Red Crisis: Chapter Five
“Mr. Dover!” Cecelia gasped. “What are you doing here in the middle of the night?”
Mr. Dover scowled at them, the pistol cocked and ready to fire. “Snoops,” he grunted as he removed his wire-brimmed glasses. “It’s by sheer luck we had a meeting tonight, otherwise I wouldn’t have caught you.” He glared at them. “I’m curious as to know how you figured it out.”
Cecelia was flabbergasted. Figured out? What had they figured out? They were on the brink of finding proof he was some sort of criminal and he’d shown up.
At eleven o’clock at night for a meeting?
What kind of meeting took place between teachers at this hour?
“Uhh, I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” Lisa stammered, voicing out the confusion they both felt.
“Don’t play dumb with me,” he snapped. He jerked his gun in the direction of the back wall. “Step away from the desk and stand over there. Now.”
There was nothing they could do but obey. Without even getting a chance to look through his desk, Mr. Dover had proven they were right. He was some sort of criminal, though neither one knew what kind, yet.
Cecelia’s heart hammered against her chest, her palms broke into a greasy sweat. This was not good, Mr. Dover thought they knew something they didn’t, even though they kinda did… what did he think they discovered?
“Now I want it straight from you two,” Mr. Dover growled, looking from one girl to next. “Who told you? Slobozhanin? Roskoldikov?”
Cecelia blinked. “Wha?”
With a quick motion Mr. Dover slapped her with the back of his hand. Cecelia cried out, her hand flying to the place he’d hit her.
“Leave her alone!” Lisa snarled.
He jerked his gun in Lisa’s direction and waved it in front of her face. “Shut up,” he warned. “If it hadn’t been for your visit, this wouldn’t have happened. I knew there would be trouble if we let a de-schooler into the program.”
“What are you talking about!” Cecelia cried. “We don’t know what’s going on.”
“Oh, you don’t?” Mr. Dover snickered. “Then why are you here at midnight searching through my desk? I’m going to ask you again, who told you? Slobozhanin or Roskoldikov?”
Cecelia glanced at Lisa helplessly. What on earth is he talking about?
Lisa’s eyes were wide and she shook her head. I don’t know.
“Look, we really don’t know what’s going on here,” Cecelia tried again. “We just saw that someone addressed a letter to you under the name Diatchenko instead of Dover, and we thought we’d investigate.”
Mr. Dover broke out into laughter. “Do you think I’m dumb enough to fall for that?” He roared. “Deti! I know your Americans ways better than you think.”
Cecelia wrinkled her brow. Deti? What the heck did that mean?
Lisa gave a start, her already frightened eyes grew more alarmed. “Russkiy,” she whispered.
Mr. Dover cocked his head and studied her. “You speak Russian?” he growled.
“Well I sure know what deti means!” she retorted. “And it’s not English.”
Cecelia stared first at Lisa and then Mr. Dover. What are they talking about? Why the sudden switch of topics…
then it clicked. Russkiy. She’d heard that word before, in one of Lisa’s letters.
My friend, Dima, has been teaching me Russian, Lisa had written. Yes is da, no is nyet, hi is privet, how are you is kak dela, and Russian is Russkiy.
Russian. Why hadn’t they noticed it before? Diatchenko was a Slavic surname! And if he’s Russian, that means…
It meant Mr. Dover, aka, Diatchenko, wasn’t just a bad guy. He was a Russian. A spy. He was KGB.
And it looked like Mr. Dover was beginning to have his doubts about his assumptions. “I know one of them had to have told you,” he growled. “We covered our tracks perfectly. Slobozhanin talked about defecting, is he the one?”
“You mean there are more agents?” Lisa yelped. “How many of you are there?”
He stared at her, then glanced Cecelia’s way. A frown crossed his face, then he lowered his gun and did a face palm. “Glupyy! You didn’t know, did you? You really were being as dumb as you said, you didn’t know who I was!”
Cecelia swallowed. “You’re a KGB agent?”
He glared at her. “Unfortunately for you, yes. And thanks to your snooping I’ve got a problem on my hands.” He looked from one girl to the other, his brown eyes infuriated. He then gestured with the gun towards the door. “Walk,” he ordered. “Now.”
Her mouth was dry and her eyes on the brink of tears. Cecelia inched forward, Lisa at her side as Mr. Dover herded them out the door and down the halls.
“Stupid, foolish kids,” he muttered under his breath. “Americans. You never know when to keep to your own business.”
“Cecelia,” Lisa whispered. Cecelia glanced in her direction. Lisa gave a slight hand motion and mouthed R-U-N.
No way. She couldn’t mean that. Mr. Dover had a gun! What? she mouthed back.
“Enough of the silent communication!” Mr. Dover backhanded her again. She jerked her hand up to protect herself.
They stopped in front of the gym door, the halls dark and mournful as they withheld the little light that shone from the streetlamps. Mr. Dover fished out some keys and shoved them in Cecelia’s hand. “Open the door.”
With trembling hands she reached over and stuck the key into the lock, than began to turn it. Once more Lisa mouthed R-U-N, and this time made a fist motion into her hand.
What is she thinking? Cecelia thought miserably. We can’t just run from him, he’s got a gun and- oh.
That could work.
Lisa didn’t need a second glance from Cecelia to know she’d gotten her message. What happened next was so split-second Cecelia barely saw Lisa whirl around and kick Mr. Dover.
The next thing she knew, Mr. Dover was flat on his back, the gun at least six feet away from him.
Lisa grabbed Cecelia’s hand. “Run!” she screeched. “Go! Now!”
She didn’t need a second invitation. They flew down the hall as fast as they could go, the sound of Mr. Dover cursing up a storm in Russian adding speed to their already fast pace. Around the corner they ran, right into another figure.
It just so happened to be Mr. Ross, the music instructor. Their eyes met, his blue ones growing wide as his mind registered the fact that two of his students were in the halls at midnight. At the same time, it occurred to Cecelia this man should not be in the school right now.
“Who told you? Slobozhanin? Roskoldikov?” The words Mr. Dover spoke came back to her in a rush.
Mr. Ross. Roskoldikov.
He was the second agent.
Cecelia reacted first. Before Mr. Ross had a chance to realize what happened, she bolted past him and down the hall.
“Ahh! Ostanovka pryamo seychas!” Mr. Ross yelled, in the same language Mr. Dover had used earlier.
Yep, she thought, no doubt about it. He’s the second agent.
This meant there was one more agent, and he was no doubt in the building. Oh, great.
Cecelia grabbed the last corner of the hall to launch herself into the schoolhouse entryway, the doors giving her more joy at that second then they had on many an afternoon. Freedom!
She had to get out of there now!
“Come on Lisa!” Cecelia screeched. She flung herself against the door, nearly falling flat on her face when they swung open without a fuss. Oh, duh, they only lock these things from the outside.
That was dumb.
She took the steps two at a time and raced down the street in the direction of home. No footsteps sounded behind them. They must’ve scared the KGB agents into flight. Oh thank God, they’re not chasing us!
“The police station is this way,” Cecelia gasped. “We’ll go there right away and tell them everything that happened. They’ve got to catch those guys before they flee the country!”
No answer. Lisa must be really out of breath, she usually talks nonstop.
Cecelia glanced over her shoulder- and skidded to a stop. It was then that the truth hit her like a sledgehammer.
Lisa was not there. She was still in the school.