There Are Always More Stories

Posted: October 28, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , , , , ,

dice rollDmitri shivered as he approached the checkpoint. The guard squeezed and unsqueezed his rifle. Dmitri thought he was trying to keep warm. He hoped so. The snow had been falling steadily for the past hour, while they’d been waiting with the other refugees. It reached into their bones. Dmitri’s feet had gone numb.

The guard said, “Papers.”

Everyone held up their documents. The guard started with Dmitri’s. A second guard began searching his bag on the simple wooden table by the border gate.
The guard said, “A shame you wish to leave, Mr. Yershov.” Dmitri’s heart sank, until he saw a smile on the guard’s face. The guard said, “I read your newspaper articles in the Daily Times.”

“Thank you.”

The second guard held up a leather-bound case from Dmitri’s backpack. He flipped through it. “What are all these papers?” the guard asked.

“A manuscript,” Dmitri said. He smiled at the guard. “I’m going to find a publisher when I reach New York.”

The second guard kept looking. “And these?”

“Letters from friends and family.”

The second guard put them down firmly on the table. “Personal effects only. You may not act as a courier for other people’s messages or property.”

Dmitri looked around. Certainly no one would help him argue with the guards. “What? Are you sure?”

The first guard said, “There are spies. We must control the flow of information out of the country.”

Dmitri held his face in his hands. “Those letters are from half of the people in my village. Some of them haven’t seen their relatives since they went away.”

“Some of their relatives should return and visit their families,” the second guard growled.

The first guard said, “Take your manuscript. You’re going to be famous!”

Dmitri stared at it. He wanted to. He had to! But one of the letters belonged to Mr. Velnikov. The man was like a father to him. He was dying, and he had written a letter to say goodbye to his daughter.

Dmitri walked over the table. “The letter with the green stamp, please,” he said.

The second guard handed it to him. “Are you sure?” the first guard asked.

“Take my book back to the Times. Maybe they can publish it here. I’ll write another book.” He put the letter inside his jacket, where it would sit next to his heart. He remembered Mr. Velnikov’s face. He also thought about all the letters that would never leave. Inside, he wanted to die.

A week later, Dmitri arrived in New York City. It was snowing here, too, only the sky was blotted here and there with smoke from the ships’ stacks and factories in town. That didn’t bother Dmitri. Smoke meant prosperity.

He spoke good English with the immigration officer at Ellis Island, and things went smoothly. Still, he wasn’t as happy as he thought he would be. He was surrounded by people whose dreams were becoming real. Dmitri just felt hungry and tired. Dreams felt different went you were awake. Dmitri hoped his friends back home were reading his manuscript.

He made his way to Queens, and the tenement building addressed on the front of Mr. Velnikov’s letter. He knocked twice. People hurried past him on the sidewalk, sometimes bumping into him. Dmitri wondered if he was in the right place. He was about to knock again when the door opened.

A girl of about Dmitri’s age looked at him. She had a cleaning rag over her shoulder and a second one in her hands. The girl looked dirty and tired. She was also the most beautiful girl Dmitri had ever seen.

Dmitri read the name on the letter. “Anya Velnikov?”

She smiled. “Are you Dmitri?”

This was a great, quirky roll.

Crisis: worried face, book, letter L / block
An author wants to leave a foreign country with his manuscript, but…

Choice: letter / envelope, cane, die / dice
An old man has a message for his granddaughter. The author has to take a chance.

Wrap: flower, clock / time, globe / Earth
Some time later, he arrives in New York, meets the granddaughter and falls in love.


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