17 Luxemburg Prospekt
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Maria Alekseevna Durova had finally begun to feel at home in their new Leningrad apartment at 17 Luxemburg Prospekt.

She and her husband Stanislav had moved in just over three months ago. After years of living in the Pushkinsky district, Maria needed time to adjust to the new surroundings. She was getting used to stretching her arms without hitting plastered cardboard walls. Every night, she awoke, anticipating the absent tromp of workers' boots, returning from midnight shifts.

The building had once a mansion of a family, fled or expropriated. "Some knyaz," the Housing Committee officer explained without looking up.

The luxurious exterior belied the plain building within. Where a fine crystal chandelier would have hung in the main hall, there was now a single light bulb dangling from the ceiling. Patterns on the bare wooden floor indicated where there had been sumptuous carpets. Rooms once devoted to billiards or post-dinner discussions were now subdivided to house three or more families.

There were other downsides as well. Three stories to climb to get to the apartment. Wood for the stoves two floors below the kitchen, down in the basement. Then, of course, the creaking sounds endemic to any old house.

Maria didn't mind, though. She saw the absences as aspirational. Chandeliers and crystal brandy snifters would some day be the common property of all. Until then, well, she could stretch her arms and at least not hit the walls.

Item #: SCP-83184

Object Class: Euclid

The first disappearance at 17 Luxemburg Prospekt came almost without remark.

Maria never gave Vasiliy much thought. A round man with an eternally neutral expression, he was unobtrusive enough to fade into the background as the thousand other minute tasks of life took precedence. They had spoken several times, but never on anything but pleasant banalities. He was at meetings for the kommunalka, but somehow always voted with the majority. A human blur. If it wasn't for his frequent bouts of wheezing coughs, Maria might not ever have thought about him.

It took several days of silence in the building before Maria even noticed his absence. She asked Oksana, of the family downstairs, where Vasiliy was vacationing to. Oksana stared for a moment, then shook her head. Maria understood at once.

Some men from the NKVD or the police or wherever had come and had knocked on Vasiliy's door. They had asked that he come with them just to answer a few questions. He went with them, and now there was no more Vasiliy.

Alive, dead, or otherwise, there was no point in referring their erstwhile neighbor.

Indeed, it was understood by all that referring to or even thinking about him might bring misfortune. The human blur had been replaced with a hole.

A week later, Vasiliy's apartment was cleared out, and a married pensioner couple moved in. There was no discussion of Vasiliy.

Special Containment Procedures: One instance of SCP-83184 is to be held in an outdoor enclosure on Site 287.

It was two weeks later when Katerina vanished from 17 Luxemburg Prospekt.

Maria had been returning home from work at the the telephone station , cursing her apartment for being on the third story. She saw someone knocking on Katerina's door on the second floor. A squat man in a trench coat with his back towards her was all Maria could make out.

The next day, Katerina was absent from the breakfast table. Maria's blood chilled. In the short time she had known Katerina, the two had become fast friends, trading whispered jokes over tea and kasha.

Being close to someone who was disappeared was never good. Sure enough, the other residents in the kitchen gave Maria sideways glances and gave single-word responses to her questions.

That night, Stasik tried to comfort her as they lay in bed. "If she is innocent, I'm sure they'll let her go. And we both know that you've done nothing wrong. You have nothing to worry about," he said.

His voice flitted, like he was trying to think of what to say.

All wild instances of SCP-83184 are to be terminated upon initial containment through incineration by Mobile Task Force Omicron-37 ("Sjigateli Rukopisey").

The next disappearance at 17 Luxemburg came before Katerina's apartment even had a new tenant.

Maria's schedule situated her weekend on Thursdays. The apartment was always empty then except for her and Tatyana, who stayed with her two toddlers. Maria appreciated the relative quiet.

She sat in the living room, trying to memorize her lines for the skit she had been volunteered to perform in. She was to play an unlucky caller, who found her calls repeatedly dropped due to careless office shenanigans.

"Have you no sense?" she mouthed to herself, "I've called three different numbers and none have worked!"

There came a knocking sound from the hall. Three raps. Hard. Official. Maria jumped, then realized it wasn't from her door.

She sat still for a moment, unsure of what to do. Then, almost without thought, she stood up and went to the door. She opened it a crack.

Sticking her eye to the opening, Maria could make out the form of a woman wearing a long skirt, standing before the door to the Zhirov's. After a moment, the door opened and Tatyana stepped forward into the open frame.

