It was dark, the school was on fire and there was gunfire outside. Lydia dodged bullets as she ran desperately among the flames trying to find her parents and siblings. She turned a corner and found herself face to face with a man in fireproof clothing. He froze as he saw her then aimed at her head. She dove to one side as his finger tightened on the trigger, staggered into the wall and–
–Sat bolt upright into in her mother’s arms. She clung to her as she gasped for breath and looked around frantically. She was still in the gym, it was still daylight, and nowhere seemed to be on fire. It hadn’t happened yet!
“I–” she began. “We’re going to be–”
“Attacked,” Sonia said soothingly. “Yes, we all saw it. Tonight we think. Don’t worry, we’ll stop it.”
“They looked military,” Julie said. “I wonder if your contact betrayed you?”
“I don’t think so,” Matthias said. “I certainly hope not.â€ He frowned thoughtfully. â€œIt was dark in the precog and it’s barely lunchtime – we have time to make a plan.” He inclined his head to Alexandra. “Lady Prolocuter, may I suggest we break for lunch to give the clairvoyants time to recover and then try and clarify it and come up with a response that will save the school and not start a war?”
“With all the delays this morning I was planning to wait another hour in the hope we’d get something done,” Alexandra replied. “But I think you’re right, that would be wisest.” She gave a heavy sigh. “Can something please go right soon.”
Lunch was some sort of green soup made with vegetables from the school’s garden. It was actually tasty but Lydia’s stomach was still churning so much that found it hard to choke it down. Looking around she saw that many of the others in the room were also playing with it or otherwise avoiding eating.
She stared at it a while longer sternly telling herself that she mustn’t waste food when so many others didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, forcing herself to take another mouthful.
She had nearly reached the bottom of the bowl when Ian Tyler came running in, laptop in hand. He was out of breath and looked frantic. He rushed up to his mother, put the laptop down in front of her and leaned on the table gasping for breath.
â€œIan, what?â€ Sarah turned the laptop around and stared at the screen. â€œIt’s locked, dear, What’s the password.â€
â€œGive me a moment,â€ he said between gasps. As his breathing settled slightly he lifted one hand and the screen unlocked itself. â€œEmail from Sophie Ashbourne. You’ll need to touch the screen to read the embedded message.â€
â€œThank you, dear,â€ Sara said. â€œSit down and have some soup.â€ She reached out and touched the screen as he had suggested.
â€œI already had lunch, mum,â€ he said. â€œMia made it.â€ He did sit down and looked over st Alexandra. â€œI’m sorry for barging in uninvited but this is important.â€
â€œNow that’s an interesting trick,â€ Sarah said after a long moment. She lifted her hand from the screen and looked over at Matt. â€œIt’s safe to say Sophie and Edwin didn’t betray you. She’s sent a warning too.â€