The ring of the queen (t.., p.45
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       The Ring of the Queen (The Lost Tsar Trilogy Book 1), p.45

           Terri Dixon
 

  Part XXXXI

  Until the day I die, or until the day I can't think anymore, I want to be involved in the issues that I care about.

  -Janet Reno

  “Hello?” I said. I rubbed my head to nurse the bump that I’d gotten from falling off of the sofa when I heard the phone ring.

  “I’m looking for a Stacey Zerbst.” I couldn’t tell anything except that it wasn’t Peter.

  “I don’t know what you mean.”

  “I see. This is Vladimir Zegev. I am head of the Detective Administration’s Political Crimes Unit.”

  “How can I help you?” I asked.

  “You may have heard some things in the media about a woman from America who was impersonating a Romanov.”

  “Yes.” I wasn’t saying anything more than necessary. I was so afraid. I didn’t know what the Detective Administration was, but it sounded worse than the CIA.

  “We got this number from a phone belonging to one of the persons involved in the affair.”

  “Oh my.” I wanted to throw up again.

  “I am going to read some names, and I need to know if any of them sound familiar to you.”

  “Certainly.”

  “Steven Zemecki.”

  “No.”

  “Peter Godunov.”

  “No.”

  “Tania Turin.”

  “No.”

  “Elizabeth Zinkov.”

  “No.”

  “Boris Fedorov.”

  “No.”

  "The location on your phone shows that you are at the house of Lydia Medvedev, Boris Fedorov's sister."

  “This is his sister’s house?” I felt faint.

  “Ah yes, it is. And you are…?”

  “Anna.”

  “Anna who?”

  “Anna Garetsky.” I had to think quick. It was the name on a book on the shelf next to me.

  “Well Anna, this phone number does indeed show Lydia Medvedev’s house as it's location. Who might you be in relation to her?”

  “A client.”

  “I am sorry, but this is an official investigation. I am going to have to ask for you cooperation.”

  Then it hit me. “Can I be sure that Boris’ wife won’t know anything about this?”

  He sounded surprised. “Yes.”

  “I’m Boris’ girlfriend. He comes to Lydia’s to meet me. You can’t let his wife find out. I wouldn’t want Boris to end up never seeing his kids again. Please, understand. I’m in love.”

  There was silence. I knew I’d given him something to think about. “Miss Garetsky, I do understand.”

  “Oh thank you. ”

  “Thank you for your candor, Miss Garetsky.”

  I said thank you, but he’d already hung up. I took a deep breath. I turned to see Tania, Lydia, Grisha, and Boris standing on the steps.

  “It was a man from something called the Detective Administration,” I announced.

  “Dear God,” Boris gasped.

  Boris sat in the living room followed by the others. Everyone just sat there. No one said anything.

  “What is the Detective Administration?” Tania finally asked.

  “It’s like your FBI on the surface, but they are the FSB. Secret Police,” Grisha answered. He looked at me. “What did you tell them?”

  “I told them that I was Boris’ girlfriend, and that we meet here so his wife doesn’t find out.”

  “That’s not bad,” Lydia said.

  “I need to call home,” Boris groaned. He called his house. “I don’t want anyone to call there with that story. I won’t be able to go home again if that happens.” He walked into the kitchen to make his call in private. I hoped that I hadn’t gotten him into trouble with his wife.

  Tania picked up the remote and started flipping through the news channels again. There still was nothing about the ring, or an impersonator.

  “Well, there’s nothing on the television,” Tania announced, after several minutes of channel flipping.

  “But they called here,” I said. “I don’t like this. I feel like I’m waiting for something bad to happen.”

  The phone rang again. Everyone stared at it. I picked it up.

  “Hello?” It was Peter. “Oh Peter, thank God. I was so worried.”

  “Hang up!”

  “Why would I do that? Come on Peter, I was worried about you. What’s going on? Has the government really decided that I left?”

  Then I realized that Peter was no longer on the phone.

  “So, Miss Garetsky, it seems we do have something to talk about.” It was him again. “Don’t hang up. We can work this out.”

  “What do you want from me?”

  Everyone in Lydia’s living room froze, and no one made a sound.

