A deep gloom seemed to settle over me - it was like a real dark cloud hanging over my head, except I wasn’t in a cartoon. This was my life now - how crazy was it to believe? Just a few weeks ago I was living a quiet estranged life in London with an office-working dad. My dad! I suddenly remembered with a start that since the day I first found out about magic and the world of Immortals I hadn’t contacted him. In fact, I was ashamed to say that my thrilling new discoveries had eclipsed him completely.

“Hold those thoughts,” I said quickly, scooting over to the desk and firing up the laptop. I remembered his last e-mail to me, what seemed like years ago: he was suddenly very busy again and couldn’t come home as early as he thought, he might not even be able to write.

Sure enough, when I opened my inbox there was nothing there from him. Forwarded advertisements. Then I saw something that made my eyebrows draw together in a frown. One of the e-mails was from someone called Allan G. Marx. I had never heard of this person. But next to the e-mail there was a display photo, and the dark-haired boy in the picture looked familiar. I clicked on the envelope icon and quickly read what he had sent to me.

Hello Ruby

It’s funny what charm can get from the administrative ladies! I rooted out your e-mail address because it would be easier to say what I want to this way rather than phoning or turning up at your house. As we both know, there was no point in looking for ways to contact either of your friends, as Adele and Meena have no records.

I felt a little cold all of a sudden. I remembered now, it was the guy from the canteen at school who had walked past and said hi to Meena that time. As if he knew her. He could see through the magic shield. And it seemed he did know her, and Willow too. Or at least knew about them, as neither of them claimed to know who he was. He had called Willow Adele. I hadn’t known that was her real name until the elf had said it back in the Room of Seven Doors. I don’t think she would have told it to anyone. The only way he could have known that was if he had some background on them, like a file or something. Cautiously, I read on. Why had he contacted me?

Speaking of your friends, I noticed none of you were present at school yesterday. I had heard you were ill, but on checking the records in Slake Hospital, you had gone missing early this morning.

This guy had access to hospital records? Or had he hacked into them? Either way, this guy was serious about whatever he “wanted” to say. There was something off about this e-mail and the things he’d said, and it wasn’t his access to all kinds of information. No, there was something else about it.

None of your friends had ever been to visit you. Why was that? I think you should write to me and tell me what you three are doing.

From, Allan

Why did it all seem so sinister? I knew how to read between the lines. He didn’t mean it in the casual way: “Tell me what you’re doing this weekend, maybe we can meet up”. What he meant was something entirely more suspicious: “I want to know why two Immortals are hanging around a human girl like you and hiding themselves from everyone else.”

Except I wasn’t human anymore, but he didn’t know that - despite the fact that he was possibly an Immortal himself. I wouldn’t know for definite unless I saw him again in person and I didn’t think I wanted to or was going to. Then something clicked. He had access to all kinds of records, he shouldn’t have obtained limited information. If he was going to check up on us all then he’d want to get everything. He should know what I was in hospital for, and the circumstances under which I had disappeared. If he was looking at it from an unknowing viewpoint, he would find it incredibly suspicious that after having a terminal brain tumour I would suddenly break out. But if he was an insider, he’d know what had really happened. But like every good player, he was keeping his cards to himself until the right time to lay them down. And I didn’t like it. I decided the best policy was to play dumb.

The End

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