Taffy tapped her earpiece.
“I’m in position,” she muttered, crouching on the bridge in the dark.
“Okay, as soon as you get the chance, shoot,” Clyde’s voice returned through the earpiece.
Taffy glanced at the boy Aaron next to her. His greenish-grey eyes were dark in the lack of light, his brown hair flopping into his eyes. Baby fat hid the jawline waiting to emerge, but he was still undoubtedly handsome for a fourteen-year-old. The boy flashed Taffy a bright smile, and Taffy grinned back before dropping her eyes to the maze of black obstacles below her.
Finally, a girl with platinum hair rounded a corner, and Taffy could just about make out her wild, crazed expression in the dim light. Without hesitation, she aimed for the girl’s breastplate and pulled the trigger at the exact same time as Aaron, and the girl was shot twice in the same place. She yelled loudly, her face contorting in anger as her breastplate lit up, and Aaron slapped Taffy’s hand in celebration. Lights flooded on, lighting up the vast room, and suddenly everything seemed a lot smaller than it did in the dark. Hannah, who also happened to be Aaron’s older sister, was their trainer and had decided to try something fun instead of the usual training, which meant Aaron, Taffy, Clyde and a few others got to use the laser tag facility.
“We did it! We won!” Clyde yelled, running up to Taffy and Aaron from behind, waving his laser gun in the air, his face streaked with glow in the dark paint.
Taffy laughed as Clyde tackled her and Aaron in a hug, jumping on the balls of his feet.
“And there were only three of us too,” Aaron pointed out, grinning from ear to ear.
“All right you guys, calm down,” Hannah said, but her grin matched Aaron’s.
“Ugh!” the blonde girl Sarah yelled, nostrils flaring. “I will get back at you for this Tiffany!”
Taffy laughed, her cheeks inflating.
“What are you gonna do? Spray me with boy’s perfume?” she laughed challengingly.
Liam and Ella, a couple of the others on Sarah’s team stalked over, crossing their arms over their chests. Sarah regained her composure, tilting her head up and straightening her shoulders whilst looking down her nose at Taffy. Aaron and Clyde tensed slightly next to Taffy. They knew Taffy could protect herself if a fight broke out; in fact, Taffy was one of the best out of all of them, but the two boys were always ready to join in with the fight.
“No. But you better be careful. You wouldn’t want-” Sarah started off, but the instructor cut across her.
“That’s enough competition for one day,” Hannah said quickly, ushering the teens to the exit.
The ride back to the Academy was short. Most of those who stayed there were either legacies or homeless children handpicked by the British Intelligence Agency (BIA) to train to become an Agent. Children stayed there until they were 18, receiving the same basic education as the other children across Britain with added professional training. The Academy’s situated on the edge of Cambridge, not too far from the main London base, but the trainees aren’t allowed to leave without permission.
Taffy, Sarah and Ella made their way to the girl’s end of the building, the boys going in the opposite direction. Thankfully Taffy didn’t share a dorm with the other two girls, but she didn’t mix with her roommates much unless it was necessary. This was mostly due to the fact that her parents who were Agents at the BIA were traitors. Taffy was only two at the time, so she had no memories of the incident or her parents when they died in a ‘freak’ accident, leaving her as an orphan. No one said it out loud, but everyone knew her parents weren’t killed in a freak accident. It was intended, but it was never made official because the penalty of execution wasn’t legal until around five years later. Since then, Taffy was marked as the traitor’s daughter, even though she had nothing to do with anything that happened. She wasn’t even sure what happened; whenever she asked she was quickly cut off.
It didn’t matter though. Taffy tried not to think about it too much. After all, it had already happened, there wasn’t much she could change. It didn’t matter because one day she’d prove to everyone she was way better than they thought she was. As for the fact that no one really talked to her, that didn’t matter. She had Aaron and Clyde who’d been friends with her for as long as she could remember. Hannah and Aaron’s father, Carter Hayes, was one of the higher-ups in the BIA and he was like a father figure to Taffy. The Hayes family knew practically everything about her.
Clyde only had one member of his family left, his sister. Her name was Zoe, and she was four years older than the threesome. Clyde used to joke about how the BIA only took the two of them in because they were children of colour, and they wanted to be diverse. The three of them were known as the troublesome trio inside the Academy. They had too much wit and cheek, you always had to watch your back around them.
Taffy opened the door to her dorm, and the two other girls looked up when she walked in, turning quiet instantly. She ignored the two of them and made her way to the bathroom to get ready for lights out, ignoring the whispering behind her. Half an hour later, Taffy was hiding under her duvet, waiting for the other two girls to fall asleep after lights out. She kept herself entertained on her phone under her blanket until it hit ten, and the adrenaline kicked in.
Taffy kicked off the blanket over her head, breathing in properly, her face hot. She peered over to the two other beds on the other side of the room, the body of the two girls completely still. Taffy changed into her jeans and shoved a hoody on, shoving her phone into her pocket. Creeping out of the door silently, the girl scanned the corridor to check if anyone was around. The coast was clear, and she sprinted down the corridor to the window at the end. She slid it open and climbed onto the ledge, closing the window just as the flash of a torch rounded the corner of the corridor.
Heart racing, Taffy shuffled along the ledge of the window before placing her hands on the wide ledge and lowering herself down, the muscles in her arms straining slightly. Taffy’s legs were hanging just above the large recycling bins, and she prayed quietly that she wouldn’t make any noise when she let go of the ledge. A couple of seconds later, Taffy let go of the ledge, her feet thudding against the plastic lid of the bin, the noise echoing in her ears as she scrambled off the bin and sprinted out of view of the window. She waited, holding her breath as her heart pounded in her ears to see if whoever was on duty heard her. She stood there for around half a minute before allowing herself to breathe. They hadn’t heard her.
Taffy sprinted across the grounds, bending down and using the bushes as protection, sticking to the shadows. She pulled her hood overhead whilst she ran to the boy’s end of the complex. When she arrived, she counted the windows from the main entrance. When she came to the right one, she crouched behind the bushes before taking her phone out. She texted Aaron quickly, and within seconds the curtain of one of the windows on the second floor twitched to reveal Aaron’s face scanning the footpath.