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Robert Muchamore Top Secret The New Generation The Cartel

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1 Robert Muchamore Top Secret The New Generation The Cartel

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3 Robert Muchamore Top Secret The New Generation The Cartel Translated from the English by Tanja Ohlsen

4 The publisher expressly points out that external links contained in the text could only be viewed by the publisher up to the time the book was published. The publisher has no influence on subsequent changes. The publisher's liability is therefore excluded. This book is also available as an e-book. Verlagsgruppe Random House FSC N Edition 2014 by Robert Muchamore The English original edition was published under the title »Cherub. Lone Wolf «at Hodder Children's Books, London for the German-language edition by cbt Verlag in the Random House GmbH publishing group, Neumarkter Str. 28, Munich. All German-language rights reserved. Translated from English by Tanja Ohlsen Editing: Ulrike Hauswaldt Cover conception: muellerfrey Werbeagentur GmbH, München he Production: kw Typesetting: Uhl + Massopust, Aalen Printing: CPI books GmbH, Leck ISBN: Printed in Germany

5 What is CHERUB? CHERUB is part of the British Secret Service. The agents are between ten and seventeen years old. Most of the CHERUB agents are orphans from children's homes who have been trained to work undercover. They live on the campus of CHERUB, a secret facility somewhere in the country in England. Why children? Children can be very helpful. Nobody expects kids to go undercover, so they get away with a lot that adults can't. The most important characteristics of a CHERUB agent are above-average intelligence and physical resilience as well as the ability to work under stress and think independently. The 300 children who live on the CHERUB campus are recruited between the ages of six and twelve. From the age of ten they can work undercover, provided they survive the one hundred days of basic training. 5

6 The CHERUB T-Shirts The rank of a CHERUB agent can be recognized by the color of the T-shirt that he or she wears on campus. ORANGE wear visitors. RED is worn by children who live on campus but are too young to work as agents. BLUE is the color during their 100 days of basic training. A GRAY t-shirt means that you can be sent on missions. DARK BLUE is worn by those who have particularly distinguished themselves during a mission. A BLACK T-shirt is the highest recognition for outstanding performance in many missions. When you leave CHERUB you get a WHITE t-shirt, which the staff wears.

7 Part 1 December 2012

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9 Kentish Town, North London 1 The sidewalk was icy after the snowfall a few days ago and the wind was so cold that Craig Willow pulled his scarf over his ears. He was a tall man with a flat boxer nose, but he was two decades behind his heyday in the ring. The street was lined with Victorian houses. Most of them had been refurbished by some nouveau riche, but number sixteen was shabby, the garage dilapidated, and the old sash windows had faded to a dull green that was reminiscent of what a flu would make. Craig took a key from the pocket of his dirty sweatpants. Until a few years ago the house had been a student residence. In the hall there were coin-operated machines for gas and electricity meters, letter boxes and a pay phone that had long been switched off. There was no heating, but it was still warmer than outside. Craig took off his leather gloves and rubbed his numb fingers before banging his fist on a metal door. On the other side someone was running down the stairs and asked, in a heavy Welsh accent, "Is that you, Craig?"

10 "No, it's stupid Santa Claus, who's a week early," said Craig irritably. "You can see me on the monitor! Hagar says you have to say the password. No one gets in or out without a password. Well, "said Craig, taking a deep breath and clenching his fists." The password is: Open the door, you little idiot, or I'll crack your head in! "After a short pause heavy bolts were opened behind the reinforced door. When it opened, Craig took three steps forward and gave the skinny teenager on the other side a gentle nudge. "Password!" He snorted. "You must be keen on a slap." But Jake couldn't take the threat seriously. " I'm the boss's son, "he teased Craig as he walked up the frayed carpeted stairs." You'll probably have to address me as sir one day. You're Hagar's stepson, "Craig corrected." If he's interested in If you lose your mother, he'll drop you like a hot potato. ”The conversation fell silent as they had reached the top of the stairs and entered a large room. Opaque curtains hung in front of all the windows, at one end of the room there were long tables and a cash machine, at the other there was a sitting area with broken sofas and a large television on which the sports channel was playing without sound. The two men present were around fifty and seemed intimidated by Craig's massive figure. "What was the matter?" He asked. "Three hundred and sixteen thousand," said the taller of the two men, indicating a large safe. 10

