The Phone CallMature

Tobias’s parents had been overwhelmingly pleased with the letter regarding Tobias’s entry into the academy that they’d never heard of. He had brought the subject up after dinner, while his parents were sitting in front of the T.V and Tobias was at the computer, trying to research the academy. There was no record of it on the Internet.
‘I wonder what V.I.P.E.R.S stands for?’ Tobias’s mum had asked. His dad, a tall, skinny man with short greying hair and the same blue-grey eyes as Tobias had proceeded to spend the next five minutes thinking up different things that it could stand for. Most of his answers were ridiculous. Tobias found is hard to laugh with his parents, his mind was still stuck on that small square of paper, and his frustration about missing the smoke words was not going away.
‘You better take this down to the post office tomorrow, Toby, I’m looking forward to talking to one of the staff about this academy, it must be a fairly new one.’ His mum said.
‘Yeah, there’s no website or anything for it.’ Tobias said. He was sitting on the couch opposite his parents, elbows resting on his knees and his chin resting on his hands. He stared intently at the application form, that his mother had just sealed in the small envelope where he had found the square of paper.
‘I’m going to have an early night,’ Tobias said, ‘I’ll go out tomorrow morning and post the application form.’
‘All right, sweet dreams,’ His mum smiled warmly, Tobias forced a weak smile as he got up off the couch.
‘Night.’ His dad added gruffly a few seconds later. His eyes were locked on the TV, where news presenters were covering a flash flood in some country.
Tobias jogged halfheartedly up the stairs, he was feeling dizzy, drained and confused, but also excited. This could be some top-secret thing! Part of his mind scoffed at the idea,
what top-secret academy would find something useful in me? Tobias thought to himself. He shook his head, trying to dismiss the idea, but it kept gnawing at him as he brushed his teeth and changed into loose-fitting pajamas and crawled into his bed after switching his light off. He usually closed his bedroom door when he went to sleep, but he couldn’t be bothered this time. Tobias was just three hours into sleep when a loud buzzing jerked him awake; he stared around in the dark wildly until his eyes came to rest on a small blueish light moving jerkily across his desk. His phone! It was never turned on, how could someone be ringing him?! Tobias leaped out of bed and grabbed the phone, his finger hovering over the talk button. Somehow he knew what this would be about. He took a deep breath and pressed the talk button, he raised the phone to his ear and listened.
Silence.
‘Hello?’ Tobias asked, his voice was croaky; and kept catching in his throat.
 ‘Tobias Bothrop.’ The voice on the other end of the line spoke; it was male, a voice devoid of accent and emotion. A chill ran down Tobias’s spine at the very sound.
‘Yes?’ Tobias somehow managed to keep his voice level, ‘who is this?’
‘You needn’t know my name just yet,’ the man said coolly,
‘why are you ringing me?’ Tobias was getting more and more panicked, he was tempted to turn on his light, he walked towards the switch in the dark.
‘Don’t turn on the light, it may attract attention.’ The voice said, Tobias froze, his hand inches from the switch, his eyes had gone wide and his mouth hung open, fear was quickly rising to the surface.
‘Your parents took the news of your acceptance into the academy well.’ The man said
‘how do you kn-do you have cameras in my house!?’ Tobias’s voice was rising hysterically; there was anger present, too. Anger at having his privacy shattered.
‘No, I don’t need to waste money on such things when I have my own eyes,’ the man said, ‘look out your window, if you must.’
Everything in Tobias’s nature told him not to look out the window. He could be killed! Still, Tobias found himself drawn to the window. He twitched the blinds apart, he could see out into the well-lit street. There was no one out there, unless they were hiding in the shadows of the trees.
‘I don’t see you.’ Tobias muttered into the phone.
‘Do you really want to?’ the man asked, ‘I may startle you.’
That doesn’t sound wrong at all. Tobias thought sarcastically, his mind’s voice was bitter. Tiredness pulled at his mind, but he fought it off. Fear was close to boiling point, and every single muscle in his body was coiled, ready to move at the slightest foreign sound or sight.
‘Show yourself.’ Tobias said, trying to sound confident.
‘Fine, I suppose I have to gain the trust of the student,’ the man said, a very slight hint of amusement trickling into his voice, ‘here I come.’
Tobias tensed, but nothing prepared him for the upside-down man that suddenly dropped down in front of his window. Tobias’s nose was inches from the glass, and the man’s was almost exactly the same. His eyes drew level with Tobias’s between the blinds, glazed over and dead. Tobias screamed and fell back, a gloved hand clamped hard over his mouth, effectively cutting off any sound. Tobias breathed in hard through his nose, his hands scrabbling at the arm that held his mouth shut. Another hand drew up the blinds. The person hanging upside down from the roof was a dead man. Tobias drew a second breath through his nose – a sharp prick in the back of his neck, and he felt himself slipping off into unconsciousness, the dead man’s face was imprinted on his brain.

