The Secret Thief

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Chapter 43


Margaret left me alone for the next few days. I guess it was good. She’d given me a lot to process. I wasn’t sure how I felt about her or Marco when it was all over. Nothing could take away the facts that they lied to me and pretended to be people they were not. There was no cleanser that would magically rinse all the wrong that they had done away. However my time under Crabtree’s control and my new knowledge of my parents definitely shifted the light on how I viewed my recent past. Margaret and Marco had made hard choices under difficult circumstances. I may have mixed feeling on the route they took, but their motives weren’t evil.

According to the agency (and my own experience) people were after me. Bad people, people who operated on the fringe of legal and sane and wouldn’t stop until they controlled me. Crabtree had been taken care of but Crabtree was only one. There were others. No one even knew how many groups were aware of my existence now, let alone where they were or how close they were to finding me. But they were hunting. That everyone agreed on.

For all the mistakes they made, I finally accepted that Margaret and Marco only wanted me to be safe and free. As free as I could be in their eyes that is, meaning a constant web of spies tracking my movements. But I have to be honest, being strapped to a table put the varying degrees of captivity into perspective for me. I wasn’t sure yet how I wanted to live, but I was certain how I did not.

And that, how I was to live the rest of my life, was a topic everybody was interested in. The day after we spoke Margaret had all my things from my old bedroom delivered. It was then, surrounded by everything I once considered normal, that it became clear I had to make some decisions.

On the up side, Simon had been sent back to the compound. Loosing me twice did not bode well with his superiors. The only thing he did that ended up helping was unintentional. When he kicked Margaret and Marco off my case they teamed up and followed the only trail available – the pictures Crabtree sent me. Finding the PO box was easy. Luck hit when the surveillance videos captured a face shot of Bob loading the box. Apparently Bob had a record. It didn’t take long to hunt him down and convince him to reveal the location of Crabtree’s cabin. The rest is history.

Funny to think about it but Crabtree was right. From his position, it would have been better if Bob was dead.

The next time Margaret came to me, we didn’t talk spy. She brought a wheelchair and a picnic lunch and rolled me out under the sun for the afternoon. There she told me about herself, her childhood, what my dad was like before his accident and, most important, the story about the first day we met.

If I wanted Margaret out of my life, she promised she would do as I wished. Until then though, she planned on giving our relationship the hard sell.

“He wants to see you, you know.” She told me one day as we watched a movie together on the little TV in the safe house living room. “Will you let him?”

I hadn’t spoken to Marco since he rescued me. I wasn’t sure I was ready. What he did to me hurt deeply. It cut further than the forgiveness I’d found for the agency went. Time would probably change that. One day I would be over it. I just wasn’t sure what decade ‘one day’ lived in.

Margaret, though, made one point that had the potential to convince me to see Marco before that time came.

“Consider this.” She told me. “Marco’s a lot like you. He lost his family when he was very young and, because he showed potential, was recruited when he was only seven. The agency raised him. He knows what life inside it is like better than anyone I know. You know they want you to join. You have a while before you need to decide but the truth is the best person to talk to, probably the only person who has any idea what it’s like to be in your position, is him.”

I haven’t made up my mind. About any of it and it’s not looking like I will any time soon. I’m taking all the time I can to sort it out. The only decisions I’m making these days are in the moment and all about Violet.

I’m just trying to survive and that’s how it’s done. Don’t think about tomorrow or next week or next Christmas because none of those moments will matter until I get through this one.

The End

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