11 »Everything is vacuum-packed in packages of ten thousand each. There are two hundred and twelve thousand in the other safe. And eighteen kilos of cocaine in the gym bag. "Craig raised an eyebrow, at which one of the men took a half-step backwards in shock." Are you kidding me? "Said Craig angrily." Who said drugs were put into the counting house become? Why didn't anyone tell me? Something went wrong in a business, "Jake explained." It was kind of an emergency. Hagar said it was a bunch of goods and this is the safest place to go. ”Craig shook his head contemptuously. From the multi-million dollar bosses to the kids who sold bags for ten pounds on the street, there was a golden rule in the drug trade: Always keep money and goods separate. "Have deliveries been agreed?" He asked. You and Jake, unless something changes. Well, "said Craig, looking at the money counters." Then go home to your wives and not mention the eighteen parcels of cloth to anyone. Some of the crews could don't pay, "one of the men said, pointing to a notebook on the table." Archway, as usual. It's all in the register. A couple of blows with my old baseball bat will usually get them open, ”said Craig, looking forward to some violence. Jake foolishly mimicked a baseball bat when the two money counters went home

12 went. After they disappeared through the steel door, Craig watched them on the security screen until they were out of the building before going downstairs and putting the bolts back on the door. When he came back upstairs, he was again annoyed by the gym bag under one of the tables, which was bulging with eighteen kilos of cocaine. Apart from a few assault charges, Craig had always avoided trouble with the law and had never been in jail. Getting caught in a house with loads of illegal money would earn him three to five years in prison. A house full of drugs and money would increase that sentence to ten years, and the thought bothered him as he dropped his jacket on the sofa. From the kitchen, Jake called, “There's a football game coming up on Sky. I was at Sainsbury's earlier. What do you want? There is curry from the microwave or hot dogs or I could make eggs with ham and french fries. "Craig grunted and replied:" I'll have a look in the fridge myself. But first I have to go upstairs and poop. I could start cooking, "suggested Jake." We have twelve hours on watch here, "said Craig, shaking his head." It doesn't matter if you wait for me I shit, right? ”He grabbed the Sun from the coffee table and went into the bathroom, which was upstairs. The toilet stank and the only cleaning agent was an empty bottle of toilet cleaner, which he threw into the bathtub in frustration

He shouted, pulled his pants down and sat down on the toilet. "Did you say something, boss?" Jake called from below. "Oh, forget it!" Shaking his head Craig grumbled to himself: "Twelve hours here with this idiot" It was a normal bathroom, apart from the LED screen that alternated between eight different surveillance cameras. They showed everything from the counting room and the stairs to the unoccupied rooms on the lower floor and the back garden to the street in front of the house. With the help of a remote control the image section of the individual cameras could be controlled. As Craig let a huge fart crash into the bowl, he heard a crack behind his head. Believing it was a mouse or a cockroach, he rolled up the newspaper and hit it. Instead of an insect, however, he saw a gloved fist that had broken through the plasterboard behind him. Before Craig could even turn around, a needle stuck his shoulder blades and the hand injected him with a fast-acting sedative. As he slumped in the toilet with his trousers around his ankles, a woman wearing a hockey mask began knocking pieces out of the plasterboard quickly and efficiently. After a minute the hole was big enough for the woman to climb through. To do this, she had to push Craig's massive, unconscious body off the toilet. She knelt and put two fingers to his neck to feel his pulse as her thirteen-year-old niece Fay stepped through the hole. "Is he all right, Kirsten?" 13th

