She's not Afraid

Charlie Evergreen isn't your average 19 year old. She was taken when she was thirteen, kidnapped by some of her closest friends. She was taken to a secret compound, far in the merciless regions of the Mojave Desert.
That's when the truth came out. That almost 500 children are taken every year, mostly from poorer homes. The agency Charlie was at, had missions to retrieve those kids, to step in when the police failed.
So she joins. When she turns 19, she gets a mission. To kidnap Niall Horan, world-famous boy band star, and recruit him. How hard can it be?

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35. Chapter 35

My heart thumped painfully I my chest, as I punched in the numbers for the Lotus Hill gates' password. The keypad emitted a small, mechanical beep before the doors swooshed silently.

"Good job." I heard Niall whisper a hushed praise. It was time to end this, once and for all. Lotus Hills was a beautiful complex, with tall oak trees and gravelly roads. The houses were at least three stories, but dark and silent.

"What's the address?" I whisper. Niall puts a finger to his lips as we darted through the gates. "A little further down the lane." He breathes.

We moved in smart, but quick, movements. Everything was dark, not a single pinprick of light anywhere in the area.

"Over there." Niall points. I squint "Basement lights are on!!". Niall's eyes widen "Let's go get her." I broke out in a run, Niall hot on my heels.


I crouch near the basement window, a small distorted block of glass. "Maybe there's a cellar?" Niall asks.

I nod "Good idea.". We start to palm the side of the house. "Found a latch! Where's the flashlight?" Niall says, forgetting to keep his voice down.

"Shh!" I scold. "Sorry." He mumbled. "No lights. We can't risk it." I order. He nods. I hook my hands on the handle, pulling. The handles lift for a moment, but fell back, restricted by a metal square.

"Locked." I confirm my suspicion. Niall slings the backpack he was carrying off his back, momentarily digging through.

"Here you go." He said, passing a small, but powerful, wire twister. I clamp it over the lock's thick rod. I gave a small grunt, using all my will for the lock to break.

"Let me try." Niall said gently. I give up, relinquishing the cutter as Niall takes my place. He twists it once as the lock snaps and falls with a tiny thud.

"Wohoo." He smiles smugly. I roll my eyes "Oh shut up!". The cellar stairway was completely dark, but at the bottom, I saw a few tendrils of light.

The entire endeavor was dangerously precarious. One misplaced foot, and we could tumble head over heels down.

"Careful." I breath lightly, praying that my words wouldn't carry all the way down. I start my descend, my entire being humming with adrenaline. I could die in the next hour, possibly.

I shoo away my morbid thoughts, as I reach the bottom. Nothing could've prepared me for what happened.

Gunfire went off. My instinct, I tumbled, miraculously dodging a bullet. I claw a gun out of my pocket, slipping my finger into the trigger.

Pop after deathly pop rang throughout the room. My heart clamored in my chest, the pure shock of it all jumpstarting my energy.

"WAIT!" Someone screamed. All violence ceased as a man stepped out of the shadows. "Rob?" I ask, delirious with confusion.

"Who?" Niall whispered. I glance at him, relieved to see him in one piece. "I need to take you to the compound!" Rob said urgently.

"Optimum?" I ask. "No. Optimum is gone. There's a new rendezvous point." Rob said urgently. Panic sets in, hysteria coursing through my veins. "What do you mean?" I ask, struggling to keep calm.

"Bombs. Bunker ones. They hit at the surface, but caused powerful damage deep down. We got a few people out, but at least twenty are dead and almost ten are missing." Rib said heavily, staring at his beat up shoes.

At that moment, my heart shattered. How did this happen? Why did it? But the most important thing was that I lost almost thirty members of my family.

"How the hell did that happen?" Niall asks, anger pouring through his voice. Rob looks up with morbid calm, his eyes bloodshot "It's time."

"For what?" I ask, numbness stiffening my voice. This wasn't happening. "The infamous cult we've been suspecting of. They never hit back at us for killing their criminals and stealing their hostages. They saved up and hit us now with all they had. We found a way to stop them. Just come with me." Rob begged.

I let that sink in. "Charlie?" Niall asked. I realized that he was letting me make the decision for both of us. It was almost too easy, and that should have tipped me off that something was wrong. "Let's go." I say.

"Wait, what about Cassie? We have a mission, we can't just abandon it!" Niall said suddenly. I blink "That is a valid reason, Rob. We have to finish what we started."

