Chapter 2

Written by: Gabrielle Burt

Jenna was stunned. 

Her mother’s words, although mumbled, had been clear.  But they hadn’t sunk in at first and she’d buzzed for the nurse again!   

As she struggled to pull herself together, two nurses bustled into the small room, but her mother was blissfully unconscious again and had lost the harrowed expression of a moment ago. 

“She opened her eyes again…and spoke to me.  I need some air!” Jenna rushed her excuse and fled down the corridor.   She had to get away to think.

Outside, in the hospital’s leafy courtyard, she wiped the tears and mascara away.  Eyes closed, she saw him lying beside their kitchen bench; his lifeblood escaping – spreading across his blue shirt and dripping into a viscous pool on the polished wooden floor.   She hadn’t meant to kill him.   Just stop him hurting her mother. Gulping, heaving sobs racked her body. How could he not be her father?

It was obvious now, her ‘perfect family’ had been an illusion – but was it also a front? For something more sinister? “Tell no one…trust no one.” That had been clear. A sense of deep foreboding gripped her and she felt very alone.  

The writing on the back of the picture didn’t belong to either of her parents and was ragged where the photo had been torn. Initially she’d thought it was a gardening note and nothing to do with anything!   ‘KG1’, and on the next piece it looked like ‘3 Sleepers’.  Again her fingers brushed the malignant picture in her pocket.

Very carefully, she’d placed the pieces together, like a jigsaw. It then read, ‘KGB Sleepers’! That was spy talk!  “Don’t be so stupid!” she scolded herself loudly, then looked around to make sure no one had heard.   She was reassured when the person nearest remained hunched over his book and paid no attention.

Jenna pulled the torn fragments from her pocket and laid them together.   She studied the faces looking at her across the years. Her mother looked so young.  In her early twenties?  Attractive, but serious and obviously fit.  Uncle Nick was tall. He too looked very fit and relaxed as he held the small baby.  The baby was her. Presumably her father was the photographer.

A sudden thought struck like a physical blow and she winced!  

Uncle Nick had been around all her life.  Her father had no other family – full stop!  When she’d asked about his relations, he said they died ‘in the war’

There was something else – unless they were travelling in the big blue and white car, on one of their road trips to somewhere remote, he only ever stayed two nights.

The night before he left, the adults always talked long into the night. Next morning he would be gone. He never wrote or telephoned between visits.

The courtyard was 28°celsius; hot and very still when Jenna began to shiver.

Her mother was American, her father English – but Uncle Nick’s accent was Central Europe!



Good mysterious threads. Spies, extra marital affair, KGB sleepers. Just my cup of tea. I do hope this serial gets into gear. Gabrielle has written a chapter that has everything - scene set, characterization, inner thought and feeling, self doubt and bags of description. A really good chapter for the next writer to follow.
Thanks Ray, I really appreciate your comments.