Buried Alive but Still Breathing

Photo Credit: Samuel Zeller

I’ve been struggling with a Cold War memoir.

The premise is simple: A nine-year old child disobeyed a rule (1), and in the process, saw something that she was never meant to see (2).

Because she wasn’t supposed to be where she was, she could not tell anyone what she saw.

Shortly afterwards, she and her family suddenly left their home (3) in the middle of the night.

The child believed that it was all her fault. Everything was all her fault.

It is only later that she will discover that nothing was what it seemed (4 & 5).

1.The rule: Never go out alone.

2. What she wasn’t meant to see was a poster with her father’s photograph on it, along with the words “Have You Seen This Man?,” written in bold, black letters.

3. The house was a 28-room mansion in West Germany. The child and her family lived on the second floor. Another family lived in the attic.

4. The ground floor, where her father worked, was the field office for a joint counterintelligence project headed by the CIA, the CIC (US Army Counterintelligence Corps), and the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst / West German Intelligence). Their mission was to track down East German and Soviet Agents operating in West Germany.

5. There was a kidnapping, an arrest, and maybe a defection or two. The story made the headlines in the West German newspapers. Also, the Chief of Counterintelligence for the BND at the time was actually a KGB mole.

So … why am I struggling?

The joint counterintelligence project might still be classified.

But unless I go public, I won’t know if the project is still classified.

So, hitting the publish button: 3, 2, 1…

A note on the title: As both wordsmith and poet, I tend to favor putting words to work in harness. So if you have gotten this far, note that my choice of words for the title were deliberate. Even the word ‘but’ had to fight to be included.

There are 26 letters in the alphabet of the English language. Let them all play. Let them all breathe.

Note: This is week five of the 52-week writing challenge. Next week …? Who knows.