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Bella Sharp, Contributor

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Amelia opened her eyes, then smiled as she stretched her arms over her head. The day had finally come, the first day of school! It was her favorite day of the year, even before her birthday. She hopped out of bed and looked at her first-day-of-school outfit that was lying on her bed, then put it on. She headed into the bathroom to brush her teeth, put on her makeup, and brush her hair. Then she headed downstairs and sat down at the kitchen table to eat breakfast with her family. 10 minutes later, Amelia was standing at the bus stop, waiting for the bus that would take her to her first day as a freshman in high school. She was a bit early, so it was just her at the bus stop. Until a few minutes later, when a man wearing a trench-coat and a fedora walked up, and stood next to her. Deciding to be friendly, Amelia turned toward him and said, “Good morning!” The man turned, a grim look on his face, and instead of greeting her, he pulled out a thick piece of cloth and a large sack. Before Amelia could react, the man stuffed the cloth in her mouth, then pulled the sack over her and picked her up with it. She tried to kick and scream for someone to rescue her, but she was quickly overcome with a feeling of grogginess, and soon after that she fell unconscious, the cloth still in her mouth and her body still in the sack. Hours later, Amelia woke up, gasping for breath. She looked around, finding that she was lying on the floor in what appeared to be some sort of cell. All of a sudden, she heard footsteps outside of the cell, slowly coming closer and closer. She inched toward the back of the cell, slowing her breath and preparing herself for whoever, or whatever, was about to walk in front of her cell. The man who had originally kidnapped her at the bus stop earlier that morning entered into her line of vision, and stood in front of her cell. As soon as Amelia saw him, she jumped to her feet and put her arms up in front of her, trying to defend herself against any moves he would try to make against her. “Don’t worry, I’m not here to hurt you or anything like that. I’m actually here to talk with you. First, let me tell you where you are. This is the SATC, or the Secret Agent Training Center. What we do here is highly classified, but-,” the man was cut off by a piercing siren. The red lights that lined the hallway started to flash, and the loud siren noise continued mercilessly. Amelia knew it was her chance to escape. Temporarily stunned, the man was covering his ears, his eyes shut tight. Earlier, as the man was talking, Amelia had noticed a vent in the ceiling with a loose screw. She began to jump up and down, continuously hitting the screw with her fist until it fell out. After a few seconds, the screw fell out, and the vent cover hit the ground with a loud crashing noise. The man looked up just as Amelia grabbed the sides of the vent, and he lunged toward the cage door to unlock it and stop Amelia from escaping. He fumbled with the key until finally he unlocked it, and as the door swung open, Amelia pulled her upper half through the vent. The man ran into the cage and went for Amelia, but she pulled her legs into the vent and tumbled away from the opening, able to feel the man’s hand graze the toe of her boot as she did. Amelia blew a sigh of relief, since she knew the vent was too small for the man to get through. She started crawling along in the vent, assessing the situation as she went. After what she guessed to be about an hour of crawling through the vent, Amelia, quite literally, saw the light at the end of the tunnel. There was an opening in the vent where another cover had been removed. Amelia leaned over the opening, looking and listening to see if anyone was around. When she decided the coast was clear, she hopped to the ground and assessed her surroundings. She was in a hallway similar to the one her cage was in. She crept through the hallway, careful not to make too much noise and keep a lookout for anyone that she might cross paths with. As she approached the end of the short hallway, she heard voices coming from around the corner. She got closer and listened in on the conversation. “Did you see her anywhere? James says she escaped through the vent, but I just checked in the vent and there wasn’t anything in there,” one of the voices said. The other one replied, “Alright, well, let’s look down a couple more halls and then we can check the vents again. You take Hall 18D and I’ll take 19E, then we’ll meet at the other end.” Amelia looked up at a placard that was nailed to the wall near where she was standing. It was labelled: 19E. All of a sudden, she heard the loud footsteps of one of the voices turn the corner into her hall. He would turn the corner any second and see Amelia. Without knowing what else to do, she hopped up and grabbed two of the parallel bars that were attached to the ceiling, then hoisted the rest of herself up. As the man passed by, moving slowly, she held her breath and tried not to make a sound. The guard was almost to the end of the hallway, but Amelia’s arms were getting tired and wouldn’t be able to hold her up for much longer. She exhaled slightly, but the guard heard it and turned around, scanning the hallway with his eyes. When he finally decided that it was clear, he turned the corner and was out of Amelia’s eyesight. As quietly as she could, Amelia hopped down to the ground and let out a huge sigh of relief. She knew that she would have to move fast if she wanted to escape with her life. Over the next ten minutes, Amelia crept through hallways and open-ended rooms until she finally came to a map. She looked for the closest point of exit, and found that it was about twenty-five feet away, at the end of a hallway to her left. Amelia looked around one last time, then began to sprint toward the door. Luckily, she didn’t notice any guards lining the hallway as she ran. There was a big button on the side of the double doors that led to the outside, and Amelia pushed it. She stood in front of the doors as they opened, ready to sprint outside as soon as the doors opened all the way. Yet, instead of seeing the outside, Amelia saw another set of doors. She went to open them, but before she could, someone on the other side of the doors pulled them open. Those doors lead to the outside, so Amelia covered her eyes as she was bathed in sunlight. When her eyes finally adjusted, she looked up to see who had opened the doors. It was the man that had first captured her, and as soon as she realized this, he began to clap, very slowly. “Well, looks like you’ve made it to the end of the test, Amelia. And congratulations, you passed. In fact, you passed with flying colors,” the man said, smiling. Amelia was confused, so all she managed to say was, “How do you know my name?” The man cleared his throat, and said, “Well, let me explain all of this to you before we get into that. First of all, your life is not in any danger, and you are completely safe here. In fact, we’re the good guys. Well, technically, we train the good guys. As I told you earlier, we are the SATC, the Secret Agent Training Center. We groom our students to become some of the finest secret agents in the world, and you have to trust me when I tell you that, because we’ve done it lots of times before. Anyway, what you just went through was a test to see how well you would do as a student here. Let me tell you, you would do very, very well. Better than most of our current students, in fact. Also, we know your name because it’s our job. If we see someone who has the potential to become a student here, it is our job to learn everything about them and put them through the test, which is what I’ve just done. So now that I’ve explained all of that, I have an offer for you. If becoming a secret agent sounds interesting to you, then this is the place you need to be. You would come train here, most likely for the next few years of your life, then you would become a certified secret agent. This is an amazing, beneficial, world-saving, and well-paying job. But there are some consequences, such as that you can only see your family twice a month, and you cannot get a mainstream education, because we would teach you everything you need to know. If you choose to decline, we will have a car take you to wherever you were when I first picked you up, and you will have no memory of this ever happening. I know it’s a lot to consider, but right now, I just need to know one thing from you: are you in, or are you out?” Amelia took a deep breath, trying to process everything she had just learned. Over the next few minutes, she considered her options. Finally, she answered the man’s question, and said, “I’m in.” The man smiled, and immediately started speaking into his watch. Amelia looked out over the grass by where they were standing, knowing she wouldn’t be seeing too much of it for a while. Yet, she was ready for her new life, and she was ready to fully embrace it. Eight years later, Amelia stands in the exact same spot, thinking about that day where it had all begun. She was just 15 years old back then, and getting ready for her first day as a freshman. Now, she is the number one-ranked secret agent in the world, and not regretting the decision she made that day one bit.

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