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*Final instalment in the 'Little British Girl' Trilogy *
One year after Elia’s death, and the entire planet is rebelling. With the news of Xander’s assassination attempt against his own daughter alarming the world, Elda and Luci are leading a powerful resistance, competing with the Southern rebellium, with no powerful government to stop either of them.
And yet, nothing seems to have changed.
Annabeth, alongside Beverly, Zacharia, and Steve Ryans, hide out amidst the chaos , unable to prevent what’s happening right in front of them. Disheartened and helpless.
Then one day, a girl turns up, a girl with heterochromia, with some interesting letters, and some even more interesting information. Could it be that Xander Moore had another daughter? And that Luci has a half-sister?

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20. Chapter 20

“She’s not here.”

“Trust me, she is.”

“I can’t see her anywhere-”

“Well that’s sort of the point isn’t it? Honestly Daniel, she’s a trained spy for crying out loud!” I snap, already tired. Daniel’s not got the patience needed for this sort of job, he’s ready to give up and go home after just one hour. Grace is smart. She won’t act suddenly, and she definitely won’t be seen. She’ll wait until she’s absolutely certain she has control of the situation.

“When is Quinn arriving?” He asks.

“Soon.” I deliberately give a vague answer, not making any promises. “We need to make sure that Grace is actually here first.”

“So you admit there’s a chance she might not be…”

“Stop talking.” I hear him scoff through the earpiece. “I mean it. You have to look natural. She can’t suspect that this is a set-up.” I’m glad when I only hear silence from the other end of the line. He’s got the message, finally. Satisfied, I step away from the CCTV screen, getting up to stretch my legs for a bit.

“Still no Grace?” Zacharia guesses, seeing me enter the front of the van. This place isn’t the best of hiding places, it’s years old, run-down, and barely starts, but it is good camouflage. All we had to do was add a laptop and all of a sudden it was a high-tech surveillance van perfect for this sort of operation. A high-tech surveillance van that smells overwhelmingly of dog hair…

“She’ll show up soon.” Beverley chimes in, full of confidence. “Then will get her...then we’ll win.”

“Daniel’s getting impatient though.” I sigh, “He’s not cut out for the long game. He won’t last much longer.”

“Well we’re not going to be able to just try again tomorrow, so he’ll have to.” Beverley refuses to back down, as unwavering and certain as she always is.

“You mind telling him that?” I laugh. I mean it as a joke, but I’m half-considering taking my earpiece out and handing it over to her. “Where’s Quinn?” I ask, noticing she’s not around. It’s not like her, usually she’s the first to start up a conversation, desperate to socialise and be involved with everyone and each of their little individual lives.

“Getting some air,” Zacharia reveals, “I think she was feeling a little claustrophobic cooped up in here with all of us.”

“She’s ready to go the second we need her though, disguise and all.” Beverley adds on. Her exaggerated confidence is beginning to annoy me now. It’s becoming unrealistic, or delusional. “Get back in front of that screen, we can’t risk missing her.” She orders me, tired of my break.

“Alright...whatever.” I decide it’s better to give in than to argue, we’re all tense enough as it is.

I sit down and watch the screen, there’s nothing going on. A few people walking hurriedly down the sidewalk, some cats scavenging the streets...it’s enough to send me to sleep. Then, just a second later, I catch a glimpse of something in the corner of my eye. It’s probably nothing, but I reach for my radio and tell Quinn to get ready.

It doesn’t take long for her to appear again. And I know the second I see her that I’m right. Even from the back Grace is easy to recognise. It’s her strict, statue-like posture that gives her away. She just doesn’t know how to walk like a person, rather than a soldier.

“She’s coming Daniel.” I tell him, as soon as he hears me he straightens up, getting into position.

“Just tell me when to go.” He says, as if I need reminding. I watch the screen intensively. I try not to blink. She walks slowly, cautiously down the sidewalk, thinking about every step.

“Now.”

On command Daniel walks out from the shadows, into Grace’s view. Just enough for her to notice him, but not smell a rat. She tails behind him, taking the bait.

“She’s seen you. Keep walking.” He doesn’t react to the sound of my voice. So far, so good. At the top of my screen I notice Quinn, dressed in a brown wig and sunglasses, holding a large A4 envelope, approaching them. “Quinn’s nearby. Look up, pretend to notice her.” He does as I instruct. I watch Grace, waiting for some sort of indication that she noticed. Something small...a slight tilt of the head… a chance in her pace...something…anything.