Rob shakes his head in ill-disguised impatience "That mission never existed! Cassie isn't a person! The whole case is a sham!"

"What do you mean?" I asked, head swimming in confusion. "There were traitors in our midst. They were forwarding top secret  information back and forth to our enemies, right under our noses. They fabricated the mission, sending you on a wild goose chase." Rob explained.

"But, why?" Niall asked. He seemed to be doing all the speaking for me. The horrifying image of Optimum collapsing was branded into my brain. I pictured the Spire collapsing, volleying sprays of ash and debris at fleeing agents. I could hear the creaking snaps as the Net's supporting ropes broke.

I could see the tunnels collapsing, cementing the frenzied agents in a dirt-clod tomb. My home is now a tomb. I repeated the thought over and over in my head, like an ancient mantra. The foreignness of the word increased, until the meaning faded, and I had to stop.

"They thought you all might spoil their plans. Charlie has an unfortunate habit of snooping around, that's for sure. To be safe, they sent the all the top agents out." Rob explained.

"But what now?" I ask slowly. "Do we just find everyone and start over? Build a new Optimum?" Niall questions.

"You'll see, I'll explain later, once everyone is gathered. I sent Emily, Carter, and a few other people to go fetch your friends. We're rendezvousing in Seattle, so we have a two hour drive to start." Rob said wryly.

"Okay, let's go." I say. "Wait." Niall said sharply. "Hm?" Rob asked innocently. "Why were you shooting at us?" Niall said, tensing.

"I thought you might've been another enemy. I thought you'd come tomorrow, or in the daytime." Rob said evenly.

"No more procrastinating. Let's go." I say firmly. Rob nods "Ready to cause mayhem?" I grin "Yes sir."

~*~

 

We reached Seattle in the early morning the next day. It was a little charitable to consider it morning, because only a few faded gold streaks had lined the horizon.

"Where's the rendezvous point?" Niall asked, fiddling absentmindedly with the cuff of his sleeves. "Just a house. Used to belong to one of our retired agents. When he died from cancer three months ago, he left it to us. Never thought it would come in handy." Rob laughed mirthlessly.

I hadn't stopped staring out the window since we started driving. The countryside was so beautiful, with rippling fields and rolling hills. Soon enough, the natural scenery gave away to a more urban one, and I knew we reached Seattle.

"Is Sara, Chloe, Megan, and Sydney going to be there?" I ask, finally tearing my gaze away from the car window.

"Yeah, so are Liam, Zayn, Harry, and Lewis." Rob replied. I stifle a giggle "Sir, his name is pronounced Lou-ee." Niall says formally.

"Whatever, I'm calling him Lewis." Rob said good-naturedly. I roll my eyes as Rob pulls up to a manicured mansion ringed by thick bushes while golden light poured through the windows.

"This is amazing!" I breathed. "Does it have food?" Niall asked urgently, mere seconds before a moaning howl erupted from his stomach.

"Yes it does. Thick soup, spiced breadsticks, legs of chicken-" I cut Rob off "Stop taunting!" He chuckled as we got out of the car.

"I could really use some food." Niall mumbled, rubbing a pale hand across his vested torso. "Just hold on. Everyone is waiting in the basement, there's blankets and hot chocolate down there." Rob instructed as we walked inside.

I frown "Okay?". Rob smiled a fatherly, reassuring smile "Second door on the right, I'm going to check on the soup in the kitchen!.".

Niall and I found the door easily. "I don't have a good feeling about this." Niall admitted softly. I had to agree with him. As the spiraling stairs loomed below us, it painfully reminded me of the staircase that we faced less then twenty four hours ago.

"Rob is probably one of the only people we can trust." I hiss. "Okay then, let's go." Niall yielded.

Then it happened. As soon as we reached the bottom of the stairs, a immovable force hit my left side.

I stumbled, as the person started to reach for my wrists to pin me down. I heard grunts of effort, and I assumed that Niall was fighting someone as well.

I swung my knee upwards, burying it in my assaulter's torso. I heard an "Oomph." started to pummel the man's body.

But there was a problem. Everywhere my fist hit, there was a rough, canvass-like fabric, a bulletproof vest.

"Stop! I'm an agent! This is a misunderstanding!" Niall yelled, fending off punch after punch. With no warning, a fist swung into my jaw, and my vision faded to a murky twilight

 

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