Live by the Knife
By J.M. Hart
Copyright 2011 J.M. Hart
Copyright 2011 J.M. Hart
I grabbed a hoodie, and ran as fast as I could down to the woods and climbed the tree up to the tree house. No one except us spies knew about this place as Mr Boot had built it when he was a student here and we only ever used it in an emergency. When I reached the platform of the tree house, I stood panting in front of Tom who looked very anxious. “I don't know what to do!” He told me. “Now that Skye isn’t at school anymore, whenever I try to talk to Viktorya to try and befriend her, she bats her eyelids and flirts at me! I'm in the year below for Christ’s sake!”
Oh for God’s sake. Had he really called me down here to talk about relationship problems? I sighed inwardly and let it go. There was no point making a fuss.
“Well let's face it Tom, you are in one of the top ten hottest guys in the whole school!” I said raising my eyebrows at him, grinning. “This is a good thing. If you let her flirt then she might tell you something!”
He shook his head. “I can't! I’ll feel like I am cheating on Skye! If anything happened then it would destroy me and she wouldn't like me anymore!” He was panicking.
“Breathe, breathe. Tom!” I slapped him lightly to wake him up. “Phone her; tell her what’s going on. She will understand, trust me.”
“Okay.” He sighed. “I heard about your bath earlier! Was it smoking hot?” He grinned.
“No, quite the opposite.” I told him primly. “It was freezing. Why have you ordered me all the way out here to talk about this? Why couldn't I let anyone see me?”
He peered over the platform, and then looked in the trees. “This afternoon, while you were having your naughty bath with David Callas—” I tried to interrupt but Tom ploughed on. “I looked over the recordings my cameras had made of my room while we were gone. We have a problem.”
I was suddenly snapped to attention. “What came into your room?” I breathed quietly.
“Have you checked your cameras?” He asked steadily.
“No?” I shook my head, mute. One suspect alone came into my head.
Tom fiddled with a leaf on a branch. “Viktorya came into my room, rummaged through my stuff and found one of my knives. I had left it slightly poking out of my wash bag.” He said quickly. “She took it but since I’ve seen her, she hasn't mentioned anything. The odd thing was my room was completely locked with a magnetised pin but she still somehow got in and left it so that when I came back, I still had to de-magnetise the door to get in.”
“Her cat was watching me last night. I woke up from a bad dream and went to the window to calm down and its face just emerged out of the darkness with the camera on its collar recording, watching me watching it.” I said quietly. “We have no idea what we are up against but that is scary stuff. What was she trying to do?”
Tom shook his head miserably. I leapt off the platform and clambered down the tree. I thundered back to school and ran to my room with my heart beating and my hair flying past my face. I snatched my laptop and turned it on. I linked the wireless cameras up to the laptop and pressed play.
I fast forwarded through the video until I saw motion there at 12'o'clock midday. I just sat and watched. A girl was in my room, with her back to me. Her blonde hair was tied behind her head but it was long and frizzy compared to Viktorya's short neat haircut. The girl searched my room, and I noticed that her fingernails were painted black; they shined out like stars in the blurry image. It looked like she saw something in the mirror above my sink. She looked back, directly where the camera was hidden in my maths file and walked right up to it.
I watched silently as the girl waved at the camera and then it went all grey and fuzzy and I couldn't watch anymore. I played it back to look at the girl's face but she was wearing a mask like a grim reaper so I couldn't see who it was. I emailed the video straight to Simon and sat staring at this grim reaper for a few moments.
I searched everything in my room to see whether any of my BIA licence papers had been taken or any of my weapons. Everything was still there, so what had she seen in the mirror. I suddenly turned and, for the first time since I’d come into the room, looked at my mirror.
Written in black permanent marker on the mirror was; ‘I'm watching you!’ I searched the whole mirror, ran my hand over the glass to check for anything stuck to the glass. Sure enough, I found a tiny black camera glued to the glass and crushed it with my foot before throwing it out of the window.
This meant war.
I checked my entire room using my bug tracker to find all the other cameras and audio chips placed in my room. There were loads. I broke them all and then I phoned Simon to tell him the problem.
