Evie was only vaguely aware of the odd quietness of the San Francisco streets. As her dad steered his Ford Freestyle over the hills, her mind was racing.

Was she doing the right thing?

Evie didn’t know. She wasn’t sure she could know. She didn’t feel much right now except stunned. The thing was, she thought Mom and Andrew would be right behind her. It seemed like a no-brainer. Stay in the claustrophobic room – don’t stay in the claustrophobic room. Cut off Pop completely – continue the conversation with Pop in the fresh air. Pop has sounded reasonable. Was he telling the truth? Maybe he was, maybe not. Maybe he thought he was – and maybe Mom thought she was, too. That kind of thing happened. Still, reasonable people talked, right? Okay, Mom had said “Over my dead body” – but how could she have meant it? How could she have wanted to stay there?

She wasn’t in her right mind, that’s why. Pop had made her so angry. Evie had never heard her voice like that. Pop should have realized she needed more time.

If only he’d given her and Andrew a few more minute…

“Why did you lock the door like that?” Evie asked. “Maybe they would have come.”

Pop shook his head sadly. “I know you mom. She wasn’t going to move. And I could see in Andrew’s eyes that he would do whatever she did.”

“But leaving them in that dump? That’s not like you, Pop.”

“Oh dear – oh, you thought -?” Pop let out a chuckle. “They’re not staying there, sweetie. Spy F had instructions to take them upstairs, give them some food, ask them a few harmless questions, and then let them go.”

“So we’ll see them at home?” Evie asked. At the top of a hill, Pop signaled left where he was supposed to signal right. “Unfortunately our house is a disaster area, Evie. A total mess. We’ll go to one of The Company’s safe houses. It’s a former YMCA. You can get some rest there.”

“Disaster area?” There wasn’t that much stuff for them to dig up. It was all in Andrew’s closet. Did you see it?”

Pop sighed. I’m afraid some of The Company members can be a little energetic in their search techniques. And yes, I was there. I did see it. Codes, secret messages, spy gizmos. Typical Resistance nonsense, Evie. You know who they are? Frustrated cryptographic experts with nothing better to do than send kids on wild goose chases and spread rumors of civil war.”

“Mom sent us that stuff, Pop.”

“How do you know it was her, Evie? How do you know someone wasn’t doing it in her name?”

Evie didn’t have an answer for that. But the thought of their house brought back to image of Mad Mike being carried out the front door. Of Mom being abducted out front. Of Foxglove’s disappearance.

“Pop, when you were at the house…” Evie let her voice drift off.

The notes. Mad Mike’s notes.

She felt for them in her pockets. They were still there. He’d been trying to tell them something. But some crucial element was missing to tie the notes together. For a moment Evie thought she might mention this to Pop.

No. Mike was a double agent. Pop worked for The Company. Mentioning the notes could get Mike in big trouble.