The VisitorMature

Tobias woke up with a groan, his head was pounding, and he was damn thankful that it was a Saturday, though it took him a while to realise it.
What a weird dream. Tobias thought, not bothering to move, his body hurt all over, inside and out.
A little voice in Tobias’s head asked him why he would hurt so much after a dream. This made Tobias crawl out of bed and over to a mirror. Besides his half-closed eyes and even messier-than-usual hair, he looked normal. He remembered in his “dream” he’d been given an injection just above his collarbone. Tobias pulled the neck of his pajamas down, and sure enough, when he squinted, there was a tiny pinprick of red. Tobias’s head swam, and he swayed, pressing his hands against the wall to keep him upright.
‘There’s no way I’m going downstairs like this.’ He croaked, his throat was incredibly sore, speaking was painful, like having sandpaper rubbed up and down the inside of your throat. Tobias stumbled back to his bed and flopped down on the mattress. A small piece of paper was propelled up into the air from Tobias’s landing; he saw it out of the corner of his eye and contemplated leaving it there. In the end he moved inch by inch until he could reach over the edge of the bed with his right arm, he picked up the small piece of paper and brought it in front of his face. His eyes took a long time to focus, blinking rapidly, his forehead creased in concentration, he managed to make out the words written in graceful script.
‘You’re going to feel like crap when you wake up, don’t bother getting out of bed, it’ll pass about three hours after midday.’
Tobias didn’t have to ask himself who wrote the note; he just crumpled it up in his fist and glanced at his clock, 11:45am. He groaned loudly as another wave of agony washed over him. He lay face down on his bed, trying to go back to sleep, but it evaded him.
‘Harrier.’ Tobias muttered suddenly, his voice muffled by his pillow,
must be a codename. He thought, remembering the voice as it spoke in his ear before he passed out, he also vaguely recalled some kind of mark on Harrier’s neck, just below his ear. Memories of the night just gone came trickling back. Tobias had to rush to the bathroom at one point, he pushed open the door and dropped to his knees in front of the toilet, ignoring the pain that shot up through his knees, and proceeded to throw up into the bowl - the face of the dead man at his window had just re-entered his mind. That, coupled with the side effects of the injection had made his stomach weaker than normal. Tobias walked, zombie-like, back to his room after forcing down a few mouthfuls of cold, hydrating water straight from the tap, it eased the pain in his throat a little.

