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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)

TITLE: Vanya Cherkovsky: Choices and the Two Paths
By Gilbert Backers


Vanya Cherkovsky stood in front of a church in an old neighborhood in Romania. The church had a distinctive Saxon design with strong Gothic influences.

It was a summer day. The sky was clear with few clouds.

Vanya was 20 years old, 6’ 1” tall and 280 pounds. She wore a thick gray t-shirt and jeans. Vanya had jet black hair but blue eyes.

Vanya saw a man in a white, two piece suit walking towards her. She then looked down at her feet and became tense.

“Hello, Vanya,” said Dimitry. “Are you waiting for me? Have you reconsidered my gracious offer?”

Vanya looked up and with fire in her blue eyes replied, “No.”

“You are looking beautiful as always,” said Dimitry. “Because you refuse to take steroids. Now, you are off the Romanian weightlifting team.”

Vanya looked away and clenched her fists.

“I’m sorry it is a sore topic for you but it is true,” said Dimitry. “But men, rich, powerful men would pay to have sex with a young, beautiful, strong Romanian woman like you. I can even get you into movies and you can make even more money. How is your sick mother?”

“She is in the same hospital as Anna,” said Vanya. Vanya looked away. Tears started forming in her eyes.

“I’m sorry about your friend Anna,” said Dimitry. “They were rich American business men. They looked clean to me. But Anna has medicine and will get well. There are rich businessmen here in Romania who want a strong girl for a whole week. Imagine how much money you would have after a week with rich business men.”

“I don’t want to be a prostitute,” said Vanya. Vanya and Dimitry did not notice a car pulling up in front of the church.

“I understand, you have a reputation to protect,” said Dimitry as he gestured towards the church behind Vanya. “You wear that cross, you go to this church with your mother every Sunday when she is well. You can use a fake name and color your hair. No one will know it is you.”

“Vanya Cherkovsky?” said the man who stepped out of the car. He was wearing a black, two piece suite.

“Ya,” said Vanya, turning around.

“Trevor Jackson, New Millennium Health Systems,” said Trever. “I’m here for our appointment to talk about a contract with my company.”

Vanya turned around and looked at Trevor. His mouth dropped. “You’re even more beautiful than the photos, just like Romania. Your country truly is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. I can see why it’s hard for you to leave and come to the U.S.”

“She is going to work for me, American,” said Dimitry, stepping close to Vanya. “Vanya, I can help you put food on your table tonight.”

“If you come with me,” said Trevor to Vanya, “We can talk specifics about contracts, base salary, and signing bonuses.” Then Trevor stepped close to Vanya. He stood shoulder height to Vanya. Both men stood on opposite sides of her, one in white, the other in black. Each talking to her about a different path. “You’ll be able to tell everyone that you are the spokesperson for a respectable company that creates nutritional supplements and exercise equipment. You can stay steroid free and be the athlete you want to be. You will be proud of what you do, what you accomplish. People will appreciate and respect you. I understand that some women in Romania are forced into prostitution and pornography just to eat,” Trevor glanced at Dimitry. “But you don’t have to be one of them, Vanya.”

“I will take care of you,” said Dimitry, “just like I take care of all my girls.”

“Did I mention,” began Trevor, “That if you sign with my company we’ll also pay for your college education?”

Vanya’s eyes lit up and she smiled, “College?” she asked, sheepishly.

“Come,” said Trevor as he waved towards the car. “We’ll go get your family. I’ll take all of you to a nice restaurant where you can eat all you want. We can talk about your bright future.”

Vanya walked towards the car with Trevor.

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This article has been read 383 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/26/09
I like the symbolism of the white and black--and how you turned it around!

I was a bit puzzled by her description as "beautiful"--she seemed a bit large to be beautiful most standards of beauty.

Wonderful that she had a good choice provided...and that she took it!
Norma-Anne Hough03/01/09
Interesting story. I think the mc's beauty was in her heart and it shone through!
Well done and lovely ending.
Marlene Austin03/01/09
Good characterizations. Nice job. :)
Dee Yoder 03/01/09
Very interesting. I also liked the two choices you presented so clearly and am glad she chose the good path.
Sharon Kane03/02/09
This is a powerful story about a very real issue affecting many Eastern European women. I am glad your MC had a choice. It also seemed her faith was an anchor for her and protected her from making the wrong choice, which was a nice touch.
Joshua Janoski03/04/09
I liked how you brought out the horrible truth about what many of these women have to endure just to survive. I wish all of them had a way of escape just as this woman in your story had. Good job!