“They just arrived and are unpacking their car.” My husband walked quickly toward the entrance.
“We need to think what we will say to the hotel staff.” I looked at the front desk.
“If we are asked, we will tell them they are settling in with friends. These are unusual times.”
“That will work.” I frowned thinking – this better work.
“We are so glad to see you again. Here Dmitre’s number is ringing. He needs to know you are safe.”
“But we could…”
“Yes son, we are glad to be safe. We are worried for the friends we have left behind.” Malika took my hand as she held the cell phone in her other. “We had to leave my birds and everything …” Tears came to her eyes. “Yes, be safe son. We will talk soon.”
The children jabbered with their father while we unpacked the car.
“Bye, bye papa.” The children shouted in unison.
We shouldered backpacks and satchels and moved quickly toward the hotel.
“Some tea would be a relief.” Malika’s sister Luda stated.
“Yes, we will get you some tea once we settle. It is almost 3:00.” I tried to hurry our little group.
“But they have staff to help with this.” Luda stopped in the middle of the lobby eyeing a comfortable set of couches.
“Luda and Malika we do not want the hotel staff to see you. It is for your …”
“Pashli – let’s go sister.” Malika walked with determination to the elevator.
I wanted to let out a big sigh as I grabbed her elbow toward the stairs. The children dragged their bags. They went “Thump, Thump” up each stair.
We didn’t see the man, but he watched us from the car to the stairs.
“Please, we need to be silent and quick.” My husband said with urgency.
We hoped they wouldn’t grumble when they had to go to the third floor only to walk back down one flight of stairs.
“You do not seem to know your way.” Luda waved her arms in frustration.
“Shhh, Luda. We do know…” My face was serious.
As we reached the carpet with the design, we asked everyone to stop. This was not easy as there was so much forward motion in our feet. But we managed.
“Stand on that piece of carpet.” My husband lined the children’s feet on the design.
When he saw the pattern change, we pushed each of our friends forward. Luda stumbled.
“Quick.” I hissed.
Valeria’s smile lit up the room as she stepped forward to help us. She grabbed several of the bags and put her finger upon her lips.
“This way.” She moved silently toward the blue room.
It was too late to wonder if someone had seen us stumble over the portal…
It is not easy to leave all your possessions behind. Our refugee friends have had to leave all they owned behind. It is a difficult thing but each one is grateful for their safety.
Welcome to Penned in Moondust. This month for A to Z challenge I took an archived story written in Odessa, Ukraine in 2007. I’m updating it with current events ;the focus is a time portal and a family.
Here is a link to the story in order: