An Offer To Die
Beep, beep, beep.
“Hans, come here.” My dad was crouched next a flower.
“One second, dad.”
I gave a playful role of my eyes and walked over. My pink Easter dress floated around me.
“Hans look at this.” He pointed excitedly to a bug. “This bug is the Yought Fire. It’s rare for anyone to see it.”
“There’s nothing special about it though.” The bug was plain black with tinny gray dots on it.
“Oh, but there is something special about it. You see the way those pincers move? It’s feeling everything. It doesn’t have eyes, nose, or ears. Those pincers are how it stays alive. And you see how there’s two? If it loses one, it dies. It’s hard for one pincer because it thinks it can do it all. But really, it needs the other one to live.”
Beep, beep, beep.
I tossed my head to the side. “Dad, come on. Mom’s calling us.” I mumbled in my sleep.
Beep, beep, beep.
My eyes fluttered open. I groaned as pain hit me. It was less than last time at least. Only in my head now, the doctors said. Just for a bit more, and then it will be gone.
The lovely, lovely doctors.
I twisted my head to look out the window. Bright green leaves covered the trees outside. Winter was over. Had been for months.
Sadness crept over me as the past few months events made its way back into my memory. I remembered the crash and then the drifting in and out of sleep for two months with pain shooting through all of my limbs. Then the months after months of physical therapy, gathering my strength. The doctors had said that I was lucky that I wasn’t paralyzed. And I suppose I was but that didn’t make it any easier. The pain was still there. Miraculously my body had been left with virtually no scars, except for a crescent shape one on the small of my back from some glass.
I hated that scar. I wanted to forget it. I wished my mind had been lost that I had gotten amnesia and couldn’t remember it.
But I could.
The only good thing was George.
Somehow, someway, George had survived. It was practically the only thing keeping me going, keeping me living.
Living. With who? I sighed at that word. We had no extended family – they had all died and my parents had no brothers or sisters. At least I had George still. He would take care of me.
Tears crept into my eyes at the thought of George. He had it worse than me. All my problems were virtually gone. His right arm… his right arm would never work again. It was paralyzed, frozen from the elbow down, destined never to work again. Of course, that was the least of his worries. And soon, my worry too.
You see, George is dead.
I know what your thinking. How is George dead? I mean, didn’t you just say that George would take care of you?
Yes. Yes I did.
The thing is, George being dead and all is just a technicality. He got better faster than me – way faster – and he got the choice first.
And he said yes.
I got the choice too, but I really didn’t have a choice. Once George said yes… well I couldn’t just let him go alone now could I?
Oh. What’s the choice? It came the first time I had woken up.
A tall, beautiful woman had stood to one side of the room. Her hair was a mess. A serious mess. She wore a black pantsuit with a white silky shirt underneath the blazer. She held a cup of coffee in one hand and looked like she hadn’t slept in days.
The woman smiled at me walked towards the mirror and started to fidget with her makeup though really, with that hair and clothes, her make up was the least of her worries. “You’re awake.” She told me softly. “Do you feel okay?”
No. Not okay. Far from okay. I felt like some monster had chewed me up, spit me out, grilled me over a fire, than tossed me to the side like trash.
But I had learned to lie over the years. “I’m okay.”
A smile hovered on her lips as if she could detect the lie, but she let it slid. “Do you know what I am?” she asked me.
“A detective?” I guessed.
“Mum hm.” She smacked her lips together, making her lipstick perfect and started to mess with her hair. “I am a detective, yes. But not for New York.” She turned around to face me as she pulled her hair into a tight ponytail. Her poster was cool and confident as if she was discussing the weather. “Can you guess who I work for?”
“No.” I said flatly. My head was throbbing, and at the moment, this guessing game was getting on my nerves.
Her hands plopped to her sides and she sat – or more fell – down in the chair next to my bed. She stared into her lap. “I work for the CIA.” She said softly. “I came here to tell you that – that your parents died in the crash. You know that.”
I nodded. I didn’t cry though. I felt hallow, like nothing would affect me at this moment.
She continued even softer this time. “My name is Brianna. Your father was one of my best friends. In fact he was my partner for a while. When you were born, he made me your godmother. And,” her cool, confident façade faltered. “And in the unlikely event that both you and your mother die, I, I get courtesy of you and your brother.” She looked up, as if daring to hope that such a tragedy could work out to be good.
“I know this is hard on you.” She told me. “And I’ve never told anyone this before so I’m not quite sure I’m doing it right. But I’ll try my hardest. If you don’t want to come with me, I could put you up for foster care.
“Is George going to live with you?”
She looked down. “About George…” she glanced at the security camera, than dismissed it. “He said yes. But for official purposes… he’s dead.”
“Dead?” I felt faint. This couldn’t be happening.
“Not really,” she assured me. “He’s alive and well and safe somewhere. But according to the world… yes, he’s dead.”
This lady was crazy. “So…” I said slowly. “He’s… alive… but dead… but if I come with you I get to see him.”
She nodded as if what I had just said made perfect sense. “Of course.”
I gave her a timid smile. “As long as you wouldn’t mind me getting kicked out of some schools, um, all right.” Okay, so I’ve barley known this woman for a few minutes, but she knew where my brother was. I wasn’t giving that up. And okay, she was in the CIA. But we could work around that right?
“And there’s one more thing.” She said. “If you come to live with me there’s this school that I would like you to go to.” I gave an inward groan. Another school for ‘troubled’ kids. “Your dad told me about you talents and I could get the school to except you. Your brother will be attending it.” Okay, so not a school for troubled kids. My brother was about as far from troubled as you could get. “And don’t get me wrong, you’re great and talented, but your brother’s older. And you’re a bit young for the school, but we can work around that.”
“Do you have a point?” I said. The throbbing in my head was getting harder to bear.
“If you go to the school,” she said nervously. “Well, you’ll be trained to become a spy. This school is a CIA operated school. And they want you.”
I know, like, totally shocking right?
Anyways, Brianna left to give me time to think.
I came up with my answer pretty quick: there was absolutely no way I was going to let my brother do this alone because a) this was an adventure and b) well, he was my brother. If he was going to do something idiotic like this, I wasn’t going to let him do it alone.
The next few times I woke up, my best friends Sam and Luce were there. They both went to fine arts school – my fifth school – and somehow we managed to stay friends even once I got kicked out.
They gave me so much news and always wished me well but really, I only felt worse after their visits.
Because really, one of these visits would be their – our – last.