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They were running. Gunshots cracking, the muzzle flashes illuminating their way. Bullets streaking between them, grazing their flesh. Dogs barking in the background, giving chase. Jack slipped down the muddy slope, taking Marie with him. They splashed into the canal below, with two Agents following. The water was frigid, chilling them to the bone. “Go with the flow!” Jack shouted. They dove under, trying to throw the Agents off their trail. Their plan worked, until they needed air. When they came up, the shooting started again.
“I didn’t even notice the shooting stopped,” Marie said. Her words were drowned out by the guns and the roar of the canal.
They floated for what seemed like a lifetime, and swam to the bank where the canal joined the Little Indian River. The pair climbed out and stumbled, legs numbed by the water, to a cottage with light coming from the small windows. There was snow on the ground in places, typical of November North of Shelby, where Jack and Marie lived. It rarely snowed there. They knocked on the door. An old woman answered the door. Before Jack or Marie could say anything, the old woman said “My poor dears! You’re soaked! Come in and sit by the fire while I put on the tea.”
“Thank you very much.” Jack and Marie said almost in unison.
By the fire, while sipping their tea, Jack and Marie relayed their story. “We spoke out against the Executives, and they sent the Agents after us. We were running from them when we fell in the river, just South of Shelby. We drifted through the city and all the way out here. When we got out of the river we saw your cottage and came to the door.” Marie explained. Jack added that there might be Agents or local law enforcement coming for them and that they might have to hide. A few moments later a dark green pickup truck pulled up the drive of the cottage. The local Sheriff stepped out and approached the house.
“We need to hide, fast!” Jack yelled. With surprising agility the old woman jumped up and took them to the back of the house, where she pulled away a radiator and pushed Jack and Marie through the whole that was concealed in the wall. The two youth then found themselves in a secret room below the house.
“Okay, this keeps getting weirder and weirder by the second.” Marie said. Jack didn’t hear her, because he was too busy looking through all the cabinets that lined their bunker. “What are you doing?” Marie asked when Jack started piling things in the middle of the floor. Jack didn’t reply. What is going on? Marie thought to herself. This is officially the weirdest day of my life. Jack got out of the cabinets, which Marie didn’t even notice Jack get into and didn’t think he would fit if he had said he was going in.
“This is everything we’ll need to go into hiding, or at least to get to the next town. We’re going to make a run for it.” Jack said. Their conversation was interrupted by gunshots above. Neither wanted to think about what that might mean. A couple of moments later the radiator moved, scraping on the floor. It didn’t seem heavy when the old lady moved it, practically tossing it aside. Jack and Marie hid in the cabinets, which were bigger than they looked. The lady called out for them, and they crawled out, slightly embarrassed. She gave them a map with a route marked on it in pink highlighter. Jack asked “What is this?”
“That’s where you’ll be picked up.” The old woman said. “I see you’ve all ready begun packing.”
“Yes, we have.” Marie said. They continued packing their backpacks.
When they woke in the morning, the old woman had already made pancakes. When they were finished eating, the old woman gave Jack an envelope to open when he got back to Shelby, not anytime sooner. She bade them goodbye, and Jack and Marie started off on the trail marked on the map. After many hours of hiking and scrambling through a forest, the two got to the X on the map. It was about 20 minutes before sundown. All they saw was a large clearing in the woods.
“I think we just got ripped off.” Marie said. Jack said nothing. He only pointed at a large silhouette flying at tree top level, ominously approaching the clearing. As the mysterious shape got closer, it started to get louder. Jack and Marie retreated back into the trees, fearful of what the shape carried.
“It's a helicopter!” Marie yelled into Jack's ear as the helicopter landed in the clearing. It threw dust clouds and debris into the air around it, making it impossible to approach. The rotors spun down but did not stop. A door opened and two men wearing black tactical gear and toting assault rifles jumped out and ran over to Jack and Marie. All four went to the helicopter and got in. There were eight men inside, all dressed like the two who had gotten out. Jack and Marie were buckled into crash seats, and one man wearing a red beret came over to them.
“Welcome aboard.” he said in an Eastern European accent, then turned and went back to his seat. The helicopter took off for Shelby, flying just as low as it came. Jack opened his envelope. All that was in it was a piece of paper with a name on it. The name was Anya Ivanova.
The minute Jack got home he was greeted by his family. They had been worried when he didn't return home. The second thing he did was to run up to his room and boot up his computer. He ran a Google search for Anya and came up with a Wikipedia page. He scrolled to the bottom, and read this “Ivanova disappeared in 1964 while on a mission near Shelby, Estovakia. Whether her disappearance was related to her career in the Russian intelligence agency KGB is still unknown.” Jack picked up the phone next to his computer and called Marie. “You're never gonna believe this.”