“Shit!” He mumbled. “Yeah, you and Tom have to act normal. No spy business for a while, okay? This is serious! I’m going to sort something out with the boss, and get back to you. We had some mission we wanted to get done but we’ll have to wait three or four weeks.” He rang off before I could protest. I threw the phone onto my bed and took out my anxiety and frustration on a pillow. I punched at it until feathers were flying all over the place. My stomach growled as I returned to my senses.
Only then did I realise that supper had been and gone nearly four hours ago! Where had the time disappeared to? I sighed and went to my cupboard. There was a big packet of chilli Doritos which I quickly ate, but my stomach still grumbled.
It was lights out for year eleven so I had to be really quiet as I ran down to the school kitchen. Using a hair-slide, I unlocked the door, turned on the lights and found the fridge. There was a large tub of left-over tomato pasta, so I found a bowl in the cupboard and took some. I heated it up in the microwave and chewed on a carrot while I waited.
“Ahem?” Someone stood in the doorway. I gulped and turned around. Mr Larson was standing there and his face was turning bright red with anger.
My heart skipped a beat. “I…I missed supper, Mr Larson. I wasn't stealing, I swear. I was just hungry!” I trembled as the microwave suddenly went ping and opened. My mouth watered from the smell of hot tomato pasta.
“It is ten past ten at night!” He thundered. I stared at him with my little girlie face that no one can resist. “Fine, I'll let you off with a warning this time but if you ever do anything like this again then I am going to punish you! Now eat your pasta and hop off up to bed.”
I quickly picked up the pasta and slurped it up as fast as I could. When my hunger was satisfied I cleared away my stuff and left the kitchen.
The next Saturday evening, David decided he wanted to treat me to a proper meal, but he didn’t have enough money. I insisted that we just order a takeaway pizza from the Domino’s in Hastings. When the car rolled up, we asked it to stop away from the CCTV cameras so that we could hide it from the school; we weren’t normally allowed to have pizza delivered to the school. David paid the guy, and I hid the large pepperoni pizza box in my gigantic backpack. It looked so obvious but I didn’t really care. As we walked through the corridor on our way to the common room, Jasper stopped us.
“Mind if you share a bite of that for a worthy cause?” He grinned and rubbed his tummy. “I’m half-starved on the rubbish we’re fed here.”
“Sorry Jaz, this pizza’s all for us!” David laughed. “Maybe next time.”
I looked from boy to boy in amusement and then walked to the common room. David ran after me, probably eager not to lose sight of the pizza in its oversized container.
As we unpacked the pizza and laid it out on the table in the common room, I said to David; “It’s your birthday on Tuesday. You’ll be sixteen too!” He nodded and ripped a bite out of his pizza. “What do you want for your birthday?” I asked him.
“Well, since we will both be sixteen, I want you for the night!” He said cheekily when he’d swallowed his mouthful.
I gasped and leant across the table and slapped him playfully round the face. “I am not going to sleep with you!” I smiled.
He laughed and his eyes sparkled. “I was kidding babe! It was funny!”
“Yeah, sure it was funny, for you!” I quirked an eyebrow at him. “I'll not get you anything for behaving like that!”
“Okay, I'm sorry!” He put his hands up in surrender and ate another piece of pizza. “Wait…” He said after a while. “You won’t even think about it?”
“Nuh-uh! Don’t even try to talk me into it ‘cause there’s just no way!” I rolled my eyes. “What are you getting from your parents for your birthday?”
“Well, I asked for a moped… Doubtful they’ll give me one though. They say it’s too dangerous, but it’s a moped… what’s the worst it can do!”
“Well,” I touched his hand “It’s not the moped that’s the dangerous thing. It the person driving it, and if you’re the person driving it, then I sure as hell don’t want to be riding on the back!” I laughed as I saw his face fall.
“Thanks S. Not that I was going to ask you to ride with me anyway!” David said as he grinned at me and held my hand tight.
We chatted like that for the rest of the evening and for the first time all week, I hadn't thought about my missions or the dangers I had faced.
I slept soundly that night; better than I had recently. I woke up at eleven 'o'clock the next morning, after skipping the Anglican service in the chapel downstairs and stayed in bed most of the day doing work. My mum called so I talked to my whole family, and I chatted to Skye on Facebook while I did some schoolwork. I asked her whether Tom had told her about Viktorya yet.
