Only A Secretary
by Jan Mears Cooper
Katrina hit the floor at the sound of gunfire. She felt the blood spatter her face before it registered that Malcolm had been shot. Now she stared into his dead eyes. Just moments before, he and two other men from Research and Development had been laughing at her joke. The bile rose up in her throat as Kevin’s body thudded to the floor next to her. Body matter and blood stained her beautiful cocktail dress.
People were crying or moaning, depending on whether they got hit or not. Katrina noticed that General Ambercromby was dead. She looked for Dr. Waterson, her boss, and saw him crawling towards the library door. Easing out of her hiding place, she followed him into the other room. When she pulled up next to him, he scowled but didn’t say anything. They crouched next to a large oak desk.
Sporadic gunfire could be heard accompanied by shouting and screams. The assailants were clearing the house.
“Sir, what’s happening?”
“Obviously we’re being attacked.” Scorn dripped from his lips.
“But I don’t understand why…” she covered her mouth with shaking fingers. “Oh my god, Malcolm and Kevin!”
“Unfortunate collateral damage. Do you know what happened to the General? He was near you when the shooting started.”
“He’s dead.” Katrina wrapped her arms around her waist. “What do they want?”
“The secret project that you and the General have been working on?”
His eyes sharpened on her, “What do you know?”
“Me?” she squeaked, “Nothing! Only that you and General Ambercromby have been meeting for the past few months. I keep your calendar, sir. There were…gaps.”
“Hmm, that’s true. You’re only a secretary, so what could you know?” He eyed her speculatively, “This could actually work.”
The gunfire stopped. “Find him!” someone shouted.
“The General and I have developed a weapon.”
Katrina rubbed her temples. “What does this have to do with me?”
“They can’t get their hands on it.” He gestured towards her, “You’re just a secretary. They won’t consider you a threat.” He grabbed a book and tore out a page. “Here are the coordinates to where the plans are hidden.” He hastily scribbled some numbers down and handed it to her. “Make sure that General Fisher gets this. No one else. You got it?”
She took the scrap paper and nodded, tucking it into her cleavage. “But what about you?”
He pulled out a tiny tablet. The door burst open as someone kicked through the lock. Dr. Waterson quickly put the tablet into his mouth and bit down. He went into convulsions and red spittle with foam seeped out of his mouth.
“Don’t shoot!” Katrina stood with her hands up. “Dr. Waterson is dead. I’m his secretary.”
Rough hands grabbed her and dragged into the salon where soldiers were checking the bodies and searching the room.
“We found one hiding in the library.”
Are large military man turned and looked at her. “The doctor?”
He nodded waiting for her to say more. She smiled and pulled out the paper handing it over to the man. “Mission, accomplished.”
She turned and walked out of the room, pulling her wig off her head. “Just a secretary, indeed.”
Jan Cooper, a frequent Modern Retro Woman short story contributor, lives in an imaginary world where she interacts daily with her characters. Sometimes reality breaks through so she also works as an elementary school teacher.
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