“Okay,” Olena began once the waitress was a far enough distance away. “My aunt was in trouble. Some serious family stuff, and my mom knew we needed to help them. I told you as soon as I could. I wanted to stay, but it was important that we got to my aunt as soon as possible.”
As I listened to her words I thought back to the last time I had seen her. The day so long ago suddenly feeling like it was just yesterday…
“Claire!” a voice called to me as I headed out of school to catch the bus.
“Olena! Where have you been?” I grinned, stepping away from the bus line to talk to her. She had not been at school in two days and when I called her to ask about it there was no answer.
“I have to tell you something,” she replied, a serious look on her face. “My mom and I have to leave town for a little while.”
“Like for the weekend?” I didn’t know much about her mom, only that she worked a lot and traveled for business from time to time.
“It will be longer than that,” Olena frowned, as if she already knew what my next question would be.
“But you will be back for our party, right?”
I watched in shock as she shook her head at me. One of the coolest things about being best friends with Olena was that we both had the same birthday. It was still three weeks away, but we had already worked hard to plan our “Bowling Birthday Bash.”
“When will you be back?” I tried to keep my voice steady, but suddenly felt my chest tightening with emotion.
“I do not know,” Olena paused to reach into her purse. “I just came by to give this to you.”
Accepting the brightly wrapped box she handed me, I struggled to understand just what she was saying. Sdniom rozdenija, Russian for Happy Birthday, was written in tiny letters on the shiny silver paper.
“Just wait and open it on our birthday, okay?”
I nodded, unsure what else to do. Taking my eyes off the gift, I looked at her and could feel the sting of tears behind my eyes.
“You’re coming back though, right?”
“I do not know,” she shook her head. “But I need to go.”
Not knowing what else to do I stepped forward and hugged Olena, secretly praying this would not be the last time I would see her. Tears rolled down my cheeks as she finally pulled away, her face showing only a hint of sadness.
“Do Svidanija,” I finally said, clutching her gift tightly in my hand.
“Goodbye,” she replied before turning and walking towards the parking lot where her mom was no doubt waiting for her.
Forcing one foot in front of the other I climbed onto the school bus just second before it rolled out of the parking lot. Plopping down into my usual seat, I pulled my legs up to my chest and stared at the wrapped present still in my hands. She said to save it for my birthday, but I was knew that would just make me miss her more. As I opened my bag and slipped the package inside I resolved I would save it until I saw Olena again.
“So that’s it?” I asked, clenching my jaw more at the memory than her answer. “Your family needed help, so you go and can’t even call or anything?”
“I tried a few times,” she explained, her eyes peering deep into mine. “But my aunt was in a really bad spot, and even getting away to call you was impossible.”
“And now it’s all better and you can talk to me again?” My voice was low, but harsh. I did not mean to sound so rude to Olena, but it was hard dealing with all the emotions she was bringing up suddenly with her return.
“Kind of,” Olena glanced down at the table. “My aunt died in a car accident a few weeks ago.”
I could feel my heart slam into my chest. Here I was mad at Olena, and she was off dealing with family tragedy and who knows what else. I instantly felt childish and selfish for not being a better friend.
“I’m so sorry Olena,” I managed, my throat suddenly dry.
“Thanks,” she shrugged, her eyes glued to the table.
Silence enveloped our table as the waitress brought us our order. Olena still did not look at her, but picked up her coffee and took a long sip. I thanked the woman before sliding my pie away from me. My stomach was suddenly too upset to eat.
Locket Full of Secrets Excerpt (End of Chapter 5)
“Night, sweetheart,” dad added before giving me a kiss on the forehead.
As they turned out the light and left my room I found myself suddenly more awake. The dark reminded me of the bathroom just before I saw the body, and that thought got my heart racing once again.
Walking to the window I opened it to allow for some of the spring air to fill my room. It was cold out, but it felt good after being inside for so long. Hearing a metal scraping sound behind me I turned to face my vanity. Moving closer, it became clear what was making the noise. The necklace Olena had given me was swinging where it hung, tapping into the mirror.
It had been a full year since I last saw Olena. My birthday had come and gone, followed by summer and even Christmas. I knew it was time I accepted the fact that I would probably never see her again.
Pulling the wrapped gift box from the top drawer of my dresser I could feel tears pricking my eyes. Despite my promise to open it when I saw her again, I had waited enough.
