The Policeman

Cold winter evenings, when snow fell straight and gas lamps on the street illuminated the glum sickly faces of Petersburg pedestrians, was no time to be on duty, his over coat damp with the incessant flakes of snow and his face a sickly green. Things did not get better with the slight chill he had, shifts in the evenings did not leave him with the time to dine at home, the station canteen was where he had food before leaving for his patrol. The food wasn’t always very good and the ham that day was particularly inedible.

The street he was patrolling now had a huge crowd on it’s icy tongue and over the bobbing heads one could see a carriage, it was apparently the property of a rich man, the horses were hidden behind the excited crowd. Rushing towards the chaos he bumped into Raskolnikov, his colleague.

“The carriage trampled a man, he seems drunk”

“How bad is he hurt?”

“Hard to say, but It could be fatal, there is blood on his lips, his ribs look broken”

“We can send for the doctor after we take him home, the crowd does not look good.”

“The carriage belongs to Lobachevsky, and the wind is not quite with his sail these days.”

Another man, a pedestrian, was helping Raskolnikov carry the wounded, that left him with the task of minding the mad crowd. A crowd on a wet evening on an empty stomach and a chill can be overwhelming, he thought. His boots kept slipping on the hardened snow and the crowd looked hysteric. They were now near the building, a multi storied building owned by a landlord, with rooms rented out, it looked gloomy in the twilight almost black and completely wooden, the staircase spiraled up to the third floor, and it was necessary that he keep the crowd from ascending, as the gangway leading on each floor was narrow and would cause a stampede. He climbed a step and faced the crowd, they all looked like a black mass of howling jackals in their long winter coats, their heads bobbing about in hats, some laughing some screaming, the baton in his hand was the only thing keeping them away, but he was alone and the night was dark, crimes by a crowd were not easy to trace and a waste of time.

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