As someone who loves deleted scenes on DVDs, I’m pleased to offer you a collection of deleted scenes from my novels. Here you will find unedited, unpublished scenes that were deleted for a reason. (Largely because I needed to do better.)
Note: deleted scenes can and will contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
If you’re a teenage girl, and if you’re traveling out of the country without your parents for the very first time in your life, then you’re probably pretty used to having rules. If you’ve been sneaking out of your top secret spy school since you were in 7th grade, then you might not be used to following them. But this time, I knew was different.
As I followed Bex’s mother down the narrow hall I heard my mother’s words coming out of Bex’s mother’s mouth.
“Best to stay away from the windows,” she said.
“Snipers,” I added.
She nodded. “Of course that’s not The Circle’s pattern with you thus far, but these things do change, you know?”
I did know.
When we reached the door I saw Bex’s father standing at the window, staring out.
“Everyone ready then?” he asked. When he spoke he looked like his daughter. They both had light brown eyes and they sparkled in the same way, but Bex most closely resembled her mother. And maybe that was why it was so strange to hear the words, “Cammie, love, we really don’t have to do this,” coming from the woman’s mouth.
Bex didn’t worry. Bex didn’t warn. She’d been my best friend for years and I had never seen her wear such a grown-up worry. Some might say that was because we were far from grownups, but I knew better. By that point I knew a lot of things.
“I’d really like to go,” I told her. “I won’t take any chances,” I said, practically pleading by then. “I’ll be…good.”
Mrs. Baxter’s eyes were softer. “I know, dear.”
Bex’s father peeked out the narrow window by the door. “Backup is in position,” he said.
And then my best friend was beside me and her parents led the way out into the cold.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ONLY THE GOOD SPY YOUNG. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
“We have to crack it,” I said.
Liz looked at me. “I know.”
I gripped the journal tighter. “My father wrote this. I have to know what it says.”
“I know,” Liz said again.
“We have to—”
“I know,” Liz said, but it wasn’t a snap. She wasn’t mad at me–she was mad at herself. And I totally knew the feeling.
“Could it be a Pigpen?” Macey tried. Liz shook her head. “A Playfair?” Another shake. “A Purple?”
“It’s none of them,” Liz said. “But you already knew that.”
Macey shrugged as if, yeah, she did know, but she’d been hoping she was wrong. We all were.
“That settles it,” Liz said, dropping at least a dozen heavy books from the encryption section on the table. “It’s not breakable!”
“Come on, Lizzie,” Bex said. “I thought every cipher was breakable…in theory.”
“Well, yeah,” Liz said as if theory should never be mocked. “But this isn’t monoalphabetic or polyalphabetic—those would be too easy.”
She sounded like Mr. Solomon wouldn’t have insulted her that way. “Really, it’s more code than cipher and that means it can’t easily be deciphered. Look at this.” She opened the journal wide, and even in the dim room I saw letters from the Greek alphabet, pictures and symbols in every line. “No computer made this. It’s more like…”
“It’s old,” I finished for her and she nodded. I smiled. “We practice a very old art,” I repeated our teacher’s words as I turned to watch the rain pound against the widow.
“Look at this,” Liz said, pointing to the page. “It’s almost more like hieroglyphics in a way. Almost like a—”
“Language,” Macey said.
Liz’s eyes shone in the dim room. “Yeah, that’s exactly it.”
“And you don’t crack languages—not really. You learn them.”
“Or you translate them,” Macey said.
“But that’s just it!” Liz said. “We can’t translate it—not with just one document and nothing to compare it to, and I don’t know why would Mr. Solomon go to all this trouble to make us find something we can’t translate.”
“He wouldn’t.” Bex was up and moving.
“He’d have to leave a key,” Macey said.
A flash of lightning filled the room and in the sudden brightness I saw it. I closed my eyes and heard the thunder and the rain kept pounding against the mansion like a tide.
“He did leave a key!” I cried, but I was up and running, my roommates close at my heels, terrified it was too late. “He left it and we didn’t see it. Why didn’t we see it?”
I was running up the old stone stairs, and even in the mansion the whole world felt heavy and wet. I could see the rain pounding against the glass of every window I passed and so I ran faster, harder, praying I wasn’t too late when I finally reached the small door at the stop of the circular staircase and pushed my way into the storm.
Freezing rain pounded against me, burning like a million tiny needles driving into my skin.
I felt my roommates come to stand beside me, the four of us staring at Mr. Solomon’s empty chair and the wall of words and symbols, letters
and chaos that filled the blackboards that sat deep beneath the shelter over the overhang, barely—just barely—out of reach from the rain.
“He left it with the pigeons.”