The two began to converse, too quiet for Maria to make out. Tatyana nodded, then shook her head. The other woman motioned towards the stairs. Tatyana shook her head again, then made to close the door.

Before Tatyana could close the door, something darted out at her from the woman's chest. It appeared for only a moment. Maria heard a soft thump. She couldn't make the shape of it beyond the fact it was the color of a flushed scar.

Tatyana crumpled, a gentle thud on the worn wooden floor. Rather than try to help her, the woman stepped over her prone body.

It was as the woman moved into the apartment that Maria saw the blood on the wall. Bits of brain and bone covered the faded pink of the paisley wallpaper.

She looked down at Tatyana again. It looked as though the top half of her head had been torn off. Grey and crimson mixed with the brown of her hair. The blood had begun to pool around her body.

Maria froze, unsure of what to do. How to process it.

She heard the thumping sound, more muffled this time. Then again a few seconds later. Her thoughts turned towards Tatyana's two young children, Nikolai and Evgeny. She had to bite down on her knuckles to keep from screaming.

A few seconds later, the woman walked out, turning away from Maria, down towards the stairs. Maria paused for a moment. Whatever she had seen, it was not natural.

She had to find out, at least for the sake of Tatyana. Pushing all thought from her mind, she quietly pushed the door open and followed behind.

The woman disappeared down the stairs. Maria followed at a distance, curling herself into the walls of the curved staircase. She cursed silently, still unable to make out the woman's features through the slats of the banister.

Down the second floor, then the first, until the woman was in the landing. It was only then, when the woman walked on flat flooring, that Maria noticed. The woman was not taking steps. It wasn't a matter of not lifting feet - her legs were totally still.

Maria leaned forward for a better view. Surely this couldn't be correct.

The stairs groaned. The woman turned towards Maria. Not startled, but slow and deliberate.

Maria clamped a hand over her mouth and ducked low, hoping she was out of sight. She tried to recite the prayers her grandfather had once taught her, but stumbled over the silent words.

Her breathing was shallow as she waited, staring blankly at the wall and its paisley pattern. Hoping that that woman - that thing - hadn't seen her. She wanted to run, but could feel in her bones that it would be futile.

Maria sat like that for what felt like an hour. Her life felt so tenuous, she almost wasn't sure if she was alive or dead. By the time she looked down, the thing had left. Maria went back to staring at the wall a while longer.

Due to the geometric increase in the demand for sustenance by SCP-83184 instances following repeated feedings, instances are to only be populated with D-Class personnel when cooperation is otherwise impossible to attain.

What to do about the body? Bodies. No. She pushed the thought from her mind.

What would she tell the police? That some creature murdered them with a fleshy spike? That she had simply heard a commotion? She was the only person in the building. They would take her in for sure. Maybe the creature would pay another visit.

She could clean up. Scrub the walls, mop the floors. Wipe down the cribs. She shuddered. No. But what would that do?

Lazar, Maria thought. Tatyana's husband. He was at work. He had a right to know, rather than coming home to… She shuddered.

The komunalka's telephone was down in the kitchen, on the first floor. Maria padded down the stairs. She winced at every creak and groan of the timber.

Had the phone always been this far? The stairs so long? she wondered. After what felt like ages, Maria reached the phone. One eye on the door, she picked up the phone and asked to be connected to Lazar's office at the cement factory.

As the phone on the other end rang, Maria felt her stomach tighten. She tried to will Lazar or someone - anyone - to pick up. Finally, a voice on the other line.

"Hello," came a voice at the other end. Maria gasped with relief when she recognized Lazar's gravely voice.

"Come quickly!" she choked out, "Tatyana… She - You need to see."

"I'll be right over." The line went dead.

Maria sat, staring out the kitchen window. Her left leg moved up and down endlessly.

The clock on above the door clicked and clacked out a rhythm she didn't understand. The house groaned and creaked. She drummed her fingers on the countertop.

What if that thing came by again? She shooed the thought from her mind.

Tea! she thought suddenly. Lazar would need tea when he learned. That's how she could make herself useful. In a moment, she was up, shuffling around the kitchen. Tea brick. Kettle. Water for boiling.

Maria paused. No wood in the stove. She looked. The pile was down to a last few scraps. It wasn’t her shift to do it that week. But she needed to be out of the kitchen. She had a dreadful feeling that the thing might be out on the street, waiting for her to show her face.

