Only the Good Spy Young, page 25part #4 of Gallagher Girls Series
And I saw the woman from the roof.
There was no mistaking her this time, because there, in the tombs, everything was louder, sharper, my senses were more alive than they had ever been before as I lay staring at the woman who had found me on a rooftop in Boston. And she was not alone.
Mr. Solomons hands were bound. One of his eyes was bruised and swollen so badly it was completely shut, and as he limped forward I saw a massive gash in his leg. Five men stood guard around him.
"Okay," the woman said, turning to Mr. Solomon. "Now where is it?"
The woman struck Mr. Solomons face so hard that blood sprayed across the room.
"Im only going to ask you one more time. " The woman moved closer. In the hollow stone room, her whisper seemed to echo. "where is the log book that belonged to Matthew Morgan?"
My dads journal. They were looking for Dads journal.
But Dads journal wasnt here, and Mr. Solomon knew that - Mr. Solomon knew everything about this place and yet hed brought them into the depths of the mountain.
Into Blackthornes version of Sublevel Two.
Beside me, I could feel the tension in Zachs arms. I could sense the gears working in his mind as we both asked a single question: What would Joe Solomon do?
"No," Zach gasped. I followed his gaze.
Cable lined the ceiling and walls, disappearing behind the shelves and filing cabinets, connecting everything in the room to a box labeled WARNING: EXPLOSIVES, and I couldnt help thinking, Just like Sublevel Two . . . .
I didnt know Joe Solomon - after all Id learned about him, I wondered if I ever really would. But I knew that he would never willingly give in to the Circle again. I knew he would trade his life to bring the Circle to its end.
I looked at the explosives that filled the room - the burn bag they were locked inside of -
and knew that Mr. Solomon hadnt come here to save his life but to end it, and hopefully, take as many of them out as possible.
Zach started to stand, but I grabbed him.
"Think, Zach. " I held him there. "We only have one chance. "
I watched as fury faded into fear, and Zach stared into my eyes. "Cammie, you have to take this. " He pressed the plastic-covered notebook into my hands. "You have to run. "
"No. I have to help him. "
He squeezed my hands tighter. "You have to live. Now go, and dont look back for anything. "
"But, Zach -"
"They wont hurt me. "
I wanted to ask why, but I knew he wouldnt say. I wanted to ask how, but I knew it didnt matter. Despite my training and good sense, I wanted to argue, but I knew we were out of time. Because A) Theres very little use in arguing with a spy who has made up his or her mind. And B) Three armed men stood blocking the tunnel behind us, and there was absolutely no way out.
When the woman saw us, she laughed. It was a haunting, echoing sound there in the middle of the mountain.
"Found them on a sweep," The guard said, dragging me down the stairs. I tried to pull free, but the man was holding me to tightly. The woman walked closer, staring at me.
Appraising me. It was the dirtiest Id ever felt in my life.
"Oh, this is a surprise. " She smiled at me teacher. "Joe, you clever boy, why didnt you tell me you were bringing me a present?"
I looked at Mr. Solomon - tried to say that I was sorry. That I had followed the pigeons, but Id failed. I expected to see disappointment in my teachers remaining good eye, but instead what I saw was rage.
"They go or I give you nothing!
"Now why would I do that?" the woman asked. "Break up this touching reunion?"
She reached out her hand, and I thought for a second that she was going to stroke my hair, but at the last minute she shifted, reaching for Zachs cheek, and said, "Hello, sweetheart. Arent you going to introduce your little girlfriend to your mother?"
The mind is a powerful thing. Ive read the research. Ive seen it in action. My whole life had taught me those simple facts, and yet, in that moment, there was one thing my mind couldnt start to comprehend: the woman from the roof in Boston was Zachs mother.
I wanted to be sick.
"Shes your mother," I stated plainly. It wasnt a question - it was a data point, and Zach was slowly somehow, making sense.
He reached for me. "Gallagher Girl -"
"Dont touch me. " I pulled away, but not before his fingers grazed my skin, before I felt a spark, and I swore it would be the last thing Id feel for him ever again.
In my ear, the comms unit was silent. Wed searched for too loch, gone too far, and now there was entirely too much mountain between me and any kind of help.
"Its very nice to finally meet you, Cammie. Ive heard so much about you. " When Zachs mother spoke, she sounded serene. "I hope youre not afraid. Im sure Joe here would gladly confirm that we dont want to kill you. "
My heart was racing, and yet somehow I knew that it was true - they really didnt want to hurt me. Which meant they wanted something far, far worse.
"Cammie, I -" Again, Zach reached me for. Again, I pulled away.
"Oh, sweetheart, I can see why you like her. " Her mother laughed. "But now, everyone spread out and look for Morgans diary. " She eyed her son and me. "And someone search the two of them. "
A guard was still holding me. Another man was moving closer. Through the light of the dim bulb that hung in the middle of the tall ceiling, I saw Zachs eyes go wide, and I thought of all the times hed looked at me before - on an elevator in D. C. , in the town square in Roseville, and in a tiny compartment on a train barreling through the night.
