Drowned in Hope

Drowned in Hope

Pavlina Valavanidou



Format: 13.5 x 21.5 cm
Number of Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-3-99107-009-2
Release Date: 11.02.2021
An intriguing tale of deception, fraud and the all-consuming search for love which takes Pauline on a voyage from the heart of Greece to the culmination of her journey in New York.
Chapter 1

I was certain that I would never fall in love again.
Never again, after Patrick and after the scamming.
Then I didn’t know what scammers were.
I didn’t know what that meant. Even though in the United States they are aware of the meaning of scamming, they still fall into the trap. Some even commit suicide, because they can’t bear it.
That evening when I found out that I had fallen into the trap, I remember lying in bed crying because I had also separated from my partner Alkis.
While I was with Alkis I was in contact with the scammer, but I was desperate. It was the time that I had started to believe that I had lost lots of money. Alkis believed that I was talking to a boyfriend and for some reason I was acting like a lunatic.
But I was in contact with Mr. Kofi, the other scammer.
Desperately that night I went to sleep detached from everything that has taken place.
I had a restless sleep full of nightmares.
When I woke up that morning everything came back like a typhoon that sweeps everything on its way.
I felt I was in an endless swirl.
I buried my head under my pillow; I wanted to disappear from the face of the earth…
I placed my body in an embryonic position, trying to hide somewhere… I sat still, numb with my eyes shut. I wish I could fall asleep forever.
I had not realised where the time had gone when I received a text from Alkis.
“Please tell me what is going on and I will forgive you,” he told me.
I leapt out of bed and I quickly put my clothes on.
I rushed out of the house and quickly got into my car.
I didn’t realise how I reached Kifissia where Alkis lived. I drove like a robot.
I saw Alkis from a distance getting closer. “Thank God and the Archangel,” I whispered to myself.
I remember we went to a cafeteria to sit down. I explained to him how I had been a victim of scamming and had lost lots of money, but without mentioning about Patrick. He believed me without asking lots of details and I was thankful for that.
Everything started with an email from Facebook.
Someone had sent me a friend request. I couldn’t see the picture really well because it had been taken from a distance, showing someone standing in front of an aeroplane.
I accepted the friend request, like I was doing with almost everyone. After two hours the man, who must have been an American, text me in messenger thanking me for accepting his friend request.
He asked for my e-mail address because as he explained it would be much easier to communicate via e-mail and I gave it to him.
Shortly, he sent me an e-mail.

“My Dear,

Hello, my name is Patrick and as I was navigating through your profile I stopped to admire it.
You seem to be a very kind and beautiful lady.
I am an interesting man.
I would like, if you wish, for us to become very good friends.
I will await your answer so I can explain the reasons for my decision to contact you.

Sincerely,
Patrick Hunte.”

What surprised me, was the phrase
“I will explain the reasons for my decision to contact you”.
“The reasons, what reasons?” I wondered and I replied:
“What reasons do you mean?”

Then the man sent me pictures of himself and a message.
I then saw the picture of a very handsome man who was wearing a military uniform of a colonel.
He had also sent me his colonel military I.D.
By looking at his I.D. I realized that his star sign was Scorpio, as he was born on the ninth of November and I was very fond of Scorpios, because I get on well with them.
Now that I am thinking back, I believe that the picture did all the work.
He replied:

“My Dear,

I am a colonel in the American army; I will send you more pictures of me.”

In all of them he was wearing his military uniform.
In one of them he was portrayed with his thumb forming the sign of victory.
Later I became fond of this photo.
I admired his well-built and slim body.
He was tall with brown eyes and rich brown hair…

“I am fifty-five years old and I am in Syria, to be more specific in Aleppo with others from the American army.
My dear, recently in a mission my colleague and I, whilst we were involved with Jihadists we found on them, following an authorized search, a bag with eighteen million dollars. My share is nine million dollars.
I have already given this money to be securely stored in a safe deposit inside a box without them knowing what it contains.
My colleague, at his first opportunity, will sent it to his wife in the U.S.