14 Kirsten and her niece were about the same size and both wore hockey masks, black jeans, hoodies and black sneakers. Their gear was covered in dust. "He'll wake up in a couple of hours with a disgusting headache and must have a lot to explain," said Kirsten. "Don't forget your pockets." . Kirsten took the pistol from the hip holster and unlocked the door. "If something goes wrong, you run like hell," said Kirsten. "Even if I don't think Jake will cause us much trouble." Opened the door and crept downstairs, watching her surprise Jake in the kitchen. "Get on your knees or I'll blow your head off!" Fay grabbed the backpacks and ran downstairs, where Kirsten had already brought Jake into the counting room and made him kneel with his hands on his head. "Get the handcuffs," Kirsten ordered, keeping the gun pointed at Jake's head Do you open the safes? "she asked him." They have a time lock, "Jake replied, shaking his head in panic." They don't open again until ten o'clock tomorrow morning. Very funny, "laughed Kirsten." Because we've met hacked into your surveillance cameras and monitored the room here for two weeks. I've seen you open the safes anytime. Day and night. ”Jake's self-assured demeanor collapsed and Fay took a strange set of underwear from her backpack. 14th

15 "Have you ever been to Texas, Jake?" Kirsten asked. "No," Jake replied suspiciously. "People there get cocky," said Kirsten. "My girl has electrical underwear developed by the prison authorities. If you have to keep a really loud mouthed 150-pound man under control, let him wear it. You turn it on for a few seconds and he gets a charge that makes him sob like a toddler. When does the morning shift come? "Asked Fay, referring to the script she had worked out with her aunt." In eleven and a half hours "Replied Kirsten." These suits break the tallest, nastiest men in the world after an electric shock or two. Well, Jake, I can inject you with a sedative now and then you wake up in that underwear. Then I'll have all night to maltreat your tiny little balls. Or you can be a sensible little boy and open the safes right away. "Jake lifted a finger and snapped at Kirsten." I'm not afraid of a couple of girls, "he said. Immediately, Fay pulled out an extendable baton and struck Jake in the neck. When he fell face down on the greasy carpet, she put the heel of her sneaker between his shoulder blades, then gripped his arm with a practiced grip and bent it backwards. "Oh man, nooo!" Jake shouted. "Eleven hours," remembered him Kirsten. The eyes behind her hockey mask were only narrow slits. "We may be girls, but not squeamish."

16 Jake demanded breathlessly. "Will you open the safes?" Fay asked. "If you let go of my arm." Fay let go of him and allowed Jake to crawl to the safes. As soon as the first one was open, Fay began packing the shrink-wrapped parcels of money into a nylon bag. "Five hundred and twenty-eight grand in cash," said Kirsten. "Plus eighteen kilos of cocaine that we can sell for another eight hundred. One point three million," Fay calculated and began to grin. "Not bad for an evening's work." Once the bags were packed, Kirsten gave Jake enough tranquilizers to keep him offline for a few hours. Then they continued in Jake's Opel Astra, which they left behind the St. Pancras train station. They stripped off their black clothes, took a taxi from the train station, and drove a short distance to an apartment in St. John's Wood. 16

17 2 As Fay ran around the outer path around Regents Park, the lawns of which were still covered with the morning frost, she was a pretty sight. She was slim without being skinny, with hazel nut-brown hair and bright green eyes. The thirteen-year-old had a good pace in her running shoes, which must have done this route a hundred times. When she finished her two laps, she stopped her running watch. She was a minute ahead of her personal best, but given the stressful night, that wasn't bad at all. St. John's Wood is one of the best areas in London. Bankers and wealthy artists reside in luxurious apartments, while the houses are reserved for multi-million dollar top managers and pop stars. The proportion of foreigners is very high, which was one of the reasons Fay was able to walk around the park on a weekday without anyone asking her why she wasn't at school. After she bought croissants and a walnut bread from a bakery, a doorman held the door to the elegant lobby of the apartment building she'd been living in for a few months. The open plan apartment on the twelfth floor had large windows with a wonderful view of the park. Kirsten greeted her niece with a smile, said 17

