AN: Last chapter! I'm so sad to leave this story behind but on to new things. Reminder that you can buy this as a book on Amazon eBooks "OTMA E. Hashimoto." Also can I ask you guys if from like, the first chapter if it was obvious that they were going to kill Yurovsky? I was wondering about that.
Sometimes he is Alexei and sometimes he is not. At times he is completely conscious of who and what he once was- was- for although he is not sure what exactly has happened to him Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov can be sure that he is no longer a Tsarvitch. At times he is a person but unsure of his identity, as a person looking into a fogged mirror and unable to clear away the mist. And at times he is nothing, less than a woman, less than a peasant, less than a human, his very humanity fraying as the edges, the crossed, tightly woven threads of himself pulling apart and drifting off into the universe. Unraveling.
Olga, his sister, he has lots of sisters, when he can remember them, once pointed up at the dark night sky and said that black was made of all colors mixed together, and he believed her at the time because he was very young, and Olga was years older than he and very wise.
Where he is now is black, but only in the same sense that a mountain is a rock. His brain sees the expanse before him, so dark that the word scarcely applies to it and presents the word black, although where he is now is not the color that he remembers. This black cannot be made up of all colors, because there are no colors here, or words for colors, or light by which to see them. Even the idea of light is banished here. He remembers the word, light , and what it means, but not what it looked like, or what it felt like on his skin.
The words he knows do not apply to the place where he is now, and this negates his ability to think logically about where he is. So he thinks about the past, when he can remember it.
The past contained: his royal family, his weak and frail body bleeding, the necessity for keeping his blood inside of him, since he was the Tsarvitch, the last desperate hope of his parents for an heir. He could act in ways that his sisters could not, because he was the prince, and he, as he was fond of reminding them when they argued, he outranked them.
He is dead. Alexei knows that, or knows that at least he has ceased to live in the world. He has sharp memories of bullets, not the ones that killed him, and then two sharp shots in the head, which did. In the beginning he hoped that he was not dead for if he still lived there was some hope that he could die and go somewhere else. Here was very boring, and he could not escape it as he could a dull lesson.
He wonders where his family is. Blind and paralyzed as he was, just a hair's breath from him? In Heaven? In Hell?
If this is the curious condition that he, the Tsarvitch, finds himself after death, than what must ordinary people experience? What place would Yakov Yurovsky have after his death? Yurovsky is someone he remembers.
It is Monday, he says to himself. Today he remembers that he is Alexei- not Nikolaevich, not Romanov, not the Tsarvitch. He is not sure if his father, the giver of his patronymic even exists anymore. The Romanovs are not real anymore. He is sure of that. The Tsar, the dear leader of Russia, a royal, next to God, the link between the divine and the people, was shot unfeelingly in Siberia, and with him and his family died the end of everything they have ever known. Alexei's education was rather lacking due to his various health problems, and of course the time spent in exile, but he can see this with clarity.
Of course, it is not Monday, or perhaps it could be, he has no way of knowing how much time has elapsed between his death and now. But Monday is what he has decided to deem those times when he remembers who he is. It can be Monday for what feels like years, or only a brief moment.
He likes Mondays. He likes being Alexei Romanov, although when he is not he does not miss it. It is nice to have something to remember. He has years and years of memories to think on. Happy ones. He had a good life. Most of them involve his four sisters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. They called themselves OTMA and when he came along they added another letter, OTMAA, yet he was never so much a connected part of their life, and they remained OTMA. These four girls were always with him, instructing, scolding, teaching, and teasing. There has never been a part of his life where he has not known them. Even in the end, in Siberia, the thought that their family would be permanently split up was unthinkable. Even after they were told that the revolution was dying, Alexei was certain that they would all go into death together. He is without his sisters now, and it is strange. He is only A, with no other supporting letters.
Sometimes, when he remembers that he is Alexei for too long, his mind seems to burn inside his skull, rattling around in his body, let me out, let me out. He is trapped here and he cannot break free, possibly until the end of time. Why am I here? This cannot be Hell. Hell was never described like this, not by priests, not in any of the literature he struggled through reading in school. When someone was in Hell, they knew, and they knew what for. But he, Alexei, did not know why he is here, if this was Hell, and surely the point of Hell is for sinners to know where in life they went wrong? Olga and Tatiana accused him of being spoiled. And he got up to some great mischiefs with Anastasia. Perhaps he is here for those. But Anastasia herself did many things also, such as throwing a rock packed in snow at Tatiana. Where is she? They could find a way to get out together. And if this is not Hell, certainly this is not Heaven, where is this place? How can he get out? He does not like Mondays.
And then he will forget, in the manner of one waking, then sleeping, then waking again with no memory of the transition, and Alexei will be no one again.
Purgatory , he thinks maybe. If so than he can do nothing until he is released, and it angers him. But if he was in Purgatory then surely he will be released soon. The entire nation will be praying for him. Or at least they would have. Russia may be different now.
Let me out! In the past he was the Tsarvitch, and no one in all of Russia had the power to constrain him. Even his servants, attempting to restrain him from playing too wildly, could never command him with any force, because he was the prince. His blood was royal, and too thin. He could damage himself and that could not be had. But he did. Alexei was a young boy and hated being forced to sit down quietly. He would play with his sisters- Anastasia was always game for anything- and often injure himself, but despite the pain he felt after falling; when an ordinary bruise would swell and give him pain for hours afterwards, he would not be passive and hold still. He would throw himself down stairs, jump around any room, or down a pile of snow. In Siberia he had more trouble walking and was doubly imprisoned in a wheelchair and in Ipatiev House.
When he was shot, he could not ever run. Others ran. Maria tried to dash towards the door. Alexei could do nothing. At least he was killed quickly. He does not remember the pain.
It is dark. He is Alexei and he waits.