She’s sitting on the sand, her eyes scanning the stormy sea, wind blowing through her tangled and wavy hair. Her legs are bend, knees close to her chest, arms spread loosely over them. She stares at the high waves clashing together with force, in some strange kind of almost surreal dance. The wind carries the breeze across her face, but she doesn’t seem to notice. Her mind occupied by thing much greater than the weather that surrounds her.
It’s getting colder as she sits there, on the beach, almost motionless. She’s alone there, nobody to bother her in any way and that’s the way she prefers it. Nothing to disturb her. No one to make her agitated and maybe even dangerous. She turns her face to the left, letting the wind blow straight at her. It feels good, the pure, natural force of the sea.
Of nature. She likes the intensity that comes with it, the possible consequences. The uncertainness of it all. The weather’s unpredictable and can be harmful. And so can she.
Her eyes wonder back to the sea, her feet sliding deeper into the sand. Her bare arms and legs, looking almost as white in the moonlight as her dress does. She looks down for a moment, inspecting the thin material, her outfit definitely not appropriate for the occasion. She shrugs her arms.
She doesn’t have to look to the other side to know what’s lying there next to her. She inhales intensely, feeling the sea inside her lungs. She doesn’t have to look, but her mind sees the heavy gun in the sand anyway. Right across her neatly spread shoes.
A pair of them laying on the sand and matching its color. The boots are worn out and have seen better days. Just like her. She came here to escape, but suspects that they’ve already found her.
Someone always does. Just a matter of time.
She’s been looking around the town from the day she arrived. On alert. Trusting no one. Never forgetting who she was and what that implied. Never forget. That’s what they taught her. Imagine the most unlikely scenario, the worst option possible and be ready for it. And she was. Even now. Especially when the rumors about two strangers in the city - driving in an old black Chevrolet - started to spread. But maybe that’s who they really were, just two “out of towners” passing by, on their way to a better location. Maybe. However unlikely.
She wasn’t born yesterday not to see the signs. And in a small city like this, you couldn’t just arrive unnoticed. Especially two men, no children, no luggage. Just faces, that only shoved reproach. Yes, those kind of people stood out. Especially in a hole like this, where everybody knew everybody. She didn’t even have to see them, to know who they were and why they came here. They came for her.
However she wasn’t too worried. This wasn’t her first “witch hunt”. And she was quite certain that they didn’t know how she looked. Oh yes, she made sure of that. Able to shift her appearance as she pleased. She was gifted in that area… and maybe just one more. That was irrelevant now. Now was the time for taking care of the basic stuff. For instance, it is very important to make sure, that you leave no evidence. Nothing that they can trace you after. Just the basic.
She looks at the gun, lying on the sand, next to her boots. She smiles. That would have been a sure giveaway, no doubt. The place that she was staying in, was cleaned out of all personal belongings, leaving just the safe, day to day elements. They will come, find nothing and eventually leave. If not, she knew what to do. She was prepared for them.
Funny how they always thought they were keeping it low, “being on top of things”. Thinking that they had it covered and people would forget all about them, the moment they left the scene. Amusing indeed. The pure assurance of being professional and instead just being obvious.
Of course, there were also other types. The one’s that just didn’t care if there was any error in their skillful technique. Some were just too “above it” to actually take the time in minding the simple civilians. After all, what does it matter when you’re working for the government. If anything goes wrong, you just cover it up… or get rid of the unwanted witness. Just a shrug of shoulder and you’re good to go.
She suddenly furrows her eyebrows. Possibilities roaming around in her mind. Lazily at first, then with more speed. It’s never wise to undermine you’re opponent. Yes, that would have been foolish; even if the enemy seemed pretty much harmless. There could be others, though they usually kept it small. Forming small hunting groups. No more than two, three people at once. Playing it safe.
Just as she should.
The wind started to blow with more intensity then before and she finally noticed how cold it was. Colder then she thought. The chilly air sending goose bumps down her bare shoulders. It was time to go home. She smiled again as she slowly picked up her shoes. Lifting the gun from the sand and placing it on one of the shoes. For now. After all she was in an open space. Precautions had to be taken. There was no real danger of something happening to her. Only the fret of someone else getting hurt, when crossing her path.
Not that it was necessary. She knew how to take care of things peacefully. Calmly and in a proper manner. No victims, no fuss. Her motto. In the end she was a very peaceful creature.
A modest smile stays on her lips, as she quietly leaves the scene.
Ready for anything that will come her way.
I want so badly to pack my bags and leave
All I want to feel is the whiskey in my drink
I’m surrounded by animals with dreams
The whitest collar the rise of dying breeds
(...) And I got you right
where I want you anyway
Oh I got you right
where I want you anyway
“White Collar Whiskey” by Emily Wolfe
Vere, very quiet
I climb over the back fence. Land with a low thud on the ground. I don’t make much sound, barely a whisper against the storm roaming around me. I move slowly forward, carefully. A steady pace. I reach the house, bend my silhouette and slide against the wall.
First I check the windows. There’s no light and I notice no movement. I look around without any rush and then check the locks on the windows. One by one, they’re all closed. All, except one. Just like I left it. Slightly pushed to the right. I smile. Then check the front door. Obviously locked.
I’m not surprised. I look at the ground and notice foot marks. Another smile. This time it’s more satisfied. Amateurs. I round the house and slip through the little window close to the ground. I jump down, reaching the floor of the basement without any problem. I’ve done this before.
