Source: Gallagher AcademyThe machines were too loud, Zach thought. No matter how many times he heard them he always worried they’d wake Joe up. But then again, that would be a good thing. Wouldn’t it? So he decided to be mad the machines weren’t louder. It was an easy enough thing to do. Lately, Zach was mad at everything.
“Hey, Joe,” Zach said. He eased closer to the hospital bed and made himself look down at the man in it. The bruises were fading. The burns and cuts stayed hidden beneath heavy white gauze. He thought for a second that Joe might open his eyes, yell at Zach for being there instead of out looking for Cammie. It would have been a relief to hear it, Zach thought. He wished someone would give him an excuse to run away too.
“They won’t let me go,” Zach admitted and sank onto a stool beside the bed. Then he laughed. “Let.” He shook his head. “You don’t have to say it, Joe. I know they don’t let me do anything. But the truth is…I don’t even know where to start looking for her. There’s no chatter in Greece. She swiped some cash from Macey but no credit cards—nothing to trace. Wherever she is, she’s totally off the grid,” Zach said, and then something about it made him smile.
“Congratulations,” he told Mr. Solomon. “You trained her well.”
There was a loose thread on one of the blankets and, nervously, Zach pulled at it. He wondered how much he could unravel if given enough time.
“You’d know how to find her, wouldn’t you?” Zach knew that it was true. “Cam’s mom and Bex’s mom, they say we shouldn’t worry—that the CIA’s best are on it. But no.” Zach shook his head. “The best is here. The moms are wrong, Joe.”
Then Zach cringed. Mothers. The last thing he wanted to think about was mothers.
“She’s out there,” Zach finally admitted. He’d been carrying the words around for days, but there are some things you can only say to a sleeping man. “My mother is out there, and if she finds Cammie… I can’t let her find Cammie.”
Zach rubbed his sweaty hands against his thighs, then looked down at the still, quiet figure in the bed. He had to be smart.
He had to be Joe.
And, most of all, he had to do something.
“Zach.” He turned at the sound of his name to see Mrs. Baxter standing at the door. “It’s time to go.”
Yes, Zach thought. It is.