She hurried to the basement, grabbing a box of matches as she went.

Snatching the candle from its resting place at the top of the stairs, Maria struck a match and lit it as she headed down. The darkness of the cellar seemed to swallow up all light. Each step creaked beneath her weight.

The women of the kommunalka traveled to the basement on almost a daily basis. They searched for wood or jars of pickled beets or rags left from the previous owner. Every spring, they even cleaned it along with the rest of the building. Despite this, the cellar was eternally filled with cobwebs and dust.

Maria cursed whatever architect had designed this building. The basement was many times larger than it needed to be, and the wood pile had been put at the furthest point from the stairs. Each wall sported a half dozen different doors, all leading to nowhere. Katerina had explained that they were all hiding places for mistresses the woman of the house had blocked up one by one.

Still, it was better than hoping that the woman wouldn't return.

It was after at least a minute of walking that Maria heard the sounds. She paused. The faint sound of buzzing. She strained to hear. Like chanting. Or screaming.

She took a few steps, the cement floor cold against her feet. The sound grew louder. It was coming from the wall. No, she realized, one of the doors.

She neared the door. As she drew closer, she could hear it, clear as if it was next to her. The groaning. It sounded like some sort of language, but she couldn't make it out. The voices making the sound were ragged, like a man trying to scream with a worn-out throat. She reached a hand out to turn the handle. She had to see what was within.

A hand came down on her shoulder. Maria screamed and nearly toppled over. The hand steadied her. She looked up to see Lazar. His face was hard.

"Maria," he said, "where is Tatyana?"

It took Maria a moment to return to her surroundings. The chanting was gone. There was only the groaning of the house.

"I- She-," she began.

"I searched up and down," he said, "Where is she?"

"No," Maria said. She began to lead Lazar up the stairs, pulling the large man by his hand. "No, that's n- that's not right."

She took Lazar upstairs, up to the apartment where the bodies were.

The bodies weren't there.

There was no blood. There was no brain or bone or bits of viscera. Just an open door, leading into an immaculate apartment.

"Where. Are. Nikolai and Evgeny?" Lazar said again. The panic was creeping into his voice.

"She was here, I swear, and then someone came to knock."

A look of horror spread across Lazar's face. He nodded. "Please, don't say anything else," he said.

Maria watched as Lazar walked into the apartment, a dazed expression on his face. He shut the door behind him.

That night, Stanislav held Maria in bed. She tried not to think about what she had seen or what she had not seen at all.

Description: SCP-83184 is the collective designation for all surviving members of the Esoteric Church of the Divine Host, a small religious cult founded in 1906 by members of St. Petersburg and Moscow nobility with inclinations towards the occult. Church records indicate 29 potentially uncontained instances of SCP-83184.

The last disappearances at 17 Luxemburg Prospekt happened two weeks later.

The shift at work that day included an additional five hours of "voluntary" labor. When Maria protested, her boss shrugged his shoulders.

"We all have to make sacrifices," he said before returning to his office. He left at a quarter after five.

Interviews with SCP-83184 instances indicate that, despite similarities to and direct connections with Sarkic rituals, the religion practiced by the Esoteric Church had "nothing to do with those sniveling peasants."

By the time she left the building, she had to jog her way to the tram. Even then, she just barely made the last train. The car she sat in was empty, just her and row after row of seats.

Normally, she be would grateful for a reprieve from the drunks and lechers that seemed to swarm the tram after the sun went down. But at least they gave her something to focus on. Now she was alone with her thoughts.

Every glimpse of red curdled into Tatyana's blood. Then, just as quickly, it would be gone.

The soft whir of the motor devolved into the shrieking she had imagined.

Maria tried to think of Stasik holding her close. She tried to think of their child. The images dissolved into viscera and gore, even as she tried to hold on.

So intent was Maria that she almost missed her stop. She only managed to step onto the pavement before the trolley started again.

Through the inky night, she made her way back to the kommunalka, alone with her thoughts.

It was only when she was a few meters away that she saw the windows pulsing a deep red.

The color of a flushed scar.

SCP-83184 instances are manifested as large buildings, primarily dwellings. Exterior and interior walls of SCP-83184 are coated with organic compounds that approximate the qualities of common building materials, including wood, plaster, brick, and tile.

