Ginessa was getting tired, but she ignored it.
Anton was running beside her, leading the way. It was dark as they ran through the woods. Every now and then,, the moon would come out from behind the treetops and light their way momentarily.
Ginessa turned to look behind them. Paddles was there running behind them, but he was slipping further and further behind. The poor dog was reaching his running limit.
Ginessa stopped for a moment and picked up Paddles in her arms. He was nice and light. She would carry him for the rest of the way. She was suddenly glad that didn’t have a big dog as a pet!
Anton came over to Ginessa and said, “Here, give him to me.” He took the little dog from her and popped him under his armpit, carrying him with one hand. He held out the other hand to Ginessa and said, “Stay close to me.” It was big, warm and calloused. She immediately felt safer and just knew that while she was at his side, he would do everything in his power to protect her.”
They began running again, Anton matching his speed so Ginessa could keep up with him.
“Where are we going, Anton?” said Ginessa, between breathes.
“I have no idea, I’m still thinking,” said Anton, “We need to get away from Maruska. Really far away. Then we can decide what to do next.”
They continued running. They were heading in the general direction of the village.
Ginessa occassionally turned back to look behind them, to see if anyone was following them. She could see nothing. It was quite spooky in the dark, but she decided it was better to see absolutely nothing than to see Maruska chasing them.
“Do you need to rest?” said Anton.
Ginessa shook her head, “No, I’m fine.”
Anton smiled. He was really proud to have a tough wife.
Then suddenly, an idea popped into his head. It was half decent and he decided to go with it. In this situation, you take whatever idea you can get.
“Let’s go to Ray’s house,” said Anton, “And ask if we can borrow his boat. Then we can get his boat, row passed the pier, pick up Narteb. Then we row down the coast a fair way and then set up camp somewhere to decide our next move.”
“Yes,” said Ginessa, who was too puffed to say any more.
Anton laughed, “Do you need a short rest?”
“No,” said Ginessa.
They ran for another fifteen minutes, although to Ginessa it felt like fifteen hours! Finally, they arrived at a quiet place on the outskirts of the village.
“No lights,” said Anton, “This doesn’t look good.”
He was actually really tired too, and was thankful that they could stop for a moment. They stepped up on the front porch of Ray’s house, Anton put Paddles on the ground, but continued holding Ginessa’s hand.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
“Please be home,” said Anton. While they waited at the door, he turned to look around to see if they had been followed. He couldn’t see anything or feel anything suspicious. He hoped that they had lost Maruska. Just a little while longer and they would be away and safe.
They heard footsteps approaching the door.
“Yes!” said Anton.
The door opened, and a little old lady appeared in the doorway. She was very wrinkly, and had wispy grey hair, tied up in a bun. It was Ray’s mother, Mavis. Anton always called her Mrs C. The most noticable thing about her, was that she had two milky white eyes. She was blind.
“It’s me, Mrs C., Anton.”
“Oh hello there, Anton! Are you looking for Ray?”
“Yes, is he home?”
“No,” said Mavis, “I’m sorry but he’s not home. He’s gone to the tavern tonight. He’s there learning the polka. He should be back home in about an hour or so. Would you like to wait here for him?”
Anton’s heart sank. “It’s okay,” he said, “We can go look for him in town. Thanks Mrs C.”
Anton picked up Paddles and he and Ginessa were turning to leave when suddenly, Anton had another idea.
“Ginessa,” said Anton, “You stay here, inside the house.”
“I want to go with you,” said Ginessa.
“It’s too dangerous with us running around town,” said Anton, “Maruska might spot us again. Just lay low here. I’ll be as fast as humanly possible. I’ll go find Ray, then I”ll come straight back for you.”
Ginessa didn’t want to let go of Anton’s hand, but she knew it would be easier for Anton if she stayed here. Running with him, she would slow him down and also be a target and he would have to worry about keeping her safe.
“Promise me you’ll come back,” said Ginessa.
“Unless Maruska does something to me, I will be back for sure,” said Anton.
“No,” said Ginessa, “Promise me you’ll come back. Don’t let Maruska do anything to you.”
Anton thought about it for a moment and then said, “I can’t promise that.” Then he went over to Mavis, who was still standing in the doorway. “Mrs C, is it okay if Ginessa waits at your house? I’m going to run to town to find Ray, then we’ll come back.”
“Why certainly, Anton! She’s more than welcome to,” said Mavis, “Come inside, Ginessa, I’ll make you a spot of tea.”
Ginessa stood on the porch, looking at Anton. “Don’t let her do anything to you, Anton. Please.”
Anton put his arms around her slender waist and kissed her. He had kissed her countless times before, but why did this time suddenly feel like it would be the last time? He brushed aside such thoughts and reluctantly let her go.
“I will return,” he said.
He put Paddles down on the ground again, and said, “Stay here.”
Then he turned and ran off, heading into town.
“Come inside, dearie,” said Mavis.
Ginessa nodded and she and Paddles followed the old woman into the house. The door closed behind them and all was quiet on Ray’s porch once again.
A little too quiet.