After several minutes of waiting in a finely decorated lobby, an efficient receptionist ushered Marie into a conference room with a long oak table and several upholstered chairs. As soon as she entered, Colin greeted her, taking her hands in his.
“Are you all right?” he asked, genuine concern in his voice and in his eyes.
Marie nodded. “Thank you, yes.”
He held her elbow and gestured toward the other end of the table. Three somber men, all of them strangers to Marie, stared as Colin seated her near them.
“Gentlemen, may I present Miss Marie Wyatt.” He sat next to her. “Our American courier, code name Sparrow.”
He didn’t introduce the men. The two directly across from Marie and Colin were both middle-aged and dressed in similar blue pinstripe suits. The veins in the larger one’s nose and cheeks gave him a florid appearance, a sure sign he drank too much. The other had hawk-like eyes, piercing and narrow, and a receding hairline that increased his resemblance to a bird-of-prey.
The man sitting at the head of the table wore a tailor-made charcoal-gray suit and expensive tie. His bearing was that of a man accustomed to commanding others. “I presume you know why we summoned you.” He tapped a black and gold fountain pen against the edge of the leather portfolio in front of him.
Marie glanced at the portfolio and saw the XX, the double cross sign for the Twenty, embossed on the front. The man noticed her interest and opened the cover, revealing a pad of lined paper.
“Marie,” Colin whispered.
“Twist.” Her voice sounded hollow in the large room, as if the very air swallowed the agent’s name before it could settle upon them. She clasped her hands in her lap, thankful the men couldn’t see beneath the table.
“Do you know what happened to Twist?”
“Did you meet him last night?”
Marie spread her fingers, purposely relaxing her clammy hands.
Colin touched her arm. “Take your time. You went to Hatfield,” he prompted.
“Yes. I . . . I went to Hatfield.” With each word, her voice gained strength. She straightened her shoulders and focused on the man with the portfolio.
As calmly as possible, she recited her rehearsed speech. The men maintained their stony composures as they listened intently to her account.
“I was about to cross the street when I fell. A man helped me up,” she hesitated. “Actually, I fell because he pushed me.”
Beside her, Colin stiffened but didn’t say anything.
“Who was this man?” asked the bird-of-prey.
“Did he tell you his name?” The man with the portfolio interjected.
“No.” Marie looked at each of the men in turn. “But he told me that the SD were after Twist. And after me.”
Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. Click here for a full list of rules and suggestions.