Spies must tell lies

'For years I'd been trying to piece together some form of family, and now I had a second chance. I wouldn't let it slip through my fingers.'

Charlotte Goode is fifteen.She speaks eighteen languages and knows how to fight. But she wants to know what really happened the night when her parents fought, and only one of them came out alive.

Spies must tell lies, but she is determined to find the truth.

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10. Questions

The hand that grabbed mine and pulled me down the street belonged to the woman with the engraved thumb ring. No prizes if you figured out that this was Abigail Cameron.

"What are you doing here?" she hissed.

 "Who are you?!" I retaliated.

She ignored my question and dragged me into a small cafe on the corner of an isolated street. She gestured towards a small table tattooed with coffee stains. Then I remembered something obvious: "What did you do to the lights?" I asked. "And how did you know I was here, and why have you been following me, and-" 

She cut me off with an arrogant sigh. I was annoyed. I opened my mouth to protest, but she spoke before I could.

"Look, you need to go back to the Townsend's now. I know who you are, and I know what you are capable of - but so do some bad people. It is essential you go home now, and be careful."

I found her use of the word 'bad' patronising, and I didn't know what she meant by being careful, but as she turned to leave I could only form one question.

"Do you know Joe Solomon?"

I saw her stop. Her back was to me, but the glass in the door reflected her shock right back at me, and I smiled. I finally had the upper hand. I knew something I shouldn't.

She spun around, sat down again, and looked me in the eye. She was no longer wearing the blue contact lenses, or any other part of her disguise. I could see the trace of fear in her eyes and the scars on her hands and I knew she was like me.

That evening was long. I got five calls from my foster parents, the Townsend's. I ignored them. They were probably wondering where I was by now. The clock on the wall of the cafe said it was almost midnight, but I wasn't tired. I was running on adrenaline. 

I won't write down our entire conversation - it would take too long. Basically, Abigail asked me lots of questions about what I knew from that night I wish I could forget. I remember smoke. I smelt blood. My mother came out from our house alive, and my father was dead. No-one could escape the ferocious flood of flames that washed over our house and injected the sky with sparks of hatred. Not even my father, the bravest, strongest person I ever knew. And I knew Mr Solomon was there. But I couldn't explain why.

I expected Abigail to laugh then. I had no evidence. But sometimes you don't need evidence to know. It's about instinct. That nagging feeling at the back of your mind that something isn't right.

I remember telling her that I knew someone bad was there, and I knew Mr Solomon was bad.

My use of the word 'bad' made me seem vulnerable, and I guess it was partly my nine-year-old self who described that part.

Abigail scribbled something on a piece of paper and handed it to me. Her suggested rendezvous scared me, but that wasn't the scariest part of that night. Neither was her clothing suggestion, but just reading the words 'dress and high heels' made me wince.  She looked at me carefully as she said, " There are people out there worse than Mr Solomon."

And that simple sentence was what scared me most.

 

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