Note: Onka Rosa Pietrovich is a young Russian farmgirl (a shepherdess in fact) who lives a hardworking life helping to keep her parents' farm running and getting the cows milked for the local store's supply of milk. Onka's mother Anya gives her a cloisonne braclet passed down from girl to girl in the family lineage. Onka soon discovers the braclet has unimaginable powers and she becomes the heroine of the village and soon the whole country of Russia. She also becomes famous and inundated with more fans than she can shake her crook at. She then becomes tired of all the fame and glory and is stuck with a dillemna...Remain a heroine for the country and do good for others and let her little sister Ziva take over the sheep or return to the shepeherding life she always knew and give someone else a chance to be a hero or heroine.
"More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones." --Truman Capote
Chapter 1—Provincal Life
Onka Rosa Pietrovich was always a hardworking young lady. She made sure the sheep were well tended and that the stores in town had enough milk for the week after milking all of the cows on the farm. It was arduous and it often left Onka drained by the end of the day, but she adored helping her family. She was looking forward to a time when she wouldn't have to work.
She was about to celebrate her sixteenth birthday. This was the only time she didn't have to do so much manual labor, besides the festival days and Christmas. Whatever she received for the anniversary of her birth was enough, because she came from a poor family. She had always enjoyed the simple things life had to offer, especially her little sister Ziva. She and her sister always worked together, and Ziva always looked up to her. So, she had to be a good, respectable, dependable role model for her sibling.
It was a typical birthday party, filled with plenty of singing, dancing and communal gathering. Onka's family was large, and seeing them altogether was a fairly frequent occasion.
After all, their strength was in numbers, and they always worked as a team. Despite being poor,
they were living life to the fullest and felt like they were the richest people in the world. Especially during this occasion of celebration, they were rejoicing again. Ziva, who practically worshipped her sister, gave her handmade gifts from the heart which Onka adored. Anya, their mother, made a feast fit for a king that could have fed a small Russian army.
All of the gifts Onka received she adored, but she wasn't expecting a trinket from her mother.
"An extra present ? Oh, how un-present-dented !", her father, Misha joked.
"Cute, dad.", Ziva responded, chuckling. The others thought it was a pretty good pun and laughed for a bit. Anya gave Onka her present in a beautiful box, more decorated than any of the other boxes she had opened before. Unlike the other presents, it was definitely more precious than anything she had received before, though she didn't play favorites when it came to gifts.
She fished her Swiss Army knife out of her skirt pocket and cut the wrapping paper as delicately as possible. Her chocolate eyes widened as she saw the braclet that was contained inside the box.
"Mama, is this your bracelet ?", Onka asked, seeming to glow from the shimmering jewels and meticulous cloisonee in the handiwork of the jewelry.
"Yes, darling. It is mine. It has been in the family for many years. My mother once had it, and her mother before her. And so on and so forth. Now, it is yours. It is very special.", Anya said, her slightly wizened face revealing a soft smile. Quickly putting on the braclet and rushing towards her mother, she hugged her and then hugged and kissed everyone in the family.
"Thank you so much. This is the best birthday ever !", Onka responded.
"But it is not yet finished. We have much more celebrating to do until night falls.", Misha said, striking up the band and the family continued their folk dancing until the sun set. Onka got her first shot of Vodka, and it was bitter and almost impallitable, but not totally horrid. She knew she didn't want much to do with it as she grew older, but she would always drink a toast for sake
Chapter 2—Such Power
Even though Onka wanted to take the bracelet off, it wouldn't budge. She sighed, becoming annoyed and decided to accept her fate of having the bracelet as permenantly attached to her body. Nothing seemed out of place until she began doing work as usual. Strangely, she could do chores in half the time a normal person could. She could lift rather heavy objects and heal even faster than before from minor injuries such as cuts and bruises. Something unbelieveable was occuring, but Onka wasn't quite sure what it was.
The most unusual thing occurred. Onka heard faraway cries for help. She started running and her feet were moving so rapidly they were becoming a blur. A possible effect from the bracelet ? She wasn't certain what to believe but it didn't really matter. Someone was in trouble and it was up to Onka to come to that person's rescue.
Just as she had thought, there was a young boy that had gotten lost on his way to market and couldn't find his mom. His eyes were stained with tears and he was holding the medium-sized brown bag tightly in his small, left hand. He looked at Onka with questioning coal eyes.
"I cannot find my mother. If she doesn't receive these vegetables we won't be able to eat.", the young boy said, eyes dry from so much crying.
"It's alright. I know where she is.", Onka said, the visions of the little boy's mother coming to her mind's eye. It was uncanny. Everything she wanted to know, including the exact location of where the boy's mother was waiting for him. But she could see how he had become confused along his travels. The market itself was a wild, wiley, chaotic place, and there were so many vendors that made their life's bread from selling their meat, vegetables and handmade goods.
Of course, there were those who worked with the black market. But the government couldn't stop
those people from peddling potentially deadly and illegal substances. Fortunately, the little boy hadn't had any dealings with shifty fellows like that.
