Tell All The Truth, Tell It Slant
by Karen

The packed dirt road curves around the summit of the precipice like a snake begrudgingly shedding its skin. Olga presses the heel of her high heeled and expensive leather boots down on the petals of her rental car, hoping that she would make it to the bottom without spinning out or getting a glimpse of how far she would have to fall.

Of all the places to choose for a clandestine rendezvous with a cleared informant on a Backstep case. It would somewhere she would not have to drive through mountainous terrain would not be high on her list of selections.

Somewhere several miles back Olga had briefly considered that her colleague and perhaps biggest rival since she had signed onto the American intelligence gathering, espionage, and counter terrorism project.

Her colleague Frank Parker would no doubt be somewhere fuming at not being able to play a part in these upcoming negotiations, or somewhere getting himself roaring and fall down drunk; or both. Either way, it was not a spectacle that she would like to mess, if only to repeatedly tell Mr. Parker 'I told you so' if various creative ways.

It was not that she felt especially vindictive or angry towards him, far from it, but there were certain behavioral mannerisms that no matter how hard she tried she could not prevent from Parker getting under her skin.

It was not lost on her the irony of that statement, one would have to blind, deaf, and dumb to fail to register that Parker found her rather attractive.

Her attention distracted from her meandering thoughts by a dangerous curve in the winding road, Olga put her full attention on driving.

She passed the half-mile mark about an hour and a half later. She took due note of the rocky landmark that she'd been instructed to look for.

Olga shifted gears in her rental car, reduced speed and turned off onto a gravel driveway onto a flattened rock plateau, eventually coming to a homestead set far back from view of any passerby's or motorists.

She finally came to a stop, parking the car in the dirt driveway, turning off the ignition. She opened the door and got out of the vehicle, making sure that the keys were out and returned to the pocket of her slacks. Not a very prepossessing place, " she thought as she spun around, taking due not of her surroundings. It was a precaution, she'd always had been taught to be aware of one's surroundings at all times: maybe it was the scientist in her, maybe it due to a healthy dose of skepticism, or maybe a little paranoia; whatever the case, it made sense.


As Olga waited for her contact to show up, she refused to look down at the expensive watch on her wrist that quietly ticked away the minutes. Her patience was finally rewarded as a medium built tall man with dark hair and a matching goatee mustache appeared from around the back of the house, leading a sorrel horse on a lead rope.

Olga finally got a good long look at the fellow; a scar slanting down at an angle made his mouth twist as if he found and his own wants constantly at odds with one another.

The diffuse moonlight slanting down through the clouds made it difficult to tell, but in an instant of shock, Olga realized she had seen that particular grimace on another man's face, but that had been almost thirty some years ago, and very different circumstances and surroundings.

"It couldn't be," Olga muttered under her breath. That certain grimace, that slant to his gait and the way he wore his hair, brought back memories, not all of them fond ones, of her deceased husband, Josef, whom she had made met shortly after being brought on board the Soviet time travel project, one very much similar to the BackStep program.

"Olga," the man greeted. "I am so glad to see once again. It has been a very long time." He strolled forward, letting the horse free to crop the sparse grass fronting his home.

"I'm sorry, you must have the advantage of me." I don't know you." Olga replied.

"Time and circumstances do have that effect on a person. If you knew once before, it was in Moscow, on a science project." Please, try and remember." I am Josef Vuskavitch."

"You must be mistaken, that man disappeared and was presumed dead over twenty years ago."

"Do you really believe that?" the man who claimed to be Josef asked.

"I am here in response to a request you made to met personally with a member of the project in Washington D.C. I have driven for almost ten hours in order to meet with your demands. I am no mood to play at guessing games."

"Same old fire in your eyes," he replied, seemingly lost in thought or perhaps memories of a time he had never let go of, "Your father told me that once, when I was still a shy university science student, courting a young Soviet woman of good family. Do you not remember?"

"If you're going to waste my time, you could have arranged the meeting to be held a little closer to my office, like Capitol Hill, or even Maryland." Olga tossed her head, "Do not take this the wrong way, but my time is valuable as the time and resources of our project."

"Your father always said, that even as a young girl you had a look in your eyes that meant you would accomplish great things." He paused, cocking his head to one side thinking matters through. "And so you have." Do you believe in time travel? Do you believe that a man can come back from the dead?"

"Whether I do or not, is hardly relevant." Olga sighed, scuffing the boots of her heels in the gravel of the driveway. "I think it's time I contacted the office and got some advice on this matter, exactly how to proceed.

"Either you're crazy and need help, serious professional help," Olga muttered something under her breath in Russian, "Or you really do have relevant and important information."

"I do," he replied, smiling. "Both professional and personally. You won't be sorry that you agreed to meet with me."

"Truth to tell," Olga replied. "I already am." But I think we'll get a second and perhaps, more importantly a third opinion on the matter. Come on."


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