Lori has been writing fiction since she first caught the writing bug at age nine.
From Chapter 19
Sasha finally made a date with Gita, which thrilled her no end. As he was leaving to pick her ups, his father, Judge Jakub Mazur, whom he'd not seen in over ten years was at the door. Though he'd aged quite a bit, he still had an imposing presence. He threatened Sasha to stop investigating the disappearance of Anna Wronski or Gita would be eliminated. He revealed to Sasha that Borys and Rufin were the guilty ones regarding Anna Wronski's disappearance. She'd discovered that they were guilty for murdering Oskar Klebek and had been talking to the journalist Koslow, and the authorities after he was killed as well.
They hired Robert Barron to get her on a ship and well out of Poland.
"So if all these things were committed by Borys Kowalski and Rufin Wronski, why are you threatening me and the woman I love?" It was the first time he'd ever said those words out loud to anyone since he was a child.
"I don't owe you any explanations. Get out of town tonight. No more contact with your your precious girlfriend, you got that little goody two shoes, jew loving church boy?"
"You make me sick," Sasha said. "You're whole life has been nothing more than preying on innocent people, destroying lives, greed and power. How you hold your head up after your brutality against innocent Jewish men, women and children for the glory of Hitler is unfathomable."
"Stop your snooping, get out of town tonight, or little Gita is gone."
Ula Pays Sasha a Visit
Sasha came out of his office to give his secretary some paper work and was shocked to see Ula Kowalski standing there with fire in her eyes.
His stomach dropped. "Ula, I know you've come along way but..." Before he could continue UIa interrupted him.
"I sure have. If you had returned any of my calls I wouldn't have come, but you left me no other recourse."
"Ula, I'm sorry. I know why you're here. I am sick about what pain my leaving without a word has caused Gita. It couldn't be helped. And I must tell you that your coming here could be dangerous for you and much more so for Gita. You must leave right away."
Ula stared at him, vexed the core. "I'm not leaving here until I get some answers. Give it to me quickly and I'll be on my way."
Sasha took hold of her shoulders and tried to turn her to the door. "Go now. We are being watched. "
"Watched? Who's watching us? I demand you tell me what's going on, Sasha."
"Gita's life is in danger if I continue the investigation. Now go."
Ula's eyes grew big and her mouth formed an O. "You can't mean it. Why?"
Sasha desperately wanted Ula to know the full story, but he didn't want to risk his father finding out. He knew his father had someone watching him, he'd been followed all the way to the office that morning.
"Ula, you must leave immediately. Your coming here has probably put Gita in grave danger. Go to the Cracovia hotel and I'll try to get a message to you. Now, Brigitte and I are going to escort you out rather sternly. Please know it is an act." He waved Brigitte to come. "Escort her out Brigitte. Act like your upset she was here. I'm right behind you."
Sasha opened the door and Brigitte gently but firmly nudged Ula out the door.
"Do not come back Mrs. Kowalski. You are not welcome here," she said.
"Fine," Ula snapped back. "Mr. Mazur is a poor excuse of an investigator." She turned her attention to Sasha who was standing behind Brigitte in the doorway. "I will be sure to get the word out about you all over Krakow, do you hear me?"
Sasha gave one last hostile arm wave, turned on his heels, and returned to his office with Brigitte following behind him.
"I want you to give this small envelope to the waiter at the cafe at the end of the block," Sasha told his secretary. "You know who I'm speaking of. Be as discreet as possible. Take a friend with you. Have lunch. I'll pay. When he brings you the bill slip him the envelope. It's very important you are as discreet as possible."
"Do you really think we're being watched?" she asked.
"Yes. I'm sure I was followed to work this morning. It's a long story, but we can't mess this up." He handed her the envelope and some cash for the meal. Call your friend and meet for lunch at noon."
An hour later she delivered the envelope to the waiter at the cafe. She was so discreet that her girlfriend did not see her pass it to him. She lingered a bit to look like they were not in a hurry. Then they said their goodbyes and each returned to their jobs.
The waiter saw to it the message got to the hotel concierge where Ula was staying.
A Message for Ula
A soft knock on Ula's hotel room door startled her awake from her nap. She went to the door. "Who is it?" she asked.
"Room service, Mrs. Kowalski," a friendly, but business like male voice said.
