March 7. Twelve days of the war.
At 7:20 am, an explosion so tremendous shook the air that a blast wave took me off the toilet. Now we don’t have gas as well. Brute orks planted explosives under the Gas Distributing station. It was our «good morning». Fortunately, we prepared a barbecue outside yesterday (as if we felt it coming).
Then we heard jet fighters flying over our heads. For 30 minutes, explosions from all around didn’t let us brush our teeth outside. It felt as if the wings of combat vehicles were cutting my bent back. I did not know for sure, but one thought made it easier, «Maybe these are our fighter jets killing inhuman orks». I did brush my teeth, though.
At 10 am, we had a traditional meeting of senior guards. The senior man in charge of scouting tried to find out whether it is possible to leave our cottage cooperative in any direction. He went towards a dam. There are several houses of different cottage cooperatives behind the dam. Further, there is a kilometer of pine forest, and Zhytomyrka, totally torn by orks. The forest is full of Kadyrov’s soldiers. They have been there for 6 days.
Our civil scout came back in 20 minutes. He said, «It's all clear!». His eyes lit up with hope. Ten foremen of guarding groups flexed like panthers seconds before they were ready to jump.
One of them screamed, «Let's leave in 15 minutes».
Another one supported, «Let's go! It’s our chance».
At 11 am, Valerii Bevziuk, a colonel, and the head of our self-defense (my cousin as well) held a regular community meeting. He shared the news brought by the scout, «That's what we know as of 10 am. I can’t give any advice on whether you should go or stay. You know all the pros and cons. Everyone needs to make their own decision». When he was saying that, I saw blood veins pulsating wildly on his face.
We consulted with everyone in our home camp and decided to not take a risk. Though we let Yarik and Nika, friends of our daughter, go with our neighbors. They have been asking us to let them go at their own risk for three days. They even threatened to go at night through the forest. Damn, teenagers.
At noon, a column of 15 cars left our cottage cooperative, taking a risky road.
Every day at 1 pm I walked for a few kilometers searching for a mobile hot spot to talk to my relatives for a few minutes, and to read some news. There is a place between a water tower we call «barrel» and a metal trailer for construction workers, where, miraculously, the internet is not jammed.
On March 7 I couldn’t do it. Six cars came back from the dam behind the village. Shock and horror in people’s eyes stopped me from breathing.
One car was totally slaughtered. Another car had gun wounded women inside. Two injured women were taken to our doctor, Oksana. One was heavily injured. Only 10 cars made it that day, but all cars were shot at. All. All 15 cars were shelled.
At 3 pm, during a regular gathering of locals under occuapation, we discussed this sheer horror. A woman, 25 years old, survived the shelling of the car, but was in such a terrible psychological state that… I don’t have words to describe it. Her state. I was afraid to come closer to her for several minutes. She was like a windshield in a car. As if it was clear and light seconds ago, but after a hit, or a small rock shot from underneath the wheels it breaks. It shatters, and thousands of small pieces hold together for a tiny moment, before they shower on you and your seat. The same happened to this young woman.
The same woman who laughed with us over another story about a russian ship, jet, soldier going ‘f*ck you' just yesterday. She was the one who flirted with our civil guard guys, who brought food to lonely seniors. The same woman was shattering into pieces of sorrow and sadness in front of us. It was hard to put together her story through tears. She repeated again and again, «And now, and now, and now they are dead». She was talking about her friends. They came to our village at the beginning of the war, just as many others did, to spend the first few days of war with their family. Their bodies were still lying in the garage on March 11. Unburied.
In order to pull ourselves out of this abyss, Inna Baidiuk, her nine years old daughter Olenka, and I went to the house, where 28 cats lived (those left behind, those who lived in the village, cats taken both before the war and after it started). The brave girl Olenka left her house for the first time in 12 days. She was happy to see the cats.
That day we brought home 40 liters of water. Wtih their permission, we opened our neighbors' house and found potatoes, oil, and cognac there. We asked another neighbor for a charger, charged our phones for 20%, and finally returned home.
Yarik and Nika, my daughter’s friends, were in one of the cars that left earlier. It was one of the first cars to leave. I filled them with fear and christened them hundreds of times before they left, so they called me once they made it. They heard the shelling behind them, but bullets did not reach them. Our neighbor, who was behind the wheel, was driving his odl Ford at 190 kilometers an hour. Plus, they left before the 15 cars column. This way, thanks to the neighbor, our teenagers reached Vinnytsia at 12:30. I breathed out a burning flame of pain from my heart.
Larisa, Kyiv region