Fiction

Hannah Carmichael Chronicles (SIXTEEN)

 

Your Briefing:
Hannah has been recruited by her husband, Zeke, to take down her own spy agency CGT.
After finding out they were only out for themselves and not working for the government at all, Hannah agreed. After Zeke’s raid, they have limited resources to stop Evelyn Carmichael, Hannah’s mother, from carrying out an attack using the drive Hannah now holds onto. Hannah, Stephanie, Ian and newcomer Moroz went to Hannah’s childhood home for clues where they found a letter from Hannah’s mother. The letter was written just after Evelyn was discovered and disappeared and gave Hannah coordinates to a place where she would be safe in the impending chaos. As Hannah was leaving, she remembered a small puzzle box with a mysterious item inside that may hold a key to Evelyn’s safe house. As they travel to the location, can Hannah open the box? Will it hold a key? What will Hannah tell Zeke on her first briefing?

SIXTEEN:

The dim street lights made it difficult as Hannah attempted another combination on the puzzle box.
A pot hole dipped the car again and she groaned. Ian looked in the rear view mirror and shrugged,
“Sorry.” He said, glancing at Moroz beside him. He had fallen asleep about an hour ago, just as the sun was going down and had maintained a steady snore since. Stephanie sighed and Hannah looked up,
“I can get it.” She said sharply. Stephanie raised her hands and shrunk back in her seat. Hannah exhaled,
“Sorry. I’ve been working on this for too long.” Hannah tossed the box onto the seat in between them and looked out the window at the passing towns.
“How far are we from Evelyn’s safe house?” Hannah asked, her eye lids drooping a little.
“Too far. We’re going to have to stop for the night.” Ian said, glancing back at her. Stephanie leaned forward,
“We can’t stop. We’ll just trade over drivers.” She said, nudging Hannah. “Hannah’s turn.” Stephanie grinned and Hannah yawned, emphasising her exhale. Stephanie rolled her eyes and sat back,
“Fine, we’ll stop.”
Hannah smiled and looked back down at the puzzle box.
“We could always just break it open.” Ian said from the driver’s seat. Hannah shook her head,
“Nope. We can’t risk what’s inside being destroyed in case we need it.” Hannah picked up the box and tried another combination.
As she slid panels in directions she had already tried and moved notches, she noticed a click she hadn’t heard before. Her eyebrows raised and Stephanie leaned closer. Hannah kept going until a moment later, she felt the bottom panel click out. Carefully Hannah slid the panel, revealing a small wooden key.
She smiled and reached up for the car light. The key was unusual and she looked up at a squinting Ian.
“Break the box.” She said with a mocking tone. “This is a wooden key, it definitely would have been destroyed.” She looked down to the key and handed it to Stephanie. As Stephanie looked the key over, the car pulled into a small motel with a Vacancy sign in neon out the front.
As they parked, Ian shoved the snoring Moroz and he snorted awake. The boys got a room for them and the girls got another, setting their watches to meet again at 0600 hours. As Stephanie settled into the bathroom for a shower, Hannah glanced at the clock on the wall. Almost ten o’clock.
She grabbed her phone and quietly made her way out of the room towards the pool area. Sitting on a deck chair, Hannah looked up at the stars and waited. Without city lights, the sky looked brighter and filled with glowing fireflies. Her phone buzzed and she looked down, rolling her eyes.
“Carmichael.” She answered, hearing their voice recognition software working in the background.
“Hannah.” Zeke said finally, his voice croaky.
“Zeke.”
He sighed at her curt response and cleared his throat.
“You know protocol so I’ll skip to the briefing.”
“I appreciate that little semblance of acknowledgement that I know what I’m doing.” Hannah said, unable to keep the irritation out of her tone.
“I was found by Stephanie, Ian and a new guy, Morozov. I’ve never met him before, but he says he was sent from Counterintelligence. They took me to the safe house where Anthony was waiting.” Hannah paused and looked at the reflection of the skyline in the pool.
“We went back to my childhood house to find something linking us to where Evelyn may be hiding.”
“What did you find?” He asked quietly.
“Besides a life full of lies and deceit?” She asked, rolling her eyes and standing. “A letter addressed to me one year after my mother was discovered to be a traitor.”
“What did it say?” Zeke’s voice was warm and she thought back to when she had told him who her mother really was. He had assured her that he didn’t care. That he knew she was trustworthy. Hannah sighed,
“That things were coming to put the world back into order through chaos, and when they did there was a place she wanted me to go to be safe.” Hannah heard Zeke shuffling papers and yelling to another agent. She gave him the coordinates and told him where they were staying, even though she was sure they had her GPS location.
“Zeke?” She asked before he got a chance to say goodbye.
“Yeah?” He asked quietly.
“Are you sure your Intel is solid? I’ve been with CGT for a long time, and I just don’t know-“
“Hannah,” Zeke cut her off and she sighed, dropping back onto the deck chair and putting her head in her hands.
“We’re sure. I showed you everything we had from our informants and the evidence they had collected. You know it’s true.” The voice that once comforted her at any turn, now filled her with resentment and she bolted up.
“Fine. I’ll give you another briefing tomorrow at ten. Goodbye.” She said, hanging up and throwing the phone onto the chair. She stood for a moment then reached for the phone when she heard a gun cocking behind her. Freezing, Hannah held her breath and slowly spun to see Stephanie, gun aimed at Hannah.
Lifting her hands in surrender Hannah’s heart dropped as she saw the rage in Stephanie’s eyes.
“Who was that Hannah?”

 

 

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