Fiction

Hannah Carmichael Chronicles (SEVEN)

In The Last Instalment

While chasing after Evelyn, Hannah saw her missing husband Zeke and a mysterious man in a suit in a coffee shop window. When shots were fired at the coffee shop, Hannah raced inside to find Zeke now missing. Hannah searched the mysterious man with him to find a wallet with a business card inside that had only a number printed on it. Stephanie recognised the number arranged to call it in an hour. Whose number is it? Stephanie told Hannah she wasn’t going to like the answer.

What will happen when Hannah dials the number? Who is on the other end? Will it lead them to Zeke? Is the number connected to Evelyn?


SEVEN

The light in the van flickered above Hannah. She tried to steady herself by grabbing the edge of her seat as they hit another pothole. Stephanie was next to her, popping another bubble and chewing her gum.

“What time is it?” Ian asked from across the van. Hannah checked her watch and sighed, rolling her eyes.

“Two minutes since the last time you asked. We still have another ten minutes before we call the number.” Hannah turned to Stephanie and frowned,

“Are you sure it’s her number?” She asked, hoping for a new answer. Stephanie tilted her head and smiled sympathetically.

“We all dislike Cara Stone, but yes, it’s hers.” Stephanie put a hand on Hannah’s shoulder and nodded. Hannah sighed and looked at the card again, finger smudges now covering the surface. The van lurched forward and the driver turned.

“We’re here Mrs Carmichael,” he said to her. She smiled and nodded, opening the door and stepping out into the parking garage. As they entered the elevator to the fourteenth floor, Ian moved close to Hannah and put his arm around her shoulder.

Hannah shrugged him off and reached into her pocket for her phone. They were two minutes out from the phone call.

“Do you think she’s the same?” Ian asked, shrinking back into the corner. Stephanie scoffed and folded her arms across her chest.

“The agency has been keeping tabs on her since she left the academy.” Hannah said, watching the seconds tick over.

“Kicked out of the academy you mean.” Stephanie said. They all stood silently for a moment.

“I hear that Elizabeth is doing well. She’s some sort of teacher now.” Ian said softly, cutting through their memories. They had all trained with Cara until she was kicked out for attacking another student, Elizabeth.

“Yeah well Cara is doing well too, just on the other side of the law.” Stephanie spat, not trying to hide her disdain. Hannah checked the time; thirty seconds remaining. The elevator jolted and the lights inside flashed. They braced themselves and Stephanie groaned.

“Don’t tell me we’re gonna be stuck in the elevator? What a cliché.” She said, reaching for her radio. The elevator continued moving and Ian sighed,

“Thank goodness. I’m Claustrophobic.” He winked at Hannah and she rolled her eyes. The alarm she had set on her phone sounded, reminding her it was time to make the call.

The elevator doors opened and Hannah stepped off, moving into the closest meeting room. She pulled out the business card with the gold number and dialled. The phone rang twice before Hannah heard a click on the other end.

“Hello?” Cara Stone’s voice was smooth and even and Hannah took a breath, hoping hers would come out the same.

“Cara.” Hannah heard rustling on the other end of the phone and pulled out the chair closest to her.

“Hannah darling how have you been?”

Hannah could hear the smile on Cara’s face and she exhaled sharply.

“Where is Zeke?” Hannah asked, glancing at the door to the meeting room where Stephanie entered, agents in tow. One pulled out a computer and nodded to Stephanie. Hannah’s phone was already equipped with tracking software which had activated the minute she dialled the number.

“Who Hannah?” Cara asked, playing dumb. Hannah slammed her fist on the table,

“Damn in Cara I’m not playing with you!” Hannah yelled, feeling the heat of tears behind her eyes. Stephanie put a hand on Hannah’s shoulder and she took a few deep breaths. There was silence between the two women for a moment before Cara sighed.

“I don’t have him.” She said, her voice cold.

“Are you really trying to convince me you only had one guard?” Hannah stood and looked over the shoulder of the agent with his laptop open. The call was almost traced.

“I think the better question is, how he escaped unscathed without leaving a trace.” The call disconnected and Hannah watched the red dot on the the screen disappear.

“How far did we get?” Stephanie asked, pushing through to the other side of the laptop.

“We got two blocks.” The agent said, sending the location through. Hannah and Stephanie moved out of the room and into the war room. Stephanie whistled loudly and agents stopped what they were doing. Hannah cleared her throat.

“Cara Stone has been located in connection with Zeke and Evelyn’s locations.” She said, walking over to the large screen on the back wall. She pulled up the location and pointed at the screen.

“I want A Team to cover this block and B Team to cover that one.” She pointed to the corresponding streets and agents stood, moving to collect tactical gear. Hannah turned to Stephanie,

“Can you continue the brief?” She asked and Stephanie nodded. Hannah smiled and made her way into her boss’ office. She knocked on the door and he grunted inside. Opening the door, Hannah made sure to avoid the edge of the carpet which tripped most.

“Sir?” Hannah asked, getting Anthony Hart’s attention. He looked up, his mustache twitching as he frowned.

“Bad news?” He asked, putting his pen down and leaning forward.

“We have a lead. The call with Cara Stone led us to two blocks for her location but she didn’t say..” Hannah trailed off and sighed. Anthony put his hand to his eyes and rubbed them.

“So let me recap. We lost Evelyn, we lost Zeke, and we have two blocks to search for Cara, who is apparently also involved.”

“That’s about the size of it Sir.” Hannah said, leaning on the door. Anthony looked up and shook his head slightly.

“Are you sure this intel is solid?” He asked, “because I don’t want to find out we’ve been wasting out time and resources.”

Hannah attempted a smile and shrugged,

“The information is solid. We know the location of what Evelyn wants, we just don’t know how she plans to use it.”

“Or where Zeke fits into all of this?” Anthony asked, standing and moving around his desk, leaning on the edge.

Hannah started to say something when the perimeter alarm sounded. Anthony moved to his computer and Hannah opened the door to his office, rushing towards the war room. Stephanie was hunched over a computer,

“We’ve got a breach!”

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