You Don't Know My Name(2)

By: Kristen Orlando

The satellite phone rings, cutting the tense silence inside the cramped bunker. Dad picks it up.

“Hello?” he says. I hear a man’s voice on the other end. “Yes, he’s in. I heard glass break before we got inside the garage. It looks like he’s alone.” My father pauses. I take half a step closer to him, straining to hear the man on the other end. I can only make out a few words. Gun. Team. Kidnap. Threat. Execute. I step back, close my eyes, and lean against the icy wall. My fingers feel for the double-heart charm that hangs off my bracelet. I take the cool metal into my hand and press it between my thumb and index fingers, trying to find my breath. For years, my parents have been training me to deal with situations just like this. I know what I’m supposed to do. The trained fighter in me wants to run out of the panic room and blow this guy’s head off. But a fraction of me—the terrified, anxious girl I push away—she’s hoping this is all just a bad dream.

“Okay. All right,” my father says into the phone, his voice sharp.

“Who’s on the phone?” I whisper to Mom.

“Someone at CORE,” she whispers back, never taking her eyes off the security cameras as the hitman makes his way through the second floor, searching for us in bedroom after bedroom.

“They said stand by,” Dad says, hanging up the satellite phone. “Backup is on the way. They’re monitoring the situation from headquarters.”

“How are they going to help all the way in DC?” I ask, anxiety gripping my vocal cords and altering the sound of my voice.

“It’s going to be okay, Reagan,” Mom says, turning around and looking at me for the first time since Dad locked the panic room door. She puts a hand on my shoulder. Her green eyes are fierce and focused, but her warm touch softens me somehow. It’s like she can feel the traces of fear I’m struggling to contain radiate from my body. I reach up and grab her hand. She takes my fingers in her cold palm, squeezes them, and for a moment, I forget about the panic room and the loaded guns and the hitman that’s roaming our house. For just one second, I feel safe.

“They’re here,” Dad says. I look up at the exterior security cameras. A black SUV pulls down our street, turning off its headlights as it creeps closer to our house.

“Who’s here?” I ask, my voice dropping to a near whisper.

“Our Black Angel watchers,” Mom answers and turns her attention back to the security cameras. A man and woman climb out of the car, dressed all in black. As the woman moves closer to the garage, I recognize her walk. Aunt Samantha. The Black Angel watcher who’s protected me my entire life. When Mom and Dad would disappear on missions, Aunt Samantha was there to take care of me. When I was younger, I thought she was just my nanny. But now I know she’s an intel specialist for CORE, was awarded the Medal of Valor by the president during her years in the army, and can shoot like no one I’ve ever seen.

“I’m going after him,” Mom says, pulling off her red sweater, revealing a black tank top underneath. Her arms are chiseled and her stomach is perfectly flat, the result of five hundred push-ups a day for the last twenty years.

“No, I’ll go,” my father replies.

“No. You stay here with Reagan.”

“I want to go too,” I say, adrenaline pumping through my veins.

“Absolutely not, Reagan,” Mom replies. “Both of you stay here.”

“Elizabeth, honestly, it could be—”

“Jonathan, this is not up for debate,” Mom snaps and spins around, looking back up at the ten different security cameras. “Where did he go?” she asks just as the stranger’s boots pound on the floor above our heads, sending our eyes to the ceiling. We stare up until the sound of his feet fade away. We turn back to the security cameras in time to see the hitman open the garage door, bound down the steps, and stand in front of our large tool chest. But it’s not really a tool chest. It’s the secret door to our basement. I feel Dad’s body tense as the hitman pulls on the large steel handles, but the door is locked tight, only accessible by a six-digit code that changes every month.