Monday, July 14, 2008

Run For Your Life

Mode Room Press

You are In a hospital in St. Petersburg
With a piece of glass
The fields smell of carrion fumes
A panhandler is asking for change
while a widow is poisoning the tea

Run For your Life Audio. Down load and enjoy

Run For Your Life

At first Ted could not remember where he was, but the voices outside his door brought the past nights events back into the front of his mind. They were Russian of course and this was the Mariinsky hospital St Petersburg, Russia. Last night there had been an argument with his landlord and the police had been called. He had not been part of the argument, and was trying to keep a low profile as he had for the three years since he had been planted there; but the police raided all of the apartments, they found the two books that could be made into a transmitter, and while being questioned about them one of the police bashed him over the head.
He remembered bits of the ambulance ride and was grateful that at least they were bring him to a hospital and not tossing him right in a prison. Not that it made much of a difference because as he tried to sit up to get a better look at the room he was held in place by wrist and chest straps. His legs were free for the little good that would do him.
There was some one at the door now talking to two people, presumably the guards. He decided it would be best to pretend to be a sleep. The doctor came in and shuffled around the room for a few minutes not speaking. Then Ted could feel him come near.
"Come now comrade, I know you are awake, your breathing is much too shallow for you to be sleeping. I would hate to have to use this device to wake you." Ted reluctantly opened his eyes at the sound of arching electricity. The Doctor held in his hands two probes with an arcing spark between them. "There, that is much better. You see the power of suggestion is very great. I am Doctor Kuznetsov. My job is to make sure you are healthy enough that our friends out there can find out more about you. If you cooperate we may not see much of each other, if you don't, well lets just say we will be good friends."
"I don't know what you are talking about." Ted answered
"No need to speak in Russian, in fact, I prefer you did not. You dirty the language." His voice took on an unkind edge. "Besides we all speak in English here. Oh and by the way that is the kind of attitude that is going to have us seeing more of each other." Before Ted could react the probes were pressed against his side. His body spasmed and he convulsed against the restraints.
"What did you do that for." He gasped in German this time
"Don't speak Russian to me again. That was the lowest setting. This will not kill you, but it can be extremely painful."
Ted breathed deeply to calm his heart. He knew that he had to get out of there and quickly. He looked around the room for something anything he could use to help him escape. The only thing in the room as the glass I.V. bottle. It would be hard to reach with his feet but he had to chance it. He waited until the doctor's back was turned and swung his feet up and kicked it loose. It crashed down on his bed frame spraying blood and glass everywhere. Almost instantly the two guards were in the room with them, guns drawn.
Doctor Kuznetsov held up a hand and they stopped. "That was very stupid of you. I am not sure what you were trying to accomplish but that was the only bottle of blood that you were to be given. Now it is all over you. You were to have enough of your own blood all over you don't you think?" Before Ted could answer the probes were pressed against his sides again. The glass in his hand cut deeply into his palm as he mercifully blacked out.
When he woke again the room was empty. The blood had been cleaned from the room and his body with what smelled like straight bleach. He waited a long moment before moving anything other than his eyes. outside the small window in the door he could see the shadows of two men, but no voices. And his legs were now also tied down.
He opened his hand slowly and painfully extracted the shard of glass he had hidden there. Thankfully though the straps were tight, they were not thick and he set to work cutting them. It took him nearly an hour to get through the one strap with his limited movement. But once the first one was off he could use his hand to get the rest of them loose. He rose from the bed as quietly as possible and checked the room. There was only, a single chair and the bed. His clothes were no where to be found. The window was not locked but they were three stories up.
Ted worked quickly and using the straps and the bed sheet created a rope that would get him within ten feet of the ground. he wasted no time and climbed down. Still in his hospital gown he knew he had to get out of sight quickly. He ran down narrow streets keeping to the darkest parts of the city, always heading West, always making his way to the one place no one wanted to go. The killing Fields. There he would be able to strip some poor soul of their clothes at least.
An hour later when he made it the sky was already dark. The Killing fields were really no more than a square between four low buildings. The guilty were dragged here and summarily shot. The bodies were usually left for two or three days as a warning to others. The fields smelled of the fumes of the dead. After a short prayer he found a man about his size among the dead and took his clothes and out f respect he dressed the man in his hospital gown.
With No money, and no papers And the only way our of the Soviet Union being Finland over a hundred miles to the north, he was in for a very long few days. There were two trains out of St. Petersburg the one at midnight made the most sense to try to be on, but both would be well guarded. He would have to take his chances. For now he had to get to the train station without getting caught. He had walked about a mile before he found a bicycle. He knew the man would report it missing in the morning, but with luck he would be nearly half way to Finland before then. He got near the train station and hid the bike in an alley.
At 11:40 he found the train that he was looking for. The train itself was bathed in flood lights and men with dogs patrolled the grounds. The rails were dark half a mile out side of the train yard, where the train would have had time to get up speed, then every mile or so after that would be a guard tower with a light, watching the train from above, so riding on the top was out. Staying in the shadows he moved along the length of the train. The cargo cars were all locked, so riding in the train was out. That left under it. That was dangerous at best. Catching a moving train, was difficult, Catching a train moving a full speed was even more so, and catching a train a full speed and then getting into the under carriage of one of the cars in under half a mile was going to nearly impossible. Ted thought briefly about going back and getting the bike and then though better of it. This would be dangerous, but he would have to chance it, and besides it was the fastest way out.
