The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo: Chapter 2

The sound of a cell phone in the bedroom draws Nick out of his morning stupor just as he finishes shaving. He picks up the Android and scans the ID. <<Nikita>> is flashing on the screen, Nick answers.
“Hey Babe”
“I miss you”
“Yeah, I miss you too, how’s Moscow?”
“Freezing, gray, and people drive on the sidewalks.”
“Nothing’s changed then?”
“Not a thing. How’s the grant coming?”
“Slow, Tony’s being Tony”
“Oh, more tapes huh? Sorry to hear that. When is it due?”
“Yeah, more tapes.  Next Monday, lots of time.”

Sound of loud knocking on the door in the background
“Hey Babe, wait a minute, there’s someone at the door.”
“All right.”


Nick waits listening as Nikita answers the door. A male voice, speaking harshly in Russian, starts barking orders. Suddenly Nikita screams, there’s a loud bang like a door flung open against a wall, sounds of a struggle, grunts, a muffled cry, then the sounds fade as if it’s moving away.

“NIKITA!”

Nick yells into the phone. Silence. “Nikita pick up the phone!” Nothing.
Nick grabs the land line and dials the number for the hotel in Moscow where Nikita has been since she arrived for a security trade show. “Hotel Pleshka, may I help you?” “Yes, ring room 4213, Nikita Brittenham.” “One minute please” Silence. “Sir?” Nick is pacing the bedroom now. “Yeah, did she answer?” “I’m sorry Sir but the woman you asked for is not registered in this hotel.” “What?” “Are you sure you have the right hotel? Perhaps she is in a different one, there are many in Moscow” “Yeah, I’m sure, I was just talking to her and someone came to the door and there were screams, now she doesn’t answer the phone. She’s been there for a week and I’ve talked to her every night.” “I’m sorry Sir but she’s not a guest here.” Nick hangs up and returns to the cell to listen but there’s no sound and Nikita does not answer as he yells into the phone to pick up.

Nick’s brain switches into overdrive, he hangs up and immediately dials the Pentagon, he’s got one last contact there, Boris Bavolchek, and he needs his help fast.

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Chapter One