Hidden in the Shadows: Book Two

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Chapter One

I stood outside Chief Hawthorne’s office, feeling pure apprehension and nervousness course through my veins. My palms were slick with sweat and I wiped them on my shirt, trying to swallow the huge lump that had formed in my throat, but my mouth was dry. I held back tears, tears that would alert her of my weakness. I panted from all the running I had just done. I had run, full-speed, about two miles from Grimwauld prison to here, and I was exhausted, not just from that, but also from jetlag and the battle I had done a few days ago.

It took all my willpower not to fidget nervously because that would be unbecoming to my boss, the woman who held my fate in her hands.

I will not be afraid. 

These five words were what I had been repeating to myself all week. I had found myself saying those words in my head during every terrifying, near-death encounter.

When I found myself fighting goblins. 

I will not be afraid. 

When I saw two illusions of my enemy’s parents and almost died if it weren’t for my mentor cat and spirit guide, Moonlight. 

I will not be afraid. 

When I went to the masquerade ball and saw her. 

I will not be afraid. 

When I followed her and got into a fight and nearly died again.

I will not be afraid. 

And right now, as I stood, staring at the door, the only barrier between me and Chief Hawthorne, leader of the United States Magical Creatures Council and my boss, one of the only people who had true power over me, I repeated those words in my head, over and over until it is printed in my brain. 

I will not be afraid. 

You may be wondering why I’m nervously standing outside of Chief Hawthorne’s office, terrified for my life. Well, a lot has happened these past few weeks. I entered tenth grade. I found out that I was a supernatural creature, who may or may not hold the fate of the world on her shoulders. I found out that my best friend is a witch, and the two new girls at my school are both vampires. I joined the MCC, the Magical Creatures Council, and quickly worked my way up to this case because of my powerful bloodline and unstoppable moxie. I went to Romania with my friends, almost died twice, and finally, last Sunday, at long last, put Princess Gwendolyn Redgrave, the future queen of the vampires, daughter of Poppy and Viktor, the worst vampire monarchs the world has ever known, in Grimwauld Prison, the most notorious prison for supernaturals in the world. I thought I was home free. I thought I’d done it. Gwendolyn was where she belonged. She was too weak to try anything, and I had done what I had set out to do. Then I would move to the next case, and not have to worry about her anymore.

But I was wrong. So horribly wrong. Because a few minutes ago, I’d visited her in her cell. I’d given her some blood and taunted her, which almost seemed fitting after what she had done to me and so many others. She’d screamed at me and called me bad names, but I still stayed, making fun of her, enjoying the fact that we had a barrier between each other and I no longer needed to worry about catching her. 

But no. I’d turned to leave, and I saw a flash of light in the corner of my eye. I still have no idea what that was, even now.

I heard a guard fall to the ground, dead. I don’t know how or why, either, not even now. 

And when I turned around, I almost shrieked in horror. The cell door was open, whistling and creaking. 

Gwendolyn was gone. The cell was completely empty except for her little mattress and blanket in the middle of the room. 

I’d kind of had a breakdown after that. I thought I wasn’t in the prophecy after all. I might’ve cursed a little. I screamed and cried and cursed my stupid life. I had wanted to die. 

And I realized I had failed. 

I ran after her. But she was nowhere to be found. She had vanished into thin air. 

So I ran here. One of the only places I felt safe. 

I found my teammates at my desk. They asked me what was wrong. I got paged to Hawthorne’s office. I said that that was the problem. I told them that Gwendolyn escaped, and then I went to her office, nearly running and barely stopping myself from having a breakdown just outside her door. All of the hard work I had done. Gone. Just like that. 

I took another breath, repeating those five words in my mind, over and over. 

I will not be afraid. I will not be afraid. 

My heartbeat finally slowed. I took another breath, filling my lungs with air, still repeating those very words that had stopped me from breaking in the past. 

I will not be afraid. 

The door swung open, revealing Hawthorne’s very tidy and orderly office. “Enter, Agent,’’ She barked, her fingers tapping against the keys on her computer.

I repeated those five words in my head again and did what she asked. Then I closed the door behind me, taking another deep breath. 

She looked up at me as I shuffled inside and stopped right before her desk, meeting her green gaze, even though I didn’t want to. 

Hawthorne waved her wand and a chair appeared out of nowhere. I stared at it, not sitting down. I turned back to her, searching her eyes for something, anything. 

“You wanted to see me?” I asked hoarsely. I’d meant to sound clear and firm, but I failed miserably.  

“Thank you for coming so quickly,” Hawthorne said, smiling at me, but her expression didn’t quite reach her eyes, showing her disappointment. 

I swallowed the new lump in my throat.

“Please have a seat. We have much to discuss.” She almost sighed, closing her computer. 

I sat slowly on the chair as if it was booby-trapped, but it was just an ordinary chair. I sank into the soft leather cushions and looked her up and down.

Hawthorne’s auburn hair was tied back in her usual tight bun. She was again in her work uniform, having changed out of her masquerade disguise. Her cat-shaped green eyes stared back at me from behind cheaters dotted with rhinestones. Her long, slender fingers took a file from the top of a neat pile, and I saw that it had Gwendolyn’s picture on the cover. She licked her fingers to turn the page and silently read through it, nodding and muttering to herself. 

Olivia Gordon Reid

#73 in Mystery
#37 in Supernaturals
#124 in Fantasy
#20 in Action fantasy

Story about: magic, coming of age, battles

Edited: 22.05.2020

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