Red Crisis: Chapter Ten
NOTE: MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! :D
“This wasn’t exactly how I imagined getting our parents to meet each other,” Cecelia remarked, reining in Topeka as she waited for Lisa to catch up on Bow.
Lisa giggled as she trotted the large Quarter Horse up next to her friend. “Yeah. Not exactly how I envisioned it, either.”
They continued down the trail and towards the creek, the hot Florida sun beating down on their backs. “Can you believe you’ve only been here just over a week? I feel like we’ve known each other forever.”
Lisa didn’t respond right away, then said, “Well, my Mom always told me that trial grows a friendship faster than fluff does. I guess she’s right. We didn’t know each other that well, and what happened two days ago…”
Her voice trailed off. Cecelia knew what she meant. “I know what you mean. Though I wish we’d just let things be and let the FBI do their thing.”
At this comment, Lisa let out a giggle. “Okay, that’s probably the only funny thing about this whole mess. We thought we were helping the FBI by proving Mr. Dover was a criminal of some sort, when we actually messed up their whole plan!”
“We’re lucky they were still able to catch Diatchenko,” Cecelia commented.
They sobered up and reflected on what happened.
Cecelia explained to Lisa later that FBI agent Donovan had been able to figure out where the call had come from. They’d raced over to the old warehouse off of Cranberry lane, not two miles away from Cecelia’s home. The policemen and agents had then snuck into the basement, where they heard a loud confrontation taking place. At the sound of Diatchenko’s gun, they wasted no time and ran down the steps, overpowering the three agents at gunpoint. Cecelia had been listening to the whole situation via the police radio.
“It was really scary,” she told Lisa. “I heard the gun and I heard them yelling at the KGB to keep their hands up, then Sergeant Parker announced you were alive.”
Roskoldikov had not fared so well. Diatchenko, though thrown off by Slobozhanin’s tackle, had shot Roskoldikov in the chest. He’d died in the hospital three hours later.
What followed the rescue were hours of testimonies, phone calls and panicked parents. Lisa’s family was contacted and flown straight down to Florida. Cecelia’s parents drove down to the police station to pick the girls up. They kept hugging them over and over again, exclaiming through tears, “We’re so glad you’re okay, but oh! Don’t ever do that again!”
Lisa’s arm had required stitches from the two large five inch gashes Diatchenko had inflicted on her. The medical nurse for the police station had patched her up and told her she’d have lifelong scars.
“Hopefully they’ll remind you to let the police do their job,” she’d said.
Now the girls were out doing the thing they’d wanted to do since Lisa had arrived-- go for a trail ride.
“This is relaxing compared to the chaos over the last couple of days,” Cecelia sighed. “Maybe when you have to come back to Florida to give your testimony for the trial we can go for another trail ride.”
“That would be nice. I’m not looking forward to Diatchenko’s trial.” Lisa shuddered. “I’m glad they’re trying Slobozhanin separately. He was against the kidnapping from the start. I hope they let him defect.”
At that second Topeka spooked at a log, and Cecelia reined her in. “Easy girl,” she cooed. “It’s okay, it’s just a log.”
“Yeah, and it looks like an alligator.” Lisa pointed out.
Bow snorted and pawed at the ground. He too, was nervous about the log.
The girls laughed and let the equines sniff the supposed danger.
“Can you believe that the KGB had planted agents in schools around the country to teach kids Soviet ideology?” Lisa asked as they resumed their ride. “That’s why Diatchenko and his comrades were against my being included in the exchange program. They wanted to get to the kids through the education system and were afraid I’d influence parents to “de-school” their kids.”
“How dumb.” Cecelia shook her head. “It’s sad, actually. The Russian government thinks that real education is gained through controlling everyone, when in reality, it’s a choice parents must make for their own kids. They have to make the right decision based on their needs, not everyone else’s. For you, it’s the de-schooling program. You live far away from town and it’s just not economical. For me, its public school. My parents work and West View junior high is one of the best schools around. That’s what freedom is all about, it’s about giving families the choice to make the best decisions for the people they love.”
“And right now the people we love are probably wondering where we are.” Lisa giggled. “Don’t want to scare them into thinking we got into trouble again.”
Cecelia laughed and shot Lisa a mischievous grin. “Race you back to the barn!”
Together, the pen pals galloped on their horses towards the barn and where their families waited.
This is what freedom is, Cecelia decided as the wind whipped through her hair and she urged Topeka on. Its living in a country that supports freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
A place where girls from two different states and backgrounds could become friends despite their varying lifestyles.
Just like Lisa and Cecelia.