The time flew by and it seemed all of a sudden we were at our destination, or at least I had thought it was at first, but now I wasn’t so sure. We were on a deserted street, and I knew this because all the houses were old and run-down so much it couldn’t possibly sustain anyone. I mean, their lawns were overgrown with grass and weeds tall enough to hide a bear, some of the roofs had big holes in them with tree branches sticking out, and vines covered what was left of the house that could be seen over the grass.There can’t be a real, up-kept and running school for spies and geniuses in a place like this. She must’ve taken a wrong turn.I thought, looking at our surroundings in confusion as we passed.
I turned to her, about to voice my thoughts when she held up a finger and said, “Wait. We’re almost there.” She glanced at me in a way that said to be patient so I just returned my gaze out the window, wondering what could possibly lie ahead.
And a few minutes later I got my answer.
The first odd thing I saw was another car on the road heading the way we’d just come, and the next odd thing was that the car was a long black limousine. It cruised past us smoothly, and I turned in my seat to watch it go, blinking and shaking my head to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.What was a limousine doing down here? Its’ driver must be lost or something.Mom saw this and said, “It’s real Rylee, and there are more. Look.”
I turned back around in my seat to face ahead of us and saw more limousines, a long line of them to be exact, and my first thought was.Where did they even come from?
I got my answer as we kept driving and I saw they were all coming from a driveway ahead of us. We slowed down and turned into the cobbled drive, following it into the trees. I was just sitting there, my mouth hanging open from the possibility that there might actually be a real school up ahead. “Now in a few minutes we’re going to pass under the scanner and we’ll go through a portal taking us to the real campus, so don’t freak out when things shift a little, okay?” she said, looking over at me.
I looked at her in a way that said, ‘What’s gonna happen?’ “Is it going to hurt?” I asked.
“No,” she said, actually laughing at me, which I don’t think was as supportive as I thought she should’ve been, considering what was about to happen. I looked in front of us for the scanner but saw nothing, and then I saw the shift. It kind of looked like the TV when you changed the channel, that little shift that happens, and it was over in a second. Suddenly the trees were of a more vibrant green and there was more sunlight shining through them, but nothing stood up to what I saw when we finally cleared the trees.
Standing before me was the most gorgeous building I’d encountered in my life. The walls were made of a stone that was an ashy white and had two pillars on each side of the vaulted eave and front doors, which were a deep red and bore a large black ‘A’. There were two other pairs of pillars a few feet from the first that partly obscured the huge windows on each side. The roof was red too, and there was a large dormer window also on each side of the vaulted eave, near the huge tower on each side of the building. The towers themselves had three windows that spiraled downward around and out of sight.
And in front of the beautiful building was a statue of a stone man standing proudly and wearing very ancient clothing, around which the driveway looped back on itself. There were limousines parked off in the grass to my right while others were stopped on the loop, parents getting out and bidding farewell to their kids. We stopped behind one limo whose door stood open as three kids, the youngest a twin boy and girl, and their elder brother.
Then a man rose out at last, wearing a lab coat that accentuated his already tall and lean form while his glasses and gelled back dark blonde hair reflected the sunlight. “You know, they look familiar.” Mom said, squinting at the family as the man hugged his children while talking the whole time.
I was too busy looking at the building and all the people to really listen to what she said, the nervousness suddenly seizing me by the stomach. The longer I sat there, staring at it, the worse my state became as those derogative thoughts started resurfacing. “Okay Mom, I’ll see you at Christmas.” I said, waiting no longer. Taking one last swig of my drink for courage, I gathered my black purse and opened the door.
“Okay, sweetie. Be safe, and write to me often. I want to hear all about your first day, okay?” she said as I climbed out. I nodded and was just about to close the door when she glanced back over at the man and caught a glimpse of his face. She gasped and jumped out of the car.
“What?” I asked, closing my door as she started towards the man with me on her heels.
The man’s children looked over at the sound of her door slamming and their eyes started widening as she said, “Graham?”
The man looked up at her and his eyes widened too as his face broke out in a huge grin. “Sarah? Is that you?”
“Yeah,” she said and laughed as she threw her arms around him. I’d never seen her embrace someone like this other than family, and was immediately on edge. I glanced over at his children and saw them glance between me and Mom and then whisper to each other.
“How long has it been?” she asked, letting go of him and smiling broadly.
“A long time.” he said.
“Too long.” she added.
He nodded, looking her over and said, “You look great! How’ve you been holding up? How’s Alan?”
“Thank you, and we’re doing great. I was just dropping off my daughter, Rylee.” she said and beckoned to me. I obliged and came to her side, welcoming the arm she put around my shoulders because I was getting nervous under this guy, Graham’s, children’s odd stares. “Rylee, this is Graham Cooper. We went to school together.” she said, motioning between me and him.
Graham looked down at me with a warm smile and said, “Hi, Rylee. The last time I saw you, you were just a baby.”
He extended a friendly hand and I took it, smiling and saying, “Hi, nice to meet you.”
He nodded and then looked from me to Mom, saying, “You look just like your mother when we were in school. Except for the eyes.”
“My dad’s.” I said and he grinned, nodding.
Then he turned to his children, who were standing silently beside him, and said, “These are my kids, though my two oldest have already graduated.” Then he went on to introduce them. “Sydney here is planning on the agent field, and my youngest pair of twins Mckayla and Morgan. Morgan’s a pure scientist like his dad, and Mckayla’s going after both the agent and science field.”
“We like to have the best of both worlds in this family.” said Sydney, shaking our hands and smiling. He was really cute, I thought, with his wavy dark blonde hair around his ears, his dad’s forest green eyes, and a deep tan. They all wore the same deep read uniform as me, but Sydney’s insignia was different than mine and the twins’. Instead of gold scrollwork behind a black ‘A’ like ours, his ‘A’ was white and the scrollwork was black.