One day, writer gets into a small provincial town in the Carpathian Mountains and gives a lecture in the local cloister about holy and weak-minded people. An elderly man is one of the audience, his name is Voytko.
She goes to his homestead. Woman turns out to be in a kind of trap for some time and can’t leave the homestead.
The writer becomes more and more absorbed into Voytko’s life, she meets his brother Stanislav, who lives in the opposite house at Verkhovyna. She becomes the only link between two brothers; the only gist of living for them is the internal struggle: who will live longer and deprive the rival of chance to get pleasure from his death.
She restores brothers’ life-story piece by piece like mosaic. She becomes the witness of both brothers’ drama, they have been sharing everything during all their life: mother, toys, right to be called the best, woman (one for both), one son for two, it’s unknown who is the real father of the boy. The boy considers both brothers to be his fathers.
But the event, after which they never talk to each other during 40 years, takes place in their life. Looking out of the window to the steam coming from the chimney becomes the sense of their living; like strategists they figure out how to defeat each other and die the last.
Every day brings brothers closer and closer to the death. Voytko has cancer and his tortures become harder and harder, but no one from them die. And they both realize that it can last forever, no matter how weak the body is, the soul will not leave it till the second brother die. And the writer, helping them, writes the book about St. Christopher during all that time, but soon comes the day when the book is finished…