I walk to the stairs after a quick look. It’s empty. I take two steps at a time. My instincts telling me I'm alone. Still, I stay careful. Just in case. A necessity in my profession,
a must. I walk slowly past the small corridor. The moonlight slipping between the clouds and sending beams of bright light through the thin glass. It’s the only source of light in the otherwise dark house. Empty.
I get to the living room and stare at the bare walls. Look at the mattress lying on the raw, sandy wooden floor and my eyes drift to a big, tall mirror set against a plain, white wall. No colors, no heavy or fluffy rugs. No mayhem. Just the simplicity. That’s how I preferred it.
Easier to control, easier to leave behind.
Mistakes will cost you...
There's a man outside of my window, lurking in the dark... big mistake. You really shouldn't creep around in the shadows, where a helpless woman lives. That would make her very nervous... if she was around that is. Because I am nothing of the sort. I look forward to a challenge and enjoy a little midnight exercise. I wonder if he has a gun... he wouldn’t come un armed would he now?
That would be such a disappointment. I wonder silently who he is and creep alongside a wall, close to the window. I stop a couple of meters away and slower my breathing. My eyes adjusting to the faint light of the moon. Always tricky with the extra light, you never know when it can cause you unnecessary trouble... I narrow my eyes and I start to think about the possibilities.
Was he send by the agency, ready to eliminate the problem? Because there were many who had me on their hit list. Many who tried and failed. I have been around for too long to get trapped by a simple intruder. Funny how they almost assume I will be unprepared and caught of guard. Sleeping in my bed, so fragile and peaceful in sweet, sweet slumber... how foolish.
I slide carefully against the wall, getting closer to the glass surface with every step...not even bothering to get my gun, too much of a fuss. I stare at the man behind my window and wonder if he was alone or has he brought some help with him... oh well, more the merrier. I smile lightly, my confidence growing. Who could this be? I outstretched my neck and take a closer look as the intruder shifts to the left, his profile not as clear as I hoped. His face half lost in a shadow. I step back, as he comes closer to the window, his nose almost touching the glass. He stares for a little while, then backs away. His head shaking with disapproval.
Did he expect me to keep the light up for him, and was disappointed because of such a cold welcome?
The man moves away another step and reaches to a beg, I didn’t notice before. I furrow my eyebrows as he reaches in the bag and pulls out a torch light. Wow, the guy was all class and subtlety. He wasn’t actually going to…
I blink a couple of times as the torch light almost blinds me, as its light swipes against my eyes and body. I stare as him, ready to attack or run away... whichever would be more necessary... and then I freeze. My body still as a statue. It's an unusual reaction for me, usually I don’t get myself surprised like this... but since the all dark and creepy intruder decides to smile and wave at my in a very happily manner... I just stand there like an idiot not sure what to do... and then my mind starts to work on high speed. My eyes scanning him like a professional ex-ray.
I had a blackout, probably the entire town did. I lived alone and far away from everyone… So if something happened I didn’t have any chances of getting help. Which didn’t really trouble me. I could take care of myself. I was trained for much worse. However the good people of this town might consider this a chance to come to the rescue... like him. The helpful guy, which I helped with his car... and probably decided to take this opportunity to pay me back. The damsel in distress, who needed assistance. Struggling without electricity and any phone signal in this place far from everything.
He waves again and I roll my eyes. Honestly... you help a guy out and he considers it his job to be your savior. This is why I don’t do good deeds. It just messes everything up... I wave back and had to the front door.
The nerve of some people...
the thunders in my heart
The storm is spreading, the waves crashing against a slick surface... a smile plays softly on my lips. I "borrowed" this yacht to think about the decision that needed to be done. My mind preoccupied with too many things. The situation getting more and more complicated with time. I needed to reset, to find myself through all of the mundane distractions. I had business to attend to and enemies to play with. But it was the little things that clouded my mind. The unexpected outcome of numerous small decisions that I made since arriving at this almost forgotten town.
Things have changed and I had to work on new tactics that wouldn't spoil my bigger plans... there were people that were just waiting to get to me, already sharpening their dark claws... and I was ready for them, but the thing that I wasn't ready for, were all of these feelings that came along. My mind was clouded and I needed a release.
I needed this... - I think, as I look at the dark sky, and the rain pounding against the glass surface. I smile again looking around at the expensive yacht that led me to the open sea. It won't be missed, the storm scaring the locals and closing them in their homes... even the few rich ones that would be lounging in their fancy estates, with the cozy fire spreading, while they sit comfortably in their little castles.
I tilt my head as a lighting breaks through the sky and an ear-shattering rumble fills my entire body. My grin widens. Yes, pure pleasure from mother nature. I did love storms, the one unspoiled thing in my life. I could always count on the natural forces of the Earth to soothe my rocky senses. I head outside of the small cabin to witness the spectacle with full power and majesty of it all. I open the door and close my eyes, feeling the wind on my bare shoulders, once again dressed only in my white dress.
I was tough, the weather never bothered me. After all, I have been through worse... as one song went "sticks and stones won't break my bones but chains and whips excite me". I inhale the smell of the sea as the wind messes my already wavy hair. This was what I loved. This kind of energy and madness. These were my "chains and whips".
This was my passion... well, maybe except my profession.
But that wasn't something I was going to think about now. No, it was not.
I walk to the railings and lean against it. Tasting the saltiness of the breeze on my tongue as I open my mouth. Felling everything with all of my senses.
There is another lighting cutting through the sky and my smile widens again.
I count in my head. 1... 2... 3... 14... and a loud thunder vibrates through my muscles. Very good. It's getting closer. I open my eyes and stare at the angry sea. The waves crashing against the yacht, higher and higher. The water splashing against my skin and making my dress soaking wet in just a matter of seconds. I shrug my shoulders as the wind grows stronger. Not important.
