The Golden Leaf
The Golden Leaf
Author: Rafaz
Prologue

After a long tedious day of work, Gerard Ramirez slumped in his office chair and rubbed his eyes. He hated his job as the principal of Tranquillity Valley High School of New York City. This wasn’t an ordinary school where the core subjects would consist of maths, English and science. Under the Government’s latest ‘Talented Students’ scheme, the students of Tranquillity Valley High School were being trained in martial arts, archery, and sword fighting, along with other complex sports. The students here were not like the standard, regular teenagers loitering around street corners after school hours. Far from it. They were sharp, instinctive, highly skilled, and disciplined. With the constant need to monitor their performance in the gruelling training programs, and the endless signatures on irrelevant documents, the dreary meetings, along with the requirement to wear a suit every single day, Gerard Ramirez had had enough. He sighed in disappointment at what his life had come to. From the heights of being an Army soldier, to being trapped in the four bland walls of his office.

RING! RING! RING!

Gerard rolled his eyes. Another pointless phone call. About the school curriculum probably. Or about school health and safety regulations. He didn’t pick up, hoping the caller would hang up.

RING! RING! RING!

The shrill ringing of the phone continued. Gerard groaned. ‘What could be this urgent that I am being disturbed after work hours?’ he thought to himself. He wheeled his black leather chair over to the office telephone.

Private number. Strange.

‘Wrong number,’ he thought, as he unplugged the telephone cord and wheeled back to his polished oak desk. He just wanted to be alone. That’s all.

He untucked his shirt, loosened his tie and put his feet up on the desk, savouring the few moments of silence before heading back home in the hectic rush hour.

RING! RING! RING!

This time the exasperating ringtone was not coming from the office telephone. It was coming from his mobile phone. Gerard grunted. ‘Can I seriously not get one minute of peace around here?’

He dug into his pocket and pulled out his latest model of the iPhone.

Private number. Again.

RING! RING! RING!

Gerard frowned. Two phone calls back to back. Both private number.

RING! RING! RING!

The ringtone pierced Gerard’s ears and his thumb hovered over the decline button. But he hesitated. ‘Whoever it is clearly wants to speak to me,’ he thought. ‘I might as well answer so they can just leave me alone.’

He shook his head in frustration and took a deep breath.

And then he answered.

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