“Yeah, I'm fine with it, but as long as he doesn't do anything irrational then I suppose it all goes to helping the mission.”
“Don’t worry about it. Has there been any news from the doctor?”
“Nah, they don't seem worried so I think I’m fine. I’ll be allowed out on the twenty eighth of October!”
“Seriously? But that's like Friday! Cool.” I exclaimed.
“Yeah, I know! Anyway, got to go, my doctor has just come in. He looks happy!”
I chuckled as I put the laptop away. I don't think I went out of my room at all, except when I went to lunch and supper.
On Tuesday morning, I got up and went down to stand near where the boys area was so that when David came through, I could go down to breakfast with him and sing happy birthday. The noise was tremendous and my eardrums vibrated because I was still tired.
At lunch, we went to the common room and David sliced a big chocolate cake for everyone. After he had cut the cake, I told him to make a wish. He shut his eyes for a second then turned to me and kissed me right there in front of everyone! I giggled but he hugged me and gave me the first piece of cake. I kissed him on the cheek when he gave it to me and took a huge bite. It was a yummy cake and we ate the whole thing with the rest of year eleven!
Later, after supper, David and I went out for a quiet stroll through the school grounds. We talked for a while and when we passed the fountain, we both burst out laughing. I began to lead David slowly towards an old walled garden that few know of. When the school used to be a house, the owner had this walled garden built for his wife to relax. There were rose and lavender bushes and an old cherry blossom tree. There was a bench in there that was made of dark wood and on a silver plaque was engraved; to my beloved.
David and I sat there, and we just listened to the silent beauty of the place. It was quarter past seven and the light was nearly gone; it was definitely coming to the middle of autumn.
“It’s beautiful here. How do you know about it?” David asked astounded.
“I come here to relax and think about things.” I said. We gazed at each other until I shut my eyes and leant in.
Suddenly there were voices over the wall, coming closer. I started and David nearly leapt to the other side of the garden. “I know this great little place…It’s so quiet. Hardly anyone knows about it… just in here…” Tom opened the gate and stopped short when he saw me and David sitting on the bench.
“What is it?” A girl’s voice spoke from behind him. Viktorya Sheremetev came in and stood beside Tom. He turned bright red. I only just managed to conceal a smile.
“Oh! Well this is awkward!” Viktorya said. David shifted and we got up to leave. Tom didn't say a word as we walked past him through the gate but he nudged me when Viktorya and David weren't looking. We shut the gate and wandered through the now dark grounds and stopped by a tiny stream and finally had our first uninterrupted kiss.
It felt like the world stopped, everything was silent until a whisper of wind swept by and my hair billowed slowly in the breeze. David brushed it off my face with his hand. I looked at him and kissed the corner of his mouth and walked away, back up to school. It took him a few moments to realise I had gone before he came running up behind me. He put his arm around me and we walked slowly back inside.
I fell asleep that night tired, but I kept waking up because I kept imagining I heard a scream before I fell asleep again. I woke up at about six thirty in the morning the last time and decided I couldn't go back to sleep for only an hour and a half.
I slowly got up and put my feet on the ground. I had a dizzying spell and nearly fell to the ground. I shook myself awake and went to splash cold water in my face. I went down to breakfast after changing into my uniform.
At breakfast I felt I was being watched and I looked around and saw Chesna watching me carefully, her mind working on something. I went and sat with her and Florence at the table. She stared at me. I started eating my food as though I didn't notice and I hoped that she would knock it off.
“Chesna, what's wrong? You're looking at S in a really odd way.” Florence said anxiously. Chesna shook her head and looked around as if she had been dreaming. She wasn't a good actor, but I didn't say anything.
All throughout the day I got funny looks from her and I tried to ignore them. Finally, I just stormed up to her. “What is your problem?” I said. “Why do you stare at me all the time? Don't think I haven’t noticed, because you have been doing it all day so knock it off!”
She turned and walked away. I stared grouchily after her, wondering what the hell had got into her. No one just walked away from someone like that! It was just plain rude.