Greetings Fellow Bloggers: us hungry pixies are back. We'd love to tell you why we went away, but much like Fight Club - we don't talk about it. So please don't ask if you don't already know.
It's enough to say that we're back: leaner, meaner and short of a few pounds here and there where we've been working up our creative juices.
Sorry I wasn't able to run the Poetry Bus this week as promised, but moving on, and to make amends for those of you who were afraid you'd never see the end of my Wordzzle (and who missed part 8 on Raven's blog), here it is again:
OK – before I start I wanted to explain a bit about the idea behind this story. A while ago there was a programme on TV where they took members of the public and they trained them to be spies, making them go through the type of exercises that a real spy (not the movie type of spy) would be expected to do. Some of these exercises included: Taking on a false identity in a work place and slowly convincing someone to help you by little indiscretions (IE shared confidence in something or sneaky breaks) and slowly building up, following a close relative and leaving a message without being seen, obtaining evidence from a house via surveillance and so forth.
So the original idea of the story was: what would it be like to have to take on a different identity, maybe for years – just sending back reports and pretending to be someone you’re not. I think after a while the lines would become blurred. So I wanted to write a spy story that felt more realistic than the action/adventure of a James Bond/Jason Bourne adventure – I’m not entirely sure I succeeded, but the end result was interesting nonetheless.
Sleeper – part 8 (the final)
The waves crashed against the side of the boat bringing with them the salty smell of the sea. The wind calmed for a second, allowing the two people at the stern of the boat a seconds respite from the spray.
Sir Keith Chegwin turned his head away from the water, his bushy eyebrows furrowing in thought. If he listened carefully he could almost make out the tune playing on the piano in the first class lounge: something he felt he could almost name, but that kept slipping from his memory.
The person standing next to him shivered and pulled the huge jacket tighter around their frame but otherwise didn’t move.
‘It’s a shame’ Sir Keith muttered almost under his breath, ‘a real shame’
The figure nodded, saying nothing for the moment: so much work gone to waste, and for what?
Sir Keith cleared his throat, still feeling the after-effect of the carrot soup he had eaten at midday on his breath. They were half a mile from France now: no turning back now. Operation Littlegirl was a failure – blown wide open by a classic case of over-enthusiasm. He wondered if the careers of anyone involved would ever be the same.
It all went back fifteen years to 1995: five Russian operatives had gone missing under surveillance. It was suspected that one of the agents watching them had defected – but so far there was no evidence of this. Then they had found the diary. No names, no dates – just an entry saying “The Facility”. It had been enough for them to send an agent undercover within the Facility and from thereon in it was as if the Devil himself had decided to shuffle the cards of fate
Bomb threats, over-active imaginations and people too keen to get promotion at any cost: Divine had made a classic rookie mistake – joined the dots in a way that suited him and thrown the balance of the equation into overdrive. He had wrongly assumed that either Sophie or Mark were the Russian agent and had first tried subtlety then out-and-out blackmail and lies. In short his behaviour had been like a blind polar bear wading through a wall of fish, sending the tails of chaos flapping.
If you throw a rock up in the air you’re bound to find someone guilty – or at least hit a spy if you were at the Facility. The bomb had been entirely separate, some disgruntled employee entirely unconnected, but through the blundering of the resulting scare Operation Littlegirl had been blown apart – because once the finger of blame was pointed at someone it was no longer safe to keep them there.
The figure in the coat shivered again and held out a hand, ‘I’ll need a new passport’
Sir Keith nodded and handed over the documents, ‘Here.’ He cleared his throat again, ‘I thought you might like to know…’ he paused, wondering how to put it into words, ‘Trenchard from finance went missing shortly after the bomb scare – hasn’t been seen since. It looks like he was the Russian…’
The figure threw back its head and laughed once, then shook it’s head, ‘Typical. I never suspected Trenchard for a second’
There was a second’s hesitation as the small, almost frozen, hands prized open the passport and stared at the picture and the name. Then Sophie pulled back the hood
‘Heather Green?’ She said distastefully, then shrugged: it was as good a name as any.