Quinn and Daniel pass each other, smoothly passing over the envelope. If Grace hadn’t noticed them before, she will have now. I can see Quinn’s hand shaking on the CCTV, and for a moment I remember that this is her first proper mission. She’s never been deep out in the field before. I assume she’s terrified. She’s actually doing quite well. On my first mission I threw up afterwards in the bushes.

Daniel carries on down the sidewalk, Grace still tailing him a few feet behind.

“Next turn on the right.” I tell him, “Beverley and Zacharia will be there ready and waiting.” I speak before I check over my solider to make sure they’ve both left, but sure enough, they’re gone. Everything’s falling into place. Soon, we’ll be done.

Moments later he makes the turn.

I blink and I miss it. One second Grace is turning after him, the next she’s on the floor, a gun wound in her right thigh.

“Hey, what’d I miss?” Quinn re-enters, coming up behind me in the van. “Oh...that’s...um, excuse me-” She turns away, unable to stomach the scene. I keep my eyes peeled, ready to run out of here the moment something goes pear-shaped.

With Grace down Zacharia, Beverley, and Daniel all close in. They’re mouths move around as they talk to her, making the situation crystal clear. I can only imagine the things they’re saying. Would it be like when Luci had me? Are they asking her for ‘requests’? Or are they just stating the obvious? Are they telling her that today, right here, right now, she’ll pay for what’s she’s done. I know what I’d say if I was there. I tell her that this is mercy. That she deserves so, so much worse...that after all the bloodshed and terrorism she should spend all of eternity in writhing pain. Maybe that’s why I’m better of in here. Because as much as I hate her, I know nobody really deserves to hear those sort of things before they die. Those are my darkest, most bloodthirsty and angry thoughts. Nobody should ever have to hear them. Not even her.

Beverley pulls out a gun. It’s time. I want to look away. I should. But I can’t bring my head to move, or even blink. It’s awful, but it’s true. I want to see this.

But then.

In a split-second…

everything changes.

Grace is up on her feet again, running away. Beverley is shooting after her, but once they get into the street she slows down, not wanting to hit an innocent. People run in terror, trying to get away from the bleeding woman and the lady with a gun. I don’t see anymore. I get up and go, running out into the daylight, ready to cut her off.

The sun glares in my vision as I run, blinding me and almost throwing me off-balance, but I keep going. She’s not going to get away. Not this time.

Outside the streets are full of people, but it’s not hard to find Grace. I just run towards the screams. A woman running with a gun wound in her leg does attract attention. All I need to do is go wherever everyone is is not. It isn’t long before I reach the eye of the storm.

I see her before she sees me, and it’s easy to get my arms around her waist and yank her securely down into an alleyway, out of public view. Before she can react I have my gun out, pointed directly at her head, my thumb ready to pull the trigger at any moment.

I expect her to cry, scream, yell, maybe even beg? But instead, she laughs.

She sits back and smiles. Is it the pain? Has it gone to her head? No. She seems lucid enough. She knows what she’s doing. She’s in control of her emotions.

“What?” I snap, finding her reaction more than a little bit inappropriate.

“You’re not going to kill me.” She laughs, “I can see it in your eyes. You don’t have the guts. Not anymore. You’ve grieved to much to value life so little.”

“I wouldn’t have grieved at all if it weren’t for you and your psychotic partner.” I yell, launching forward. Grace leans back, but still doesn’t stop smiling.

“You’re hand is shaking.” She points out, “It hasn’t done that in a long time. You learnt how to properly handle a weapon within the first few weeks of your training. Look at you now. So broken, so pathetic.

“Stop talking or I’ll shoot.”

“No you won’t.” She shakes her head, limping backwards towards the street. I don’t reply. I lower my gun to shoot at her ankles, stopping her from running away again. One of them hits her.

It seems to take her by surprise, it throws her off balance and she tumbles backwards. Time slows down as she reaches for the wound and trips, falling right out into the main road.

For a second everything seems to freeze.

Then the van hits her.

Her body flies over the bonnet, bouncing off the right-hand side and falling limp onto the pavement. Perfectly harmless. Perfectly still. Lifeless.

She’s dead.

I didn’t kill her, at least not directly. Not really.

But she’s dead.

I could have killed her. I could have pulled the trigger the moment I saw her. But I didn’t.

Still, she’s dead.

“Annabeth? Annabeth where the hell are you? Did you cut her off?” I hear Daniel’s voice in my ear, bringing me back to life again.

“I’m fine.” I assure him, “She’s dead Daniel. Grace Yews is gone.”

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