Copyright © 2017-2018 William King. All Rights Reserved.
Captain Alexio Constantinou, Alex, was surprisingly young to be a captain, that at least was Amelie's opinion. To her it seemed a little odd that someone who was around twenty five would hold a high rank and would be in charge of a murder investigation. However, it soon became apparent that Alex was the latest in a family line of police captain’s, and as for being placed in charge of the murder enquiry, that was a case of nothing actually being pursued.
As the charming Captain explained, they were severely under staffed, under paid, and under equipped. Well alright, but this was a murder, she couldn't believe that nothing was being done.
“We have done everything it is possible to do,” Captain Constantinou was telling them. “We know that the two men involved, Stefan Balog and Rushid Rohal, have left the country. Of that we are certain.”
“So what happens now?” Amelie asked.
“Stefan Balog is Serbian, Rushid Rohal, Hungarian. We have issued an international arrest warrant. Balog is charged with child pornography offences and Rohal with murder. If either of them cross an international border they will be stopped and held, also the police in both countries, Serbia and Hungary are looking for them.”
Alex seemed quite pleased with the state of affairs, but from Amelie's point of view, it seemed conveniently like everything had neatly disappeared abroad.
“But, according to you,” she confronted him. “They have already crossed a border to leave Greece, and if that were true, why were they not stopped?”
“That I am sorry to say is not something I have any information about, but it is likely they left the country straightaway and slipped through the net.”
“But you don't know? They could very well still be in Greece.”
“It's unlikely, but if they are, then sooner or later they will be picked up. Rest assured we are doing everything possible. Now, if you will excuse me, I do have things to attend to.”
Bazyli stood up and shook hands with Alex. He looked at Amelie as if to say, come on then - it's over, but when she didn't move he was forced to tell her. “Amelie, we have to go now.”
Amelie glanced up at Bazyli, decided she had had enough of the young captain and the useless Greek police, she rose and left, leaving Bazyli to follow. She did not shake Captain Constantinou's hand.
“You really need to be a little more diplomatic,” Bazyli told her as they made their way back to the car.
She ignored his remark, it was terrible what had happened and unacceptable that nothing was being done to bring those responsible to justice.
“Can you call the doctor at the children's hospital and ask her if she would see us?”
Bazyli wanted to start the car and drive her back to the hotel. ‘One more day and I'll be out of all this,’ he thought. What he didn't need was some new young female journalist starting a crusade. However, the atmosphere in the little car was tense, so to diffuse Amelie's anger, he decided to make the call.
Amelie listened as he spoke, she wished that she knew just a little Greek, because it was impossible to know what was being said. He put the phone down and started the engine.
“She will see you now. Well in fifty minutes or so, the time to get there.”
He pulled away quickly and seemed, perhaps not unnaturally in a rush. How much of that was wanting to get to the hospital quickly, and how much was due to him being upset, was difficult to determine.
As they weaved through the traffic, he told her, “I'll leave you there, because I need to be somewhere, okay? You can get a taxi back.”
Amelie didn't need to be a mind reader to know that Bazyli just wanted to get shot of her. It was the second time he'd dumped her.
“Fine.” She thought to herself that it would actually be much better without him. “She speaks English then, Doctor Jukas?”
“She's a doctor,” he replied curtly, as if it was self evident that all Greek doctors spoke English.
It was a lady of about fifty, smartly, but soberly dressed, with a lock of grey hair to one side of her head, who greeted Amelie at the hospital reception.
She offered her hand, “I am Jonasta Jukas, doctor,” she spoke in impeccable English without any accent.
“Amelie Richter, reporter with the Toronto Globe,” Amelie took hold of the doctor's hand.
“If you follow me, it’s on the first floor. I have an office where we can talk,” the doctor smiled.
As they were getting in the elevator Amelie turned to look at her, “Is it you who is treating Samir Dweck, the refugee boy?”
“Yes it is. This way,” she indicated the corridor to their left.
“Please sit down,” Doctor Jukas took a seat behind a large, almost empty, wooden desk. “So how can I help you?” She looked across at Amelie.
“I don't exactly know,” Amelie started, and then she carried on to explain in some detail all of the events that had led up to this point in time. She did not notice the time passing as she recounted meeting Jordan for the first time, the history of the boys, the remarkable coincidence of finding them here in Greece, the tragedy that had happened.
“... and so you see, I am here because of Jordan, and Firas, and Samir. The easy part is going back home and writing the story, the hard bit, is trying to help.”
“Would you like some coffee?”
Doctor Jukas left her office for a minute and returned with two plastic cups of coffee. Sitting down, she handed one cup to Amelie and sipped her own.
“Samir does not need to be here. I am keeping him here because of what the other choice is. To send him back to the refugee camp. He has suffered a psychological trauma, brought on by the events of that night you described. Those events were at once unpredictable, and he was unable to prevent what happened, his friend was injured. He doesn't know that the other boy died.”
Amelie listened, but felt invaded by an emotional sadness, an inability to do something, anything, that could help.
“I will tell him. But I need to be certain it will not push him back into the depths of introversion from which he is just beginning to emerge. We have been using a technique of focusing on bodily sensations, as opposed to thoughts and memories. This therapy looks at what's happening in the body by getting in touch with trauma-related tension. At this point, natural survival instincts take over and the patient releases pent-up energy by crying, shaking and other physical reactions.
