In the dark I ran and never did stop running. Scared to death, I wished I was invible.

I could almost hear the police's sirins among the sound of crunching snow. The hotel would be surrounded with people, police, nobodies, everyone. If not right this moment, tommorow.

Someone like Gregory, one of the town's top doctors, would not leave it alone for the night. He'd probably already called the police. It would all be over with by the end of the night.

And I would have to bare with the fact I would never be able to see Ivan's lovely face again.

I grabbed onto my heart now as I ran. It pained me to think it was all over. Everything we had would be gone, and if I ever saw him again, he'd kill me and Oksana with his bare hands if he could even get that far from the police.

There was no part of me that believed they would catch him, anyway. Ivan is brilliant, and an escape artist. I had the hardest time imagining him handcuffed to the back of a police car.

This town, now blurry threw my eyes as I ran, would have to become dead to me. I'd have to leave it, somehow, someway, right now.

What would Oksana think? Would she even come with me?

I suppose she didn't have a choice.

I could see my appartment building now, screaming to me I needed to hurry inside. I just wasn't fast enough.

I reached in my coat pocket for my keys when my hands slid across the engraved knife.


He could help me. He had too. I'd call him as soon as I got inside.

I ran into the appartment and climbed back up those same, sad stairs as I had for eighteen years.

This would be the last time. It was so hard to believe, but I had too. I had no other choice but to leave here tonight.

My hands were shaking so bad it took me forever to unlock the door.

"Oksana!" I yelled as soon as I burst in. I grabbed the phone sitting on our small table and ran to my room, getting out my bag and anything to pack.

"Pack your things," I yelled out to her. She wasn't responding.

I ran to her room when I realized now light shined underneath the crack.

I opened the door to complete dark. I turned on the light and ambled over to her bed.

On it was a note, my shakey hands could barely pick it up.

I went on a date. I'm sorry. His name is Rustan. I think he's not from around here. He has an accent, but he's nice to me and gives me things.. I promise. I'll be back at 7:00, if you get home before me. I promise.

Love you, Oksana

I looked at the alarm clock by her bed.

It read 10:30 pm

I heaved in and out, grasping onto my weak heart now. I could feel my face flush as I got down to my knees.

I looked around her small room. Everything was so neat and clean compared to mine. Not a thing was out of place.

I went to her desk and took out some notepaper.

I had no other choice.

I could stay here and wait for her. Or I could go out and find her. But if she comes back here, she has to know.

I quickly wrote back to her.

Oksana, if you come home, I'll be gone. It is not safe here for us anymore. Why did you go on that date? Youre only thirteen! You are not allowed! You are so stupid I could hate you right now. Oh Oksana, please, leave this place, and if you see Ivan, hide from him. Don't let him find you. He will murder us. I am almost certain the police won't catch him.

I pray you're safe, wherever you are. I love you.

I left the note right under her pillow and ran back to my room.

I rummaged threw all of my things, which most weren't really mine. I slpet where my mother used too. Piles of her rags, boxes of them, still piled high in the closet and around my bed. For some reason I couldn't get rid of them. I never had the time or energy.

I didn't have any clothes to pack. I wore two outfits I kept as clean and nice as possible. I wanted to pack in some of my mothers rags, just in case. Maybe I could use them as towels.

I didn't have anything to pack. I had nothing to lose here now but Oksana.

I picked up the paper on my dresser with Alexy's name and phone number on it. I quickly dialed it from my phone.

"Alexy," I whispered as soon as he picked up.

"Who is this?" he asked.

"My name is Irena. You met me the other night, outside of the hotel you used to live in," I stuttered.

"Go on," he yawned.

"I found your knife. The one with Salvar engraved on it," I said.

For a moment it became quiet on the phone. I waited so impatiently for an answer from him.

"Did you?" He asked. "What's the date printed in small letters on the bottom of the handle.

I squinted my eyes, looking for a date.

"19...1920," I stammered.

"Yes...yes that is my knife," he said.

Oh, his voice sounded so comforting.

"Can I give it to you tonight?" I asked, trying not to sound too frantic.

"Tonight? What about tommorow?" he asked.

"Listen, it took me alot to get that knife," I said, trying to hold in the tears and exaggerated breaths.

"What's going on dear, tell me all about it," he began.

I hessitated for a moment.

"Ivan is an assasin," I blurted. "He murders many people for money."

" just found out about" Alexy asked very relaxed.

"No, no. I've always known. I let one of his victims go. The police are coming for him, but they won't catch him, and now he's after me. I have to leave this town. I have to do something. I just ask for your help. Please."

"What about your sister?" he asked.

"She's missing," I started to cry. "She went on some date while I was at work. I have no idea where she is."

There was a pause for a moment, and while there was I covered up the bottom part of the phone, hoping he wouldn't hear me balling my eyes out.

"Irena?" he said.

"Yes?" I replied hopfully.

"Meet me at the Volg train station in less than an hour. Take a bus there if you need too. I'll be there and I'll buy you a ticket."

"REally?" I gasped.

"Will you?" he asked.

"I'll be there. I promise," I said.

"If your not within five minutes of me waiting, I will leave," he said.

"I'll..." I started to say when I looked to Oksana's room.

Could I just leave without Oksana?

I had too.

"Would you help me find my sister?" I asked.

"I'll do what I can. You know what you have to do. You have to get away from Ivan as fast as you can," he said.

I took a deep breath.

"I'll be there," I said.

He hung up. I raced back for my bag, looked around the whole apartment one last time as if Oksana would be there, and left the building.