Many people wanted me dead, but a common cold wasn't going to kill me that easily.
I grin and lift my head to feel the raindrops on my face. I stick out my tongue and feel the nature slipping inside of me. I hold the railing tighter and a laugh escapes my lips.
I am happy. Content. Free. Right now, at this exact moment. Whatever would happen tomorrow or in the near future... no longer mattered. Not now. Not at this moment.
I needed this and now I could move on with my plans. Decisions made.
A single spirit in the middle of the sea.
Feeling the freedom that no one could take from her.
Time for action.
I smile as the yacht shakes with the moving waves. No more waiting game.
My third response goes to @Danceinsilence, and his challenge :
"on a yacht, out at sea, a storm is coming,
what do you feel, what do you see? You are alone with your thoughts"
Thanks to you "J" had a little fun trip on a yacht. She really did enjoy it.
and for those who want to learn more about "J" ;)
She’s standing there on the bridge, wondering what life has still installed for her. She has done so many bad things, that by now there shouldn’t be anything else good left for her. And yet there he was, standing next to her, looking at the sea, like he didn’t have a care in the world. As if he wasn’t standing next to a paid assassin... But he didn’t know. Maybe he suspected that her life was more cloudy, that she leads the world to believe. That her behavior left too much to wonder. That she had too many secrets behind her eyes and the words she said. Behind smiles that weren’t always real, and reaction that didn’t always seem natural. She had great disguises, but sometimes even she slipped.
Thinking of anything in particular? – He asks. Staring at her face with a wide grin. She responds with a careful smile. She's not used to people being as kind as him. No double intentions, no secrets, no...
About lies… - she says, looking at the deep waters, as if they held the answers to her questions.
He frowns for a little while and then smiles, lifting his eyebrow.
Oh, I know you’re a liar.
She freezes for a moment. Blood suddenly stopping in her veins. She turns her head slightly, so he can just about see her profile.
How did you find out…? – She asks slowly, cautiously. All the while thinking just one single thought. The words bouncing in her and leaving her bruised. “I thought I would have longer… I thought there would be more time…”
Please, you’re not as mysterious as you think… I know that you know "squat"about fixing cars… The time that we met, that was just a lucky guess… - He says and she can feel small chunks of ice falling from her heart, finally defrosting her body and mind.
He didn’t know… She still had some time… She makes herself breathe and comes closer to him, nudging him against his shoulder. Trying to seem relaxed and playful.
Hey, I still have secrets… and I know about cars, bet I could fix one faster than you…
He laughs loudly and pulls her closer, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. And now she can really relax. His laugh feeling her insides with warmth. The remaining chunk of ice melting away and dripping slowly down to the ground, slipping past the wooden boards and dripping into the sea.
This wasn’t the day for the real truth. About who she was… this was a day about being truthful to her feelings… about how she felt about him. The time will come when she will have to confess about her past. But not today. No. Today she was just Jane.
A girl madly in love with a boy next door,
and not an assassin running away from her past...
ring, ring ! ✆
As I hear the ringing sound, I quickly step in. Eager to get more money out of this, Another 50 bucks that I can put in my pocket, and just for picking up some stupid phone. Actually a bit surprised that there were phone booths that still worked... but at least I have a place to get out of the rain, water falling into my eyes. I use my hand to brush my hair back and once again focus on the ringing sound.
Hello? - I pick up the phone and listen interestedly.
Good morning Alister, it’s a pleasure to meet you “in person”.
I don’t think I understand...
Let me tell you a little about myself, my friend. I promise the story will be short. I’m feeling in a gracious mood, so I will let you live for a bit longer than you deserve. You will be my therapist for today. Is that okay?
Is this some kind of joke? Did somebody put you up to...
Don’t interrupt me, Alister. I said gracious... I didn’t say everlasting - The voice of a young woman seems amused. As if she has done this speech before. As if this wasn’t her first “rodeo” - I did bad things in my life before. I killed people. So many of them... - her voice becomes deeper as she keeps on talking - They weren’t good people, most of them deserved what happened to them...
Okay, I don’t know what all this is about, but I’m leaving. This was so not worth the...
Alister! - Her voice turns colder. No more joy in her left - Don’t interrupt me, please. I am being very kind to you, and I advise you not to leave so fast... Do you see those cables attached to the side of the glass doors... That’s right... they are connected to some highly dangerous explosives, and if you were to step out, well.... Puuuff ! Bang you go. You wouldn’t want that, would you now, my friend?
She asks and I look around again. Noticing not only strange cables but also some weird machinery under the phone. My brain starts to work faster. The guy in the suit that gave me the money - there was something weird about him.
I see that you’re looking around. Good. You are smarter than I thought. It pays to be patient sometimes and think things through. Don’t you think?
Yes, I guess... - I say slowly, my eyes scanning the small place. I didn’t want to get the crazy woman mad before I wasn’t sure that all of this was over. I feel sweat start to drip as I remember her words “I see that you’re looking around” Could she really see me? My heart starts to hammer faster as I listen to her and her “therapist hour” Was this seriously happening, or was I still asleep? No more horror movies for me before bad that’s for sure, and if this was true...
Good, good. I’m glad that we established the basics. Now let me tell you about the men I killed... - She starts and her voice once again turns deeper... almost mesmerizing and stopping me from thinking clearly - The so-called businessmen, who murdered others just to increase their bank account or their need for power. Corporate sharks who wanted nothing more to see then their ratings go up and others to fail miserably. There were those who played the big bosses and executed revenge like it was just their hobby.
