They sent a message to the agent network saying ‘Secret Agent Orchid down’. There were no more details given about your death in the message.
Rumours were leaked in the days that followed. You died in a prison hole, after being captured and tortured. Your mission to infiltrate the enemy failed.
I refuse to believe you are dead.
You are Secret Agent Orchid. You were given that call sign for good reason.
“Agent Orchid” I whisper through the metal bars, which cover the prison hole in the ground. “I came to find out what happened to you.”
My heart thuds noisily in my chest. There are no sounds of life from your prison hole or any of the others nearby.
In the distance, shrouded in a lifeless mist, looms the sinister black shape of the enemy’s prison watchtower. Its commanding beam of light sweeps the dark land punctuated with metal prison holes. The night air is rancid and makes me want to gag.
The only light I have is from the watery moon above me. In its weakened state it struggles to illuminate the metal bars, let alone anything below.
I fight the urge to dip my torch’s powerful beam into the hole. The risk of the prison watchtower catching sight of me is too great.
Its taken me four days to reach the place where they claimed you died.
Even though I have never met you in person Agent Orchid I feel that you are around me.
I want to believe that you didn’t die inside this gruesome hole in the ground.
“You should not have come, this is dangerous” whispers the woman who found me wandering aimlessly in the wilderness. My navigation system had failed. Those in control of me had realised that I was going off grid.
The woman led me to the prison holes, claiming she knew a way of deceiving the watchtower and the guards.
“I can’t leave without knowing the truth about what happened to Agent Orchid” I say, my voice thick with emotion.
A sharp wind whistles across the metal bars and an eerie humming sound fills our ears. It makes the woman wrap her scarf tighter around her face and pull her shawl across her broad shoulders.
“Why did you risk your life to come here?” she asks. A slice of moonlight reveals part of a leathery and weather-beaten face.
“Agent Orchid is alive” I mumble.
“No one survives the prison holes” whispers the woman, leaning in close so that I can smell her musky breath.
“I know Agent Orchid is alive because I can feel their presence” I say acknowledging a warm feeling spreading through my body.
The woman places a warm hand over my own. “You must leave” she says. “This is very dangerous for the both of us.”
“I can’t leave” I say feeling the heat of emotion on my cheeks.
I am rooted to the spot. My brain has lost contact with my limbs. I have to know what happened to Agent Orchid.
“Quick head down!” exclaims the woman as the watchtower light comes rushing towards us. She protectively puts her strong arm over me as the beam misses us by a matter of inches. My heart is beating so loudly I wonder whether she can hear it. I don’t want to be caught.
We sit up together and I watch as she adjusts the scarf around her face.
“You must care a lot for Agent Orchid to risk your life coming here” she says quietly.
I wipe away a solitary tear and remain silent whilst looking into the gaping black hole below.
All secret agents are supposed to work alone. We are not allowed to know the true identities of other agents, we only know their call sign. Communication between secret agents is monitored. We are not allowed to meet each other in person and emotional attachments between agents are against the rules. Nothing can jeopardize our death defying missions.
Agent Orchid broke the rules to talk to me. They found a way of tricking those monitoring agent communication. We started talking to each other through coded messages, sent via our satellite phones, which couldn’t be traced. We never shared personal details, real names or identities. Just words of friendship in the beginning, but over time these words turned into something much deeper.
It was Agent Orchid’s messages that kept me going on the darkest and grimmest of missions. It was Agent Orchid’s words that encouraged me to get back up and fight when it felt like all was lost.
“Agent Orchid was everything to me” I whisper.
“You must leave now” whispers the woman, gently squeezing my arm.
“Agent Orchid would be honoured to know that you made the perilous journey for them. Now go and be safe!”
An icy blast of wind urges me to leave. I must go. I rise from the prison hole, my face wet with tears. It was true. Agent Orchid died here. My journey was futile.
The woman is still sat by the hole.
“Will you be ok?” I say before taking a gulp of air and one last look at the hole.
The woman nods. “Goodbye Agent Iris” she says.
As I reach the scrubland, hemming the land, containing the prison holes, I stop. Her words ‘Agent Iris’ echo through my mind.
How did the woman know my Agent call sign? Only agents know call signs.
I turn back and break into a sprint. The beam from the watchtower no longer matters. My mind quickly pieces everything together; she knew my call sign, she found me in the wilderness and she knew how to fool the guards.
I reach the prison hole where Agent Orchid died. The woman is gone.
I punch the air with frustration. As I stare at the hole I catch sight of a piece of white paper tied to one of the bars. In the silver light of the moon I unwrap it. It reads:
“I broke every rule to keep you safe and be near you once more. Agent Orchid.”
These blog battles or short story contests are run by the amazing Rachael Ritchey.
If you think you are tough enough please join us.
This week’s word is orchid.
Genre: science fiction
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/33401860@N00/2530841628″>orchid texture lightercolor</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>