day.  Masha Dmitrievna said that she would be delighted to accompany her to the play.

The next day, Darya and Masha met up early and decided to get a bite to eat before going to the play.  This was a chance to catch up with each other since it had been awhile since they had gotten together after Darya had got her own apartment.  Since the clouds seemed to promise rain later in the day, the two women decided to sit inside the cafe.

“Well, how is everything going at your new job?” Masha Dmitrievna asked Darya.

“It has its moments, but I still can’t really complain.  I am helping Doctor Gregorovich on a study dealing with the psychological efforts of war on veterans returning from Chechnya.”

“That sounds fascinating, but sad.  Some of those poor men who returned with missing limbs must be hard to listen to.”

“I suppose.  I tend to block their physical appearance and concentrate on their mental state.”

“I must say, you’re a stronger woman than I am.  So, what sort of play is this friend of yours in?”

“I’m not sure, but based on the title, I would guess that it’s a drama.”

“What is it called?  You told me, but I’ve forgotten.”

“It’s called “The Happy Wanderer”.”

“Well, with a title like that, maybe it’s a comedy instead.”

Darya simply shrugged her shoulders and took a sip of tea.  When they finished their meal, they walked down the two blocks to the theater, bought their tickets, and found two seats beside each other a few rows from the stage.  They had just gotten settled into their seats when the lights signaled that the play was beginning.  Since it was early evening, the theater was three fourths of the way filled.  The curtain went up and on the stage was a country scene with a couple huts and a haystack.  The stage lights focused on a woman in a peasant’s dress laying in the hay, asleep.  To the left of the stage, the audience heard a male voice singing a song:

“Where, o where are you my dar-r-r-ling,

O where can you be?”

At that moment, Alexei walked onto the stage, dressed in a priest’s outfit with a walking-stick in his hand.  As soon as he sees the girl asleep in the hay, he quits singing and tiptoes up to her.  He uses his walking-stick to wake her up by jabbing at her feet.  She finally wakes up, stretches her arms, and looks up and sees the priest.  She jumps up from the haystack and bows reverently to the man.

“Greetings, holy father!  How may a lowly girl such as I help you?”

“Bless you, my child!  I am on a mission of salvation and I was hoping that you could direct me to a tavern.”

“A tavern?  I didn’t know that priests were allowed to drink.”

“Of course we can, within moderation that is.  Besides, a tavern is the perfect place to seek out sinners.  Now, if you could kindly direct me?”

“Before you go, allow me to bring you some water.  You must be thirsty from your journey.”

She then leads the priest into one of the huts.  At this point, the stage revolves and the audience gets a view of the inside of the hut.  There is a table, four chairs, two small beds, and a counter with a large jar full of water.  The girl goes to the counter, picks up a cup and pours some water into it.  While the girl has her back to him, the priest lays down his stick and stares lecherously at the girl.  The girl turns around and, not seeing the priests’ stare, indicates a chair to him to sit in and hands him the cup.

He takes a huge drink, slams the cup on the table, and says to the girl:

“Thank you, my child.  What is your name, so that I may pray for you?”


“Well, Katya, are there any other people who live with you?”

“Yes, father.  My old grandfather and two brothers.  They have gone to Moscow to sell some of our produce.”

“Ah, then you are all alone now?”

“Yes, father.”

The priest then crosses himself, and in a overly dramatic voice says:

“Then let us pray together, my child.  Come get on your knees before me.”

Katya walks up to the priest, kneels down in front of him, closes her eyes and folds her hands.  While she is doing this, the priest rips off his cossack and starts to pleasure himself.  He then says:

“Now, take of my Communal Wine.”

Katya opens her eyes, and seeing what the priest is doing, falls back on her rump.

“Holy father!  What is this?”

“This is your chance for Holy Communion!”  Saying this, the priest jumps on Katya, lifts her skirt and starts to rape her.  Meanwhile, in the audience, Darya and Masha are shocked while some of the more boorish men in the audience, cheer the priest on.  Darya, shaking in her seat, suddenly stands up, grabs Masha by the hand and leads her out of the theater.  They have just gotten out to the street, when Darya falls down and cries hysterically.  Masha, who is mortified by the whole incident, tries to pick Darya up and protect her from a gathering crowd.

The next day, Darya quits her job, gives up her apartment, and leaves some items with Masha Dmitrievna.  Darya goes to a train station, buys a ticket, and goes to Arkhangel to join a nunnery.