Two hours had passed, Tobias was feeling better, but only a little. He still had waves of pain and nausea, but he had forced himself out of bed, despite what the note had told him, and forced a small breakfast of eggs down his throat (‘you look like you’ve been up all night!’ his mum had remarked, she had also posted the application form, since Tobias hadn’t looked like he was getting up anytime soon). He showered and got dressed, looking better on the outside, but still feeling like shit on the inside. Around 2:30pm, he was feeling significantly better; he could stand up and look at lights without his head almost splitting with the pain. He could also hold larger meals down, and so he had lunch. At 2:45pm, there was a knock at the door.
‘Toby, could you get that?’ his mum called from the downstairs bathroom, she was doing her weekly housework. She needn’t have asked him; he was already ten steps from the door, he had a hunch. He opened it, and a tall, strong-looking male was standing there, he had blonde, short hair, a slim but muscular build, a square jaw and almond-shaped dark brown eyes. He was wearing a suit. He grinned knowingly at Tobias, who wondered how many weapons the man had on him.
‘Rough night, huh?’ the man said quietly, ‘those injections pack a punch.’
He was from the academy. An assassin.
‘Who is it?’ Tobias’s mum had come to the door, standing behind Tobias. Her hair was tied up behind her, she looked questioningly at the man, who smiled.
‘I’m Neil Gratton,’ he said, ‘from V.I.P.E.R.S academy.’
‘Oh! I didn’t expect anyone to come so quickly! We only posted the application form this morning!’ Tobias’s mum stuttered, ‘well, come in!’
She pulled Tobias away from the door, he contemplated telling her what this man truly was, what the academy truly was, but decided against it. If he told her, the assassin that was following them inside and closing the door might just kill them both.
Tobias sat down on the couch facing the window, forcing Neil to take the one facing away from it.
‘Would you like some coffee or tea?’ his mum asked, Tobias groaned inwardly.
‘No, thank you, Mrs. Bothrop, I won’t be here long.’ Neil said with a warm smile.
He was a good actor, Tobias would give him that.
‘I’m here to answer any questions you have about the academy.’ Neil said. He was sitting in a relaxed, but professional manner.
‘What qualifies someone for enrollment?’ Tobias asked, his voice was deadpan, he was angry with this man for a reason even Tobias himself didn’t know.
Neil gave him a long look, ‘anything, really. Any talent or ability that makes them show up above the rest.’ He said.
‘Toby just got an art scholarship, too!’ his mum said excitedly
‘yes, the principle informed me, your talent in art is one of the things that led us to you.’ Neil said
Complete and utter lies.
Tobias was feeling increasingly uncomfortable and angry; these people knew everything about him, assassins! And they were trying to recruit him! Tobias had always wanted an exciting life, but this! Harrier’s voice spoke in his head, about the spy he’d found nearby, the one he’d strung up in front of Tobias’s bedroom window. A spy. Tobias realised now, that the man who was killed was probably with MI6, or the CIA, or any of the world’s intelligence agencies, and he would have stopped Harrier, stopped anyone from recruiting him as an assassin! If the spy had won, Tobias would probably still be going on with his normal, boring life. Tobias felt a mixture of gratitude and bitterness towards Harrier, thanks to him; his life was being turned upside down. Thanks to him, this “Neil” was sitting before him and his mother, talking about an academy that didn’t exist. There was no doubt in Tobias’s mind that the two men who had followed him the day before were assassins, too.
‘There’s the question of transport.’ Neil said, breaking Tobias out of his thoughts, the man was watching Tobias closely. He didn’t realise that his lip was curled and his eyes were narrowed in hatred at the assassin. ‘Either a staff member can pick Tobias up, he can go on a bus with other students, or you can take him out there.’ Neil said
‘His father and I will take him there.’ Tobias’s mum said, ‘I want to see what the campus is like, since we won’t be seeing Tobias except for the holidays.’
‘Certainly,’ Neil nodded, smiling, ‘I’ll give you the address before I go.’
‘The campus,’ Tobias started, ‘How long will I be staying there?’
‘Until you finish,’ Neil said, ‘it’s generally between 6-12 months, depending on the student.’
So it’s 6-12 months of learning how to kill someone. Tobias thought bitterly.
‘Is there anything else you’d like to know?’ Neil asked.
‘I think you’ve told us everything we need to know,’ Tobias’s mum said, smiling warmly.
‘Well, I won’t keep you any longer, I can see you’re busy’ Neil said, standing up, Tobias stood as well,
‘I’ll walk him to the door, mum.’ He said. Neil fixed Tobias with an amused expression. Tobias’s mum said goodbye to Neil and rushed back to her housework, she had an appointment later that day, and she’d forgotten to ask for the address. Once at the door, Neil turned to Tobias.
‘I can see you still want questions answered,’ he said, he handed Tobias a folded piece of paper, telling him to destroy it after memorizing the words and date.
‘Yes,’ Tobias replied firmly, clenching his fist around the paper, the pain from earlier that morning had almost completely disappeared, ‘the smoke words that appeared from the first piece of paper, what did it say?’
Neil’s mouth widened into a grin,
‘you saw the words?’ he asked
‘Saw them, but didn’t have enough time to read them.’ Tobias replied, ‘what did they say?’
‘Nothing important,’ Neil replied, ‘but I’ll be sure to tell the head, he’ll be pleased.’
‘Why?’ Tobias asked, but Neil had opened the door and closed it behind him, effectively ending the conversation, Tobias opened the door angrily, but Neil was already getting into the passenger side of a black sedan. The door shut and he drove off. Tobias slammed the door in frustration, opening his clenched fist to un-crumple the paper and memorize the words. It was for the location of the academy and the date that he would be going, the 27th of August, only eight days from now, on a Sunday. It sounded like the academy was located in the middle of nowhere. Tobias repeated the location several times over until he could remember it, and proceeded to burn the paper, and just like the first one, it was immediately engulfed, quicker than any normal paper. But there was no smoke-writing this time. Tobias cleaned up the ashes and went up to his room. It was really going to happen, he was going to an academy where young people were trained to be killers.

The End

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