18 but strict: "Do your stretching exercises properly and then go shower!" Fay dropped the bread on the kitchen table and took off his sneakers. "I'll make you a hot chocolate," announced Kirsten. "And then you deal with them Math books. ”Fay tossed her sweaty workout gear into the laundry basket and stood under the hot shower. The cold had made her cheeks and fingers go numb. Her body was toned and muscular, but it had a few bruises from the kickboxing sessions with her aunt. "Do you want to stay in there all day?" Shouted Kirsten. Fay peered through the steamed-up shower stall to see if she had put the bolt on the door and then decided to take as much time as she wanted. Then she put on a T-shirt and sweatpants and actually expected a reprimand from her aunt. Instead, she found walnut bread, cheese, and apple slices on the dining table, next to a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows and a stack of three centimeters thick paper. “What's that, Auntie?” Fay asked, although she saw it printed out on school websites "We were lucky enough to raid the safe house when there was money and drugs there," said Kirsten. Fay nodded thoughtfully and speared a piece of cheddar with a fork. “Hagar is paranoid and must assume it was an inside job. That should divert suspicion from us. Hopefully, "agreed Kirsten." We'll launder the money the usual way. I have a contact in 18

19 Manchester who gives us a good price for the cocaine. And that puts us off the hook. Why? A few of my projects are already in the planning phase.I want to work through those too, "explained Kirsten." But I can do that on my own. "Fay's lower jaw dropped." But we've worked together since Mum's death! "Kirsten tapped the stack of printouts." These are here some of the best private schools in the country. Or at least the best with places for a thirteen-year-old with an inadequate school career. You taught me well enough at home, "said Fay." I don't see why I need such a fancy school. Sweetie, I know how much explosives go needs to blow open a safe. I even know a few people who sell me dynamite. But that doesn't mean I can teach you chemistry for the final exams. Then there is the social component. You can't spend your whole life with your aunt. You have to meet people your own age. "Fay grabbed one of the pages at random and frowned at the confident children in the schoolyard." When I was little Mum sent me to school, "she said stiffly," but the others Children annoyed me. "But Fay had only attended elementary school for a few years, and even if she did not want to admit it, the idea of ​​being in a room with other children scared her." I am a lonely wolf ", she shouted, pushed the sta- 19

20 pel printouts on the floor and stood up. "When Mum died, you swore to take care of me! That's exactly what I'm doing," said Kirsten, without responding to her niece's anger, and calmly picked up the papers from the floor and put it back on the table in front of Fay. “Your mum and I were teenagers. We grew up in nursing homes and at one point we started robbing street dealers for twenty pounds. Then we ventured into bigger dealers. And then we spied on money stores and big drug deals. Now we have two million in cash that neither of us can spend if we end up in jail. What are you going to do all day? "Asked Fay." I can't imagine you just sitting there and watching yourself Want to watch game shows? "Kirsten shrugged her shoulders." I could open a kickboxing school. I could buy a café, learn Japanese, play golf, try the banjo, "Fay snorted." And what about the hunting fever? If we're lucky, the cops will catch us and we'll go to jail. But if a dealer gets his hands on us, he'll torture and kill us. Oh, you're always so melodramatic, "groaned Fay." Your mother thought she was immortal and then Hagar got her. I just don't understand why I'm supposed to go to such a stupid school! "Fay shouted, holding up one of the brochures." Look at them, all the little ladies in pleated skirts and knee socks. If you don't choose any, I'll do it, "threatened Kirsten. "Like it or not, you will go to school."

"Then I'll fail the entrance exam! I'll send you to comprehensive school. We're not going to discuss this, Fay. We have as much money as we need and you go to school! ”* Two days later, Fay was lying on her bed in a pink bathrobe in the morning. She had already completed her two laps around the park, but also trained an hour of kickboxing with her aunt. There were plenty of built-in wardrobes, but since they moved every few months, Fay habitually lived on two large trolley suitcases, the contents of which spread across the floor like a multicolored fungal infestation. Kirsten knocked and went in without waiting for an answer. "Manchester," she said suddenly, "get dressed! Now? The buyer is ready. Sixteen pounds for forty-five thousand a kilo. I thought we stole eighteen pounds, "Fay said, puzzled." And the story goes around the street that someone stole eighteen pounds from Hagar, so we only sell sixteen now and pick up the other two for bad times. ”Fay enthusiastically reached for her jeans and a T-shirt that were lying on the floor, while Kirsten noted with satisfaction that the pile of printed school brochures looked rather torn. Fay had even written a few comments in the margin like "dreary uniform" or "in the ass of the world", and Kirsten had to laugh when she saw the picture of a boy with a red ballpoint pen saying "hot" on his school sweater. 21

