“What is this place?” My husband asked. “And why doesn’t the hotel manager know about it?”
“It is a long story. For now, I will tell you this: You are in the year 1992. We have safety portals that we are opening for Ukrainians as we speak. When you came through the portal in 2010, we were in one of our training exercises. The portal allowed you in. We believe it’s because it knew you would be coming back. There is one of our experts who will have more time to explain how things work. We need your help to prepare. Most of the food and supplies you have purchased, you must bring through the portal. You will use a laundry cart to move those supplies. Then you will wait for the family to come from Mariople.”
“They will be joining us?” My eyes opened wide.
“Yes. One word of caution – you must not tell anyone you know about this portal or what you have seen. There are people looking for us.”
“We understand.” My husband clasped my hand.
“What if…” I mumbled.
“I have felt someone watching and listening.”
“Outside of our door?” My husband looked startled.
“I went to the door and no one was there.”
“We know there are silent watchers. It cannot be helped. BUT be careful.” Valeria’s blue eyes were intense. “You must move rooms. There is a room in 2022 where you can hide many things. You must Go Now – The portal will open for you soon.”
As we walked down the hall, Valeria quickly explained that we needed to bring everything tomorrow on her laundry cart.
“Stand before the hallway clock on the third floor at exactly 3pm. Go down stairs to the second floor. It gives the portal a signal. Then stand on that carpet with the design.”
“What if we miss the time?”
“You will not.” She said flatly. “Change rooms tomorrow. You must move to 502.”
We went back to our room in 2022 and spent our evening in another period of silence.
I heard a thud like someone had dropped something outside our door. My husband quietly walked to the door.
“No one.” My husband said silently from the doorway. “But I did find this.”
He showed me a plastic tumbler with the bottom cut off.
For listenin? I mouthed
Yes, This is surreal my husband wrote on a notepad.
I know. I wrote back
What are we doing? He scratched
His question unnerved me because he was always calm and certain of things.
We are here to help people in trouble. I wrote back.
The next day was nerve wracking. I felt like we were doing something wrong. We managed to get to the portal at the right time with the food, blankets and clothing and first aid stuff. Last minute, I ran down to check into room 502 with one small bag.
Valeria welcomed us as we entered 1992. “This is very good. It will be stored away for Emergency.”
“Now you must get back to 2022.” Valeria said. “When the family comes you bring them here directly. Do not register them in the hotel. Their name cannot be there.”
“When you come across the portal you must leave all your technology. Find the hidden wall and use it.” Valeria showed us back down the hallway.
“Live like you are in Soviet Russia – the walls have eyes and ears…”
Reader: Have you ever been in a place where you had to be very careful what you were saying (or doing?)
Thanks for stopping by Penned In Moondust by Moondustwriter for the A to Z Challenge. This (continuing) story was birthed at The Passage hotel in 2007 in Odessa Ukraine. I changed the time to the present rather than the Cold War. I hope you feel the courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian people as this fiction unfolds.
Links to the beginning of the story: