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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11. School for Strangers

Blackthorne was different to how I had expected. It had regular classrooms and science labs, fitting my expectation of a typical school. But upon entering, I knew that Blackthorne wasn't exactly a school as such... 

There were textbooks and computers, tables and chairs, chalkboards and calculators and everything. It was the perfect cover up.

Blackthorne was really a school for assassins. 

Was this what Rick was hiding?

 

"Are you scared?" he had asked me as we approached the looming building.

"Of what?" I asked, taking in his face, his weary eyes.

"Of me," he said quietly. "Of what I am."

"No," I said honestly. I reached for his hand, and he didn't flinch away. 

I was scared of seeing the place that my brother had been taught to kill. I was scared that it was a trap. But I clasped Rick's hand and followed by his side, confident that he was an ally.

 

The view was intimidating - mountains towering around the site, protecting this place from the eyes of an intruder. 

Or keeping everyone enclosed, I couldn't help but think.

It had taken about an hour to trek here from the forest. I was glad to sit, glad for the artificial warm Blackthorne's heating system had to offer. But even with a roasting fire, the atmosphere would always be cold here, heavy with secrets.

The stopwatch said I had just over 10 hours left. I had temporarily forgotten the mission, distracted by the chatter of Rick's friends and Kian's constant flirting. But it all came back to me; the meeting with Mr Solomon, the phone call from Stevens that made me shiver. But what surprised me most was seeing Zach staggering into the room in which we sat, blood streaking down his face, his hair tangled.

"Zach?!" I cried, reaching for him. His eyes locked with mine.

"He's dead. I killed him," he said simply.

"Who?" I asked, my voice cracking.

"Stevens. I killed him," he whispered.

And then my brother collapsed in front of me.

 

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