However, I have already been in Syria for the last three years, all the members of my family are dead and I don’t trust anyone well enough to receive it.
My friends and colleagues here in Syria are my family.
As I have mentioned in my former e-mail I noticed that you are a very kind-hearted lady.
If you have any reasons to deny my offer that would be the thirty per cent of the total amount, please do not mention this e-mail to anyone and delete it with all the details I have sent you.

Sincerely
Patrick Hunte.”

My first reaction was to be disappointed for all lies that he had told me. Later on I brought into my mind the handsome colonel and I wanted to give him a second chance.
I was under the impression that all scammers from the moment they target you they also cast a spell on you. I am not the only one who argues this, but also thousands of victims from all over the world.
I am thinking of something that may be an exaggeration, that when they send you a message maybe they also send you a virus that makes you their tool.
So I asked him the following question:
“Are you telling me the truth?”
What I was expecting him to reply? “No, I am lying.”
He sent me a photo with the money and a deposit slip from a company.
The truth is that he had told me not to mention anything to anyone about the box with the money.
However later on I told the story to my friend Alexia.
She believed it as well.
I also discussed it with my sister who lives in France, and she also believed it.
The lawyer who I contact later in Ghana to tell the story also believed it.
Finally, I discussed it with a friend of mine with whom I regularly go to the beach, who is a psychologist and who also believed it.
I believe that there are different kinds of people, but that’s the beauty of it.
Some people look at it in one way and others in another
way.
But I decided to look at it my way because I liked the colonel’s photo and the way he wrote.
Therefore to get his attention I sent him a message.

“Dear Patrick,

I received your e-mail with all the evidence and I am wondering why you chose me to bring the box with the money.
Do I seem to be a trustworthy person?
I was also meant to ask you if this money is legal.
Do you think I will have a problem receiving it?
I want you to assure me that I won’t have any problem.
I also want to know how I am going to justify my share to the bank.
Where did I find it?
In anticipation of your reply.

Pauline.”

I also enjoyed the feeling of adventure that breathed into my life. It was something new to me.
I was imagining myself managing all of this money as I wanted.
The next day I went for a walk with my partner Alkis to the mountain.
I felt a new fresh energy surrounding me.
It was a marvellous feeling.
In the afternoon Patrick send me a message:

“My Dear Pauline,

I read your email and I thank you very much for your help.
As I have mentioned you will receive thirty per cent of the total amount.
When the time comes to deposit the money in the bank, I as an American citizen and military man have the right to deposit the money without a check to be carried out.
This money will come from me and so will justify it.
My dear you don’t need to worry about the money you will receive.
Albert Morris who is the attaché of the embassy, the identity of whom I attach, will bring you the money.
Last night when I went to the warehouse to ask about the safe deposit box, I was told that it had been taken together with the other luggage to their air carrier in Ghana.
The reason they did that was due to the continuous bombardments here in Aleppo, because they were trying to protect the belongings of the soldiers, their lives and their valuables.
My dear Pauline you are the only one I can rely on.
I am sending you the number of the air carrier that has received the box so that you can contact them and ask them to send you the formal deposit slip of my valuable luggage.
My sweetie thank you very much for everything, you are my precious angel.

Patrick.”

So I called the manager of the company. His name was Kofi Amoah and lived in Ghana, Africa.
He was polite and reassured me that a box was stored safely at his company under my name. Mr. Albert Morris who was a diplomat in Ghana would bring the box.
He also sent me a picture of the diplomat as I had requested.
It was his passport and it pictured a rather short, plump man and the passport mentioned that he was fifty-five years old.
Of course my life carried on as usual, in the mornings to Parnitha with Alkis and in the evenings at home.
As always I went with Alkis to Parnitha twenty-five k.m. away from Athens.
My mind was racing to the box.
I was thinking as I was walking, how I would go to the airport in my car and how I would wait to meet Dr. Morris in the arrivals, so that if something would go wrong, I would not to be seen with him.

The plan was first to watch him and once I was absolutely sure, I would approach him and would get together into my car to drive away.
I could give him a lift to a hotel near my house.
I would be very careful where to park and when I had found a safe parking space, I would have rapidly got out of the car to rush in with the valuable box in my hands.
As in the movies I had planned everything in the smallest detail and most importantly I was part of it.




