The Secret of Highway House

Highway House is a name that, if things had been different, every one of you would have heard of, every one of you would marvel at and every one of you would know the story of. Why there might even have been a Highway House day, or a Lizzie McMorely day! But you don't and there isn't, and this is why.

Lizzie McMorely, newly graduated from Oxford, is recruited to train as an assassin at Highway House. But when sent out on her first ever mission; the assassination of Adolf Hitler, several factors Lizzie hasn't been trained for come into play: luck, betrayal and love.

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7. Julia Wreath

When she awoke the following morning, the first thing Lizzie thought of was the small business card buried at the bottom of her handbag. She reached over for it and examined it more closely, it was printed in German on a small rectangle of white card and read; 
 
Mr H Stansburg
Stansburg Motorcar Repairs
Dime Street
Berlin
 
It gave away nothing and left her intrigued to know more. It would not be an actual garage, she suspected that much, that would just be for show, but what of its true purpose left her curious to know more. With that spirit she decided to go and find out. She was all too aware after last night that there would be agents watching the area for her, though as to why she was unsure. She was British but so were many visiting Berlin, and it seemed highly unlikely that each foreign person visiting the city would be assigned their own individual team of spies. She, Lizzie McMorely, was only special because of her past, because of Highway House, and that was worrying.
She dressed in a simple black dress with fishnet tights and a bright red trench coat over the top, but instead of heading straight to the garage she first took a detour. She picked up a tail at one point but she slipped down a small side alley and waited for the man to pass. She walked until she found a small hairdressers a few streets away from the garage. Someone was looking for Mary Jenkins, or possibly Lizzie McMorely, which meant it was no longer safe to be either these people; it was time to take on a new identity.
An hour later she stood on the pavement looking at her reflection in the mirror. Her once long brown hair had been chopped down to jaw length and bleached a brilliant blonde. The simple change altered her face beyond recognition to someone who did not know her well. She looked glamorous and, dare she say it attractive, but more importantly, she looked different.
She proceeded to cover the last few blocks quickly, curiosity taking over again as she got closer to her destination. Finally she stood directly in front of a tiny shack made of corrugated iron that claimed to be Stansburg Motorcar Repairs. Cautiously she knocked on the door. It took a few moments but eventually a middle-aged man, with greyish hair who was looking rather worse for wear, opened it.
"What do you want?" He asked gruffly with a thick German accent.
"I'm here to err ... pick up a few things." She said. It was a stab in the dark, but she hoped he might reveal more to her in the conversation.
"We don't really tend to get your type round here." He said looking at her suspiciously. "You'd better come in."
She followed him through into what could've been a cave, the room was so oppressive. There was not a single window in the place and the only source of light came from a small, dim lamp that hung from the ceiling and barely gave out enough light to be able to see.
"I need you to prove your identity." He growled.
"My name?" Lizzie asked, wondering what on earth the answer to that should be.
"No course not," he looked astounded at her, "do you think I'd still be in business if I asked for people's names. Criminals come to me because they can't be traced. They do what they want with whatever it is that I supply them with and no one can find them or me."
"So, how do I prove who I am?" She asked.
"I ask you a question. A question only you would know, or in this case a question that the man who met me last night said only you would know."
"So go ahead, ask me." Lizzie breathed, crossing her fingers and praying to God that it wasn't one of the cryptic questions that Mr Stantham asked in his classes.
"He said what was it you used to first discover what your task was?"
And Lizzie smiled, because if she was honest it had been quite unnerving to think that they; her, Jen, Clara, Sophie, Sal and Becky, had managed to outsmart the cleverest group of teachers and assassins that most probably had ever lived.
"Buttons," she said, "I used buttons."
The man nodded and reached behind him to a set of draws from which he pulled out a brown paper package.
"You can check them if you want, you can check that it's all there."
Though she did not know what she was looking for she did as he suggested, not wanting to enlighten him to the fact that she was clueless. She pulled back the paper to reveal a simple pistol that looked identical to the one that she had had that day in the Houses of Parliament, half a dozen passports and what, to the untrained eye, would appear to be a random assortment of wires and switches and odd shapes of metal, but to the eye of a Highway House girl, would be instantly recognisable as all the equipment needed to build a bomb. She slowly opened the passports one-by-one, they were each her, but with different names, and each had had their appearances changed in some way. The final passport was her with a blonde bob by the name of Julia Wreath, and slipped inside the passport was a note in Clara's handwriting that said:
Use these. We're pretty sure the traitor won't know about these.
"These seem perfectly in order." Lizzie smiled at the man and bid him farewell in the calm and collected way that only a girl trained at Highway House could do whilst her brain was whirring.

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