Ripping the paper off, I tossed it onto the ground, revealing a flat square box. As I took off the lid, a handwritten card from Olena greeted me instantly.
“In case I do not see you again, I wanted you to have this. You are my true best friend, and you will be missed. Do svidanija, Olena.”
Wiping my face with the back of my hand I pulled the card aside to reveal a necklace I knew well. Nestled in the small box was the silver pendant Olena always wore. It was a gift from her aunt and uncle; a locket that never opened. That did not matter though, as the design on its front more than made up for it.
I ran my thumb over the intricate tree design with light pink amethyst stones making up its delicate leaves. Since we shared the same birthday, February 23rd, it was not just my birthstone but Olena’s as well. With shaking hands I undid the clasp and put it around my neck, then looked at my reflection in the mirror.
Staring at the necklace resting atop my sweater I suddenly felt certain I would see Olena again soon. This necklace was too important for her to give me and then disappear from my life forever. Picking up the wrapper and reading the Russian birthday greeting once again, I felt a smile pull at my lips. This present gave me hope. This small amount of silver and stone was a sign from Olena she would always be my friend, no matter what. It was a sign of hope she would come back one day, and proof that our friendship meant something to her.
Pulling the necklace from its perch I held it in my hand, my thumb rubbing over the tree design the same way I had done so many times before. Tears sprang up in my eyes as I turned and threw the necklace at the wall. As it tumbled to the ground I heard it making contact with the floor grate, before falling into the heating duct. It would likely be stuck there, out of reach, until I unscrewed the grate to find it. My tears blurred my vision as I stumbled back to bed, unable to stop their flow. Crawling under my covers I hugged my new teddy bear tight as my body was wracked with sobs. Pressing my face into my pillow to mask the sounds, I cried until my body was too exhausted to do anything but sleep.
Locket Full of Secrets Excerpt (End of Chapter 10)
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?”
I received an ARC from Dana Burkey in exchange for an honest opinion. This is Mismousey’s very honest opinion of LOCKET FULL OF SECRETS. This is the very first time that I have ever read a book written by this talented author, Therefore I was unsure of what I was type of book I was going to read, Boy was I surprised!! This book is MAGNIFICENT AND SO IS THE AUTHOR!!
When Ms, Burkey takes her pen to paper she creates such a magnificent mystery that you are so wrapped up in it- that you don’t even see the mystery until the end of the book. She writes such an excellent story and includes everything in it
In Locket Full of Secrets this about 2 childhood friends who had to leave each other suddenly. They each have the share the same birthday- so they have one birthday party. But this one year Olena has to leave – but before she goes she gives Claire a gift. In the box it contains a locket. It is the locket that Olena has always worn. She promises to come back soon but doesn’t know when.
Claire is heart broken -Olena is her best friend-matter of fact her only friend. Claire finishes school – when its time for college she decides to move far away from home. Somewhere where no one knows her.
Claire gets a message after all these from Olena to meet her at the restaurant. So she goes there to see her. At first she is mad and upset at her. Then she is happy to see her after all these years. Olena joins her at the table. They start taking and Olena explains why she had to leave. Then all of a sudden she says she has to use the rest room. Olena gets up and goes.Its been a while – a long while so Claire gets worried about her. Claire goes to the restroom in search of her and finds a dead man and lots of blood all over the place. And Olena is no where around.
The police question her and think she knows something about it. Claire has told them They let her go back to the dorm. That’s the last she see’s or hears from Olena for a while. She meets up with Steve and the next they know someone is shooting at them. So they run. Having no idea why or who Steve and Claire just run and hide.
After a while Olena gets in touch with them and they meet up. The 3 of are on the run. When they are finally able to get to a safe place after being shot at and Claire being shot. Olena tells a different story to Claire then what she did earlier.
They have to get the locket – it contains the secret to everything. Along the way to getting it Claire and Olena talk.
The group ends up leaving the country -however they are being hunted. Will they be make it out alive? What is it about the locket? What secrets does it hold and what is it that Olena is not telling?
For all these fantastic answers YOU HAVE TO READ THIS AMAZING BOOK!!! I recommend this book for all readers as this is one book that is written for all. Mismousey gives this book a 60 out of 5 stars, I look forward to reading more of this authors writings.
Now make sure to add this book to your Goodreads Reading List and then Run and GET YOUR COPY NOW!!!