Chapter 2

After walking for two hours in the mountain we sat on a rock to rest.
An impressive tree that was standing tall above the rock sent its shadow widely in the daylight. We were speechless gazing at the colours of nature and smelt the scent of the wild flowers around us.
The taste from the sweet oranges that my partner had brought freshen our throat and their juice burst joyfully in our mouths.
A snake was fooled by the nice weather and slithered lazily enjoying the morning heat.
“Is that a viper?” I questioned.
“No, I don’t think so,” Alkis answered looking out to the open horizon.
Alkis was five years older than me, but he looked younger.
We had the same height and he was slim.
He had a beard and dark eyes. He had his own style. We sat for a bit longer gazing at the three mountains around us gleaming from the morning sun, full of pines with the steep rocks that were standing tall, untouchable and glimmering.
The coffee shop where we went to have a coffee after two hours of trekking, was in Varibobi, and we sat outside under the tents.
I fixed my eyes towards the large town square and I dug myself comfortably into the armchair thinking.
“I am going to buy Alkis a plot in Varibobi and help my family, I am going…”
“What are you thinking my Pauline?” My partner asked me.
“Nothing dear,” I replied and I looked across the coffee shop to the statue of Athena the Goddess, white and imposing, holding a spear in her right hand, having a background the blue of the sky and the green of the mountain.
When I returned home Patrick had sent me another e-mail:

“My dear Pauline,

How is your health today? I hope well.
I would like to let you know that gradually you have taken over my heart. I catch myself thinking of you more and more. If you feel the same, our love is going to shine and resemble a tree that is planted close to the sea and will never die.

Sincerely Patrick.”

As soon as I read the colonel’s enchanting words I immediately replied:

“Dear Patrick,

Thank you for your kind words although I haven’t met you I really like you, but I am in a relationship and I don’t want to ruin it. I will try to bring the box and keep the thirty per cent.
Pauline.”

I read it again after a considerable amount of time.
I don’t know why I had written such a thing, since I had started to fall in love with him.
Perhaps it was a desperate effort to avoid him. Deep down, I was hoping my words would not hold him away from me.
So the next Patrick sent me a strange e-mail full of passion and feelings that said:

“My beloved Pauline,

My darling, don’t you ever say to me again that you don’t want us to be together. Don’t ever say that you are going to take the thirty per cent and that will be the end.
All this money that belongs to me will be yours as well.
I am thinking of you wherever I go, and whatever I do.
I have been to many places. I have met lots of people but no one like you. I can understand this by looking at your pictures on Facebook and the two that you sent me.
Honey I can’t sleep. I constantly think of you at night.
At this moment I am thinking of you.
Darling, please give me the chance to show you my feelings.
Sweetie I am in love with you.

Sincerely Patrick.”

I felt I was special because an American military officer had noticed me.
I went and looked at myself in the mirror.
Although I was fifty-three years old I looked youngish. An oval face with a rosy complexion and two big brown eyes looking at me.
I brought my face closer and looked at my hair. I had very thick brown hair that I usually tie in a small ponytail on top of my head.
My nose was slightly bigger than the normal and my lips were rather small.
I wouldn’t consider myself as beautiful, but I had a sweetness that balanced my common features.
At this moment I noticed my eyes.
They had a glow that lightened my face and added a grace to my whole appearance.
I had suddenly become attractive.
My life had suddenly become interesting. Later I sent an e-mail to Patrick saying:

“Patrick,

I have no words after your last e-mail, it really impressed me.
I could never imagine that you felt like this about me.
I am really fond of you, but I don’t know what to think and how to react, it’s all new to me!
Strange feelings spring from your words.
I am really flattered that such an attractive man feels this way about me.
I think that I have started to fall in love with you.

Pauline.”
5 Stars
Romance and adventure - 13.02.2021
Anna

A romantic tale that keeps you in suspense with twists and turns. Guaranteed to keep you good company during this difficult period

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