Tobias woke up in a small, dimly lit, windowless room; his upper body was slouched over a metal table. He was still barefoot in his pajamas, and the floor was stone cold concrete. He quickly remembered what had happened and was immediately alert. He clenched his fists and lifted his head. A tall man sat calmly before him, hands resting on the arms of the chair he was sitting on. He was wearing a black, slightly loose-fitting zip up jacket and black pants that were loose around the lower leg, and covered in pockets. He found it easier to move around in such clothing, he was also wearing thin black leather gloves that covered his long-fingered hands, a sliver of pale skin showed between the glove and sleeve of his right arm. He was an attractive man, with short, styled brownish red hair and a pale, angular face. His eyes were pale blue and devoid of emotion, his mouth also revealed nothing. The man could not be read. This fact scared Tobias, and he found himself unable to meet the man’s eyes. He fought to control his racing heart and the nauseous feeling in his stomach.
‘Who was the dead man?’ Tobias managed to mutter, his voice was embarrassingly quiet, like a whisper. The man before him just screamed danger.
‘He was a threat.’ The man said simply. His voice was calm, devoid of emotion, just like his expression, it told nothing about him. It struck Tobias suddenly that this was the man from the phone, and the one who had been in his room. His eyes snapped back up to the man’s face.
‘Temporary memory loss is a side effect of the chemical I injected into you, as is nausea.’ He said, he could read Tobias easily. This annoyed him.
‘So nausea isn’t a byproduct of seeing a dead man dangling outside my window?’ Tobias said tensely, his lip was curled ever so slightly.
‘No.’ the man said quietly, ‘you handled it quite well, compared to others in the past.’
Tobias didn’t know what to say to that.
‘Why am I here, and how did you get into my room?’ he asked instead
‘you’re here because the phone I was using was not encrypted, and I had been in your house since you got home from school, you left your door open, so I merely had to walk in and find you at your window.’ The man said, the corners of his mouth twitched upward ever so slightly in a hint of a smile, in an instant, it vanished. Tobias felt absolutely disgusted.
‘What kind of person are you?!’ he snarled, suddenly furious, knowing that his privacy, his one safe place had been so severely violated.
‘I am part of the V.I.P.E.R.S academy, one of the many handlers,’ the man said, ‘the academy name is partially true, but it is also a front. It is an assassin academy, for lack of a better term.’ He shrugged his shoulders gracefully.
‘Assassins?’ Tobias snorted, he believed the man. A man so serious wouldn’t joke, but he couldn’t just say that he believe him. It was complicated, ‘like a ninja school?’
‘Not quite so childish.’ The man said, ‘it is more like a military camp, except rather than just learn how to defend something, you learn how to kill a person.’
Tobias almost stopped breathing, he felt cold all over, as if he’d been dumped into icy water. Sweat trickled down the side of his face. Before he knew what he was doing, he was halfway across the room.
‘Don’t.’ the man’s utterly calm voice stopped Tobias completely in his tracks.
‘You will learn to move faster than that at the academy,’ he said, he hadn’t moved a muscle, he was even still looking at the space where Tobias had been sitting.
‘With your current speed, I could have put three bullets and two knives into whatever vital points I wished. You would have been dead before you touched the door.’ He turned his head and met Tobias’s terrified stare with his own cold blue eyes, ‘or I could have killed you with no weapons and just three fingers.’
‘W-where am I?’ Tobias asked,
‘sit,’ the man said coolly, it was a command, one that would have consequences if ignored. He motioned with a single gloved hand towards Tobias’s seat. That hand could kill him in an instant.
Tobias slowly moved back to his seat, he knew he wasn’t leaving until the assassin let him.
‘You are at a location free from prying eyes and ears, just down the road from your house.’ He said, ‘I would have told you all of this over the phone had I not discovered the spy a few hundred meters away, for the same reason, I have not disclosed anything that they don’t already know, just in case.’
‘Let me go.’ Tobias said shakily
‘How will you get back into your room?’ the man asked, cocking his head slightly.
Tobias didn’t know.
‘I will have to use the same method I used to get you here.’ The assassin said with a barely audible sigh.
‘No!’ Tobias protested, the man moved like lightening, a thin, black-clad blur. He moved gracefully, like a dancer, he was built like one, too. Tobias was halfway out of his chair when the man grabbed him hard from behind, locking Tobias’s arms against his sides with one surprisingly strong arm, and lifting the 16 year old off the ground with ease, his feet kicked madly and he fought the urge to cry out. They neared one of the walls, Tobias instinctively kicked off it, and he found himself on the floor on his stomach, a sharp pain lancing up his back and through his head. The man had flipped him over his shoulder, using his own momentum against him. He now knelt over the boy, who was too dazed to retaliate as a long needle was produced out of the man’s pants pocket. It was filled with a clear liquid, the man lowered the needle to Tobias’s collarbone and the contents were emptied into his body, he felt the tug of the needle as it was pulled from his flesh. The assassin leaned over close to Tobias; his mouth was close to the boy’s ear. Tobias’s vision swam, going in and out of focus; he frowned at a mark, a scar? On the assassin’s neck, near the corner of his jawbone under his left ear, then his eyes failed him, and his head fell back against the cold, hard floor. His ears were still working however, and he clearly heard the word whispered in his ear before all senses failed him.
‘Harrier.’

The End

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