I was greeted with an abundance of blinding white light as a wave of cool, refreshing air slapped me in the face. I found myself in a narrow corridor that led to another door, which was twenty feet further ahead. Apart from the stream of white light shining from the in-built ceiling lights, everything else in the corridor was sparkling black, from the tiled flooring, to the two walls either side of me. Senor Ramirez stood by the door, gesturing me to hurry along. He seemed unable to contain his excitement, which was strange considering his usual stern and serious demeanour.
“I just want to say a few things before we open this door, Marco,” Senor Ramirez said, breaking the eerie silence of the corridor as we stood in front of the mysterious door. “I know this might be all too much for you. After all, it was literally a
“This is Sir Cornelius Slater. He is a wealthy English businessman. In fact, he is the richest man in the UK, with a net worth of £450 billion. He has now integrated himself in the world of English politics and is the leader of the new Action Party. He is running for Prime Minister of the UK in the upcoming elections,” Malcolm informed, pointing at the close-up photograph of a man in his early fifties, with a few strands of white in his otherwise dark brown hair. The CIA employees around me were typing rapidly on their laptops and scribbling notes on their notepads. I certainly felt out of place here, as I simply could do nothing but look ahead at the large screen ahead of me and wait for Malcolm to continue. Senor Ramirez, who was standing next to Malcolm, whispered something in his ear. Malcolm frowned and nodded.
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 h
“Marco Cortes, hurry up!” Zak called from outside my house. “We are going to be late for school! I really don’t want a detention again like last week.”I knew my best friend was angry with me when he referred to me by my full name. Frantically, I sprinted around my small house, trying to find my tie whilst throwing my textbooks into my bag and peeling a banana all at the same time. I was a mess. I had slept through my alarm for the third time that week and my parents had already left for work. I found my tie underneath the sofa and wondered how on earth it got there as I located one of my shoes in the living room and hastily slipped my right foot into it.
“What?” Rachel blurted.“Señor, you know how much we love this school and respect you as a principal. But how do you expect us to bring back the Golden Leaf when it could be anywhere? And what about danger? Who knows what obstacles we will face?” I explained.Señor Ramirez stood up and bore his eyes into us. “Hear me out before you overthink the situation and make a decision. Look Marco, your combat skills with a sword and shield are second to none in your weekly classes. Zak, your martial art skills are the best in the whole school. How many tournaments have you won consecutively? And Rachel, your archery ability is unr
“You will head off in the afternoon. I have arranged a taxi for you which will drop you off at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan that I’ve reserved for you. The Benjamin. I’m sure you’ve heard of that five star hotel. You can stay there for the night. Tomorrow you will begin your journey to Lower New York Bay. It’s a twenty mile journey. Stingray Island is somewhere around there. Take public transport and stay in crowded places. Be careful of the people around you. And most importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, trust each other and each other only. No one else,” he explained. “Go to one of the changing rooms, get changed, get freshened up and go to the canteen where the chefs have prepared you three a good meal.”Señor Ramirez stood up strai
Just as we arrived, the lift door opened and a couple walked out, holding hands and laughing. We entered the lift and I pressed the button for the third floor, where our room was.Even the lift was special. An Alpana themed golden wallpaper ran around the lift and the black marble floor was sparkling in the bright in-built light. The lift door opened and we walked slowly down the corridor, taking in the unique designs and patterns of the walls and ceiling. “This is the room,” Rachel said.
“Come on!” Rachel screamed.I tried again, this time barging into it with my shoulder. The door remained shut.“Wait, I’m going to use my knife to open the lock. Face the guards,” Zak said hurriedly, as he inserted his blood-soaked knife into the keyhole.Rachel and I squared up to the guards, as they closed in on us.12 feet… 11 feet… 1
Having hiked infinite miles, hopped on and off buses and taken four gruelling train journeys, we finally reached the coast of Lower New York Bay, as the Sun began to settle. In front of us, the vast Atlantic Ocean sparked in the dazzling sunset. In the distance, I managed to see a faint silhouette of a few mountains, surrounded by rocks and forests. Zapped of our energy and strength, we slumped on a nearby bench.“Is that the place?” I asked, squinting and pointing out in the direction of the silhouette.“Looks like. We made it guys,” Zak sighed tiredly.I heard footsteps from my left coming towards us. A dockworker. His cl