Maria thought of Stasik. He always tried to stay up for her on long nights like these. Every single time, he would drift off to sleep well before she returned and only drowsily greet her when she got into bed.

She began to run as quickly as her legs could carry her.

Due to unknown chemical compounds in its structure, the non-coated portions of SCP-83184 are highly flammable. SCP-83184 instances are immobile, and retain memories and imprints of their previous humanoid lifestyle. Instances do not appear to be able to manually manipulate interiors or exteriors.

Reaching the door, Maria scrambled for the key around her neck. Her pale skin turned crimson, then fading to the black of the night, then crimson once again.

After what felt like an eternity, she managed to fit key and lock and finally finally open the door.

She stopped dead as the now-spongy door swung open.

Despite numerous allegations of kidnapping, devil-worship, human sacrifice, and cannibalism, members were - prior to 1916 - able to escape serious punishment due to high political standing as well as connections with Tsarist secret police (Otdelenie po Okhraneniyu Obshchestvennoi Bezopastnosti i Poryadka, better known as the Okhrana).

The walls and floors of the front hall throbbed in time to the rising and dimming of the lights. A sound, halfway between the house's familiar creaking and a pained wheezing, suffused the air. The air itself felt thick and damp. Maria gagged as she noticed the faint smell of bile.

Her foot sank a few centimeters into the softened floorboards as she set foot inside. A jolt went through her and she instinctively recoiled. Stasik, she thought, Stasik not noticing the smear of jam on his nose last summer. Him making shchi when she became so ill she couldn't rise from bed.

She moved inside, wincing at each soft step.

On November 23rd, 1916, following an extended conflict over influence in the Romanov royal family, the mystic and healer Grigori Rasputin prevailed upon Tsarina Alexandra to purge all members of the Church. Tsarina Alexandra ordered the arrest and summary execution of all known Church members, including founder Pavel Konstantinovich Bruce.

Maria walked through the grand foyer, trying to breath as little of the rotten air as possible.

The police, she thought. The police could come, and - her thoughts stalled out - do something. She made her way to the kitchen.

The pots and pans rattled inside the cabinets as the house shuddered. Maria picked up the phone and put it to her ear as she tried to recall the number for the police.

Screams and jabbering erupted from the earpiece. Maria started. Words in a language she didn't recognize. Spoken by voices she did. Katerina. Tatyana. Vasiliy.

There were others, too. She tried not to recognize them.

She hurled the telephone away from her. The line pulled away from the wall instantly. It landed in the sink, kicking up a splash of dark brown liquid. The sink gurgled.

Maria ran to the foyer. Whatever was in this house, she thought, she needed to save Stasik from it. That was all that could be done.

Through means not presently understood, SCP-83184 is capable of tapping into existing water, electricity, and telephone lines.

There was the urge to call out to him, to hear his voice through the raspy wheeze of the house. Every time, Maria fought it down. In her bones, she felt like the house could hear her. That it would send that thing after her if it knew she was here. Even as the spongy floors muted her footsteps, she still felt the need to tiptoe.

When Maria reached the first floor, she stopped. Her knees almost buckled. The doors to all twenty apartments on the floor were flung wide open, flapping gently with the rhythms of the house.

After a period of dormancy, SCP-83184 instances will begin to consume individuals dwelling within. The consumed individuals are then moved rapidly through the structure of SCP-83184 to a subterranean chamber wherein 40-70% are consumed, with the rest [DATA EXPUNGED], hereafter referred to as SCP-83184-01.

Twenty half-faced Tatyanas blinked into the empty doorways, then vanished. Maria struggled to keep from vomiting.

After a moment, she continued up the stairs.

Stasik, she thought, Stasik.

In initial stages, this consumption will take the place of walls or floors gradually consuming dwellers who are either sick, elderly, or asleep. This method of consumption typically requires at least 15 minutes of stillness from prey.

The second floor held more empty doors.

The bleating of the house increased as the walls heaved at an increasing pace.

Maria pushed all thought from her mind. One final floor.

The skins of all consumed individuals are typically retained and used for further hunting. It is not clear how SCP-83184-01 instances survive the process of flensing.

By the third floor, she was nearly out of breath. Every step required more effort as the ground yielded beneath her feet. She pushed on.

The doors all hung open. She moved towards their room at the end of the hallway. Its was open as well.

She had to be sure.

She checked. She searched. The room was empty.

No Stanislav. No notes. No signs.