  “The President would like the property of Russia that you have in your possession to be returned to him. Then we would like you to leave.”

  “Trust me; I don’t want to be here. Your country is too damn cold. Just tell me what to do. What does Peter have to do with this?”

  “Just call it incentive for you to do the right thing. Mr. Godunov and Mr. Zemecki are waiting to see you.”

  “You have both of them?”

  “They are fine. We want the ring back. Then we want you to go back to America and leave us alone.”

  “You don’t seem like a very nice person. What would you do if I just disappeared again, and didn’t give you your ring back? I’ll be happy to go home, but that ring was a gift from my grandmother.”

  “Stacey!” Lydia exclaimed from behind me. “You have no idea what these people will do to you. Do what they say.”

  “She sounds like a wise woman. We are not unreasonable. We want the property of Russia back.”

  “I say it’s mine. I could vanish.”

  “That would be unwise.”

  “Why? Do you think that I care about those two guys? You give them a lot of credit. They’re a couple of geeks. Why would I have any interest in either one of them? I don’t think we have any kind of a deal.”

  “As you wish.”

  “That’s it? I thought you would try and convince me.”

  “No.”

  “Good.” I hung up on him.

  “I can’t believe you did that,” Tania said, staring at me.

  Everyone agreed.

  “Oh, come on.” I was getting upset now. “I’ve heard nothing since I got here but stories. I’ve heard stories about the mafia, and stories about thugs, and stories about assassinations and executions. He gave up. He backed right down. I think that you give them way too much credit. I’m an American citizen. They can’t just kill me. That would be a political nightmare. What do you really think they’ll do?”

  Tania was looking past me at the TV. She took the remote and turned up the volume.

  “In late breaking news, we go to the Kremlin in Moscow.” They switched screens to a crowd gathered in front of the main office building inside the Kremlin. “Two men have been arrested in connection with the story that we have all been following. A woman from America has been masquerading as a Romanov. We have discovered that the two men now arrested, helped the woman steal the ring of Catherine the Great from a secret vault in the Hermitage museum. They then assisted her in her mission to overthrow the Russian government. The woman, known only by her alias, Catherine Anastasia Zerbst, a name that officials say she handpicked for her plan, is still at large. She has the ring, a Russian artifact in her possession. She intends to take it out of the country to America. The two men, Peter Godunov and Dr. Steven Zemecki, are being held on charges of high treason. Federal prosecutors have charged them and will seek the death penalty. There will be an immediate trial beginning tomorrow morning. They expect a decision to be handed down by the court in a matter of days. If the death penalty is used in this case, it will be the first case of its kind in over 100 years. The punishment, currently on the bo
oks for the crime of high treason against Russia is death by hanging.”

  “That is what they will do,” Lydia finally replied.

  My phone rang. I picked it up.

  “I trust you were watching the television.”

  I hated that voice. “What do you want me to do?”

  “If you bring that ring to the President, we will drop the charges.”

  I couldn't let them die. “Fine.”

  “There is a train leaving at 10:30 am. Be on it.”

  “And if I’m not?”

  “It will be a short trial. Remember, this is

  not America.”

  “Where do you want me to bring the ring?”

  “You bring that ring to the building that you saw on the television.”

  “Are you going to kill me?”

  “Of course not. We already have an international incident. We want to stop this nonsense, so we can get back to real life. A life without rumors of a magic Romanov that will fix every citizen's personal problems.”

  “Are you going to kill Peter and Steve?”

  “That depends on whether or not you bring the ring.”

  I looked at the ring on my finger. I wanted to cry. I looked up at the mirror on the wall in front of me. I bet Catherine never let some thug get the best of her.

  “I’ll be on the train.” I hung up on him.

  Everyone was watching me. I had to get a little sleep before I went to the train station in a few hours. I wanted to die. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me.

  “Stacey?” Tania shook me. “What’s going on?”

  “I’m taking them their damn ring so they don’t hang Peter and Steve.” I pulled the blankets that I had been sleeping under back over me. “I told you I couldn’t lead a country. I’m just a kid. I can’t handle this.”

  The Ring of the Queen

 
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