A week went by since Matthew came to Moscow, and he spent every early morning with Ivan. Every moment with Ivan was a moment of peace. They'd discuss more about their lives and aspirations. Matthew learned a little more about Ivan and his dream to move to America to start a new life. The American had to disagree and insisted Canada was the better country, but that was more than enough for his heart to spiral away into the pit known as love.
While the days were well and good, Matthew would scold himself upon returning to the hotel. This was Russia, after all. Ivan would never see him in such a light, and if he did it might as well be a death sentence. The man knew about it, and he claimed he didn't mind, but that small voice in the back of Matthew's head nagged at him.
Well, he wasn't about to let that stop him. The brunette made plans to meet Ivan at the center of the city where his class would be for their daily sightseeing—or, as Mr. Nevergland liked to put it, their "historical journey"—and he easily spotted the tall man amongst the crowd. Matthew waved to him, beckoning him over. Ivan smiled as he caught sight of his American friend and raced over, greeting him with a high five..
"Hello, Matvey," he greeted in Russian.
"Hey, dude!" the brunette replied. "Ya ready to blow this popsicle stand?"
Ivan nodded eagerly. "Yes. Shall we?"
"Hell yeah, bro!"
With that, the two boys raced off away from the class. Matthew knew he was breaking the rules, but he'd just lie to his professor and say he got lost. For now, the guy wanted to check out the airport and the goodies that awaited them. Shops full of expensive foods, Excitement filled him as he and Ivan raced through the streets of Moscow, the chilly air signaling the start of a cold winter, and he knew nothing could ever tear the smile he wore off his face.
That was, until they actually reached the airport. Matthew's heart sunk at the sight of it all. Guards stood at every door with guns in their hands, their faces scrunched up with such a sternness that it reminded Matthew of the bouncers in front of clubs and bars back home, and the look they threw at Matthew brought a shiver down his spine.
Being the nervous boy he was, he glanced up to Ivan for aid. The man was just as equally confused it seemed. The Russian looked down at his friend and gave a small smile.
"Do not worry. I will ask situation. Stay here."
Ivan then looked back at the guards, holding an equally bone-chilling stare as he approached them. In Russian he asked, "What is going on? Why is the airport closed?"
One of the guards stepped forward. "The President has called for a shutdown. No one can enter or leave Russia. If you wish to travel, take the train. But you cannot leave the country."
This only made Ivan more concerned. "What? Why not?"
"Silence and return to where you came from. Else, we have orders to shoot."
"Leave now! Or we will shoot!" the guard shouted at him, his face even more irritated than before.
Matthew cowered away from them, rushing to Ivan's side to pull him far back out of their reach. He tugged on the Russian's arm and looked up with pleading eyes.
"Ivan, what's going on?"
The man could only look at him with sympathy. "I...do not know. Country closed. You can't leave."
Matthew was stunned for a moment. His brown eyes went wide, but after a minute of silence he fell into laughter. With hands on his knees, he doubled over cackling.
"Oh, man, that's a good one! Ya got me good, Iv," he chuckled. "Seriously, what's going on here? What happenin'?"
Ivan shook his head. "I'm afraid this is no joke. President order shutdown of country. No one can get in, and no one can leave."
"Leave now!" the guards shouted again, this time in English for Matthew to understand. "Or we shoot!"
Matthew's eyes grew three times as big, his head whipping over the armed guards. He glanced back at Ivan with a worried look. He was frozen in utter fear.
"What... What do you mean? Why is everything closed? What's going on Ivan?"
"Leave, damn it!" another guard screamed, aiming his gun at the duo. "You have until count of three!"
Ivan bit his lip. "I don't know, Matvey. But we figure something out. I promise."
"Ivan... Ivan, we gotta get out of here!" Matthew exclaimed, grabbing his friend by the arm to drag him away.
Ivan stumbled as he followed Matthew to sprint away from the guards. He was right. They had to leave. Matthew couldn't stay here. Ivan knew the rules. The boy would be killed. He had to leave. They both did. If the airports were closed...
Just as the guard finished his count, and the rest prepared to pull their triggers, time slowed down. Off in the distance, a cloud of dust could be seen throwing itself into the air as it followed a large 'BOOM!' sound. All fell silent, and everyone watched in horror. Screams were heard, sirens went off, and the world started to crumble around them.
Matthew was trapped. There was no escape from this new prison he found. The only questioned remaining was whether or not he'd survive.