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Jo woke from the nightmare drenched in cold sweat. She pulled herself upright in bed, despite the fact that she was meant to be on complete bedrest. The exertion made her cough and she grabbed at the tissues on the bedside cabinet. As her surroundings began to come back into focus once more, Jo’s breathing became a little more regular and she ceased to cough quite so violently. The nightmare was still vivid in her mind and Jo knew she could sleep no more. Climbing out of bed, she staggered over to the chair by the window where she curled up and stared out at the scenery. There was a full moon and the landscape was clear in the light it cast. Jo watched as the sky slowly began to lighten, first to grey and then to an intense red sunrise. She shivered in the cool air but still didn’t move. She felt as if she was full of lead and any movement would cause her to overbalance. Leaning her chin on her knees, she closed her eyes and tried to banish the nightmare from her mind.

She was still in the same position an hour later when Jem entered the room. Noticing Jo out of bed, he crossed to where she was sitting, fully intending to give her a piece of his mind. As she heard the footsteps, Jo turned and Jem could see the fear in her eyes. He crouched down in front of her and felt how cold she was.

“How long have you been here, Jo?”

“I don’t know,” she whispered. “I saw the sunrise. It’s going to rain later.”

“Come on back to bed, where it’s warm.” He gently drew her out of the chair and back to the bed, where he made sure she was tucked in before going to the door to request a hot water bottle from a passing nurse. He said nothing until the nurse returned and he’d tucked the bottle in alongside Jo.

Jo herself was too tired to argue. The effort of moving from the chair had used up what little energy she had and she hugged the bottle to her chest, curling into a ball under the covers.

“What happened, Jo? What made you get out of bed?”

“I couldn’t sleep any longer. They might come back for me.” Jem looked puzzled.

“Who might come back for you?”

“The men. They keep coming for me. They’ll find me one day soon and take me.”

“No one is going to take you anywhere, Jo. You’re safe here. I won’t let anyone take you away, I promise.”

“They’ll come when you aren’t here, Jem. They’re just biding their time. They’ll come and take me away, like they’ve taken Jack. They’ll get us all, eventually.”

“Jack is in England, visiting his family. He told you he was going home.”

“Are you sure he’s safe?” Jo didn’t look convinced.

“I’m sure he is. You were dreaming, Jo. We’re all safe here on Guernsey.” Jo stayed silent as she digested this information. Jem watched her, carefully. He had other patients to check but, he knew he needed to ensure Jo was able to rest properly before he left her alone. He wished Jack wasn’t away as he was the one person Jo needed right now. He had been the one constant in her life during the past few months and she needed his reassurance. Jem knew that as much as Jo wanted to believe him, she was still unsure. As he watched, Jo’s eyelids drooped. The heat from the hot water bottle was doing its job and she was beginning to drowse. She forced them back open to look at Jem once more.

“Just a dream?”

“Just a dream, Jo. Sleep if you’re tired. I’ll stay a little longer if you like?” Jo just nodded in reply and Jem watched on as she finally fell into a deep sleep. He waited another five minutes, before standing and gently brushing her hair from her face. He spoke quietly to himself as he watched her slumbering.

“We’ll get you through this, Jo. You’re too precious to all of us to leave, yet.” Jem left his sister-in-law alone and headed back through the corridors to his office. He dropped heavily into the chair behind his desk and sighed to himself. He was ready to go home, now. It had been a long night and he knew he had to be back here again in the early evening. The telephone rang on his desk, startling him out of his reverie. He picked it up on the fourth ring.

“Dr Russell speaking.”

“Jem? It’s Jack.”

“Hello, Jack. How are you?”

“I’m very well, thank you. I’m just ringing to let you know I’m back and to find out when I could call and see Jo.”

“Visiting’s this afternoon as it happens. I know Madge was planning to visit, but I’m sure she’d happily let you come in her place.”

“That sounds good. I’m also ready to come back to work if you’ll have me?”

“Of course. I’m about to leave now, but I’m back in at six. How about we meet once I’ve finished my rounds?”

“About seven, then?”

“Yes, that should be ample time for me to take over properly. You can stay with Jo a bit longer if you like. I think she’d appreciate seeing you.”

“Of course. I’ll see you later.” Jack rang off and Jem replaced the receiver, glad that his friend was back and ready to help continue the fight against such a dangerous disease.



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