Ergophobia: A Fear of Work

(Fear of work)

“Dew-w-w-w-ey!!! Get yer self down hyere! It’s supper-time!”
The shrill call of Dewey Linden’s mother was better than having an alarm clock. Even though Dewey was a heavy sleeper, his mother’s voice was such that he often told her that it could bring the dead back to life. Dewey had been taking his afternoon nap, as usual, and the call to supper, or any other meal, was a sure-fire way to make sure that Dewey’s daily need for nourishment was fulfilled. Although he didn’t consider himself obese, just well-fed, 200 pounds for a man of 21 years of age and 5’7” was, as his mother said, “healthy”. When he was a teenager, he had been fifty pounds heavier, but joining the high school wrestling team had helped him lose some of that weight. He still lifted weights almost every day whenever he was in the mood, but the summertime heat tended to cause him to lose interest.
“It’s ’bout time you got yerself outta bed. I don’t know why you gotta sleep so much. Maybe if you got yerself a job, you’d have a reason to sleep.”
“Ah, mom. I jest don’t feel like doin’ much when it’s hot like this.”
“Shoot, it ain’t that hot! You better get yerself out tomorrow and find yerself a job or I’ll kick yer butt outta this here house.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll look. Ya don’t have ta keep naggin’ at me.”
“Boy, watch yer mouth! I’m just concerned fer ya. The extra money wouldn’t hurt none either.”
Dewey was used to his mother’s threat to kick him out of the house if he didn’t get a job, but he couldn’t find a job that he really liked. He supposed that some people might consider him lazy, but he preferred to think of himself as choosy. Since he was 18 years old, he’d had twenty jobs. He lost most of them because he couldn’t stand working with other people. If he could find a job that paid well and didn’t have him dealing with a lot of people, Dewey would be happy.
Early the next morning, before his mother woke up, Dewey loaded up his beat-up Toyota with his fishing gear. He had gotten into this habit because of his mother’s constant harping about getting a job. He left the house just before dawn and drove a couple miles outside of the city limits to a spot that he remembered that his father used to take him to when Dewey was a kid. It was under a magnolia tree which grew on the bank of the Mississippi River. Dewey would set up his fishing pole, sit with his back to the tree and read the newspaper. He would be sure to read the Want Ads so that when he returned home, he could honestly tell his mother that he had looked for a job. In order to make his story more believable, Dewey would release any fish that he caught instead of taking it home with him. Dewey decided that if he brought his catch home, even if it would be contributing to the household, it would be better to not give his mother a chance to tell him that he was wasting his time.
Dewey had been at his fishing spot for twenty minutes when he came across an ad. It read:
Sales rep wanted. Minimum wage plus commission. Must have own transportation. Call 555-9555. Ask for Zeke Doumant.
Dewey thought hard about every sentence in the ad; he wanted to make sure that what the position was offering would fit into his own criteria. Since he had not got any bites on his line, he decided to put an end to his “work day” and go back into town and call about the job. When he arrived back in town, he went into the Newberry drug store, put a quarter into the pay phone and called the number from the paper. The phone on the other end rang twice before it was answered by a woman’s voice.
“Doumant Sales. How may I help you?”
“Yes, ma’am, may I speak to Mr. Zeke Doumant?”
“Is this in regards to the ad?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“One moment, please.”
A pre-recorded music tape came on the line and before Dewey could identify the first song, he heard a click and a male voice said,
“This is Mr. Doumant. How may I help you?”
“Yes, sir, my name is Dewey Linden and I’m calling in refrence to your ad in the paper. May I ask what I would be selling?”
“Well, Mr. Linden, the job requires you to travel to various businesses and pitch various forms of printed matter to them. Now, before we go any further, may I ask, do you have your own vehicle?”
“Yes, sir, I do.”
“Very good. Why don’t you come on down and we’ll finish the interview and, hopefully, get the paperwork out of the way. Do you know where Hester Avenue is?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Alright. We are located at 1025 Hattiesburg Street, just around the corner from Hester. I’ll tell my secretary to expect you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Dewey hung up the phone and went out to his car. He wasn’t exactly happy about what Mr. Doumant had told him about the job, but he decided that he had to fulfill his promise to be there. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as Mr. Doumant had said, but he had to make an honest effort to try, if for no other reason then to satisfy his mother’s expectations. Dewey soon arrived at the address he had been given and parked his car. He entered the building and asked the woman at the front desk for Mr. Doumant. She phoned into his office and then told Dewey to go on in. Mr. Doumant turned out to be a man who appeared to be in his fifties with a ring of white hair and rosy cheeks. Dewey was a couple inches taller than him but that was really irrelevant. Dewey sat in the chair that Mr. Doumant indicated to him and Mr. Doumant instantly started to ask Dewey some questions.
“Have you ever worked in sales before?”
“No sir.”
“What sort of educational background do you have?”
“Well, I graduated from Hattiesburg High School.”
“What sort of work experience have you had?”
“I’ve worked at Burger Barn during my senior year in high school. I’ve done some construction work, and I’ve worked as a bagger at the Piggely Wiggley.”
“I see. Are you available, if necessary, to work on weekends?”
“Yes sir.”
“Now, as I stated to you on the phone, this job entails that you call some businesses and try to sell them on advertising with our business. We are a small business that prints up fliers for local businessmen; we make our income from the amount of business that our sales representatives bring in. Do you think that you can handle that?”
“I believe that I can sir.”
“Good. Now, do you have any questions?”
“If I may, my job would be to come here, makes some phone calls to set up appointments, and then go to these appointments and pitch the benefits of having our company print up fliers for their businesses. Is that correct?”
“Yes, that is correct.”
“And for doing all of this, I get minimum wage plus commision, is that correct?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Alright. When would I start?”
“That’s what I like, a go-getter. I have a few more interviews today, but I should be able to let you know my decision by tomorrow. Do we have your phone number?”
“I’ll leave with your secretary, if that’s alright.”
“Very good. Thank you for coming in Mr. Linden.”
With the interview over, Dewey left the office, gave the secretary his name and telephone number and left. During the interview, Dewey had felt slightly uncomfortable. He had answered all of the questions without stuttering, but had felt some sweat form on his forehead. He sat in his car for a minute, looked at his watch to see what time it was, and seeing that it was time for lunch, he drove home. His mother was not home when he got there, so he made himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, poured himself a glass of iced tea and went to the living room and watched TV. After finishing his lunch, he went back out to the living room, turned off the TV and took a nap on the sofa. By the time that he had awakened from his nap, Dewey’s mother was home. He told her about his interview and that he would probably get the job. Just as he finished telling his mother this, the telephone rang. Dewey answered it. It was Mr. Doumant calling to tell Dewey that he had decided to hire him and expected him to come into work the next morning. Dewey’s mother was happy to hear that her son had finally gotten a job. She gave him a kiss on the forehead and then went into the kitchen to begin making dinner. In the meantime, Dewey began to think about what he had committed himself to; a job that required him to actually talk and persuade people to buy products that they probably didn’t need or want. He thought about the job all through dinner and even missed watching his favorite television show. By the time that he was ready for bed, Dewey had made up his mind.