Explaining what they did just by one word - her voice turns darker now - That word was “family”. It wasn’t about the real thing, just an extended version of their growing kingdom. The need for fear among others and collecting other scumbags such as them, to provide company and even more fear... and of course there were the obvious bastards, who always wanted more than they could swallow...
The lowlifes that just wanted too much and took things too far. Whatever the explanation, they deserved it. Deserved exactly what happened to them... or at least that’s what I told myself while ending their lives. Now I wasn’t some free spirit savior of the mankind who knew better and wanted to save the world from all the evil and mayhem... no, that wasn’t the case.
I was just doing my job and receiving payment for my services. A very generous payment, for the thing that I was so good at. And I was good at killing. I was good with using my gun. I was good at surviving against all odds and not letting my past catching on to me... I left everything behind, even if the knife was constantly on my throat. Because I never played by the rules. I did what I had to do, I followed through, but I never stayed too long to face the consequences.
Long enough for my enemies to find me. And trust me, they sure tried... Are you still with me Alister? Am I not boring you with this?
No... not at all - I say in a weak voice. This had to be a nightmare. It just had to...
I’m glad. You see my friend. There aren’t that many people that I can share this part of my life with. So I use every chance I get... and since I’m not really religious or go to the church... would probably burn in the threshold anyway...
There is a short bitter laughter when she speaks and something else in her voice that I just can’t read, maybe it was regret.
...Now, where was I ? Ah yes, they tried to catch me, but I was faster. And even if sometimes they thought they had me, I showed them why it was a mistake to think so in the first place, because some people never learn.
And there was one more glitch to my character, from their side of course. All in all,
no matter how much my employees thought they owned me, I was never really for sale. I took my payment that’s true, any professional would because we take what we earned for and fight for our reputation.
Because we worked hard for it, and what we do, isn’t a piece of cake or a Sunday stroll down a sunny park. No. What we do is dangerous and lethal. But we do it good and we are worth every penny. The best at our profession.
However, I was not a sellout. I didn’t stay just because the money’s was good and they thought they could keep me with them, because of the cash... or the threats.
But it doesn’t work that way with me. I leave when I want to. Not When I’m told to.
I do it by my own rules. And that gets me into trouble... and I enjoy it all the way.
What can I say? I like to stay in shape.
And nothing gets the blood pumping more, than the rush of adrenaline in the morning.
Yeah, we all have issues, don’t we? - She asked after a moment of silence, her mood lifting unexpectedly.
Yes... everybody has issues...
Isn’t that the truth Alister. Isn’t that the truth... - I can almost see her head nodding while she says this - Now, you may ask, how a girl like me got into this mess? Well, I’ll tell you. Completely on my own and never looking backward’s in the process. I do what I do and that’s fine. Even though sometimes I have a couple of sleepless nights. After all, even a person like me has feelings... Surprising? Maybe. But not that much. I have my own rules, that keep me up-float, that keep me sain.
First of all, I don’t kill good people. People that just got in the way of the ruthless monsters, that though it was “okay” as longest they got their way. Ah, the selfish and narcissistic sociopaths... my best clients. Always eager to do the worst possible thing. I do get paid well because of them.
But let’s face it. This isn’t a game between the good and the evil, or the light and the dark. No, this was about revenge, the need of power and dealing with unnecessary baggage that I was hired to take care of... because someone didn’t know when to keep their mouths shoot. Because some wanted to have a bigger piece of the cake, because we all had bad intentions somewhere deep down inside. It just happened that some were more persistent in doing bad things than others... Dangerous things that brought them doom.
But look at me, talking rubbish. Sounding like one of those men, that stand in the middle of New York and shout things about the apocalypse and the evil hand. I guess I’m in a philosophical mood today. Rambling on, when the only thing that there is to say is, that this is my job. Finito. I work in this “business”, I get paid and I’m good at what I do. Trained to be successful and efficient.
She says and I can feel that’s the wrapping up her little sketch.
Well Alister, any last words before we begin? And by the way, thank you for being so cooperative about this. You made this almost too easy for me.
I’m not Alister... - I say in a surprisingly calm voice.
Of course, you’re not. No one is ever who they’re supposed to be when they are talking to me. Surprising right?
Says this strange woman, her voice calm and delicate... then she bursts into laughter. And it’s not a sinister one, like on the movies. Her laugh is almost soothing, like chime bells or beautiful music of sorts. This day was getting more bizarre by the second. My mind is strained but I try to focus, this probably being my last chance before it’s all over.
I’m really not this Alister guy. I’m really not... - I rush the words before she can stop me - I guy in a brown suit told me to step into this phone booth. He...
Now, now, no need for lying. You don’t want to be judged by the all mighty when you reach the heavens, don’t you? Or is it some Buddhist god, or are an Atheist? But what am I saying, with your records, there is no way you’re going up... Only straight down to Hell for you...
She finishes and once against laugh, though this time it sounds more embarrassing.
As if she was apologizing for getting off the topic.
No! I’m telling the truth. My name is Tom, and this strange guy, asked me to get in here and gave 50 bucks for it. It seemed strange but I thought it was
free cash so...
My dear friend, this is completely unnecessary. Whatever you say to me, this will end badly for you.
No, I can prove it!
Oh? Okay “not Alister” what do you have in your defense?
She sounds amused and apparently has free time to spare.
This guy... in the suit. He told me to pass something to you...
I reach into my pocket and the piece of paper I got before.
Alright, amuse me... - Her voice sounds more serious now.
He told me to tell you and I quote “Rule 254, shouldn’t be broken more than 292 times. If so, there will be consequences” - I take a deep breath - ”...you can’t run away forever J.”
