The next morning, Rouben pointed to the bruised, tied-up and miserable-looking police officer, and asked Dragomir, –What is that?–
–A spy,– Dragomir told him.
–I need a word with you, please.
Dragomir followed Rouben into one of the old buildings, where they were alone. When his friend turned round, his smooth, darkish complexion was slightly red, and his eyes were on fire with fury.
–Now,– Dragomir began nervously, –I'm sure we can settle this in a democratic manner...–
–Fuck democracy! What you did was a crime,– snapped Rouben. –A crime against us all. You could have had us ambushed...all killed...what the devil did I say about not letting the bloggers in?–
Dragomir would not easily admit that he was terrified of Rouben, and his fear turned quickly to anger as he countered: –Now listen here. We let him in, yes, but we also captured him. And we made sure he's not going back.–
–What did I say? You're not to bring him in anyway!
Dragomir remembered the policeman's comment from last night. –And was that decided by all?– he asked coolly. –I don't remember the assembly we held to make that rule: that's something you made up yourself. You can't go around forcing rules like that on people. Everyone takes part in the making of the rules, not one person, or that's just like old times, and the President.–
–Are you accusing me of being counter-Revolutionary?– asked Rouben a little too quietly, his hand on his hip and the terrifying glare in his eyes. –I've done more for this uprising than you have!–
–You're getting unhealthily obsessed with this,– Dragomir told him. –You think so much about being a Revolutionary, an Anarchist, that you actually forget to just be one, like the rest of us. Because, Rouben: none of us wanted this war, but we know that to get our freedoms we're going to have to go through the intermediate conflict.–
He dared Rouiben to speak, but that young man was just staring at him, wide-eyed and livid.
–In the end,– he continued passionately, –who cares about the ideology? It's the method that counts. All we want, as human beings that have been oppressed for too long, all we want, is a setup that allows us to be the free men and women we deserve to be, without anyone ordering us about. That's as far as anarchist politics goes, in case you haven't noticed. The rest is a matter of opinion.–
Rouben glared at him. Then, he said, very quietly, so quietly that Dragomir could hardly hear him:
–How dare you.
–How dare I what?
–How dare you undermine the Revolution,– Rouben said, much louder this time. –The road to freedom is paved with struggle and resistance...–
–Yes, but nobody enjoys struggle and resistance as much as you seem to. You seem to always want war for longer than is necessary, and so you throw out the vloggers and damn the people who try to help us, as if to try and isolate us from the rest of the world!– Dragomir shouted. –Come on, grow out of it! We need every sympathetic hand we can get.–
–This wasn't about that to begin with. This is about your stupidity, and the fact that you're a traitor to the Revolution.–
–Oh, I'll prove it,– snarled Rouben. –You just let a Police spy inside the Commune. You, and Tatjana. Not to mention Cyril, who probably put you up to it...–
–Now this is ridiculous. We're all as Revolutionary as each other...–
–No! It's you three! You and Tatjana, and your Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Cyril and his anti-Revolutionary ideas! Damn you all! Fucking traitors...–
And to Dragomir's surprise, Rouben seized him about the throat and began to strangle him.
Dragomir writhed and struggled as black dots bounced in front of his eyes. –Rouben, what the hell,– he choked. –We're comrades, violence doesn't come into it....–
–I am not comrades with a traitor,– Rouben spat, pressing his thumbs into Dragomir's throat, and making his knees buckle.
His heart was racing and he could feel himself slipping under. –I need...air...– he spluttered. –Rouben, please...if you're...going to hold charges...against me...at least do it...democratically...–
–Better I kill you, anyway, and then Tatjana and that damned Cyril.
Dragomir could barely speak now. There were more black dots than ever before, and the world around him was going darker, and he was in immense discomfort. –Leave it out,– he pleaded, one last time. –This isn't going to help...you'll destroy everything...–
Distantly he could hear a door open, but Rouben's hands were too tight around his neck. He thought he could faintly see his father, calling him, but he wasn't sure...
And all of a sudden, he was dropped.
Rouben had a very guilty look on his face. Dragomir touched his neck. The welts Rouben had put around it burnt.
And he could hear a woman's voice somewhere behind him, like a cyclic call: –Another visitor, Comrade. We're going to see who it is...–