"The four at the top are my favorites," Fay explained. "All mixed schools, as I can see," laughed Kirsten. "Well, if you're going to force me to go to school, then at least I want to go to one, where there are a few boys. All-girls schools are pretty bizarre too, "Kirsten agreed." And I'm glad to see you befriend the idea. What happens next? I call the admissions office and ask it looks like, "replied Kirsten." If they have vacancies, you might be able to start after Christmas. "Fay had to swallow." That'll be in three weeks! I thought you were talking about September, when the new school year starts! I think it would be better if you integrated yourself into school life before the exams start. If I get good grades, can we attack someone during the holidays? " Fay grinned. "Fay!" Kirsten laughed. "You scare me! Why? I raid drug dealers for the money," said Kirsten. "You're just like your mother. You do it for pleasure. «22

23 3 Kirsten drove from London to Manchester in a silver Mercedes limousine which she had rented with a driver's license and a credit card in the name of Tamara Cole. Fay spent the ride in the back seat reading a book about a man who had circumnavigated the world. She liked the idea of ​​sitting alone in a small boat battered by the waves. "I would like to learn to sail," she announced as the Mercedes overtook a bus with pensioners. "If you do well at the new school" replied Kirsten. The answer seemed to satisfy Fay and she immersed herself again in her book. Their destination was the Belfont, one of the newest hotels in Manchester with a chic black marble lobby that smelled faintly of jasmine and the lighting was so dim you could barely see your hand in front of your eyes. The sixteen kilos of cocaine had traveled in an aluminum trolley case, and Kirsten had to scare away a porter in a top hat trying to look after her luggage. She asked for a conference room called Windermere and was directed to the ninth floor. As they left the reception, Kirsten looked at Fay and said softly: “You won't like it when a child is 23

24 is present at the meeting, so better wait here. They'll want to check each cube for purity before handing over the money, so it'll probably take me at least forty minutes. Don't go too far. "Fay didn't look too enthusiastic." Can I go to Starbucks across the street and get a frappuccino? "The green Starbucks logo was on the street across from the lobby and Kirsten nodded." Yes, but don't go any further. When I'm done we'll find a nice place to have a late lunch and go shopping, okay? ”Fay wasn't a big fan of shopping, but she needed new running shoes and wanted to look around for another book on sailing. While Kirsten was waiting for the elevator to the ninth floor, Fay left the hotel lobby through a revolving door and crossed a side street. It was still cold, so after waiting briefly in line, she ordered a hot chocolate with whipped cream. And since the armchairs in Starbucks looked more comfortable than those in the hotel lobby, she made herself comfortable in a seat near the counter and took her book out of a small linen pouch. Her aunt seemed confident that she could sell the drugs they had stolen from Hagar, but she had never done business with these Manchester people. As long as her aunt across the street was on a seven hundred grand drug deal, Fay found it difficult to concentrate on her book, good as it was. She was lifting the chocolate to her lips when a woman tripped over her outstretched leg. Instead of apologizing, she scowled at Fay. 24

"Can't you be careful where you put your legs? How about you watch where you step?" Fay replied irritably. The woman didn't answer, just took a tray with six coffee mugs and went to the door. Fay watched her go and noticed that her jacket was baggy around her hips and that she was wearing black shoes like a cop would wear them. She took another sip of chocolate and told herself she was paranoid, but then saw something else: the woman had spoken the London dialect. So there was a woman from London in police shoes and a baggy jacket, like she had a lot of gear like handcuffs and so on underneath. And she bought six drinks as if she had to take care of a whole crew. Am I imagining that? When you're nervous, you sometimes tell yourself things that aren't there. If Fay had been sure, she would have called her aunt immediately, but she wasn't sure. So she burned her mouth as she poured the hot chocolate, put the book in the canvas bag and went to the door. The woman with the six drinks had already crossed the street and was pushing through the revolving door of the Belfont. From behind, Fay clearly saw the silver flash of handcuffs peeking out from under a black nylon vest. Immediately Fay grabbed her phone and called her aunt. "Come on!" Her breath stood in small puffs of smoke in front of her face when she reached the revolving door. She tried to see through the glass what the policewoman was inside 25

