The Road to Port Haven (Chapter 1­, page 1 of 15)


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Kara Savalas knew that her father's men would come for her one day and she had long prepared for the moment. She kept the few belongings she would need near at hand always, even when she went to her job at the London docks, and always she was watchful for any sign of her countrymen, whom she could easily identify by their hand-gestures, subtleties in their movements, the way they dressed and walked and carried themselves. A Greek man in a London dockside fish market stood out like a kipper in a basket of cockles.

Her few friends, most of them genuine Cockney girls who had lived for generations within the sound of London's Bow Bells, had from the beginning known that she was in some sort of trouble, but hadn't the slightest grasp of the extent until one of them spotted the two men walking past the rows of girls cleaning fish, scrutinizing every face. Maggie Finch, the closest thing Kara had to a friend, wiped her hands on her bloody apron and nudged elbows with the Greek girl to discreetly get her attention.

'Here now, will you have a look at those two! They're up to no good if you ask me.'

Kara had though herself prepared for this moment, but the reality left her feeling leaden and cold inside. 'I- I think I'll just step out for a moment-'

Maggie gave her a measured, unsurprised look, as though she, too, had suspected in advance that this moment would come. 'You know those men, don't you.' It was a statement.

Trying not to lose her composure, Kara said, 'They were sent here by my- a very bad man. They want to kidnap me and take me back to Athens.'

'Well, that's not going to happen today, luv, now is it! Here, you just be ready to make your exit. I'll take care of these two.'

Kara stared aghast as the brawny Maggie Finch, with a florid complexion like red brick and forearms like a butcher's, rolled up her sleeves and went to meet the threat of the two men in black Greek fisherman's garb.

'Here you! What do the pair of you think you're about, gawking at us poor girls like that? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves-'

Kara didn't wait around to see the outcome, but picked up her carpetbag from where it lay underneath the table and fled to the diminishing sound of Maggie Finch's brassy voice.

Only minutes later, dressed in clothing suitable for a cold, wet spring day in London, 1929, Kara appeared in a narrow cobblestone street overshadowed by dirty brick warehouses, walking quickly down the two short blocks that led to the waterfront docks. She had sold her soul for this moment- had sold her few precious belongings and the jewelry foisted upon her by a former unwanted suitor- she had even parted with a tiny gold locket left to her by her great-grandmother; and now, with the impoverished remnants of her life clutched in her bag, she fled to the piers where those iron-hulled leviathans, the trans-Atlantic steamships, were berthed.

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