“Vlad how are we going to get across if you can’t remember?”
“Anatoliy told me years ago. You forget I am old man.” Vlad’s voice cracked.
“It’s easy. Let’s think about that.” My husband knew he had to battle the worry.
“Yes, we tried many configurations to get here when my wife was on this side. Anatoliy didn’t seem to know any more than we did.”
“Or he didn’t want too many to know.”
“Yes, that could be true. Let’s go to Passage. Maybe we can find something.”
“Olga, I am not sure when I will be back…”
“Your wife is our number one concern. Go do what you must do.” Olga pushed the men out the door.
As they walked, they were both deep in thought. My husband wondered about the man who kept a close eye on them. He had always been at The Passage.
“Vlad, I think the man watching us got through the Portal. He is always at the Passage. But the last few times no one.”
“If is the more worrisome.”
They both walked much faster to the Passage. My husband waved at the manager. He smiled back.
They went up the stairs to the third floor then ran down to the second floor and around to the short hallway. There was the diamond design on the carpeting.
“Too early.” Vlad grumbled.
“Let’s go back up and do it again but slow like we always do to not attract attention.”
They did the routine again with a calm they did not feel. When they stood on the pattern, Valeria came through.
“I did it. Oh, thank you Portal. Thank you. “The girl was out of breath.
She turned to the men and looked so worn as if she had been in 2022.
“There is too much to tell you. There is a man named Uri. He is ex KGB and he is trained in torture.”
“How did he get there?”
“We think when Vlad and the men passed over that he gained access before the Portal could close. There is no one there to protect us.”
“Where is the family?”
“They are in hiding in the place. He knows about them and has tried to get information from many of our guests. I pretended I was a housekeeper for The Passage so he thinks I’m a dumb girl.”
“What does he want? It can’t be the family there are too many other ways to get to our friends in 2022.”
“No, he talks about secret passageway. Something about Resistance.”
Vlad looked around like he knew something.
“We are glad you come. Can we get back?”
Vlad stuffed his Glock in his waist band and checked the knife in his boot. Then he handed Valeria his Kalashnikov. She checked the safety, slung the rifle over her shoulder and gave him a thumbs up.
“We need to go back to third floor,” she pointed. “Then back at three. Two people at three don’t you remember, Vlad? Also look at your feet. Left foot on the diamond the other has to be sideways on the circle.” She whispered to Vlad and my husband. “Now let’s go.”
They stood at the clock trying to look unnoticeable. But no one in the hotel cared.
“Vlad will go with me; you must wait two days then come with your wife. We should be safe by then. Bring your gun in case.”
“Tell men to keep rotation to Mariople. Yevhen in charge.”
I nodded Yevhen was respected by all the men and a good leader.
“Go to your room and get your things out. In case…” Valeria pointed for me to go.
“We will win…” Vlad smiled.
My husband thought about the KGB guy.
We don’t need a war on both sides of the Portal. My husband mumbled at the clock as he walked by.
Thank you to the A to Z community and each blogger that joins in April.
Please take a visit to my friend’s Blog Writer of Wrong and his A to Z
This on-going story for A to Z challenge 2022 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. The story about the shot up car and the people is one of many stories we got from friends helping people escape Mariople.