26, but it was too dark in the lobby. At last there was a click in her ear. “Hello, this is Tamara Cole's phone number. I am currently unavailable. If you'd like to leave me a message, please speak after the beep. "Fay gave a frustrated groan and stormed through the revolving door." Aunty, I just saw a policewoman go into the hotel. In the gloomy, oh-so-stylish lobby, Fay looked around at the policewoman who disappeared into an elevator with her tray. Its doors were just closing. Fay ran over and pressed the call button. As she waited, she frantically typed a message on her phone. Cops everywhere! Get out of there immediately !! Fay entered the elevator with a very queasy feeling. She considered getting out on the eighth floor and taking the stairs from there, but she wanted to give her aunt as many opportunities as possible, so she risked going straight to the ninth floor. Through the elevator door she saw a wide corridor with conference rooms with grandiose names on either side. After taking the first step, she saw the commotion. Windermere was a conference room with double doors at the end of the hall. Several police officers stood in front of it, and smoke and cocaine powder filled the air. At least three men were handcuffed on the floor, and another was hanging over a long table and was being searched. Fay's phone picked up a text message from her aunt. DO NOT COME UP! A cop who looked like he was in charge shouted: 26

27 “How could you let her escape? I want everyone to look for her! ”Fay stepped back into the elevator and pressed E and the button to close the doors. It seemed to take a week to close, but then she floated back down and typed a message for her aunt. Where are you? Everything was peaceful in the lobby. Fay took a deep breath and walked quickly, but not too quickly so as not to attract attention. When she passed a uniformed officer in the revolving door on the way out, her heart almost stopped. She didn't know the area and didn't know how to help her aunt. The only logical thing seemed to her to be to keep as much distance as possible between herself and the hotel and to meet her aunt later, provided she could escape. If not, she had no idea what to do. Fay found herself shaking as she crossed the street. Another text message from her aunt buzzed on the phone in her pocket. TURN OFF THE PHONE. YOU CAN PLACE YOURSELF WITH IT! Fay stopped because she wanted to write back straight away. But then she suddenly had the strange feeling as if someone was sneaking up on her, and when she looked around she saw two bulky cops behind her. "You haven't done anything," said one. "We just want a few questions for you Fay replied and began to run. Almost immediately, she ran into an old man's electric scooter. Once she regained her balance, she sped fifty yards from Starbucks and then turned onto a busy Shop 27

28 street off. The sidewalk was packed with people doing their Christmas shopping, so she ran onto the tram tracks. A few hundred yards away, she looked around and saw that one of the two cops had fallen back over seventy yards while the other had already given up completely. The only stupid thing was that a tram was coming towards her, the driver of which rang the doorbell to scare her away. As she was about to jump onto the sidewalk, she came up clumsily on a platform and fell headlong into a bunch of passers-by. "Hold her tight!" Yelled the cop behind her. Fay hit her knee on the pavement and landed next to a black woman in a pile of Marks & Spencer and Primark shopping bags. The woman was furious because some mugs were broken in her bags. "Hold her tight!" The cop repeated as the crowd willingly gave way. A man grabbed Fay by the waist and tried to pick her up, but she elbowed him in the ribs. Somehow she managed to keep walking. Since it was too crowded in the shopping street, she ran across a small square with a Christmas tree in the middle. There was no longer any sign of the police, but Fay was still in a strange town and had no idea whether her aunt had been arrested. After one last sprint, she was on the other side of the pitch and decided that if she went on quickly instead of running, she would be less noticeable. As she walked on, she reached into her pocket and checked her phone, but there had been no more messages from her aunt. She turned 28 into a shabby alley