But as the guard reached me, and entirely new face was staring at me, whispering,
Believe it or now, there are some advantages to fighting two attackers instead of one. It was so much easier to throw my weigh back against the man who held me and kick the guard who was walking forward with his hands outstretched.
From the corner of my eyes, I saw Zach was spinning, kicking one of the ancient filing cabinets in the direction of his mother. It crashed against her, knocking her to the floor, paper falling all around her, while the guard at my back pushed me aside as if I were nothing, and ran to his bosss aid.
"What are you doing?" the woman yelled. "Get her!"
I heard the words. Felt my vision go blurry with rage. And in the next second, a dozen things seemed to happen at once.
Mr. Solomon lunged toward one of the men near the entrance of another tunnel. My teacher threw his bound hands over the mans head and strangled him, while I ran with all my might in their direction.
Someone move to block my path, but I jumped onto the bookcase, used my momentum to flip midair and catch the mans chin with my foot, before dropping lightly to the ground.
But someone else appeared in the corner of my eye, and I moved just as Zachs mother place a kick inches from my ear.
I stepped back as she circled me. Like I was prey. Above us, that lone light bulb swayed, casting a moving shadow over everything it touched as the woman whod been haunting my dreams for months moved closer to me and smiled.
"Youre far prettier up close, you know. "
I parried away another of her blows, and when I countered, I landed I swift punch to her kidney and another to her face.
"Oh yes," she said, wiping at the blood that trickled from the side of her mouth. "I can certainly see the appeal. "
Across the room, Zach had taken an old sword from the walls and was fighting two men at once. The steel blade made a sharp sound in the hollow space and the rhythmic clash of the blades was almost soothing - like a beat. A pulse.
"You know, Cammie, I do wish you and I could be friends. We have so much in common. "
"Yeah I -" But then I couldnt finish, because I realized that the swords were no longer clashing. I turned to see that the two men Zach had been fighting were now on the ground, b
Zach was so focused on Mr. Solomon, so anxious to come to our teachers aid, that he didnt see when one of the men on the ground pulled out a gun and took aim at Zachs back.
"No!" someone screamed, and only when the man stopped that I realized it hadnt been me. There was only one person in the cave with the power to save Zach - one person with the power to stop those dominoes from falling, and she was the person who turned from me and started toward her son.
I watched Zachs mother slam into the gunman - heard the weapon clatter across the floor. Even without turning, I knew that no one was behind me then - that there was absolutely nothing between me and one of the tunnels that spiraled off the main floor.
And yet I couldnt move.
Everything seemed to freeze for that one second, as Zach picked up the gun and yelled,
But I couldnt leave him, couldnt run, couldnt do anything but shout "No!" as Zach took aim at the metal box marked WARNING: EXPLOSIVES, and mouthed the word, "Good-bye. "
The shot echoed through the tombs. Sparks rained down, lighting up the cave like the Fourth of July. A red light sizzled past me while my arms started pumping at my sides, the journal rubbing against the small of my back. And even when the first crack of the explosion sounded through the tombs, I managed to stay ahead of it, one foot in front of the other through eerie, smoky haze.
I kept running.
I didnt look back.
No good would come from watching as the ghosts of Blackthorne burned.
Fire. I tried to forget about the fire, but the narrow tunnels felt like an oven. The water seeping through the walls turned to steam. I didnt let myself think about the caved-in passages that Zach and I had seen, and the chance that this unfamiliar tunnel was a dead end too. I just kept running until the smoke grew thinner and the air was fresher.
"Spread out!" the call echoed through the dark. "Find her!"
In my ear, the comms unit was beginning to crack and hum, and I spoke into the static,
"Im in the tombs. Im running . . . I dont know. " But I did know. Mr. Solomon was dead, but his voice was still alive in my mind. "South. Im running south. The Circle is behind me. "
I heard my mothers voice shouting orders, but not to me. I ran faster. Toward the light.
Toward the woods. Towards fresh air and freedom and backup. It would be over soon.
All I had to do was keep running.
The sound of the river was louder. I could hear the falls and breathe the moist, fresh air.
"Im almost clear," I yelled into my comms. "Im almost -"
But then I turned the corner, skidded to a stop, and realized I wasnt near the falls - I was behind them.
The tunnel ended in a rocky cliff. Gushing, falling water was the only thing standing between me and sky.
"Im behind the waterfall," I shouted. "Im -"
The woman didnt look like Zach - not then, not really. Without the mask shed worn in Boston, I could see that her hair was a dark red and her skin was as pale as Madame Dabneys finest china. Her eyes, though. She had the same dark eyes as her son. As she looked at me, I couldnt shake the feeling that Id never see his again.
Other author's books:
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