Chernysh knows his man will walk today. He thumps his tail to say that he is glad, and that he will run scout.
The job of scout is hard one. He must watch the man. He must stay close. He must run ahead, and back. He must know the risk in every smell, he must ponderate each danger.
On this walk, he scents it. He presses nose to gritty snow and breathes. Overtop the late-night vodka piss, beneath the old man’s factory-walk: Stray Dog. A wolf-eye howler. This one comes with hungry teeth and bad intentions.
Chernysh growls quite low—then hellhound race down snow canyon, until the scent is lost to smelt and sulfur wind. He barks good riddance! He barks don’t come back!
He nudges up when good man pats his head. The good man never needs to know the danger—not while Chernysh keeps his watch.
149 words (if you don’t count how I cheated the hyphenation game!)
As the occasional host of What Pegman Saw, I selected this place some time ago, and saved it for the dead of winter. I refrained from doing any research on it until the post went live on Saturday. And that’s when I fell into a fascinating pit of research which I found difficult to dig out of. Such is the hazard of Pegman! I guess every now and then one is bound to get lost.
In Talnakh, I had the sense of countless untold stories, a feeling of stories waiting to happen. My dear hubby, J. Hardy, referred to it as a ‘living dystopia’ after watching this video, and I found that as apt as anything I could ever say about the place. I started and abandoned many stories before at last settling on this one, which begins (ironically) right back where I started.
When I stumbled upon this place it was solely because of one ambitious photographer by the name of Alexey Ralphs. Mr. Ralphs has contributed more than 1,000 photospheres and streetview scenes to Google Maps. In these photos, I saw an appreciation for the harsh beauty of it. I saw a world I will never see personally, both due to its remote location and the fact that this mining town is closed city. However, as I staggered down those streets and byways, in that drunken streetview lurch, I noticed something else: a little black dog.
The same dog appeared time and again—sometimes ahead of the camera, sometimes pensive and waiting, sometimes running, sometimes walking, sometimes nose to the ground. The dog’s pride was evident—even from five thousand miles away.
How many miles had they logged together, that man and his dog, chasing the sun as it slung low on the horizon? It stayed with me. And so I wanted to thank them both—Alexey Ralphs and his little black dog—for capturing my imagination so completely this weekend.
By the way, I have no idea what that little dog’s name is, but I picked Chernyl since Google told me it was the Russian version of “Blackie”.
Anyway, thanks for reading. Wishing you all good things in the coming year.