Previously: Digger and Cole were escaping the palace as Yi Fan and Twain were visiting Rada the healer. And now…
The Czar looked up at the sound of the sirens. â€œFind out whatâ€™s going on,â€ he said to one of his valets.
The man rushed off and returned moments later with Gansukh, head of the palaceâ€™s security detail. â€œYour majesty!â€ Gansukh shouted. â€œThe prisoners have escaped!â€
â€œWhich ones?â€ asked the Czar.
â€œThe three Americans who were brought in earlier,â€ Gansukh said. â€œTwo escaped from the cell block somehow, and the third killed his torturer and likewise escaped.â€
â€œDamn it!â€ the Czar yelled. â€œThese guys are really starting to get on my nerves. I should have just killed them when I had the chance.â€
â€œYes sir,â€ Gansukh said.
â€œFind them,â€ the Czar said. â€œDonâ€™t try to arrest them, just pin them in place and then let me know. I want to kill them personally.â€
â€œYes sir!â€ Gansukh rushed out of the room.
Rada didnâ€™t think anything about this day could make her feel any more nervous, but seeing the Czarâ€™s pet enforcer, the Ghost who had killed so many, down on her hands and knees wiping the vomit from her floor scared Rada even more. Everything was upside down. The second most powerful person in the region behaving like a servant, a prisoner giving orders, alarm sirens going off: Rada had a momentâ€™s hope that she might somehow be free at last from the Czarâ€™s clutches, but reminded herself that that was not how things worked. She was most likely not on the cusp of freedom, but rather on the precipice of an even worse servitude. That was the way the world worked.
[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”left”]Rada didnâ€™t think anything about this day could make her feel any more nervous, but seeing the Czarâ€™s pet enforcer, the Ghost who had killed so many, down on her hands and knees wiping the vomit from her floor scared Rada even more. Everything was upside down…[/blockquote]The prisoner sat panting in the chair and said, â€œHealer, are you able to do more now?â€
â€œDepends on how much more,â€ she answered.
â€œLet me show you then,â€ the man said. â€œStand back.â€
And then he grew blurry. Rada wiped at her eyes. When the man came into focus again, he was different in almost every way. His hair was shorter, his skin darker, his gear more suited for jungle hikes than prison. Even her kitchen chair was gone, replaced by a chair made of aluminum tubing, with arms that this manâ€™s arms were bound to.
And there was a red stain spreading on his shirt.
The Soviet-made truck jounced away, creaking on its old springs as it passed between two trees and then up a hillside. Even seeing it now, Cole wasnâ€™t entiely sure he believed it.
â€œWhere is it going?â€ he asked Digger.
â€œNowhere in particular,â€ Digger said, waving in the general direction of the truck. â€œJust that way, while we go there.â€
He turned and pointed north-east. Cole turned and saw a high ridgeline in the distance. â€œIsnâ€™t that the place Twain talked about?â€ Cole asked.
â€œYeah,â€ said Digger.
â€œSo youâ€™re going to really try to take away the Czarâ€™s powers?â€ Cole asked.
â€œOf course not,â€ Digger said. â€œThatâ€™s stupid. But if we can get the Czar on our side, then weâ€™ll have the advantage. Twain will have to return my Drillers.â€
Looks like another confrontation building. Who will come out on top? Don’t miss our next tension-filled episode!
To read from the beginning, click here…