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  • Zahra Kanorwala

A Price for the Brain - Part I

"The one-of-a-kind, brainy, mind master and smartest man whose name is renowned in the espionage world; is Steve Ripley. Everyone please give him a round of applause as he has returned from Russia after saving our country once again from terror and disaster. "

Steve Ripley was a young man in his late twenties with an exceptionally gifted IQ of 143. He had thwarted many vile plans of an evil organization called Spyvil. Although he was atrocious at self-defense and protection, he had a knack for solving the most complicated mysteries. He worked with his team of 5. Zane Zibell, his best friend from spy school along with Jawa and Chip, the twin brothers. His wife Erica Granger and his best friend from normal middle school Teresa Hale.

As we went on to the podium to receive his medal he saw Erica in the crowd waving to him. His face lit up seeing her but soon after realized that she was not supposed to be there. At that moment the emergency alarm rang and the highly trained spies were out of the building in a minute. A second later the building blew up in flames.

He ran behind Erica. Erica came from a long list of spies. Her great great great grandfather was the first-ever director in 1865 and she knew the secrets of the cities in and out. She was used to saving his life ever since the first day of spy school. Well, that was a story for another time but my instincts which were usually correct told me something was wrong.

Erica, opening her phone, asked,"Have you seen this? There is a price on your head. A price meaning the members of SpyVil had offered anyone who killed him ten thousand dollars. Anyone included assassins, contractors, hitmen, mafia, enforcers, etc"

"I know what a price is Erica"

Steve had to be protected and now they had to be on the run as no building was safe if the CIA headquarters had been bombed.

The only good part or so he hoped was that Erica had a plan. She never did anything without a plan.

They went to a bank and there Erica typed a code and the locker opened. They both fit into the space and the door shut. She removed a torch from her utility belt and turned it on. The dark confined space was a huge secret tunnel. As expected.

The tunnel was smelly, narrow, claustrophobic and filled with cobwebs. Steve hated them. They heard a train pass over them.

“Are we near the central station?”, asked Steve

“Yes”, replied Erica

Steve never understood why Erica, when stressed, only replied in curt nods even though he had known her for almost 15 years.

While walking he asked her if she had a plan and when she stopped and answered that scared the living daylights out of him.

And just then a bullet wheezed past them.

Steve Ripley, with his heart pounding, pulled Erica to the ground as the bullet whizzed past them. The narrow tunnel suddenly felt even more suffocating.

"We need to keep moving," Erica said, her voice steady despite the danger.

They pressed on, the echoes of their footsteps mingling with the distant sounds of the city above.

As they hurried through the dimly lit tunnel, Steve's mind raced. The revelation of a bounty on his head had escalated their situation from dire to life-threatening. He glanced at Erica, her eyes reflecting a mix of determination and worry.

"We can't outrun them forever," Steve said, voicing the fear that hung heavy in the air.

Erica, always quick-witted, replied, "We won't have to. I have a plan, but we need to reach a safe location first."

With each step, she explained her idea: a daring escape route involving disguises, forged documents, and a network of trustworthy contacts. Steve marveled at her composure, her ability to think several steps ahead even in the midst of chaos.

Their journey through the tunnel seemed endless, the darkness pressing in on them. Steve's mind raced with thoughts of SpyVil, the organization that had marked him for death. He couldn't help but wonder who had betrayed their secrets. Was there a mole within their own ranks, feeding information to their enemies? The uncertainty gnawed at him.

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