“This is Dewey Linden. Could you let Mr. Doumant know that I am sick and will not be able to come into work today. Thank you very much.”
Dewey had decided that, even though it didn’t pay anything, the best job that he could cope with was working on ways to get out of working. His fishing pole was back in his car the next morning.

Dipsophobia (Fear of Drinking Alcohol)

Little Jennifer Lipton fought a daily battle against two demons: her father and mother. The reason that she saw her parents as demons was because every night after she went to bed, her parents would get drunk and argue. Jennifer’s defense against them was to hide under her bedsheets, close her eyes tightly and say to herself: “Please stop it! Please stop it!” until she managed to finally fall asleep. Because these fights between her parents would sometimes go on for hours, when Jennifer woke up to go to school, she would have to fend for herself by making her own breakfast, which was usually cold cereal, and her own lunch. Before she left to catch the school bus, she would go into her parents’ Continue reading

Dentophobia (Fear of Dentists)

“Jeremy Wallace, where are you hiding? Come out right now, young man! We do not have time for these games!”

Jeremy Wallace heard his mother’s yelling, but he remained stubborn. He refused to go to the dentist because his friends at school had told him horror stories about what went on there. Even though he was eight years old, he still believed in the Tooth Fairy. He preferred to believe that any problems that he had with his teeth could be solved by going to sleep at night and that when he woke up, the teeth would be taken care of and that he would find a dollar under his pillow. His mother had told him that that only applied to teeth that had come loose or fallen out, but he believed otherwise.

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Decidophobia (Fear of Decisions)

Ashley Southerly made her entrance onto the stage with a smile on her face as she paraded in front of the four judges. The spangles on her tiara and costume sparkled like an array of diamonds. Even though she had done this many times before, she still had the habit of looking for her mother in the crowd of other parents before focusing her total attention towards the panel of judges. At the ripe old age of four years, Ashley Southerly still relied on her mother’s encouragement at these pageants. Her mother had been entering her in beauty pageants since she was eighteen months old, but Ashley had never

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The Kidnapping

A Brief Preface

I believe that dreams can be one of three things. The first kind of dream is the prophetic type which usually occur in many famous works of fiction. The second type of dream is symbolic, which is liberally seen in the works of the master artist Salvador Dali. The third, and final, type is the one that I like to call “a mishmash of one’s daily tensions used as a relieve valve”. The following short story is a mixture of the last two. All characters and locations are real up to a point. The characters are real, but their names have been changed just for the heck of it. As for the locations, well, I admit that I’m winging it. Enjoy!

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Cyberphobia (Fear of Computers)

The early morning sunlight made an attempt to break through the heavy fog in the redwood forest. The birds on the branches would occasionally call out to each other. Every now and then a pine cone would fall to the forest floor and dully thud on the wet earth. A doe and her fawn searched along the lower shrubbery for their morning meal. The silence was broken by a slight twang as an arrow flew towards the unsuspecting animals. The doe felt the breeze of the arrow as it narrowly missed her; she looked up and, with her fawn in tow,

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Nicholas Jordan’s eyes closed.

The harsh sound of the rainstorm outside of his room at the McLeary Rest Home threatened to make its presence known inside of the building by its wild slashing of the wind through the branches of an old oak tree. The noise of the thunder did nothing to arouse Nicholas Jordan from his bout with unconsciousness. The darkness behind his eyelids was occasionally disturbed by the electric flashing of his synaptic nerves. The only things that mattered at that moment to Mr. Jordan were the images which played on the screen of his resting brain.

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