You can read part two here.
I glanced over my shoulder as I continued to push my way down the busy street. Who would be yelling above the crowd so loudly?
A tall woman with dark hair looked delighted to see me. She must have been the one who called out. I turned and kept walking, faster now that a lunatic was following me. Only a few more blocks to the office. No problem. Besides, police officers were all over the city. Right?
Only a few steps later, an arm wrapped around my shoulder. It was the woman. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you!” she exclaimed.
I made a face and started to squirm away, but she tightened her grip and lowered her voice. “Come with me. Quickly – there’s no time.”
I obeyed in spite of myself. Surely there would be a police officer soon. I could call out for help as soon as I saw one. But my gut told me that wasn’t why I was going along with this black clad woman. No, it was the adventure novels. I was addicted to them and this felt like something out of the first chapter.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“Shh. No time for questions. You’re my little sister and they have eyes everywhere, so act like it.”
I continued to trot to keep up with the woman’s hurried pace, trying to get a good look at her. She wore a black leather jacket and dark jeans tucked into combat boots. And was that a gun in her belt? Suddenly this wasn’t so much fun.
“Who are you?” I pulled away from her, but kept walking.
“Katrina. You can call me Kat. I’ve been watching you, Megan, and I think you’re going to be very helpful.” She raised her voice. “Well, you really ought to tell me if you’re going to leave without me in the morning. You had me scared half to death!”
“I’m a grown woman. I can come and go as I please!” I answered.
She shot me an appraising look. “Very nice,” she breathed.
“How do you know my name? And where are we going?”
“To the base.” She took a sharp right, shoving a path through the crowd and entering a tiny secondhand shop. The furniture and clothes all looked as if they had come from the twentieth century and my allergies instantly flared up at the dust.
I followed Kat through the deserted shop and down a narrow flight of stairs into the basement. The room was lit by a single lightbulb hanging over a card table. A teenage boy sat at the table, leaning back in his chair and shuffling a deck of cards.
He stood abruptly when we came in. “You got her then? No problems?”
“No problems,” Kat confirmed.
“Good. Have you briefed her?”
“Nope. Didn’t want them hearing anything.”
“Good call.” The boy turned to me. “I’m Jackson. Kat and I have been watching you for some time now. We need your help to save the world.”
I raised my eyebrows. “To save the world? Nice try, kid. Look, I’ve got to get to work. I don’t have time for this.”
“Then why’d you follow Kat?”
I glanced away, knowing he had won this round. “Fine. What do you want? You have five minutes.”
Jackson nodded to Kat. She turned to face me. “Your boss – Mr. Helsing – he’s trying to take down the entire banking system of America.”
I rolled my eyes. “Hilarious. Did John put you up to this?”
Jackson stepped forward, looking me straight in the eye. Somehow, his gangly teenage limbs didn’t detract from the seriousness of his face. “This is not a joke, Megan. He has a virus that will destroy everything holding the financial world together. We need you to get it for us.”
“Why would he even want to do that? He’s one of the richest men in the city – wouldn’t that undermine everything he’s done?”
“No. I don’t have time to explain all of the details to you. This virus is set to go live in three hours. Are you in or out?” Jackson held my gaze. Kat stood with crossed arms a few feet behind him.
I scoffed. “You expect me to drop everything and spy on my boss for some lady I just met and her teenage sidekick?”
Neither of them answered.
I glanced between their faces. “Fine. I’m in.”