Just a large lit glass lamp by the bedside. Stanislav would always leave it on when she came in late.

She turned to leave.

In the doorway stood the creature from Tatyana's apartment.

Maria recognized it. It was Katerina.

Following the creation of at least one SCP-83184-01 instance, SCP-83184 will typically switch to a more active hunting strategy.

Katerina lurched towards Maria. Maria noticed Katerina's feet never left the floor.

Maria backed up. Katerina advanced.

"Hello Maria," Katerina gurgled. It was not Katerina's voice, but something hollow and dull, that came out of her throat.

Maria stumbled backwards, almost tripping over backwards on the bedside table. A spike of scar-colored flesh shot out from where Katerina's right arm had been. It whistled by Maria's ear, filling the air where her head had been a moment ago.

The spear lodged the wall, still attached to Katerina's arm. A look of frustration crossed over her face.

At the same instant, there was a shattering sound. Maria instinctively turned. The lamp had tipped over, breaking into shards. Its oil spread across the floor, alighting as it did.

Katerina gave a scream of rage. In a single motion, she chopped through her right arm with her left, unanchoring her from the wall. The spear of flesh went limp and began to retract into the wall.

Katerina grabbed a blanket and tried to smother the spreading fire. Suddenly, she fell to the floor with a wet thud.

Maria stood above her, a long and bloody glass shard in her hand. She stabbed Katerina in the neck a second time, then a third. The glass ate into her palm. She didn't care. She stabbed again and again and again. Soon, the neck of her former friend was a mass of meat and blood.

Maria fell to her knees as she released the glass shard. She didn't notice as it shattered on the floor. Her chest filled with empty sobs.

She pushed it down. She pushed everything down as she stood up. There would be time for that later.

The flames began to spread, consuming the mattress.

For now, she knew what she had to do. The house must die. She recalled the chanting she had heard in the cellar. Its heart. It would burn. For Katerina. For Vasiliy. For everyone.

She paused. For Stanislav.

SCP-83184-01 instances are clothed in skin of previous prey for the procurement of further prey. Typically, only one SCP-83184-01 instance is used for hunting, with the rest [DATA EXPUNGED].

Maria walked down the stairs. Behind her, her apartment was slowly consumed in flames. The body of Katerina went up like a bundle of kindling.

She returned to the kitchen. The floors wheezed in protest. She grabbed the matches, squeezing them between her left arm and her side. Her eyes fell to a long knife by the sink. She took it, holding it tight in her right hand.

The doorway to the basement was open. Maria looked down. The stairs yawned into the void below. She inhaled and took the candle from its place by the door. When she lit it, it barely coughed out a spit of light. She tucked the matches back under her arm.

Maria made her way down, taking care on the softened wooden steps. After what felt like years, she made her to the door from before, still closed. She could hear the chanting now, much louder than before.

Her hand wrapped around the handle. A shudder ran up her spine. The handle was warm to the touch.

She turned it and opened the door, gripping the knife.

Inside, a narrow hallway extended like an open throat, ending in dark. Its walls were the color flesh, shot through with veins and capillaries. The chanting was almost deafening.

Stasik, she thought as she stepped inside.

The most common methods of hunting by SCP-83184-01 is the misleading of potential victims directly to the lowermost chamber of SCP-83184 and incapacitation through the use of secreted narcotic compounds. In instances where cooperation or incapacitation are not viable, SCP-83184-01 instances will typically resort to killing in order to feed SCP-83184.

Almost as soon as she stepped through the door, the hallway widened. Its flesh grew tight as it shied away from Maria. She realized it was avoiding the candle.

She held the candle a few inches away from the pulsing flesh of the wall. It gave a high scream and tightened further, like a barely-healed burn. She smiled. The floors flinched as hot wax dripped onto them.

As Maria moved down the hallway, the chanting grew louder. The hall seemed to be moving downwards, into the ground. Part of her wanted to simply torch it now. She knew, though, that she had to keep going. To be sure. She moved quickly.

Finally, Maria reached the end of the hallway.

The hall expanded upwards, far beyond the reach of her candle's light. She took a cautious step, then paused. A few meters ahead, the floor fell out, down into a pit. Maria looked down. She tried not to vomit. She failed.

She moved forward and looked down into the pit.