It was evident right from the start when Samir came here that he was trying himself, unconsciously if you like. Naturally would be another way to describe it, he was brought here shaking and crying. It was undoubtedly the reason he was referred here, but it is not as bad as things appear to the outside observer. It is as I have said a way to deal with events.
To give all this a clinical label, we call it somatic experiencing. I have no doubt that he will start talking, but what he desperately needs is a safe environment. A loving environment, where things can resolve themselves slowly, normally. So you see that is the situation and also the problem. I should have discharged him a week ago, written a prescription for some anti-depressants, and voila, end of story,”
They looked at each other across the old wooden desk. Somehow they needed to find a solution.
“How much longer can he stay in hospital?”
“To the end of next week, so another what, ten days. Then I have to send him home.”
“Thank you for everything you have done, and are doing. I am going to go back to my hotel and phone my parents in Canada. Speak to my editor as well, and see if I can come up with something. I know there is a refugee help program in Canada. I never paid much attention to it before, but it’s always like that isn't it? When something affects you, becomes personal, you make a decision, get involved or walk away. Jordan made that decision, and he got involved. Despite the tragedy of the events that followed, I believe he made a difference. Now I need to do the same.”
“Well, I can only wish you good luck. I hope you manage something. Please let me know, and telephone me anyway, before the end of next week.”
Amelie thanked the doctor once again and pocketed the card she gave her with her telephone number.
In the taxi on the journey back to the hotel she decided she would do some online research about the Canadian refugee programme, before she called her parents. She also decided that whilst she would talk to her folks about things, she was not going to lay everything at their doorstep. No, this was something she needed to do herself.
It was late when Amelie finished looking online at all the various bits of information she had found. Essentially, Canada was the first country in the world to propose a way of dealing with refugees. A private sponsorship programme which allowed Canadian citizens to support refugees coming to live in the country.
All this research led Amelie to one woman, oddly enough, a retired American who lives in Toronto with her Canadian husband. Mary-Lou-Ann Westmuller had started an organisation the aim of which was to bring refugees to Canada using the private sponsorship programme. It was a small group of people who would individually support the refugees and mutually support each other. A wider group of people were involved by way of helping and promising some financial support. The idea was that after a year supported in this way the refugees would become integrated into Canadian society and have found homes and work.
It was an ambitious goal, but Amelie made her mind up that it offered a glimmer of hope. She decided to call Mary-Lou-Ann.
Jordan was exiting the arrivals hall when he spotted Amelie the other side of the barrier. They moved towards each other walking side by side, then at the end of the channel Amelie rushed up to him and threw her arms around his neck. She was slightly smaller than Jordan, so was looking up into his eyes. Neither of them knew how it happened, but Jordan's lips found Amelie's, they touched and kissed.
Startled by the moment Amelie paused, looked Jordan in the eyes, he felt the warmth of blood colouring his cheeks. They both smiled and turned, Jordan had one arm around Amelie, the other carrying his hold all, as they made there way out of the arrivals hall and towards the taxi rank.
They did not say very much until they were actually in the taxi and heading out of the airport, away from Athens, in the direction of the port of Piraeus. Amelie then started talking, and it seemed like she talked throughout the entire journey.
She retold the story of that tragic night. She explained everything that had happened since she had arrived in Greece. More importantly she told him about contacting Mary-Lou-Ann, about Samir and how he needed a safe supporting environment when he was discharged from hospital. Finally she explained the need to tell Firas about the death of Amar. None of those things would be easy, but the most difficult would be telling the two boys that they had lost their friend.
When they arrived at Piraeus and the hotel it was just after twelve. Jordan was feeling a bit jet lagged from the long flight, but there was a lot to do. Amelie had only a couple more days before she had to return to Canada. She told him to take a nap and she would call her editor to see if she could get an extension on her stay. She would wake him later, and they could have dinner together.
Because of the time difference it was not until the evening that Amelie could put a call through to her editor. They discussed the story, the personal angle of the boys, and what would happen. He was nice about things, but made sure she knew that she had a job to do for the paper. They agreed she would file the story and email it, that she could stay in Piraeus an extra week, but then she had to be on a flight home.
Over dinner in the hotel restaurant Amelie told Jordan the good news, that she had another week here. This meant she could be here when Samir got out of hospital. They both decided that they should see Firas first thing tomorrow morning. Jordan said that he wanted to find somewhere to rent for them so that they could be together in their own space. He didn't have the money to pay for hotel rooms, at least not at the price of the Piraeus Port Hotel.
They seemed to spend the whole time talking about the boys, just until the end of the meal when Jordan asked Amelie if she wanted coffee. She told him no, because all that caffeine would keep her awake. Then he posed the question that had been lurking in the back of his mind since the airport.
“How come you kissed me at the airport?”
“I thought it was you who kissed me,” she smiled.
Jordan laughed, “It just happened then. We kissed one another.”
“And where does that leave us?” She looked across into his eyes.
He reached across the table and touched the top of her hand with his.
“I don't know, I guess we'll have to see,” his smile broadened.