Chapter Thirty-FiveMature

To be honest, I had no idea where I was going to start looking for Clay, if that was his name.  All the information I had on him was he held a relatively senior position in an underground movement determined to wipe out the system that had kept the Earth from destroying itself.  Who was going to believe that?  So what was I going to do?

Like any good student I went home and Googled it.  I couldn't see any other way of getting more information on him.  He must have a life outside the group, I thought to myself.  They've hardly been active for the last few decades, and I don't think the pay is all that great.

So I let myself into Dem's house and began searching for the computer.  Abril's team had done a great job tidying up the house after the attack on Mark.  You wouldn't have known anything had happened, except for a few missing vases and lamps.

Finding the computer alive and working, I logged on and opened up the internet.  The Google homepage stared at me as I sat at the desk, thinking about what I was going to type into the search box.  I couldn't put in 'The Twelve Zodiacs', that would just come up with a load of stuff about China and their New Year, the same would happen if I added 'The Ox' to the end.

I tried 'Clay Marshall' not expecting anything to come up.  There were over two million hits on his name and I slumped back in my chair in exasperation.

'This is useless,' I told the empty room, ready to hit the keyboard in frustration.  A small beep distracted me, and I saw the small box appear in the corner of my screen.  Kel is now online.

In any other situation I would have spoken to her, asked her for her advice and wanted to know what she thought about it.  But I'd only just begun to re-gain her trust.  I didn't want to blow it on something she may not be able to help me with.  While I was internally debating what I should do, my computer beeped again and another message appeared.

Kel: Hey C, heard about Mark.  Are you OK?

'Well she started the conversation,' I reasoned out loud.  'It would be rude not to talk to her.'  My fingers made contact with the keyboard and began to type.

Cassie: I'm alright, thanks for asking.  D's a bit shaken up but I think he'll be OK eventually.

Kel: I'm glad to hear that.

I stared at the screen, desperately wanting to ask the question, but not sure if I should.  Finally I made my decision, took a deep breath and began to type.

Cassie: Hey K, can I ask you a question?

Kel: Do I want to know why?

Cassie: Probably not, but can I ask you anyway?  It's really important.

There was a really long pause and I thought I'd pushed it too far.  Then my computer beeped.

Kel: Yeah sure.  Shoot.

Cassie: Have you ever heard of a Clay Marshall?  Or a group called 'The Twelve Zodiacs'?

There was another long pause, but this time I wasn't worried for some reason.  Kel was probably just thinking about it.

Kel: I've not heard of 'The Twelve Zodiacs'.

I felt my stomach sink.  I'd known this would be a wild goose chase, I just wanted to catch this guy so I could save my mother.

Kel: But I know a Clay Marshall.

She had my full attention.  My fingers danced across the keyboard faster than I thought was possible.  I've found a lead, I thought.  God I'm good!

Cassie: Who is he?

Kel: He takes classes down at the sports centre in town.  He teaches my mum pilates.

I could have cried with joy.  Why hadn't I thought of that before?  Of course he would have to find a job that suited his position in the group.  He was the leader of a team of soldiers, an assassin, he'd have to keep fit somehow.

Cassie: I love you Kel.  Thanks so much!  I've got to talk to D.

Kel: You're not in trouble are you?

My euphoria was dampened slightly by the worry Kel was expressing.

Cassie: No, I'm fine.

Kel: If you are, let me know.  I don't want you getting yourself killed.

For some unknown reason, a smile pulled at the corners of my mouth as I read Kel's message.

Cassie: I won't get myself killed.  I promise. x

And with that, I signed off.  I looked at my open Google page and decided to check the information Kel had given me.  I typed in Clay's name and the name of our local sports centre, crossing my fingers as I hit return.  I wasn't disappointed.  The first page on the list took me to a staff information page and on the left-hand side, next to the name Clay Marshall, was a picture of the man who'd escaped from the pub.

I grabbed the phone and dialled Dem's mobile number.  When he didn't pick up I tried the bar phone and got Ash's voice when the ringing stopped.

'Hey Cassie.  What's up?'

'I need to speak to Demitri.  Is he still there?'

'Umm,' Ash said, turning away from the receiver, 'yeah he's still at the bar.  I'll get him for you.'

'Thanks Ash.'  I waited patiently on the other end of the line, listening to the normal sounds of the bar.  Even though they were under threat, Abril's supporters wouldn't give up their nightly pint at the pub.

'Cassie?'  Dem's voice was tired, but he still managed to sound concerned.  'What's wrong?'

'Nothing is wrong,' I said, trying to restrain my excitement.  'In fact, I've just received some information I think you will like.'

The End

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