I stop reading and hold the receiver higher in my hand. My heart hammering as if all the hell broke loose. I wait and there is a long moment of silence.
Remind me something, what did you say your name was?
It’s Tom. Tom Riley...
Another couple of seconds of silence.
Brown suit, you said?
Yes, an odd looking guy. Had a small scar just underneath his right eye.
I hear static and something shifting in the background as my knuckles turn white, my grip getting tighter and tighter. Faint hope sipping through.
Hold on Tom, I have to check some information first.
She sounds like a serious office worker now. All business like.
Oh... yeah... sure, I will wait.
I say in a weak voice, promising myself never to earn an easy 50 in my life. I wait there, my whole body trembling. After about 3 minutes, I hear a clicking sound.
Well... Tom Riley. You are free to go. The lock on the door is now open. You may leave. I apologize for this little misunderstanding. You can forget this conversation ever happened. Am I clear here?
I say as the phone connection brakes... leaving only faint static. I put the phone down and stare at the door, still in shock.
There is a little click sound and the glass door opens by itself.
I walk out slowly in a daze and swear to never take anything that’s for free.
I’ll tell you a tale...
I have a few tales to tell you, and the tales are true...
I will tell you a story about my "J", a friend I had once and she was a spectacular person to be around with. I always knew there was more to her than everyone saw and more than she led everyone think was the real her. Now, J never had an easy life, her father was always very demanding, pushing her to the limits and always making her step that one step further.
He wasn't an easy guy to be around, but he also treated J fair and loved her despite the hard interior. He taught her how to be tough and protect herself in every condition...also all those things that dads teach their sons...and usually not their daughters. Like fixing cars, basic skills of surviving in a forest and even some fishing.
J loved him dearly.
Now her mother was a completely different story, she was kind from nature and always did everything to protect her children. Even when her health always stood in the way... and still does to this day. J also has a "little" brother that she would surely sacrifice her life for if necessary. Not that Mike really needed it, a true army man, a navy seal officer.
I guess Mike might be surprised by what J could do for him, of how strong she is and what she is capable of.
I was always secretly proud to have a friend like her. Because she is not only a beautiful woman and an amazing friend... but also someone who can be very dangerous, despite her slender build and soft features. Because under those loose and girly clothes that she wears whenever she comes back from her "work", are muscles of steel and determination that could break and put to shame any man around. Not to mention J's special skills that she has developed over the years...
She's my best friend and the only person that she told about her other life that nobody in town... or maybe in the world knows about. I smile as I think of this situation, preparing breakfast for my 5-year-old daughter Kathrin and grinning at her "aunt" Jane.
She is always so sweet around her, teaching her how to make a catapult and how to start a campfire in the wilderness... while looking like a girl from the suburbs.
Floaty white dresses and converse trainers, never the one to wear heels. I finish the sandwiches and look at the hall, as a small sleepy person walks in, rubbing her eyes and dragging an old teddy bear behind her. She climbs on the tall chair and looks around,
still not quite awake.
Had a nice sleep, my darling? - I smile and try to straighten the blond haystack on her head. I had the same hair when I was her age. Like golden silk. These days I could easily go for a brunette... in the right light.
Mmmh - She mumbles and looks for her cereal bowl - Did aunt Jane call ?
Yes, and she said she will visit soon - I turn around and pour some coffee into my favorite red mug.
I miss her, she almost never comes to see me...
Oh, honey... she was just here a month ago. You know she comes whenever she can to see her favorite niece...She has a lot of work - I stumble a little on the last word as my mind shows me images of what J really does. I was okay with that by now, though not sure if the word "ok" did justice here.
After all, one doesn't usually have paid assassins as their best friends.
I stare at my baby and smile again. Now, it wasn't exactly as if J told me about her "profession", I just found out by accident. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and my friend was taking care of her current responsibilities. A gun pointed to a guy that looked like he had all Hell behind his conscience. His face crippled with anger and frustration.
You're not going to get away with this you wretched creature... - he smiles and almost spits in her face - calling you a woman would be too much a compliment to you...no, I would rather call you...
He doesn't finish, his face expression freezing in place as a bullet brakes free from the gun, the noise subsided by a silencer and J's coat. The guy falls slowly to the ground and lies there on the cold cement. A small streak of blood in his chest growing bigger with every moment and dripping down. Turning into a puddle.
I take a deep breath and stare at the horrific scene. I hear footsteps and look up as a small hand touches my shoulder. I flinch at first but then freeze again.
Jane... how did this...
Clare... try to breathe sweety. I don't want you to start your panic mode... and screaming like a crazy woman...before I can clean this all up. Now give me your hand. That's right, just like that.. and sit on that crate...yes, perfect. Remember about your breathing, while I take care of this little predicament... Alright, sweetheart? Nod if you can hear me... wonderful, I am very proud of you.
She leaves for a couple of moments and returns with some plastic sacks and the kind of foil that you use when painting walls or doing a rebuild on the house. I see some thick ropes and weird bottles. Probably detergents... I sit there as if I don't have a care in the world... as if I just didn't see my best friend kill a man... even if obviously not an angel... but a murder still. I look at what's she's doing and how swiftly and professionally she proceeds with her task. I feel numb when I look at her, probably still in shock. As I sit there, Jane finishes her work, the body wrapped around in foil, and rope for a better grip. She ties the knots tight and then straightens her position. Looking directly at me for the first time and rubs her hands against each other, as if saying "there, all done, now back to other stuff" I get off the crate and wrap my arms around me, feeling the sudden chill in the air. Jane walks up to me and puts a hand on my shoulder again, bowing her head, so we are at the same eye level.
