Title: Locket Full of Secrets
Author: Dana Burkey
Publication Date: July 2, 2015
Available Formats: Kindle and Paperback
After over 4 years, Olena comes rocketing back into Claire's life, changing everything for the worse. Picking up the shattered pieces, Claire is not sure who to believe. Is Olena who she says she is, or is she a killer to stay away from? Leaning on her new boyfriend Steven for support, Claire is faced with the choice on who to trust: a friend she barley knows, or a history lesson she barely remembers. Together, the three will begin a journey that will take Claire from the safety of her home to the last place she thought she would ever be: The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. With the wreckage of rector four looming behind her, Claire will have to see Olena's plan through until the end if she wants any chance of making it out alive.
Once we were in the safety of my dorm I collapsed onto my bed, my head pounding with a sudden headache. Steven sat next to me, one arm around my waist while the other held onto my shaking hands. Olena locked the door before turning to face us, her look more urgent than ever.
“The guy you found dead in the bathroom was Alexi Dyatlov,” she began, a calm expression on her face. “He was sent to kill me back in ‘95, but my mom and I got away. That is why I left Ohio when I did. The man he works for has been trying to find us since we moved to the United States years ago. When we left we headed to Canada, thinking we would be safe, but then he found us again. That was why I needed to come find you.”
“But why did you need to drag me into all of this now?” I asked, my voice finally calming down some. Something about the way she stated everything as a simple fact made me think there was even more she was not saying.
“Until we met a few months ago they did not know you and I were connected,” she explained. “But now they are likely watching you, making sure I do not contact you again. I wanted to stay away and leave you out of this, I really did. But I do not have a choice.”
With a sigh she sat on my desk chair, a look of remorse on her face. I glanced at Steven, his face a mask of concern and confusion. It felt good to know I was not the only one still in the dark.
“I had to find you in order to get the necklace,” Olena began again slowly. “The locket I gave you is the key to all of this. I did not know it when I gave it to you, but it is the only thing that will stop these men.”
“I don’t have it,” I managed to croak despite my dry throat. “I left it in Ohio.”
“That is okay,” she nodded. “That means it is still safe until we can go get it. If we leave now we can get there while your parents are still asleep so we will not have to involve them in this any more than they already are.”
“Wait, you expect us to come with you now?” Steven asked. A part of me could not help but smile to know he was going to stick with me through this. But, a bigger part of me was still a mess of emotions trying to make sense of everything I had just heard.
“The longer we wait the more danger we are all in,” Olena explained. “They have been tracking me since I killed Alexi, and it is only a matter of time before they figure out that I came here to see you, Claire.”
I could feel my heart pounding even more now, my pulse speeding up at all the news Olena was presenting me with. Earlier today I was happy to be spending time with Steven, and now I was being asked to drive to Ohio to pick up a necklace that was the cause of Olena killing someone?
“How do I know all of this is even real?” I asked, taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm down.
“This might help,” Olena muttered.
I watched in shock as Olena stood to shed her black coat before pulling off her black t-shirt. Standing only in her bra I sat in silence staring at her pale skin, covered in thick red scars. Most of the scars were small, likely not too deep. On her left side, however, was a scar that ran from her rib cage down towards her belly button. It was jagged and darker than the other as if it had only recently healed. Tiny puncture marks around it hinted at stitches and who knows what else.
“The knife was just centimeters from rupturing my lung and spleen,” she explained, her fingers tracing the large scar. “I stopped the bleeding enough to make it to an animal clinic. I paid a vet tech to stitch me up just enough so I could keep driving. I had lost so much blood I thought I was going to die.”
“Why didn’t you go to the hospital?” I asked, staring at the scars until she slipped her clothing back on.
“They would have turned me in to the police,” she shrugged, slipping her coat on once again.
“Won’t the police be able to help with this big mess?” Steven asked, his hand rubbing soothing circles on my back.
“No,” Olena said simply. “These men are not going to be stopped by the police. Nothing will stop them from killing me. Getting the police involved just means putting more people in danger.”
“So if we go to Ohio it all ends?” I asked, the pieces slowly falling into place.
“Yes,” she nodded. “They will follow me after I leave, so you should be safe.”
With a sigh I turned to face Steven. His look was one of concern, but he gave a slight nod, letting me know he was going to stick with me through this. Somehow just knowing he was by my side made my decision that much easier.
“Okay,” I finally mumbled. “When do we leave?”
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About The Author Dana Burkey
I graduated college from Youngstown State University in 2009 with a degree in theater and a minor in creative writing. I am currently living in Washington State in a little cabin in the woods with my cat Cato. I work full time at a kids camp, and spend my free time doing community theater and adventuring in nature! I am an avid geocacher, and love watching reality TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, and Big Brother! I am currently working on my next project that includes a few YA romances and a YA dystopian series!