Identity Unknown

"Being back here made me see how much it can get to you; the training, all of the lessons, even just the environment we are in. We aren't the same as everyone else. And everyone else can never know.'

After six months of searching for her father, Charlotte Goode returns to the Gallagher Academy. Exams and eager friends await, but something is wrong. When a phone call changes everything, Zach can offer the answer - but someone will stop at nothing to keep him silent. And when a double agent is revealed, Charlotte must choose who to trust - but time is running out, and the Academy's greatest secrets are at risk.

The stakes are higher, but is she ready?

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4. Maze

I stared up at the sky, a swirl of sapphire and white, flakes falling. A snowflake kissed my nose. I rubbed my head and stumbled to my feet, taking in my surroundings. I was in a forest, cool and luscious, soon to be capped with snow. A rustle of leaves caught my attention, as I saw a handful of blackbirds dart from a tall tree to my right, cawing an ugly soundtrack that pierced my ears. And then I saw it - a backpack. I scaled the tree in seconds, the rough bark scratching my palms as I climbed. I threw it to the ground with a crash and followed. It contained a box of matches and a stopwatch.

17:58:32

Stevens said I had a day. Unconsciousness had already swallowed six hours - I had to get moving.

I ran through the trees, my feet crashing against fallen leaves, my heart pounding. I replayed Stevens' words over and over again in my head:

A student will be posted at a destination. The rest of you have to find them.

One day for them to escape.

A few of my friends from the CIA - and they won't know it's just a little test.

My friends would find me, I knew they would. But a part of me dreaded that Stevens' friends would find me first.

I wanted to stop to catch my breath, but the snow was falling fast, and I feared that if I didn't keep moving it would set, leaving my footprints to be tracked with ease. I felt the cold seep into my bones, cursing Stevens for not leaving me with a jacket. I could light a fire, but there would be telltale smoke along with the warmth I craved; I couldn't take the risk.

A shrill sound pierced the air that was quickly getting cooler. I recognised the sound instantly - it was my phone. Probably bugged, but some form of contact. I snapped open the screen.

"Zach?" I said hopefully. But the voice on the other end was gravelly and urgent, and didn't belong to my brother.

"Charlie, you need to get out of there."

"Mr Solomon?" I said, surprised to hear my teacher's voice. The headmistress had said he'd 'taken a break' - but what for?

"Trust me. Keep walking, don't look back, and don't let them get you."

"Where are you?" I asked, but was met with a staticy silence. I slipped the phone back into my pocket. Mr Solomon had sounded afraid.

Spies get afraid for good reasons.

I rested my head in my hands, wishing for a jacket to sling across my shoulders and supply some warmth, wishing for a clue, a map, anything that would tell me where I was.

A crisp shot punctured the air. I jerked upwards. Another shot followed, and another. I clambered towards the sound foolishly, desperate to find my enemy, desperate for this to be over.

I neared the top of a hill and squinted against the weak sun. A building I recognised loomed nearby, but its name has slipped my memory. I squinted harder, read the words on the sign.

It can't be.

I put a hand to my mouth and backed away, stumbling across a tree root, leaves rattling at my ankles in the breeze that pinched my face.

I was at Blackthorne. 

 

 

 

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