Clare, love... how are you doing?
I don't think I know yet... cold maybe. It's a little chilly today.
Why aren't you just a treasure... - She smiles at me with a warmth that shouldn't be there, considering what she had just done.
Just happy to be alive and not that guy... - I point to the bag on the ground and now clean cement. No blood in site.
Trust me, Clare. You would never be in that position. That man did a lot of horrifying things in his life and eventually landed on the "hit list"...believe me, when I say... The world is better of without him... when I think that you lived in the same town as he did and could be next...it just makes me sick - she shivers and takes a deep breath to steady herself.
Jane... - I look up at her and touch her cheek. She looks at me with a pained expression - Is this the well-paid job that you had been talking about... the one in the real estate agency?
She stares at me like the most important person in her life and smiles again.
It is an "agency" of sorts... but I tend to be more of a freelancer type... are you scared of me yet, or are going to wait till you get home first, and start calling the cops? You can if you want to - she gives me a humble smile, then turns more serious - but that would mean I would have to leave the town very soon...and you and Kathrin... Mind giving me a couple of hours in advance, so I could pack my belongings?
She asks calmly, but I see the pain in her eyes spread like wildfire. I furrow my eyebrows as a small pain of my own spreads in my heart. I wrap my arms around her neck and whisper to her.
No, that won't be necessary. You have a niece to come back to...and her mum. So, leaving isn't really an option here. Do you understand me? - I can feel her nod, my neck getting wet from her tears... and her shoulder from mine.
Ok, enough of this foolishness...I have to clean up.
I look at her, as she reaches the body and pulls on the rope. Dragging the huge dead man as if he weighed as little as she did. Her muscles flexing and her expression that of concentration...
I look at my daughter and smile as she fills her bowl with milk, as it overflows it and spills on the counter. I handle her a paper roll and she swiftly pulls a couple of them and cleans the mess with precision. She has a familiar expression of concentration on her face. I guess both of us look up to a certain friend and a favorite aunt... my best friend.
A well trained and paid assassin...
Because I wanted to share a few tales that I have to tell... and the tales are true.
Down to the bottom
The room was dark, no light slipping through the thick walls. Hardly any air in the stuffy space. Her hands scraped and bruised from banging on the heavy metal door. Dried blood covering her knuckles and making the skin sting. She tries to breathe slower so she won’t suffocate in this cage made just for her. Her lungs burning with every gulp of air she takes. Bruises on her ribs a painful reminder of what happened.
They told her she would be okay. That eventually it would all be alright.
If she obeyed. If she listened. She didn’t. Instead, she rebelled and made new enemies. People that had no scruples to end her just because she dared to stand in their way. She lifts herself up and leans against the wall for some support. Her steps are shaky as she walks slowly to the door, her bare feet covered in dirt, her left ankle twisted. Her teeth grind against each other as she tries not to scream the pain away because that would only make her lungs swell even more.
Besides, she didn’t want to give them the satisfaction. She stopped screaming out her demands ages ago. Now she only used her energy on surviving through this hell hole. Cursing under her breath everytime the pain became unbearable. At the same time surprised that she even felt it anymore. They say people have their limits. She didn’t. Always feeling like an elastic rubber band. Too stretched out, by life to even brake anymore. Her strength wasted, leaving her numb and used.
Still working, still managing to be of use, to those that thought they had power over her. She caused trouble to both sides. She confused, she caused mayhem. Constantly doing more to make others mad. Stepping up a notch, forcing her enemies blood to boil. A sort of a payback for all the times she felt used. Her trust gone, just a memory she could barely remember these days. There were those strange days that she wanted to step back and start the healing process. Or at least not to cause more disturbance. But those states only lasted for a short moment.
One snap of a finger and she was back to her old tricks. Angry, seeking vengeance. Every step she took taking her up to this place. This tight, dark cage that they made just for her. She touches the door and feels the tiny scratches that her nails left on the metal surface. Hardly any evidence that she even tried. The dried blood on her fingers and knuckles the only proof how big her efforts really were. They took her gun, they took her things. And as she leaned her head against the door, she wondered if she even cared that they left her clothes on.
She feels the dirty fabric of her once white t-shirt and the black pants that once weren’t just made of holes, filth, and her blood. Maybe, a million years ago, in another life she was happy. By now she couldn’t even tell. She felt drained and empty. She puts her head to the side, her ear close to the metal, trying to hear something. But what? The silence indicating that they just left and were never coming back? Or footsteps against the dirt floor, her life finally coming to an end? She didn’t really know or care anymore. Either way, it was just a matter of when instead of if.
She tries to focus again and read in their sick minds. What would they consider a bigger punishment? More tortures to make her suffer? Or just a quiet death, abandoned and all alone? She couldn’t stop thinking that that would be too easy. Not dramatic enough. An incomplete finish to a story that needed a final, strong statement. But maybe this was the big statement. Defeated in the center of all her enemies. Caught, locked down and left behind. A lesson for her. She didn’t really feel educated by it.
She felt angry, even if her body was barely functioning. Her head still pressed to the metal door. The cold surface working as a relief to her massive headache. The bruises at the back of her head still giving her hard time - she silently wondered if her skull might be fractured - or maybe it was the dehydration. Or maybe her body was finally giving in. Maybe. But she wasn’t the one to quit fast before she was sure she gave her maximum. The years in the military taught her how to be tough. How to survive in the worst possible conditions... and of course in captivity.
She smiles. She was not a quitter and when enemies surrounded her she welcomed them with open arms. She closes her eyes to sooth the pain, even if there was no light in the room, even if it seems that hope has left her too.
