Jo was sleeping when the air raid siren blared out. She had had pneumothorax that afternoon and was feeling a little breathless and under the weather from it. The noise of the siren jolted her awake and she lay in bed for a minute, wondering what on earth was happening. As the siren sounded again, a nurse appeared in her room.
“You need to come down to the air raid shelter! Now!” Jo slowly climbed out of bed and the nurse handed Jo her dressing gown and found her slippers. Fear washed over her. Were the Nazis still going to find her? How could they know where she was? She started towards the door, but found herself grabbing onto the bed in an effort to stay upright. The nurse came to her side and helped her. When she reached the top of the stairs she stopped to catch what little breath she could. The nurse lit the stairs with her torch as Jo stumbled down them. Another nurse appeared with a wheelchair. Jo sat in it, thankfully. She was quickly wheeled along the corridor. She stumbled down the next flight of stairs into the shelter. Her path was lit by a torch again and she finally made it to a bed. Sinking onto it, she curled up into a ball. She took no notice of her surroundings, not even noticing when a blanket was thrown over her. She was exhausted by the unexpected exertion and soon fell into an uneasy slumber.
She was running as fast as she could, looking in vain for somewhere to hide. Men in Nazi uniforms were pursuing her. She saw a small opening and dived into it. Finding herself in a small cave she quickly hid behind a cairn of stones. They were getting closer to where she was hiding. She could hear the dogs barking near to her hiding place. She frantically looked round for another way out, but could see none. The dogs were getting closer to her. They had her scent now and were honing in on her hiding place. Suddenly, she was face to face with them and she screamed in terror. A man dragged her out of the cave, and she was thrown to the ground, the dogs snarling around her. One of the Nazis shook her roughly, threatening to shoot her if she didn’t tell them what they wanted to know. She shook her head. She tried to say she knew nothing, but the Nazi didn’t believe her.
The shaking came again and she opened her eyes. She looked straight into those of Jem. She had been dreaming again. She clung to him like a frightened child, sobbing as the nightmare began to subside.
“Jo? Tell me about your dream.”
“I-I can’t.” She was shaking uncontrollably.
“You need to, Jo. You need to tell me what happened. If you don’t talk to someone, it will keep on returning.” Haltingly, she began to recount the nightmare to him. He listened quietly, letting her talk herself out. Eventually, she ran down and lay, trembling, on the bed. Once he had heard her vivid description, Jem wasn’t surprised she had been screaming in her sleep. Especially after all she had been through during her flight from Austria, and then from Guernsey. He thought he would be doing so, too.
“Is it the same nightmare, you’ve been having since you escaped to Switzerland?” Jo nodded. “When was the last time you had it?”
“I’m not sure. It might have been when I arrived here. I just remember writing to Jack and lying watching the shadows on the wall. Then you woke me up, telling me I had been screaming in my sleep, but I don’t remember.”
“It seems to be triggered each time you have to deal with a stressful experience. Hopefully, now you’ve told me about it, it might not happen again. In the meantime, let’s get you back upstairs to your room. You seem to be almost the last person left down here and the All Clear went ages ago. He moved out of the way to allow her to stand up, placing his arm around her when she swayed. They slowly made their way back to Jo’s room, where he tucked her back up under the covers and bade her to sleep some more. Just as he was about to leave the room, Jo spoke again.
“Is Madge and everyone else all right?”
“Yes. A little tired, but otherwise, everyone is fine. Don’t worry about them, Jo. They were safe enough. Now, try and get some sleep.” Jem left at this and Jo’s eyelids drooped as she fell back to sleep.