As the song ended, and everyone started to applaud, Maya noticed something shift in Aaron’s eyes. And suddenly he threw her on the floor and jumped over her. As she struggled, the windows blew out and she realized Aaron was protecting her. As all the glass showered down, Maya could hear everyone screaming and running. She felt herself being heaved up and lead out of the school building
To Maya’s surprise, Aaron’s car was in front of the school, not in the parking lot where they had parked. Then the doors opened and she heard two voices. One of them was very gruff; a man’s. The other wasn’t gruff and a little higher pitched; a girl’s. Aaron indicated for Maya to climb in the back seat while he climbed in the front passenger seat. The moment, the door was closed, Maya was thrown back as whoever the driver was; he or she had slammed on the gas, hard. Sitting beside her was one of the two girls from Aaron’s table. She was quite pretty; with wavy jet black hair. She was dressed in a pastel pink zip-up sweater, jeans and a pair of Puma tennis shoes. The other guy was at the wheel with Aaron riding shotgun.
“Are you OK? I’m Adrianna. Call me Anna,”
“Hi Anna, yeah, I’m fine. Umm… can you explain what just happened?”
“Actually, I’m not the best person to do so. We’re going to your mom’s house right now. I think they’re more… suited, to do the explaining,” and that’s when Maya noticed Aaron gazing through the rear-view mirror at Anna. His eyes were different now. They were still that luminous hazel glow but they seemed to be hiding something. That cold, angry front seemed more like a cover that an actual emotion.
Soon enough, they pulled over in front of Maya’s house. Jonathan was waiting by the door with a grave expression. Maya just kept her head down, unable to bring herself to face her dad. They followed Jonathan into the living room where Samantha was waiting. Maya and Aaron sat facing her parents. Anna and the other man stood guard by the doorway. Maya felt so alienated. As though she had missed something and couldn’t appreciate how they were feeling. She felt alone.
“Thanks for bringing her back so quickly, Aaron. You’re sure no one followed you, right?” spoke Jonathan suddenly; breaking the silence.
“Yes. I’m positive,” answered Aaron briskly.
“Good. Maya, could you come with us? We have something to show you. Aaron, Anna, Luther, please come too.” Maya was surprised to learn that her dad knew them.
“Dad,” she whispered.
“Not now, Maya,” he spoke quickly and softly but it still sounded like a command.
The group followed Jonathan to a bookshelf and Jonathan pulled at a book then slid it back into place. The books then fell apart and somehow seemed to blend into an archway, revealing a spiral staircase going downwards. The three guests followed Maya’s family down the staircase. As Luther stepped onto the staircase, the bookshelves closed back up.
The environment in the secret passageway was unprecedented. It wasn’t stone but rather a strange, smooth, white wall. It was also well lit with electric lights instead of the medieval torches. The staircase itself had an aluminum frame and the steps were made out of Plexiglas. Even though it was all white, it wasn’t glaring. At the bottom of the staircase sat quite an impressive facility.
“Welcome to our hideout,” spoke Jonathan is a soft voice but it seemed to reverberate gently so that everyone could hear it clearly.
“It’s not much but it’s quite the fortress. There are sleeping quarters, living quarters, an armory, a medical facility, teleconference room and even a lab. Our canteen is very well stocked. But it’s self-serve,”
“What are the protocols should the hideout be breached?” enquired Luther. He seemed more like a bodyguard than a family friend.
“There are five tunnels leading out of here. Three will take you to the surface at different points and two of them will take us to other hideouts. Let’s say this one were to be breached, it will be locked down. All tunnels leading out will be sealed on both ends. Only those with the access codes can get out,” Samantha explained this time. Luther merely nodded and fell quiet again. He’s eyes were much different from Aaron’s. They were a light grey and cold.
“Maya, Aaron, could you wait for us in the teleconference room?” spoke Samantha very gently.
“Thank you darling,”