Ilya Lastovkin: Hoping for a Safe Return

You’re up at night awake, alone. In your egg-shell painted room, the roof tilts at a 45 degree angle from one wall to the other. It’s supposed to, but it appears more precarious to you now than ever. It’s a cold night for November but the windows open anyways so the faded fluorescent lavender from the street lamp light can pitch against your wall. Leading up to this, the darkest part of the night, your mom came by your bedroom door to talk. “Please go to sleep”, she says. “It’s never good to stay up this late”, she says. “Is there something wrong?” And you tell her, “No, mother. There is nothing wrong.” But how can you tell her something’s wrong when your own thoughts are hazy and swirling themselves? An idea sown into the folds of your mind keeps you up at night, keeps you on the inter¬net looking at pictures of people you know on social sites smiling towards the camera.

You’re not quite sure but it seemed to have originated when you did that study for money. The hospital needed to interview people with a history of bipo¬lar disorder in their family. Of course, it would be fine. They were just questions. Questions can’t stroll out of the woods with the evening wind and shimmy up the plastic-paneling of your house to slide through your open window; they can’t traipse toward you on the street in a blue uniform and rheumy eyes and suddenly shriek at you and handcuff you and throw you in jail. Besides, your mom and brother and sister would do the same study so there would be no harm in it.

But in your living room, on the couch in the company of the glass coffee table, a women’s icy voice asked you strange questions over the phone. They make you shift your weight on the springy couch. They make you change your breath. “Have you ever felt that your life is speeded up?” “Have you ever considered that someone is looking for you?” “Have you ever looked at a human face and not recog¬nized what it was?” Odd questions. But the pause before you can spill out an answer is unnerving.

You filled in surveys and situated them in the back of the mailbox. You swabbed your own mouth with cot-ton as if you were your own specimen. Then you got the idea.

You feel this idea so much that you forget everyone feels alone sometimes. From stepping in old puddles camou¬flaged against the pavement and make an uncomfortable soaking twist around the right cuff. From totaling mom’s car and staring at it’s twisted chassis by the side of the highway with the concrete in the pit of your stomach. From the hospi¬tal bill that just won’t go away no matter how many shifts you work at the “Family Dollar”. From calling your friend when you need them the most and hearing the same “hi” of their voice message. You fear the idea is expand¬ing. You don’t want to use your cell phone because they’ll track you. You don’t want to leave your com¬puter because they’ll break down your door and take it. You don’t want your friend to use his cell phone because they’ll track you.

The idea is all that feels close to you. It won’t leave you. Maybe it won’t ever leave you. So you get up from your desk. You don’t forget your black jacket hung on the back of the door handle. You get your wallet. You shut your eggshell painted door. The streetlight crawls under the crack of the door and stretches out behind you into the hall¬way. At 6 AM, you leave your home quietly. Perhaps if you leave everything you know, the idea will stay there like fleas clung to an old, woolen sweater. Quietly, you shut the front door behind you.

This story is based on facts surround¬ing the disappearance of Ilya Lastovkin. He went missing early morning on November 12th, 2009 and his family has not seen or heard from him since. He was 22 at the time of his disappearance. If you have any information surround¬ing the disappearance of Ilya Lastovkin, please call the Stoughton Police at (781) 344 – 2424. To learn more or assist the Lastovkin family in their search efforts, please visit


According to a missing per¬son flyer released by the Lastovkin family, Ilya Lastovkin is 5’11 with a slim build and was last seen wearing a black bubble jacket and brown leather shoes. Lastovkin was last seen on at his Stoughton home on November, 12 2009 at 6 a.m. If anyone has any information about his where¬abouts they are urged to call the Stoughton police at (781) 344 – 2424. To learn more or assist the Lastovkin family in their search efforts, please visit






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