He left the train yard and made his way around to the tracks beyond the lighted area. There were few places to hide here so he would have to take great care not to be seen by the conductors. He flattened himself against the slope leading up to the rails and waited. He could hear the sounds of the train starting. In a few minutes it was nearing him, and he prepared to move. He waited until the first three cars had passed and the ran stooped to beside the train until he was in its shadow. As one of the box cars passed him he saw the ladder on the back that he hoped would be there. He Tried to catch it but it was moving too fast, he would have to wait for the next one and jump. The next three cars were tankers and had no hand holds. The next car was a box and the ran and jumped for the ladder. He caught it with one hand and was dragged for a while, legs pumping wildly, while he tried to grab hold with the other hand. Finally he was able to pull himself up.
After a few moments of catching his breath he remembered that he needed to find a way to hang on under the car so that the guards at the next tower would not see him. His fingers and legs ached, but he lowered himself back down and looked under the car for a place to hang on. The train was still picking up speed and there seemed to be less room than he had suspected between the bottom of the car and the tracks, but there were a series of metal bars he could hold on to, and maybe even wedge himself between so he would not have to hang on for the whole trip. As he lowered himself down, he found out how close he was to the tracks. His left foot slipped off the ladder rung as he held himself upside down, it fell and hit the track sending waves of pain up his leg and ripping off his shoe. Painfully he lifted the leg and slid it between one of the bars and the train car, then even more painfully, because now the weight was on the injured leg, he repeated the same thing with his other leg. He pulled himself up and hooked his arms over the bars and waited. In an odd moment to pessimism he realized that if some astute guard noticed the odd shoe on the track they might halt the train, and he would have little or no time to get away. Jumping off a moving train would be suicide and anyway he could not run far, he was pretty sure his ankle and possibly his knee were sprained.
What followed were among the longest hours of his life. The train stopped twice at country stations. The security was lighter here than in St. Petersburg but it was still there. At the second station he had to move twice as the guards were checking under the train. In this maneuver he managed the gash his arm. When the train was moving, although the threat of discovery was much lower, there were other things conspiring against him. Though it was late spring, it was night and they were pretty far north. It was never very warm and the winds seemed brutally cold. The bars on which he was hanging, cut off the circulation to his limbs and he had to keep shifting so that he did not loose feeling. This was not comfortable, and consider he had had nothing to eat or drink in at least eighteen hours he was beginning to feel weak from the constant exertion, not to mention the danger of slipping.
When it was over he was almost to tired to move. He could not be one hundred percent sure that this was the right station, but he would have to chance it. He had no more energy to hang on, and if he missed the right station he would start heading east, which would undoubtedly put him in a much worse situation.
As soon as he thought it was safe he let his legs down. Putting his weight on his injured leg was more painful then he had imagined and the cut from his arm was bleeding quite badly. it left a small trail of blood. They would both have to wait. He waited until the guards were at their furthest point from him and made a break for the tree line thirty yards away. It was a very long run on his injured leg, and when it was over he was sure that both the knee and the ankle were sprained. So he sat ten meters inside the small wood, behind a tree and rested.
It seemed like only seconds later that he was awakened by the wet slap of rain on his face, but it must have been much longer because the sun had risen and was halfway up the sky. He looked cautiously around. He could see the train station but not as clearly as he had worried he would be able to, and there was a village in the distance about ten miles to the north that he could see out the other side of the little corps of trees. It would be a very long walk but he was much closer than he had been before. Still sitting he ripped part of his shirt and wrapped it around this still bleeding arm. It was still bleeding but at least it had slowed. He wrapped his suit coat, dirty though was it was around him an it covered the tear for the most part. Again he thanked the dead man for being well dressed. Then painfully getting up he looked around for something he could use as a walking stick. It took several long minutes of looking to find one that was both strong enough and long enough, in this little cluster of trees.
He made his way slowly and it was already dark when he reached the town he had been aiming for all day. As he entered the town he crept cautiously between the out buildings of a small farm. He was not sure if he had made it over the boarder, but as he watched a man separated himself from the a building several hundred yards up the road. He held out his hat to a passer by and a few coins were dropped in. He had made it to the west.
Three days later he sat in the office with the local Bureau chief. They had been briefing him for 8 hours now and Ted was exhausted.
"Ted, it is unfortunate that you had to pull out when you did. But that is the way the dice falls. But you did uncover something important. We have been looking for your Doctor Kuznetsov, for about three years now. He is pretty infamous as, ah well... an applier of pain. He had been a Nazi during the war and the Russians recruited him as soon as the war was over. According to his widow who we pulled out of Estonia three years ago, he was dead. She had killed him by poisoning his tea, but your report throws all that into question."

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Run for Your LIfe by
Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Based on a work at