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Page 264

PART II - THE VOLCANO ERUPTS
CHAPTER 16 - FAREWELL TO DARKNESS

I glanced out the window. The Russians were firing rockets which lit up the whole area. Every time one went up its ghostlike color penetrated the room we sat in. From a distance we heard the rumbling of tanks. We felt tired and frightened.
Suddenly I heard men arriving in front and the clatter of guns. My military training immediately helped me to identify the noise. I could not be mistaken. "So that's it," I said. "The railroad man set a trap for us. It's the patrol arriving now."
I looked around the room, the watchman was gone.
" What is it?" Lonci asked in a frightened whisper.
" Just some guide, I guess, the one our host spoke about."
Lonci pressed her hand into mine and whispered. "These are soldiers. They've come to arrest us."
" Wait. We're not sure yet," I said. I grabbed my pocket knife and the big torchlight. It might be a hand-to-hand fight. I wouldn't sell myself cheaply. I hadn't fought for years, but if necessary I wouldn't hesitate to do my best. Everyone in the room was silent. There was a strong tension in the air. Then we heard the voice of the railroad man from the outside.
" Stay, friends, for a cup of tea. Don't bother about those unfortunate refugees. They are Hungarians too. We are all being punished by God. We have all these Ruskis on our necks."
" Well, that's true for sure," another voice answered. "In any case, nothing can happen at night. They can't start for the border now."
Slowly I walked to the door, opened it a little, and looked out. There were six soldiers sitting outside. I sighed, relieved. They were Hungarian regular soldiers whose sympathy was with the refugees. Refugee women were flirting with them and laughing gaily. Using the ancient weapons once again, I told myself. Apparently they were effective enough, because slowly the soldiers relaxed. They spoke about the reinforced Soviet units patrolling the whole border area. The Russians had sent up the

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