Ringing the edges of the pit like teeth were dozens of human forms, half-sunk into the mire of flesh and meat that was the wall. All of them were were skinless. Pure muscle and flesh, almost indistinguishable from the wall. In the back of each head, a fat tube, like the medical diagrams of intestines Maria saw in the doctor's office, pulsed steadily.

The voices were deafening. The mouths did not seem to be moving in time with the chants. Maria felt dizzy.

Then, all at once, the voices stopped. The faces all snapped to attention, focused on Maria. She screamed, almost falling backwards. Then a voice came.

"Maria?" it said. It was Stanislav.

Following a period of extended consumption, SCP-83184 will enter a period of growth, manifesting new rooms, architectural decorations, and even entirely new stories.

She turned. It was Stanislav.

He walked unsteadily towards her. He was in his undershirt and boxers. Maria gripped the knife.

"S-stay back," she said, holding the knife in front of her face.

Stanislav looked puzzled. "Maria," he said, continuing towards her, "It's me. Stasik."

She shook her head. "You're not Stanislav," she said, backing up, "You're a that." She motioned towards the pit.

"Maria," said the Stanislav-thing, "I love you. Maria, put out the candle. Please." There was a slight gurgle in its voice. It continued towards her.

She shook her head. "Stay back! I will burn this thing to the ground if you don't," she said. The panic in her voice was rising.

The Stanislav-thing took another step. Maria stepped back. She started as she bumped into the wall. The Stanislav-thing smiled.

From an unseen recess in the wall, a spit of ichor. With a sizzle, the flame of the candle went out.

Maria barely had time to scream as the world went dark. The chanting began again, swallowing her screams far below the earth.

During this time, all SCP-83184-01 instances will be consumed by SCP-83184 following [DATA EXPUNGED].

Instinctively, she raised her knife, slashing wildly. There was a pain in her left arm, like something was breaking the bones within. She screamed and lurched to the side.

Something hard leaped onto her, pinning her shoulders to the floor. She dropped the matches. The weight spoke in the Stanislav-thing's voice. "Stupid, worthless human," it growled in the dark, "To thi-"

With her right arm, she slammed the knife into the voice. It hit something and pushed through. She struck blindly, again and again.

The pressure slackened. She pushed the weight off of her.

The chanting took all of her thoughts but one. Find the matches.

She groped for them in the dark. After an eternity, she found them. She almost cried with relief.

Maria struck a match. Nothing. She tried another, fumbling with the tiny stick in the dark. Nothing again. She almost screamed with frustration.

A third one, finally, took. She looked down.

The thing lay in a pile. The skin that had once been Stanislav's had been distended as the thing morphed. Where there was once a face she had mooned over, then finally had the courage to kiss and love and cherish, there was now just a mess of fleshy ribbons and blood.

She had her answer. She wanted to destroy the entire world.

Her face hardened. For now, this place would have to do.

After this period of initial growth, SCP-83184 will become dormant for a period of 3-6 years, after which it will resume its feeding cycle.

She held a match to the wall. It screamed, and within seconds, it was starting to burn.

The flames climb up. And up. And up. Until they were spreading like stars in the night, far above her head. The roaring of the flames competed with the chanting of the half-people to deafen or madden Maria first.

Maria looked down at the pit. She lit a match, then held it to the box. The cardboard quickly lit. She threw it down.

The light shrank and shrank and shrank, until it was a pinprick of orange. Then it grew as the flame spread.

In less than a minute, the flames consumed the cathedral. Maria ran for the hallway.

She regretted not bringing a match with her, the walls pushing against her. They screamed in impotent rage against her. The flames grew ever closer.

When she reached the cellar, she gasped, taking in her first lungful of fresh air.

She climbed the stairs, almost crawling out. The floor warped and buckled beneath her. The flames from the top floor of the house had spread throughout the building.

As she ran through the foyer, she could feel the floor growing weak. Suddenly, it collapsed.

Maria yelped, barely managing to hold onto a solid edge. Below her, an inferno raged. Beneath it, she could still hear the sounds of the mad chanting.

She struggled, and pulled her way up to safety. The regular walls of the building were all ablaze now.

Finally, she struggled through the front door, coughing lungfuls of soot and god knew what else. She ran to the other side of the street. She turned and fell to her knees as the building blazed.

Maria Alekseevna Durova watched as the thing at 17 Luxemburg Prospekt screamed and sizzled in a pillar of blue and green flame. Far above her, the stars shone through the Leningrad night.

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