She laughed and looked down at the photograph. I kept one eye on my watch, the other on her face. It was strangely animated, her eyes dancing over the picture, while fleeting expressions floated like ghosts.
This is the fourth chapter in my serialized story. You may wish to read the previous chapter 1st: Svetlana – 3: Interview.
The menu ‘Svetlana’, in the left sidebar contains links to chapters published so far. 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 4: The Memory Girl
I closed the door and Svetlana and I looked at each other. Then we embraced. She held me very tight. She was trembling, and it didn’t surprise me, after what she had just recalled. I felt that she needed diversion, so I murmured in her ear.
She released me, but kept her arms around my neck. “Plis, that would be lovely. Can I change?”
While she washed, I picked up her notebook, and sat down at my desk. I scanned in the images of the five men she had drawn, at 600 dpi resolution and composed two emails.
I have a young lady artist looking for placement, please see attached samples of work. Probably equally as good with landscapes. Quick answer required if possible, meet your place or mine.
I attached the scanned pictures and sent it, and began the next.
A few of the guys and I were considering a spot of off-roading in the middle of the week. If you fancy making the numbers up to four that would be great. Contact me on Monday at noon for meet details if you are interested.
I pressed the send button and sat back in the chair. Maybe I was being a little hasty, but a strong sense of urgency had gripped me.
I washed and changed clothes. The humidity levels were still high, and I was thirsty. I fished a cool lager from the fridge, and sat down on the sofa.
She was so quiet. As before she appeared in front of me, having made no sound entering. She wore the blue dress, matching blue slippers, and the Opal Lalique hung on it’s chain around her neck.
I stood up and took her hands.” She would have wanted you to have it – so it is now your dress.” I paused, still mesmerised. “You are so beautiful, it takes my breath away.”
It was still early, but several of the girls were already dancing to the music from a CD player. We grabbed a few sandwiches and sat down together on a sofa, and Svetlana looked around, then said quietly “You rescue all?”
Her praise was said matter-of-factly, but nearly had me blushing, and her perception meant that I couldn’t take risks with hiding from her actions I needed to take, so I took the opportunity. I said in halting Serbian. “I’ve taken the liberty of sending copies of your drawings to a friend, who may be able to identify them. I hope you don’t mind?”
I got up and walked to the bookcase, pulling out one of my favourites – photographs of rural English towns. I leafed through it and found a particularly busy picture, and passed it to her, looking at my watch as I did.
She passed me the book and I took a pencil from the table and moved across to another chair to face her.
Although Svetlana had been describing the photograph in her own tongue, Jane and several of the girls could see I was marking the photo as she spoke. Jane came over. “That is one of the most remarkable feats of memory I have ever seen.” she said quietly.
I walked over to our sideboard, and took out an A4 drawing pad. I passed this and the pencil. “Can you draw what you have seen in the photograph?”
I leaned forward and kissed her. “You are one very clever girl!”
I sat down beside her and took her hand, she cushioned her head on my shoulder and I began quietly in Serbian.
We sat and relaxed, watching the girls dance. Her sweet smell washed over me, and the soft tinkle of her laugh as she watched the girls was like heavenly music. I must have closed my eyes when a soft lilting voice asked “Is she your girlfriend?”
“She is. Her name is Svetlana.”
For the first time I noticed the hairbrush in Lizzie’s hand.
When Svetlana felt Lizzie tiring, she asked gently. “Thank you. I brush your hair now Lizzie?”
I fixed myself another juice and re-entered the day room, sitting down with Jane. She nodded at Svetlana. “Can we help her?”
We sat and chatted while we watched the activity around us.
I sat letting the sounds of the room wash over me, and watching the sleeping, embracing girls in front of me, and must have dozed off.
“Will you waken her?” Jane whispered.
I sat Svetlana on the bed, and unclasped the Lalique and laid it on the bedside table. I unzipped the dress, and slid it forward, off her arms, then laid her gently down. After lifting her legs onto the bed, I lifted her thighs gently and removed the dress. For a brief moment I looked at her lying, calm, peaceful and so beautiful in a sheer silky slip Zee and her had bought that morning. I lifted the sheets to cover her, but she reached out and took my hand. Her eyes were open. “Will you cuddle me tonight Joe plis?”
I peeled off my clothes and lay beside her, covering us both with the sheets. I slid my right arm underneath her neck, and she needed no more encouragement. She snuggled in, her head on my chest and her right leg straddled my body. I wrapped my left arm around her and I felt her breathing started to deepen almost immediately. For a long while I just lay there. It felt so strange, so beautiful, and so right.
I woke up only once during the night. I was thirsty and my mouth tasted foul. I extricated myself gently, and went into my own room, cleaning my teeth and drinking a glass of water. With another in my hand, I returned to Svetlana. She was still asleep, but readily resumed cuddling me as I lay back down beside her.
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.