1968 December 4th
Carpathian Mountains, Romania - Ukraine Border
(Present day Moldova Kremlin ruins)
The small crop plots prior to the entry to the estate laid barren, fruitless despite the exasperate efforts sown. Walls previously lined with antiquities and priceless paintings now laid bare. Retainers, attendants, servants had long left this place, either dismissed with parting gifts bequeathed by the family, or bitter departure with those chosen of their own. This once regal family was now living a life of modesty they had not chosen.
Whilst Ashley performed the initial meeting with the royal family his companion had scavenged the timber from near the Kremlin and prepared their room. Now late in the evening the pair adjourned to their quarters.
Luke-warmth filled the fireplace of the accommodations he and his partner were provided
“You missed it, you know.” commented Ashley as he lay with journal in hand upon the futon provided in the room, “The Duchess, a fair skinned angelic face with raven hair like satin, absolutely sublime.”
“Gypsy…?” scoffed the Slavic man, resentment in the tone clearly noticeable at the comment.
The man shifted his weight from sitting on the trundle bed just below Ashley and laid to rest with his familiar locket in hand. Ashley let loose a weak chuckle as he prattled on.
“The Duke’s brother surprisingly speaks my language, and is a fellow scientist as well. Oh, before I forget, the Duke advised against exploring the grounds, apparently certain sections of the Kremlin are falling apart.”
Ashley’s palate had a sudden late night urge.
Continuing conversation with his partner wasn’t more tempting than the small slice of cheese still in his knapsack outside in the hall. Hoisting himself from aloft the futon, the young man grasped the handle of the guestroom door but was met with peculiar surprise when the knob failed to turn.
“Locked? Why did you lock it? I forgot a few things in the hall.”
“I did not lock Doktor, door is locked from outside.” the patronizing tone expressed an air of concern, “So we may be safe inside falling apart Kremlin.”
Denoting the situation in his journal, Ashley found the observed contradiction irksome.
Why were they locked inside their own room?