I was fascinated, both with the fluidity and rhythm of the conversation between them and of the almost constant eye contact they achieved. I had expected that Svetlana would show signs of distress, but although she spoke at times through small tears, her self-control was remarkable. Katya’s left hand had met Svetlana’s across the table, and in the latter part of the session, they held hands constantly.
This is the third chapter in my serialized story. You may wish to read the previous chapter 1st: Svetlana – 2: Metamorphosis.
The menu ‘Svetlana’, in the left sidebar contains links to chapters published so far, and a similar menu can be found at the bottom of the post.
This story tells of a man who has adopted a life of helping homeless and vulnerable girls, and of waging a dark and ruthless private war on the human traffickers and criminals who prey on them. His chance encounter with a young Serbian woman, and his experience of her growing unconditional love for him, reveal to him that emotionally, he is as broken and beaten as the girls he is trying to help.
Warning: The story contains adult subject matter, several explicit scenes of an intimate sexual nature, descriptions of human jeopardy, and is not suitable for minors, or those who are easily offended.
The Carlson Imperative
Chapter 3: Interview
I opened the door. She smiled warmly at me and threw her arms around my neck.
She wore an embroidered blue top and matching flared skirt, with the powder-blue slippers on her feet. She beamed at both of us. I had heard Katya’s sharp intake of breath, a reaction that was now becoming common to anyone seeing Svetlana’s great beauty for the first time.
“Svetlana, this is Katya, a lovely lady from Smederevo, who will help me understand your account of your missing sister and your search for her.”
I expected a little excitement, but was totally unprepared. Svetlana rushed across the room and engulfed Katya in a shower of kisses, followed by a big hug, tears and finally telling Katya how she had been looking forward to meeting.
From now on it was pedal-on-the-gas idiomatic Serbian, and very little made any sense to me. Eventually Svetlana slowed down, and we moved across to sit at the table.
I switched on the recorder, and while they chatted, finished laying the table. The conversation carried on through tea, and as I cleared away when we had finished. Katya was a trained interviewer, had special experience with trafficking victims and needed no prompting from me as to the information we needed. Although she took copious notes, these were in her own special shorthand, and were made without her taking her eyes off Svetlana.
As both girls talked, I could feel the rapport grow between them, and Svetlana began to show more emotion in her replies. I prepared several different fruit juices and placed these on the table, and both pounced on them to ease the dryness caused by the constant talking.
Being an observer wasn’t a role I usually filled, but although I could contribute almost nothing, I was fascinated, both with the fluidity and rhythm of the conversation between them and of the almost constant eye contact they achieved. I had expected that Svetlana would show signs of distress, but although she spoke at times through small tears, her self-control was remarkable. Katya’s left hand had met Svetlana’s across the table, and in the latter part of the session, they held hands constantly.
I excused myself and went to my room, and looked at my watch – nearly 5:00pm. I rang Zee.
I went back into the lounge and discovered that Katya and Svetlana had gone to her bedroom. I assumed Katya had suggested Svetlana freshen up for the doctor.
I turned as Svetlana and Katya re-entered the lounge. I nodded at Svetlana and made the introductions. Svetlana was a little shy, but Millicent’s easy manner soon put her at ease.
I went with her into her kitchen and we sat with Tomas at the table.
As I smacked my lips, and Tomas offered another glass of Madeira, I said “I’ve been thinking about space – or our lack of it.”
My phone rang. It was Katya. Millicent Courtney had just left. I headed back downstairs. Svetlana and Katya were sipping orange juice and laughing together at the table where I joined them.
“Her story was very harrowing, but her recollections are remarkable. Sometimes psychological trauma tends to blot out detail, but she still remembers everything in extremely sharp focus.”
“She is highly intelligent, tracking down the route her sister was taken on, but foolishly tried to tackle the criminals here in London that have her sister prisoner. They imprisoned her and beat her, but eventually she managed to escape. Unfortunately they stole her passport and what little money she had, so for a couple of days she has been wandering around homeless, ’til she met you.”
“I will translate our conversation and email the transcriptions to you tomorrow as soon as possible. I will include my annotations at various points in the transcriptions, from the shorthand notes I made.
She handed me a small notebook. As well as a lot of Cyrillic script, the pages had five drawings of mens faces. The drawings had been done in pencil and were outstandingly lifelike.
“Taking the remarkable clarity of her account, alongside these drawings she made after she escaped, leads me to believe she has a pronounced Eidetic Memory ability. You would need to confirm this, but I’m almost certain I’m right. If so, she could probably draw for you almost everything she’s seen and been through, in the most intimate and painful detail, which would make any investigation by you a walk in the park. However..”
At this point she paused and smiled reassuringly at Svetlana who was sat watching us. “I urge extreme caution Joe. Talking in the way that she has about her experience is one thing, but asking her to call up actual visual images is something else entirely. I urge that you seek a doctor’s advice before putting her through what could be a very traumatic and dangerous experience.”
I shook my head. “Katya, you have done me proud. How can I thank you? Your help is invaluable, and I shall be forever in your debt.”
“How are you getting home?”
Svetlana – Index of Chapters.
Book 1 of The Carlson Imperative is now available as a PDF download here: The Carlson Imperative – Book 1
The Carlson Imperative is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between characters in the story, and real persons, either living or dead, is purely coincidental.