Her head is pounding without mercy, as she stumbles to the ground. She sits on the dirt, a thick layer of sand covering the ground. She closes her eyes again and remembers what she saw when they brought her here. Narrow tunnels, stuffy air, a strange smell in the air. She sees all of those metal doors that she passed and the ones that were meant just for her. She groans. Strengthened steel, 30 feet underground, no escape. A bunker built in the forty’s by the army. A place where the soldiers could keep their captives. She smirks despite her pain. A perfect, little cage just for her. How thoughtful. How kind.
Her headache sends painful waves through her brain and she flinches. Tired but still feeling, still sensing. Still expecting. She holds her head in her damaged hands and tries to calm the pain with her mind. It has worked before. She sighs when it doesn’t help. Maybe if she had some water. Her insides were so dry, that her muscles were practically grating against each other and her thoughts unclear because of the severe dehydration. Her throat felt swollen and like sandpaper. Her lips cracked. Her body begging for water, just a little. Anything. As the pounding to her head increases, something else manages to break through. A faint noise, a rustling noize. The first sounds in the last several days that weren’t either her shallow breaths or breaking and stumbling heartbeats in her bruised chest.
She closes her eyes tighter, puts down her arms slowly to the ground and tries to focus. Causing her senses to react with double force. She pulls a lock of hair behind her ear and listens. Nothing. She takes slow, steady breaths, making her heart calm down. Making her body as silent as possible. She needs to hear. She listens. Separating each heartbeat form the other and focusing on the silence in between.
Her body freezes. There it is again. Very faint but getting closer. She feels every strained muscle in her body tense up even more. The leftovers of adrenaline shooting through her blood, easing the headache. She smiles. Finally, she can feel something else but the pain. It’s like a jolt of electricity. Like pure magic in her shattered veins.
She tries to swallow and winces, yet her smile grows even wider as the sound increases. After a couple of seconds, she can make it out more clearly. The low rustling sounds turn in to faint footsteps. Her mind strains. How many footsteps? A dozen people? Six.. two? No, just one. Good. She could work with one, even in her condition. She wasn’t afraid of guns or the pain that might come her way. She was looking forward to some last fun. She needed to go out with a bang... and maybe, just maybe make it through. The steps grow louder as she tenses in anticipation like a predator waiting for its prey. Even if the odds were heavily against her.
She can hear steps quicken as the person gets closer. She listens in. Heavy steps, a faint smell of tobacco and sweat in the air. She inhales. The scent is musky. Definitely a man. Not that she expected a woman in here. Women were to smart to get into this side of business. The ones in charge had better things to do than taking care of a weak prisoner heading for close extinction. Besides, men seem to enjoy this aspect of their work assignments more.
She hears rustling sounds behind the door. Something small and metal jingling. The keys. She hears something bang against the wall as there are more moving sounds. She strains her mind. A gun. Big in size. She tries to remember what she saw when they brought her to this place. Her eyes open wide for a second and quickly close again. An assault rifle, 5.56 x 45 mm NATO. She moves her head to the sides... A selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. The famous “Storm rifle”. She searches her mind for more information. The technical facts soothing her mind. Let’s see. A short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.
The sound of the key being turned around in the metal lock, catches her attention again. The man pushes the handle and nothing happens, which is followed by heavy cursing. He doesn’t seem to care if he will make any noise. Then again, why should he? He was the one with the gun while she has been stuck here for days. Beaten, bruised and on the verge of dying. No, nothing for him to worry about. He moves the key again and there is a distinct “click”. He pushes again with more force and the door finally moves, faint light slipping in. She adjusts her position, moving up to a crouch. Her hands slide against the sand and her fingers trace the surface, looking for a familiar object.
She had been very busy while they were away. She was always busy. Mind constantly on alert, even in the worst circumstances. A survivor, calculating her situation and the surroundings. People were here before her. Many lost souls ending their lives in this place. Things were bound to be laying around. Scraps of metal, some used bullets, pieces of this solid construction, used and broken over time. There is always something.
Her smile widens and the determination grows as she finds what she was looking for. She picks it up and straightens her position. She doesn’t even mind the pain that goes through her body. She feels her lungs burn as she inhales deeply.
The door opens wider. Everything happening in slow motion. She comes closer to the door, stands behind it and narrows her eyes. Not used to the light. She looks to the ground for just a half of a second to adjust her sight. She notices his shadow. Another half a second as he steps in. He stares for a moment at the frame of the door and the messed up lock and curses again.
She has been really busy.
She lifts the iron bar above her head, looks at his tall frame and takes a wide swing with it, using all of the force that’s left in her. The rod hits his head and he screams out, the gun falling out of his hands as he collapses to the ground. A heavy groan escaping his mouth. She stares at him as blood starts to trickle from his lips. She looks at the iron bar and then at the open wound at the back of his head. Her ribs hurt as she lets out a low laugh. She doesn’t care. The man lays on the ground, hardly moving. She steps closer and kicks his side with her bare foot. He groans again. Then he was still alive, good. Now, if she was in her full strength he would be dead by now. So this time he was lucky... if he doesn’t bleed out that is.
She bends against him and gently touches the side of his face, with an almost tenderness. He flinches.
If you’re still alive when they come back, remind them not to mess with me. It’s a kind request. I won’t ask twice.
She rips a small strip of material from her shirt and uses it to tie her hair. She stares at her bare feet and then at the man’s shoes. She puts her head to the side and furrows her eyebrows. She takes them off.
A little too big but better than nothing.
