Chapter 42. I think I like where this is going…it's a different chapter at the very least. Please enjoy.
"It looks very much the same here," Jenny murmured as she and Gibbs walked down the street. It was a cloudy day, but here and there the sun poked its way though the clouds. There were very few people on the street.
"Yes it does," he agreed. It looked as though time had forgotten this part of the city, content to let it exist as a battered tribute to the past.
"Here it is," Jenny said coming to a shop front that looked even more rundown than those that surrounded it. The windows were boarded up, and the sign over the door hung at an odd angle. "Do you suppose anyone will notice if we go in?
"Nobody would care," an unfamiliar voice said, and the pair spun around to face the speaker. She shrugged at their surprised expressions. "Place has been closed for a decade now, maybe more," she explained, "horrible things happened here."
"Like what?" Jenny asked.
"A murder," the woman said in a hushed voice, "a little girl found dead in a pool of her own blood. By the time the police got here the place was empty except for her. Bar closed down a few months later, place is creepy, haunted they say.". Her voice trailed off. "You know," she remarked, "I've lived here for years and years and no one has ever shown the slightest interest in the place, and now two separate couples in a week."
"Two?" Jenny asked with a sidelong look at Gibbs.
"Had a pair down here the other day, asked if I remembered anything for that day," she said seeming not to notice the shocked look on either of their faces, "seemed particularly interested in the girl who died."
"What did you tell them?" Gibbs asked, with a very bad feeling about where this was going.
"Her name, Ana Volkov," the woman replied, "and I told them she was buried at the cemetery down the road. Could not tell them anything else since I do not know anything else. They thanked me and headed down the road."
"Did they go inside?" Gibbs asked, but Jenny already knew the answer.
"No," she said, "thought for sure they would, but they just thanked me for me time and headed off. No one has been back since."
"Well thank you," Gibbs said.
"Not a problem," she said, "you people are the first interesting thing to come around here in a very long time. Come back and see me if you are ever in the area again."
Gibbs assured her that they would, and then he and Jenny set off down the road together in the direction the woman had indicated. They walked in silence until they reached the gates of a small cemetery. It seemed to have grown darker since they had set out, and as he glanced up, Gibbs realized that large grey clouds had completely covered the sun.
He looked down again and saw the gate to the cemetery standing open. Jenny was several yards away, moving through the stones like a ghost, her auburn curls providing a stark contrast with her grey surroundings. He followed her quietly, careful to stay a little bit behind her. She did not pay him any mind. Moving as if guided by an outside force, she wove her way through the gravestones until she reached the back most part of the cemetery. The names on the stones were not covered by moss there; the marble still had its eerie glow.
Jenny's pace slowed slightly as she began to scan the names on the head stones, and eventually she came to a stop looking down at a modest sized stone in the back corner of the graveyard. The stone was dirty, and Gibbs wondered if anyone had visited since it had been set in place more than a decade before. He suspected it had not.
Jenny reached out and wiped some of the grime away with the sleeve of her shirt. The writing was more clearly legible now, and Gibbs realized it was in Russian not Georgian.
23 January 1985 - 12 February 1999
Now an Angel of our Lord
"She was barely fourteen," Jenny said. Her voice was low but steady. Her eyes were dry. "I always knew she was young, but fourteen..."
There was silence for a few moments before Jenny spoke again.
"It wasn't my fault," she said, "that she died. I couldn't have stopped it...not really."
"No one ever blamed you Jen," he told her.
"I did," she replied, "for years I blamed myself, if only I had done something differently, maybe she would have lived, but I couldn't have known she was standing behind me. That bullet missed me by inches; I didn't have time to process. She didn't die because I was there. She died because she was there, and she shouldn't have been. She was a pawn. I don't know for whom, but she was somebody's pawn."
Gibbs looked at her, unsure what point she was getting at. Jenny stood up and turned to face him, and her eyes now blazed with the fierce determination he hadn't seen there in weeks.
"And now in death she's somebody else's pawn," Jenny said, holding a white envelope between her fingers, "they could have put this in the old bar, they knew no one had gone in their in years, but they chose here. They used her grave as a tool, to try and break us, to try and break me, and damn it their not going to do it."
'Here they, whoever they were, had failed,' Gibbs thought. 'They could watch all they wanted, and they could know where he and Jenny traveled, they could know what he and Jenny saw, but they never understand him or Jenny. They had proved that today. They thought they had bent Jenny's will so far that she would break, but she hadn't, and she wouldn't, not after this. After this all that was left to do was catch the bastards.'
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