'Room service?' she wondered to herself. 'I didn't order room service.' It then occurred to her that Sasha may have set it up to get a message to her. She opened the door and cheerily greeted the man dressed in black pants and a white shirt with the hotel logo on it, bearing lunch. She ushered him in and paid him a gratuity.
He leaned close to her and whispered. "There is a message for you in the napkin." He turned and left the room. Ula ignored the lunch and opened the napkin and picked up the note.
"After you read this note destroy it and leave immediately for home. My father has threatened Gita's life if I don't give up the investigation. Boris and Rufin were behind the murder of Oskar Klebek. Mrs. Wronski overheard them talking about it and went to Koslow, the investigative journalist. They then killed him, and sent her off on a ship. There are still missing pieces to the story but my father is unscrupulous. He will do what he says he will do. Don't tell Gita but keep her close."
Ula's hands were trembling and she could barely hold the note. "Oh, this is so awful. Oh God, please intervene and stop the hand of Judge Mazur. Protect Gita, Sasha, and myself. I'm trusting You. Amen."
With that, Ula went through the drawers in the hotel room and found a book of matches. She lit the note and envelope over the sink until they burned completely to ashes. She then took a handkerchief from her purse and wiped the ashes out of the sink, then put the handkerchief back in her purse in a zippered compartment that was hard to see. Then, with a wet wash cloth she cleaned the sink thoroughly. She checked the cloth to make sure it didn't have any trace of ashes. She then packed her overnight bag, ready to check out. She glanced at the lunch tray with a covered plate on it. She must make it look like she ate her lunch in case one of Judge Mazur's men came in after her. She removed the lid and was happy to see it was a sandwich. She wrapped it in the napkin, and shoved it into her purse. She poured the tepid coffee into the commode, flushed, and returned the cup back to the tray. Certain she'd covered all her bases, she left to check out.
On the way home, Ula's heart raced in fear for Gita's safety. She prayed and pleaded with God to keep Gita safe. Then she would fall back into intense worry. Would she find Gita alive and safe when she got home? Then her thoughts turned to Borys. The very thought of his evil ways enraged her. She wondered how she could have ever married such a terrible man. And worse, why had she stayed with him all these years? Since his death, she had not grieved much for him. Truth be told, she had loathed him for years. She felt guilty for it, knowing God required forgiveness. The anger, resentment, and disdain she had for him sometimes kept her up at night. She felt blood coursing through her body. She was becoming bitter. And now this. She prayed more, asking God to deliver her from the bondage of bitterness. She must overcome it or it would eat her alive. And she needed to be fully present for Gita.
Sasha Makes a New Plan
Sasha leaned back in his chair thinking hard about the next move. 'There is no way I'm giving this investigation up. But how can I proceed?' His investigative mind began trouble shooting. At one point he absent-mindedly glanced over at his world globe. That was it. Pursue the investigation by following the route of the SS Pulaski. He knew for sure now, based on what his father told him, that Anna Wronski had been sent off on a ship and to eventually make it to America. The SS Pulaski had to be the ship she left Poland from. He knew it had sailed to Cornwall, England. When and what ship she got onto from there to get to America he didn't know. But he would investigate those questions when he got to Cornwall. He knew, though, that he couldn't just up and leave right away; it would raise too much suspicion. He would bide some time and wait for something to change so he could go. He breathed a prayer for Gita's safety, for his father's plans to be thwarted, and for guidance in when to leave for Cornwall.
"Don't give up, Gita, my little pearl," he whispered. "I will find your mother and you will be together one day soon," For the first time, he had complete confidence it would happen.
Ula was grateful to find Gita safe, but her precious goddaughter was suspicious about her twenty four hour disappearance. Ula did not want to lie; she abhorred lying, and especially to dear Gita. But she felt she had to make an exception in this case.
"I went to Praga to help my sister get her house ready for putting up on the market today. She had all the big stuff done, but you know her untidy tendencies. She was overwhelmed and asked it I'd come help. I haven't seen her in awhile, anyway. It was kind of spur of the moment. I'm sorry, I should have called you."
Gita stared at her, unconvinced, but she wasn't about to accuse her of lying. She decided to let it go. They had a light supper together at Gita's house. When they were done with the dishes Ula was going to head home. Gita asked her to stay awhile. She'd been feeling so lonely, lately. They listened to the radio while Ula sat and crocheted and Gita sat to read the newspaper. She gasped as she read the front page headline. "Oh Aunt Ula, you won't believe what the headline says." Before Ula could reply Gita read it.