After a moment of consideration, she takes off the socks, reminding herself of the scrapes on her feet. She puts everything on and ties the shoes tightly.
It will do...
She takes his gun and hangs the strap over her shoulder. She is exhausted but at the same time, she enjoys the familiar weight. It feels reassuring. She slips through the door, then turns back. She looks through his pockets while also listening to his slow breathing. She smiles. He might live, who knows. He looks strong enough. She pulls out a box of matches, a couple of bucks and a small pocket knife. Mmm, her kind of toys, that’s for sure. She searches the pocket on his chest and takes out a pair of car keys, probably a jeep. Excellent. This will make everything much easier.
It takes her some time to get out as she walks through endless corridors. Barely any light coming from the old lamps hanging on a long wire that goes through the whole length of the walls. She eventually manages to find narrow stairs and climbs out of a hole at the end of it. She was lucky the escape-hatch was open. With the little strength she had left, she wouldn’t be able to open it by herself. And she didn’t really feel like asking for help from the bleeding out solder boy.
She looks around, her steps slow and cautious. She moves her arm to her face, shielding her face from the heat of the sun. Blinking with force. The air was dry and low wind brushed against her skin. Sand lifting and dancing by her feet. She was really thankful for the shoes because she could tell that the ground would be like walking on a frying pan in this heat wave. She holds a steady grip on her gun, while looking in every direction. Her gaze falls on the dull scenery and finally drops on the jeep. Its old and used but definitely looked like it was up and running.
She reaches it, eyes still scanning the area.
She sees the fence with the barbed wire on top and smirks. Like that could hold her. Then she looks at the gate, it’s opened. She shakes her head. So much for professionalism. The idiot didn’t even lock the gate. But then again, this was a deserted place and hardly ever anyone wandered of here. Only a couple of scumbags that felt like playing with their captive... other than that, the place was empty. Something in her gut telling her that he came here alone and there was no one else watching over.
She looks down at the car and notices empty big bottles of water, all except two. One full and the other used in half. She picks it up and doesn’t even care if there is acid in it. She opens it and drinks greedily. Finishing the bottle in just seconds. She takes one more steady sip from the other one and uses a little to wash her face. It feels so good. She is tempted to drink the water from the other bottle but quickly throws that idea away. She knew better than that. Besides she had a long way back and she didn't know when she would get the next chance to drink something... She sighs as her stomach starts to rumble as it practically sticks to her back. Mmm, I forgot about you.
She sits in the car, puts the keys in the ignition and sighs with relief when the engine roars into life. She speeds up and rushes through the gates without a moment of hesitation. Dust flying in the air and covering her sweated skin with dirt. She doesn’t even notice. She opens up the glove compartment and sees a pair of thick sunglasses. She puts them on and smiles with satisfaction. Time for a new plan and a new place to stay in. Maybe by the seaside? Perhaps. But first some payback... well, as soon as she licks all of her wounds away, sinking in a dark corner somewhere. But she will be back. No worries.
Stronger and with a much thicker skin.
From ” J ” , who decided to show up when I wasn’t expecting it.
It’s always a fun experience to meet someone from your profession. Dangerous, prone to catastrophe, risky? Perhaps. Accelerating, pumping adrenaline in the veins? Most certainly. After meeting up with mister Frederick Uri Kristen. I was left with an overdose of energy, my mind wired up like a computer.
After a short break in Switzerland, she came back to the “office” and made sure she got some extra information, on her new friend, Freddy. The information that she found, were intriguing, yet not sufficient enough to give her a better picture of him. She knew that this man had a quite impressive reputation and always got his work done... even if his method might sometimes be a bit dramatic and too imaginative for her.
She preferred to do the job fast and clean. Untraceable. That was her method and she always stuck with it. Even if sometimes she might make a little spectacle, if her target was known for his deep cruelty for people that couldn’t defend themselves.
Eyes closed, she remembers Clair standing in that dark alley. She remembers her fear and a cold ice in the eyes of the killer. She cringes and calms herself down in just a matter of seconds. That case was over. The guy ten feet under. She inhales deeply. Usually, she has a faint memory of the victims face. There had been so many. Yet that man’s face really stood out in her mind. Yes, close relations, always stood out with the other memories. She shakes her head, stares at the file and puts it away on the desk.
She stares at the woman behind the desk. At her blonde hair, smooth lines and a professional look. The woman looks harmless behind the big stack of papers, and delicate glasses covering her deep blue eyes. This one not only had the looks, the brains but also the training better than the Navy Seals. “J” smiles and pushes the file forward.
Thank you, Marie. You have been a lot of help.
The woman looks up, for a moment distracted, fixing her glasses a bit to the left and smiles calmly.
Always a pleasure Jane, let me know if you need anything more... oh, and Jane, honey?
Make sure to visit us more often and not just for information and to get the paycheck.
The woman’s smile widens as she stares at the “J”, one of the best and most dangerous paid assassins with pure innocence. The tall and slim brunette looks back, pretends to show a stern expression but soon the sides of her lips quiver and she gives the other woman a huge grin.
Why Marie, you know very well that I handle my finances through a private account... I only come here for the pleasure of your company and the hot mess that people here call coffee.
The woman waves her hand in the air dismissingly and makes a gesture as if shooing Jane off and getting back to work. New assignments ready to be sent. Big money and lives about to be ended “flying around” behind the slick flat screen.
Our assassin walks away slowly and just shakes her head.
You know you love me anyway...
Marie looks up with a stern expression of her own, ready to give a little scolding, but notice the office is now completely empty and “J” is nowhere to be found. The woman shakes her head as well.