Lighting the FireMature

Maximus Wayde

I was a hundred percent confident that this would be a ‘get in and get out’ mission. Now, I wasn’t so sure.

Tiffany’s words seemed to have an impact on her fellow comrades whose heads whipped in her direction before glancing over at me somewhat suspiciously. I managed to put on a poker face, despite feeling Travis stiffen by my side into somewhat of a defensive position. He may not have much of a brain but one punch from that guy would be enough to bring me down - especially considering my already injured state. This was not good.

“He’s lying!” she shouted, the hand she had pointed at me quivering in the air.

A woman standing next to her, one I placed as a little higher up on the chain of Joe’s command, hushed Tiffany with a warning glare. “Quiet girl. Watch your mouth or you lose your head.” A couple others mumbled warnings to Tiffany who stood her ground, not lowering her accusing finger yet. I knew her words were starting to have an effect on the group as a lot of them turned to look up at me, waiting for some kind of explanation.

I simply crossed my arms coolly over the expanse of my chest and smirked at Tiffany. “What else you got to say there, kitten?”

Tiffany reddened, her complexion matching that of her hair but it didn’t stop her rant. “His girlfriend works for the SIS too! They’re both agents and they want to get rid of us!”

Mumbles broke out among the crowd. People turned their separate ways, confused on who to believe - the blubbering baby redhead who was the youngest of their gang, or the supposed leader who had just showed up. Tiffany’s eyes fixed on my amused ones, challenging me. She knew she had me outnumbered here but if I played this smartly, I might be able to turn the tables on her.

“Boss?” Travis fidgeted by my side. I caught the uncertain shake in his words, unsure of whether that was the right way to call me or not. Giving him a long sideways glance, I let my smirk slip off my face which transformed into an expression of utmost dissatisfaction.

“You really are a bunch of fools,” I muttered, shaking my head to myself. “Hopeless. To be swayed by the words of a baby girl like her.”

“But Boss-”

“Sir, we don’t mean to defy you!”

“We need proof!”

I raised a hand in the air and their rising voices were immediately silenced. Glaring down at Tiffany, I spoke smoothly and loud enough for all of them to hear, “Not that this is any of your business, but yes, my girlfriend does work for the SIS - MI6.”

“I knew it!” Tiffany fist-pumped the air, and questions rose in the air as people started shouting - in anger, in confusion, in doubt. I raised my voice loud enough to be heard above the uproar and my next few words did the deed.

“And so do I.”

Everyone shut up. At once. Tiffany’s mouth fell open as she stared at me, eyes wide in shock. Clearly, she had not been expecting any of this - the part where I gave into the truth stunned everyone. “Huh?”

I scratched the back of my head and muttered a curse under my breath. “Really. Having to explain all this to you dunderheads is a waste of precious time.” They didn’t say anything, just watched. A few cowered in fear, in respect, and lowered their eyes. With a frustrated sigh, I started spinning yet another yarn to get me out of this mess.

“Yes, I’m a double agent. I do work for the SIS, which is why I’ve never risked revealing my identity to you all. That’s also why communication has been strictly using these,” I waved my phone in the air. “Some people within the organization grew a little...suspicious, when my performance faltered recently on certain special cases - cases on us. They restricted my access to top information.”

A couple people nodded along in the first row, beginning to get where this was going.

“That’s where my girl became useful. Briony is my very own peephole into the operations of the SIS. She’s at the top of the chain and gives me all the information I need. But,” I raised a finger, interrupting those who had opened their mouths to speak up, “she has no idea that I am a double agent. Not one bit.”

I smiled. By the way everyone was beginning to stare at me, almost in awe, I realized this was working.

“I may be using her but, despite the nature of her work, I have grown to care for her. I intend on having her join our side soon enough which is why if any of you,” I paused and settled my cold gaze on Tiffany, “try to hurt even one hair on her head, you will not go unpunished.”

The fact that Travis shivered to my right was a reaction shared by everyone, especially Tiffany whose lower lips trembled. She shrunk back behind the woman that had told her off at the start who gave her a look as if to say ‘I told you so’. Now that everyone had fallen into the convenient trap, a new round of discussion began. Travis beside me cleared his throat and asked, “So uhhh...what now Boss?”

Eyes settled on me, expectant for orders. My conversation with Boss replayed in my head. Now that I had everyone’s trust and loyalty, I knew what to do.

“There’s a man who’s been getting in my way for a while now, someone who planned to infiltrate us. I do not know what agency he works with apart from the fact that he was previously,” I licked my lips, distaste spreading across my face, “involved with my girl.”

“Do you want us to get rid of him Boss?”

Enthusiastic murmurs echoed in the air, and as tempted as I was to say ‘yes’, I knew that wasn’t the purpose of all this.

“No. Rather, I need you all to run some background checks on him. Get all the information you can. His contacts, his history, everything. The SIS has tried and they came clean. We can’t let him get in our way again.”

“His name Boss?” Travis asked by my side. His brows were furrowed, bringing out the deep lines on his forehead as he had a look of hard-set determination. Smiling inwardly, I turned to face the crowd, my crowd, and lit the first trail of the fire.


The End

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