Onka returned the boy to his mother and the mother thanked Onka profusely.
"It is some kind of miracle you were able to locate him. The market is not a safe place for little ones. I should've sent him with his older brother, Peter.", the mother said, holding her youngest son close and kissing him repeatedly on the top of his head.
"You are welcome, Madam. I am glad I could help you. Now if you will excuse me, I can hear my own mother calling and it is time for supper.", Onka said. The loving mother grabbed Onka up in her burly arms and hugged her, thanking her again. Onka laughed and smiled, receptive to the acclaim she had received.
Chapter 3—Everyday Heroine
Before long, Onka had questions about the bracelet she had been given. Not only couldn't it be removed but ever since she had worn it, her abilities had increased. She made the connection and began to wonder why she had been chosen to bear such a burden. Ever since she had gotten the abilities, people were asking her for help everywhere. Most requests were legit, but others were paltry and insubstantial. She didn't mind though, it kept her busy and she liked helping people. Thus far it hadn't gotten out of her control, but she was still inquisitive.
"Mama, this bracelet...It's magical isn't it ?",Onka asked, inquisively.
"Yes, it is my child. It seems to me though that you have unlocked all of its abilities.", Anya said.
"What do you mean ?", Onka said, growing more curious by the moment.
"Well, each woman in our family got an ability from using that bracelet. We have all been heroines in our own right. Our abilities are chosen on the characteristics of our hearts. I am not sure how the bracelet 'senses' these certain things we possess, but it seems you have the most charisma out of anyone in the entire Pietrovich clan.", Anya said.
"It's been magnificent, being so relied upon. But if I start to not like my new status, can I remove the bracelet ?", Onka replied, liking the compliment, but wondering about the newfound responsibility she had unwillingly taken upon.
"Only when you have proven yourself can you remove the bracelet.", Anya said. A rather cryptic answer, but she would have to discover how she could "prove" herself. With that reply,
she went to find methods of proving she was a superheroine.
It took quite a while, but Onka was becoming the belle of Russia. Fairly soon, if anyone ever had any trouble, they were calling upon her. She was going out of her way to save other people's lives, and doing everyday chores that many heroines might've found irritating, noisome and bothersome. But, her skills were about to be put to the test when a nuclear missle North Korea had fired off came careening toward Russia. It was an accident, and the President of North Korea had not wanted to direct the missle that way, but what was done was done.
Figuring she could stop the missle before it detonated, Onka caught it, in front of the eyes of many who had been long-time supporters of hers and were cheering for her, or staring at her with complete reverence.
The missle came down hard, and fast. Grunting, she held it back from hitting its course, and with every ounce of newfound strength, she tossed it back at such a speed that it entered an orbit around the Earth. Once it had reached a safe distance, she culd see the dangerous missle from a distance and used lazer vision to obliterate it. Before she knew it, she was being carried around Russia, and being tossed in the air. Suddenly, before her eyes, she was becoming a celebrity. People everywhere wanted to interview her and she was getting calls on the phone from children all around the world. This was a little too much for her, and albeit she did enjoy the fame, but she wanted to return to her former job of being a sheperdess.
Chapter 4—A Sister's Gift
By the next day, Onka returned to her usual duties around the farm and her sister Ziva had experienced a rough tumble. She scraped her knee but wasn't crying. Onka quickly placed her hand upon the small scrape and healed it instantly.
"Oh my goodness !", Ziva said, in awe and amazement. Onka ran her fingers through her sister's auburn hair, looking into her violet eyes.
"I've got something for you.", she said, beginning to work on getting the bracelet off of her right wrist. The bracelet was beginning to give way and move. Fairly soon, Onka had gotten the bracelet off and gave it to Ziva.
"Onka, are you serious ? Do you really want to give this bracelet to me ?", Ziva questioned, in disbelief, thinking she wasn't worthy enough to accept this gracious present from her elder sister, whom she idolized.
"Yes, of course. Ziva, honey, you deserve this. I know you would make an exceptional heroine, even better than I have been.", Onka said, clasping Ziva's small fingers around the bracelet gently.
"You certainly have a lot of faith in me, sister. But I will do my best for you, and for Russia.", Ziva said, putting the bracelet on. It then attached to her wrist and she smiled brightly.
For a seven-year-old, she had a knowledge of the world that was beyond her. Onka was proud of her little sister and knew that indeed, she would become a heroine to not only Russia in time, but a heorine the entire world could count upon.
Onka was still looked upon for help and support in the community. As for Ziva, she was a heroine in her own right. She would one day pass the bracelet on to another girl in the Pietrovich family when she had children of her own. It was a fantastic legacy to be a part of. Of course it kept the little girl occupied, but she adored helping others in need. Whatever happened, though they all lived in meager conditions, and enjoyed a few luxuries all of us take for granted so often,
the entire Pietrovich clan lived life to the fullest and made merry as much as they could.
Life was too short not to, and they had blessings to be grateful for. Besides, as a family, they were like the Kremlin. They could never be brought down, not even by death. The spirit of the family and the faith they shared kept them tightly knit, closely bound forever.
September 14, 2006