Im in Odessa, it’s the 12th of February 2022′ I wrote in my journal. This journal was helping me keep track of the days and the year.
It was not just the winter sky that was dark the next morning. We heard sirens going off throughout Odessa.
“The Russian Navy is there.” Someone pointed toward the port. “They will be here by nightfall.” People whispered all about the dining room of The Passage.
People we running all directions dragging bags and children into their cars. One little girl couldn’t find her mother and started screaming.
“What constitutes an emergency?” I asked my husband.
“We will discuss it at lunch my dear.” He pointed to the number 3 on his watch.
I forgot that we were going to 1991 at 3pm.
I saw our housekeeper and gave her money. I whispered “buy some food in case…” I said as more sirens went off.
“I wonder if I made an inexcusable error all for a novel.” My husband said in his strained voice. “It was wrong of me to stay and put you in danger.”
“It is too late to wonder.” I said my eyes a little too misty.
Before we passed over the portal, we had seen people in the lobby fixated on the news. The ship had not yet reached the port, which we all knew was but a brisk walk to the Passage.
Fortunately, my husband was good with numbers so all Dmitre’s information was stored in his head.
As my husband gave Vlad all the coordinates, he felt around his pockets for the new phone.
“I took it and hid it back in 2022.” I crinkled my eyes.
“Oh, thank you. I forgot about technology here.” I could see the beads of sweat on his forehead.
“One more thing,” my husband indicated to Vlad. “The Russian Navy appeared to be readying to dock in Odessa when we were leaving.”
“Then we must be ready. A meeting with Anatoliy must wait.” Vlad walked off quickly to talk with his team.
“We got you some clothing that fits in a little better in this time period.” Valeria pointed to our closet. “I worry about my sister in Odessa.”
“Everyone in Odessa is ready, Valeria. Don’t worry.” I tried not to think of the Russian Navy.
That night I made a checklist of what to keep in 1991 and stashed it into the small area with a hidden panel. We knew our room might be a place where meetings needed to occur day or night so we kept the door unlocked.
“You must find out how many and where. Our men will be ready to set charges on the ships.” Vlad turned to leave our room. “I must remind you. People are watching for you. Every time you must use your phone in a new and secret location. Move around the city carefully.
“Yes, this is a cat and mouse kind of game.” My husband waved goodnight to Vlad.
“So how will we keep moving in safety?” I looked at my husband.
“Tomorrow we will go on a picnic. Away from the city centre where the Russians will most likely be and we make a phone call.”
We were preparing to leave safety in 1991.
“Today we act normal.” My husband stood tall like when he was in dress uniform. “As normal as you can when the enemy is kilometers away.” He winked.
“I’m glad you have given this some thought.” I noticed a bulge in the back of his shirt. It was a Glock. “When was the last thing your fired that thing?” I pointed.
“This morning.” He patted his back then put on an overcoat.
“Well preparation is a good thing.” I held his arm.
“Training center is under the hotel. It’s open 24 hours. You should come practice.”
What are we doing? I wanted to scream as I watched the multicolored rug design in an aging hotel change.
This on-going story was originally written in 2007 in Odessa, Ukraine. I’ve tweeked it to arrive in 2022 but the elements of a multiaccess portal and a war (the original story had multiple wars) are original. The Passage that is central to this story is a real hotel built in 1880s. She’s seen alot of history stomp through her doors and I could feel the past while I lived there. I hope you see the tenacity of the Ukrainian people through this attempt to honor their bravery.
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