Chapter 53

The story so far: The judge apparently reneges on the deal, but Flynn offers assurances.


As Katka fanned Lily, trying to rouse her, she looked toward Paul. “You have to help her,” Katka said to Elizabeth.

“I will.” Elizabeth said. “I’ll take care of everything.”

“You have to,” Katka said. “It was your deal.”

Elizabeth went white. “Attorney Greene gave me his word, Katka. Honest. I would never have sold your men out to save ours. Never. You must believe me ... They’ll release them in a year, tops.”

Katka ran toward Paul, who was still at the front of the courtroom, surrounded by reporters. She was carrying a large basket, covered with a blanket. He raised his eyebrows at her. She nodded. Slowly, he inched his way toward her until they were together.

“Unbelievable,” Paul said. “Do you still want to go through with it?”

“Adeline will take care of Lily. And Helen.” She pulled Paul forward, grabbing his hand. “We don’t have much time,” she said. “I’ve got the key to Elizabeth’s car.” The entire courtroom was chaotic. People were yelling, screaming, celebrating, mourning. Katka and Paul took advantage of the commotion. They dodged their way in and out of people, and finally made it outside. “I’ll drive,” she said.

When they were both inside the vehicle, Paul wrapped his arms around Katka and kissed her. “You got the passports?” he asked.

“In the basket,” Katka said. She drove while Paul talked.

“Twenty years,” Paul said. “I can’t believe it. I should not be surprised, after everything I’ve seen. But I am. Surprised. How can that be? Jail must have scrambled my brain, finally.”

“Says something about your nature. No matter how many injustices you see, you keep thinking that right is just around the corner. Makes you an optimist, in spite of yourself.” Katka sped up, driving frantically. “We must get to the train station before they start to look for you. Adeline told me there is a price on your head.”

“I figured.”

“It’s a handsome head.”

“If you think so, you really must love me. I’ve been dirtier and smellier, but I can’t say when.”

By the time they arrived, they had discussed their plan. They would take the next train out. They would go to the biggest city on the schedule and eventually find their way to New York, where they would board a ship to Russia. They would use their Russian passports to enter the country. “And when we get there,” Paul said, “We’ll find a priest to marry us. And we’ll have ten little girls who all look exactly like their mother. We’ll name them all Katka. What else do you have in that basket? I’m starved.” She reached in and gave him a roast beef sandwich and a beer.


Tomorrow: Chapter 53 continues.