They passed the address and time in a slip of paper. Shoving it into each other’s hands like high school students during class. It was another one of his suggestions that almost everyone agreed to, but there was nothing about it worth boasting. He was quick to forget about it when he received an anonymous text.
It was shortly after lunch when his phone beeped with a message saying his sister had landed safe and sound. There was no need to wonder whom it was from, and he took it as a confirmation that Maddie was back. The moment Sunday ended, he raced home.
Entering his apartment, Matthias called, “Maddie?”
There was no reply, but his bedroom door swung open and Maddie walked out. Matthias heaved a silent sigh of relief.
“Where were you? I couldn’t get a hold of you?” Matthias asked.
“My battery ran out. They held me at immigration and wouldn’t even let me make a call,” Maddie answered with a grunt.
It seemed as though she was not in any danger, and he heaved another silent sigh.
“Well, you’re home now, that’s all that matters,” Matthias said.
“Isn’t it illegally to deny someone a phone call?” Maddie asked.
Having suddenly grown angry, she stormed toward him and added, “You have to do something about this. They wouldn’t even tell me what was wrong! They said they’ll handle it and left me in the interrogation room.”
“Calm down,” Matthias said.
“Calm down? I was there for three days, Matt. Three days where they fed me stale bread. It’s inhumane!”
“You’re fine now. Just forget about it,” Matthias replied.
“How can you say that?” Maddie snapped.
“For once, will you just listen to me?”
Maddie was immediately taken aback. Matthias did not want her to be tangled in the web, but he hated the way she was looking at him then. She looked confused, angry, and shocked at the same time. But most importantly, she was disappointed in him.
“Look, just forget about what happened, OK? There are things we shouldn’t mess with-”
“And this is one of them?” Maddie interrupted.
“Yes. Just be glad you’re home safe. Worse could have happened.”
“Worse? What do you mean by worse?”
“It’s late, you can use my bed if you want,” Matthias replied and ignored her as he headed straight to the bathroom.
If there was a right emotion to be feeling at that moment, is was fear. Despite Maddie returning safe, he could not shake that emotion off. As he stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, he thought about the possible outcomes of his decision. Even though Matthias hated betraying Jodie, he was glad he made that choice. Still, one question remained: was the game over? Was Matthias no longer needed? Full of dread, he knew the answer was no.
That night, Matthias had a hard time falling asleep. It did not make much of a difference though, as he was meeting the clubhouse contestants at four that morning. Richard had not returned to his apartment either, which was great, as it wouldn’t draw suspicion from whoever was watching. When the clock stroke three, Matthias grab his car keys and left Maddie snoozing in his bedroom.
The reason why Matthias was confident about his location was because it was abandoned. It was located in a little town outside the city with a population of old people. There was no way to fit in under the age of sixty, and it would be dead obvious if someone had followed them there. When he arrived at the town, he drove along the narrow quiet street until he found a parking spot in a dirty alley. From there, he began his walk.
It took him around ten minutes to reach the agreed spot. It was an old school building, no longer in use because there weren’t enough children enrolling. There was another reason why it was abandoned, but Matthias did not want to dwell on that thought at that hour. Once inside the school, he waited at the main hallway.
At four sharp, he heard someone enter through the main door. Matthias stood hidden until a flashlight shone in his direction. It was Richard and Guinevere. Stepping out from a classroom, he waved them to turn off the light. But before they understood his gestures, Jodie walked up from a nearby staircase and snatched the flashlight from Guinevere. Guinevere jumped in fright, before giving Jodie a glare. Shortly after that, Zach joined them.
The five of them moved to a classroom on the third floor, where they began their secret meeting. It was obvious they didn’t like Matthias’ choice of location, which made it an even better place to meet.
“Is this your old school?” Zach asked in a whisper.
“Do we have to whisper? There’s no one here,” Guinevere said.
“Are you sure?” Richard asked, as he drew the flashlight closer to his face. He had a palm over the light, which illuminated his face in a reddish glow.
“Don’t be silly,” Guinevere replied.
“Great place, Matthias. Anyway, let’s talk business,” Jodie said.
“Wait, we have to choose a hero first,” Richard stated.
“Well, let’s be honest. As much as we want to find the truth, not all of us can. Some of us don’t have connections, and some of us don’t have status. I, for one, don’t have both. So I can’t be the hero. Heck, I didn’t even know about this whole thing until yesterday,” Richard explained with a hint of bitterness in his voice.
“You had this all figured out, eh?” Guinevere asked.
“And in such a short time frame, yes,” Richard replied.
“He’s right,” Zach spoke up. “But I can’t be the hero either, I’m technically the victim.”
“We should all try to find out what’s going on, but someone would have to do more,” Jodie said, turning to look at Guinevere.
“Me? Why me?”
“Isn’t it obvious.”
“All in favour of Guinevere, raise your hand,” Richard announced with his hand already raised.
Zach raised his hand after, followed by Jodie. Guinevere folded her arms and turned to Matthias. It was his turn to make a decision – should he raise his hand or suggest someone else? Matthias had to choose.
The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.