Chapter 9

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

“Sarah, I know you’re here somewhere,” Mario’s slippery voice slid through the cracks in the floorboards.

I was in control, but what use was my control when I was stuck in a basement with two killers seeking me out?

Why did Mario want ‘Osmosis’? Who was Mario now that it had come to it?

The only way out was up. With trembling hands I slipped the console back under the tarpaulin. I pressed the tiny little USB firmly into Marty’s hands and mouthed swallow. He could thank me later. With a final look at Marty – one I hoped said stay here – I looked towards my fate. As I stood, my face up to the floorboards, I let the weak light trickle through the cracks, striping my cheeks, nose, forehead. The musty smell of the basement momentarily enveloped me as I stood still and breathed.

A sudden creak right about me jerked me out of my trance and I winced, feeling every muscle in my body pulling me back to the tarpaulin, to protect that which I had created, to crouch over it like a lioness protecting her young cubs.

I wouldn’t let go. Not of something I had spent so long creating, something that would make me distinguished – I would be a breakthrough scientist, not just a high-class hacker. I would change the placing of humanity in this world – it would be a better world.

Why had someone cared so much so as to protect Mario’s files? If I confronted him now I wouldn’t stand a chance against him and his burly companion. I was no agent; I wasn’t trained for this. I was a hacker for God’s sake.

But I had been pulled into it. And I would push Marty and myself out of it. Shivering in the damp air, I climbed up the ladder and out into the tiny living room, floorboards clinking into place behind me, leaving Marty in the misty darkness, unseen, and safe while I stalled for time.

“Sarah.” Mario and his sidekick stood at either end of the room, Mario by the only window that let in the sickly light, the other man by the crooked door, a fatal-looking rifle in arm.

Inside my body a tremor so strong was rising that I was afraid to move one more step in case I broke into a million quivering pieces.

“Who are you?” My voice cracked as I squeezed out the words. I was petrified.

A cruel smile curved its way around his mouth, pulling his lips tight. I almost shuddered.

“Well. I’m not your grandfather’s partner’s grandson. I am Mario. And I want that program. That’s all you need to know.”

Anger and fear seethed in me as I fought to regain my prided control.

“We both want the same things, Sarah, for our countries to succeed. We’re not too different: you and I. Only you create, and I steal.”

At that moment, I felt the air rush out of me as realisation hit.





....I let the weak light trickle through the cracks, striping my cheeks,... This is an excellent example of show don't tell. They must wonder where she has come from and if there is anyone else hidden away. So Sarah got the golden job which turned out to be a fake prize. A well written chapter Anna.