29 with hairdressers, kebab stalls and shops where cell phones could be unlocked. Her hand was still in her pocket when a policewoman appeared at the other end of the alley. Fay whirled around only to see the first cop who had followed her come after her. "Stand still, then nothing will happen to you," the woman shouted, pulling a baton. Fay looked in her pocket for the handle of a small pocket knife. She figured she had a better chance of attacking the woman who was shorter, so she flipped out the blade and ran. Since the policewoman only saw a slim thirteen-year-old girl in front of her, she stood with her legs apart and awkwardly swung the extendable baton. Fay started her kickboxing training, dodged the blow and gave the woman a backward kick. The policeman's protective clothing made the kick less effective than Fay had hoped, but it was enough to throw her off balance and drop her against the aluminum shutters of an Indian restaurant. The other cop had reached them by now and was aiming the baton at Fay's arm to knock the knife out of her hand. But Fay saw the blow coming, backed away and jerked the knife forward as the cop lost his balance. The tip of the knife hit the officer in the neck and cut him up to the right cheek. Fay jumped back when the cop stumbled and coughed blood. If he died, she was delivered. If her aunt had been arrested, she was delivered. It was almost as bad as when they found their mother, tied up and tortured by one of the drug dealers. But at least I can run well. 29

30 4 Fay kept seeing the knife and the blood. She had run for half an eternity and expected at any moment to see a helicopter overhead or to be encircled by personnel carriers. But she had managed to move a few kilometers from the city center, to an area of ​​shabby apartment blocks. Fay slipped between the side wall of a house and an overgrown hedge. Her shoes slapped over frozen garbage bags until she came to a short flight of stairs that led to a boarded door. She checked her phone for new messages, but since the message TURN OFF THE PHONE. YOU CAN LOCATE YOURSELF WITH IT !, nothing more came. She had left it on, hoping for more information, but now she held the button down until the display went black. She had a lot to think about. How could they have been tricked? Had Kirsten escaped? Was the cop dead? Where should she go now? She realized that there was no point in trying to clarify everything at once.For now, she had to focus on keeping as much distance as possible between herself and the crime scene. Slowly she forged a plan to

At the beginning of the day, she took a handkerchief, moistened it on an icy railing and wiped the bloody knife with it. After throwing away the bloody handkerchief and rubbing her frozen fingers, she took a wallet out of her jeans. She had twenty-five pounds and a debit card that the police could locate in seconds if they dared use it. Fay thought it best to return to her familiar area in north London. The police might know the apartment in St. John's Wood, but Kirsten had another apartment and a few hiding spots in less affluent neighborhoods, and that was where she would probably return if she escaped. The only problem was that the police had the hotel surveillance cameras showing what Fay looked like and what she was wearing. If it had been summer she would have considered staying in the abandoned house for a day or two until the situation eased, but it was December and she would freeze to death in there. So she needed new clothes, more money and, if possible, a smartphone. Her first thought was to ambush someone, but then she would have to strip the victim to get his clothes, so she decided to break in. The area looked shabby, but you can learn a lot about a house from the outside. Blinds outside the windows and tidy front gardens indicated older people who were likely at home and most likely without appropriate clothes or smartphones. A minibus in the driveway left a family with children 31

32 NON-SELLING SAMPLE Robert Muchamore Top Secret. The Cartel The New Generation 4 GERMAN FIRST EDITION Paperback, flap brochure, 320 pages, 13.5 x 21.5 cm ISBN: cbt Date of publication: March 2015 TOP SECRET Top Action. New agents on a hot mission. Drugs and theft are part of everyday life for thirteen-year-old Fay until her mother and aunt fall victim to the unscrupulous dealer Hagar. Eighteen months later, the CHERUBs Ryan and Ning are supposed to finally hunt down the drug lord. With the help of Fay, they subvert Hagar's network. But Fay has a lot of enemies in the scene and has her own goal. Because she still has a score to settle with none other than Hagar. A highly explosive mission that is running out of time for the CHERUBs ...