the story continues

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His passport now gone, Scott stood dumbfounded wanting to do something. The border guard stared at him waiting to see what he would do next. He had a gun and looked like he would be willing to use it.
“You’d better do as he said” Barnabas said quietly to his friend. Embarrassed, Scott sat down.
“He has taken my passport, I was just going where my passport went..” Scott said in a not-so-sure tone.
“Yes, but he didn’t ask you questions and he did not look through your bag. They may just be jumpy because of the girl they took off. The best thing for us to do right now is to sit quietly and see what happens. This train isn’t going anywhere anytime soon anyway. The best thing for us to do would be to pray.” At this both men silently prayed that God would intervene into this situation and that it would work out for them.
The first guard noted the men had decided to sit quietly and the tension on his face and in his posture seemed to relax. He went on to the next passenger. Soon, he was almost through the car and would be moving on to the next car.
Scott pulled his prayer book out to read the Psalter. All his Christian life he had found comfort in the Psalms, now was a time where he needed comfort. As he read Psalm forty-six he was reminded that God is indeed his refuge. He began to calm down.
The guard left the car and went to the next car. Scott was looking out the window at the station and his mind wandered to the overnight trains that stopped at borders and the border guards got on with great noise and fanfare. They fling open the door to each compartment, turn on the blinding light and sternly said “PASSPORT.” Each occupant would then have to look at the guard and verify that his sleepy face was indeed the same one pictured in the document. Then they would leave with the light left on and the door open. Scott would always warn the members of his groups what would happen and for them to not be concerned. He always made a practice of standing in the doorway and silently observing and reminding his group members what was expected of them.
He remembered one such night traveling into Slovakia from Hungary, when there was a commotion because an American woman and her teenage daughter occupied a compartment alone and the woman didn’t know what was going on so she would not open the door and the guards became more belligerent than usual, finally the girl figured out what was going on and unlocked the door just as the porter was coming with the key. They were yelled at in Slovak but were none the worse for wear after it was over.
Suddenly he noticed a presence next to him and then Barnabas nudged him with his foot and Scott looked up to see a new guard looking from his passport to his face and back to the passport. Suddenly he spoke in English “Where do you enter Serbia?”
“At a country border crossing from Hungary near Romania.” Scott answered.
“Why is no date in visa?” The guard asked.
“I do not know, the guard did not speak English”
“You have letter?” The guard continued to query Scott. It occurred to Scott that in his fatigue during those first hours that he had never examined his passport to see that there was a proper stamp. Increasingly there were less stamps in Europe but this was not true of the non-EU countries. He regretted not having looked at the passport and began to worry about what would happen next.
“Did you enter by car?” The guard asked.
“Where is the car now?”
“I don’t know; I was given a ride. I am returning to Budapest by train” Scott offered.
“Why were you in Serbia?”
“I took medicine to the refugee camp near Beograd”
The guard looked him over again and stamped the passport and handed it to him. “Be careful with passport stamps next time in Serbia”
Scott had an urge to argue with him but thought better of it. He took the passport and thanked the guard. The guard left the car in the direction that the first guard had left. Scott let out an audible sigh. He was very relieved.
“That was pretty stupid of me,” he said to Barnabas “I should have made sure that visa stamp was right.”
“Its over now.” Barnabas replied with a yawn. The friends sat quietly.
Soon the Hungarian border police visited the car. They were more efficient and paid little attention to either man. They were more interested in the Serbs. When Hungary entered the European Union and their borders had been tightened. The people entering must have the proper visas. Americans had entered and left freely from Hungary for a long time now.
After about an hour later, the train left the station and traveled north. It was now one thirty in the morning. The incidents of the last few hours now over, Scott and his friend were sound asleep in their compartment the rest of the way to Budapest.

1 Comment

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One response to “the story continues

  1. Reblogged this on kingdom travelin' and commented:

    back in 2002, I started writing a story, in ’06 I posted a bit of it… it remained in my head and I brought bits of it to Kingdomtravelin… I am now working on it again, doing some editing, fixing some stuff, expanding here and there… this is a post where some sections of it were posted in ‘first draft” condition…

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