JUDGE JAKUB MAZUR HAS MASSIVE STROKE, IN CRITICAL CONDITION
Ula got out of the rocker and went over and sat next to Gita. She read the article aloud.
Judge Jakub Mazur was struck down by a massive stroke in his office early this morning. His secretary found him unconscious on the floor and called for emergency medical services. "It is not known how long Judge Mazur was unconscious" said a hospital spokesmen. "He was rushed into surgery and is now in Intensive Care. Doctors are not optimistic about his chances of survival. The damage to his brain was extensive. If he rallies, he will have substantial impairment and will need comprehensive rehabilitation. It's not likely he will be able to return to work."
Judge Mazur's wife, Elena, said in a statement that her husband had been having major health issues recently and was set to undergo tests next week.
The article went on to tell about the judge's so called illustrious career, lavishing praise on him as if he were a saint but Ula chose not to make herself and Gita sick.
"Oh my," Gita said. "I wonder if Sasha knows. I should call him."
"No," Ula said, more sharply than she meant to. "Of course his mother has notified him. He and his father were estranged and I don't imagine he's as upset as one might think. But I'll bet he is concerned about his mother. I think the family needs privacy at a time like this."
"Well but it's Sasha, Aunt Ula. It's not like he's some acquaintance or co-worker. I love him and even though he abandoned me, I'm still concerned for him. I'm going to call him." Gita reached over to the phone that sat on the end table. She barely had it to her ear when Ula snatched it from her.
"No Gita, you can't."
"What is wrong with you?" Gita said angrily. "Give me the phone back. I'm going to call him. Stop this nonsense."
"Gita, honey, I need to tell you something. It's very serious. You can't contact Sasha. I'm not supposed to tell you any of this, but if you call him, you could be in grave danger."
"Danger? Aunt Ula, what are you talking about? What's going on?"
Ula told Gita the whole story about her trip to see Sasha and what he told her about his father's threats on her life if he continued his investigation to find her mother.
Gita sat speechless for a moment, trying to process the information. Finally, she responded. "Aunt Ula, I don't understand all this, but Sasha's father is out of the picture now that he's had this massive stroke. I'm going to call Sasha, I don't care what you say."
Ula took Gita's hands in hers. "Gita, just because Judge Mazur is in dire condition doesn't mean you're necessarily safe. We don't know who he has working for him on this, whether the people watching Sasha, and us for that matter, are going to continue. We don't know what the plans are. It's too precarious just yet. Let's wait."
Gita's eyes filled with tears. "I don't care, Aunt Ula, Sasha needs me."
"Gita, please, don't do this. Let's wait. We'll get answers soon, I'm willing to bet. Sasha would be very angry if you called him. He loves you and wants you safe. He will likely hang up on you. Let's pray for Sasha and his mother and this whole situation. We need to trust God."
Gita let out a long breath. They took hands and prayed.
Anna Wronski - Mother of Gita, wife of Rufin Wronski, mysterious disappearance 1939, lives in Pacific Northwest, USA.
Gita Wronski - Polish daughter of Anna and Rufin Wronski. Childhood friend of Sasha Mazur.
Rufin Wronski - Polish. Husband to Anna Wronski, father to Gita, Borys Kowalski's right hand man.
Ula Kowalski - Polish. Wife of Borys Kowalski, godmother to Gita Wronski.
Borys Kowalski - Polish. Corrupt politician; godfather to Gita, husband of Ula.
Sasha Mazur - Polish. Childhood friend of Gita Wronski. Private Investigator. Son of Judge Jakub Mazur.
Minor Characters in Poland
Jakub Mazur - Polish. Father of Sasha Mazur, corrupt dangerous judge.
Karol Lonski - Polish. Government official 1939.
Oskar Klebeck - Polish. Personal attorney to government official Karol Lonski, Found dead in the Vistula river in June 1939.
Sebastian Koslow - Polish. Acclaimed Polish Journalist.found dead in an abandoned warehouse, August 1939.
Robert Barron - American investment banker, business dealings with Borys Kowalski.
It's important to note that this is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.”
© 2018 Lori Colbo