Book 2 – Ch.#9 “Are you ready to follow the rules now?”
…Rule number one… obedience. Always follow the orders from the boss. No questions asked.
I’d broken that rule. I knew I was breaking it the moment I’d chosen to run that night. I knew it would land me here. And yet I still did it.
I pulled my body upright from the old bed, more sluggish than I would have liked, and hated how I still felt so sore from the injuries inflicted several days earlier.
‘Days’. That was the key word.
That was how long I’d been trapped in here, alone with my thoughts as it forced me to reflect on every decision I’d made leading to this point.
Because, at its core, that was the true punishment.
It wasn’t the pain. No, that was always over quickly. Gavin did a great job of making sure the damage inflicted was swift yet efficient. Always enough to get the point across and never seeming to even flinch as he did what he did. But it was the psychological punishment that truly made it horrific. … ‘Days’.
I’d been in here… for days.
In pain. Wondering how I’d managed to convince myself that running had been worth it. Wondering how much longer it would take before punishment was finally over.
And now this was the first thing spoken to me after all that time. This voice of my father on the other side of the door, asking if I was ‘ready to follow the rules’. Yes, I was ready
Of course, I was ready.
I was about ready to do anything, to say anything, if it meant finally getting out of here. I’d learnt my lesson the minute Gavin had ripped me from my bed. There was only one authority in my life and that was my father. It had always been my father. …Someone I just wanted to be free of.
I forced that thought away as quickly as it sprung to mind. It was thoughts exactly like that which led me to this moment. Testing the patience of a man who had none. I wasn’t exempt from the rules because of our relationship. If anything, this punishment had been necessary. I’d clearly become too complacent in its absence and needed the reminder.
Really, it was my fault.
All my fault.
“Raven?” prompted my father. Slowly, I swung my legs out of the bed and stood up, taking a deep breath. The first one I’d done in so long, my chest having felt too sore earlier. …And I committed to this decision to obey.
To obey *him*. “…I’m ready,” I replied. It didn’t take long before I heard it. The sound of a key clinking for a few seconds before the satisfying click of the lock. Within moments, I found myself face-to-face with my father after all this time.
“Good,” he said, entering the room towards me. “Because there is work to be done.”
…Already? So soon?
But, no, that was another incorrect thought. I should be thinking ‘thank you’, praising how lucky I was to be given another chance. This was a good thing for me. A moment to redeem myself. A moment to show that I was still loyál:
My father held out a manilla folder towards me and I took it, giving a small nod to show how
grateful I was. Forcing myself to believe that very thing.
“It’s a clean-up job,” he simply said. “You know what to do.”
…And, of course, I knew only too well.
Within the hour, I had packed my things and gotten dressed. A black attire that made it impossible for anyone to recognise me; this being accomplished via a moveable cloth mask that could be pulled up to cover both my neck and lower face.
That was one of the most important things when completing a mission like this. Making sure that no one saw me. Or, at least, if they did, then ensuring that they wouldn’t remember my face.
After all, no one wanted to be recognised at a murder scene.
I left my house and swiftly started heading to the location, choosing to stick to the shadows of the night and alleys along the way. Thankfully, my speed and strength made the journey easier, but I’d be lying if I said my injuries weren’t interfering at all. Truthfully, even back in the fresh air and with slightly faster healing, I knew I would still need another day or so before I fully recovered.
But I persevered regardless. Running with only the intent in mind of proving myself to my father. Telling myself that nothing else mattered. I made it to the location perfectly on time, intending to enter the run-down looking apartment complex, but as I did so, I felt something that wasn’t just the ache of my injuries. It was a burning in my mind, the start of a headache. Similar to what I’d experienced on the
night of the charity event. One I wished would never return. And yet here it was again, now of all times.
I gritted my teeth against the pain and pushed through it. This wasn’t the time and I could deal with it later once the job was done. For now, I just needed to focus on my mission.
And so I slipped through the front door silently, making no noise. That had been the easy part; entering the public area without being noticed. It was late at night but not late enough that people wouldn’t still be around, coming home from the local pubs and bars. Yet I knew this wasn’t that big of a deal when this side of town was as neglected as this apartment’s security was lacking.
A straightforward job, all things considered.
I hadn’t been given much information. Just a first name, a brief description, a time and a location. I hadn’t wanted to press for more details since it wasn’t something I needed to know. Not to mention that I didn’t want to push my luck, having broken rule number one this week already. Rule number one; obedience. Always follow the orders from the boss. No questions asked.’
There was no need to undergo another reminder so soon.
I silently made my way up the stairs, choosing to avoid the elevator, until I finally came upon the room I was looking for; apartment thirty-six. Located conveniently around the corner and somewhat away from the eyes of anyone arriving via the elevator. But the burning in my head hadn’t subsided, something I was doing my best to ignore. In fact, it made lockpicking the front door harder as concentrating became increasingly more difficult.
Just a little bit longer though. I had to hold out for just a little bit longer….
Inside, I could hear sounds coming from a T.V. and smelt the scent of someone located in the same direction. This almost guaranteeing the target’s exact position. All I needed to do was sneak up and end this quickly. A job that should be simple enough to complete with the new dagger I’d acquired from the armoury.
I took a few cautious steps, testing the floor for any weakness that may create sound, and proceeded to move. Moving closer until –
-You don’t have to….!
Out of nowhere, a faint voice suddenly spoke behind me, and I instantly crouched to the ground defensively…
…Only no one was there. Where the hell had that come from? It was almost like a whisper and yet I’d heard it so clearly. As if it were right next to me. As if they were close enough to touch.
But it wasn’t just a voice. Like a needle in my brain, a new pain pierced me and caused me to wince. Making it more difficult to focus as I looked around, frantically trying to spot the source. Searching for whoever had spoken.
…And yet there was definitely nothing there. Only the muffled sounds of people speaking on the T.V could now be heard, along with some light snores coming from the armchair in front of it. A confirmation that whoever had spoken. it wasn’t stemming from the man I was here to see. A man by the name of Noah. I persisted through the pain and stood back up, walking to behind the armchair. Moving quietly until I stood right behind the man who fit the description given.
It was now or never.
I lifted my arm and aimed my dagger, going for a spot that would make this quick. There was no need to cause unnecessary pain, I just needed to
You don’t have to do this… You don’t need to be….!
There it was again.
I instantly spun around and lashed my dagger out towards the voice, hoping to silence whoever it was once and for all. To stop the intense, sharp pain it seemed to bring me. To make it stop haunting me.
…And yet only empty air filled the space around me.
No, there was no one there… but I thought I knew what was wrong now. The same thing that had been messing with my head only days earlier.
… It was that drug
The drug that Kieran Lycroft had given me.
The effects of whatever he’d done to me must have still been in my system. Now, it was interfering with my work. Scaring me out of doing what I needed to do.
Just what kind of drug could do this though? Or was I wrong and I simply was just losing my mind finally? Had this last punishment been the straw that finally made me break? But I didn’t get a chance to think on it further as I was dragged back into reality, the sound of another mistake waiting to happen then snapping me from my thoughts. “W-what the f**k?” someone yelled. “Who the hell are you?!” …Ah, s**t. I turned around once more and, sure enough, there was Noah. Awake. Watching me in his living room. Able to scream for help and cause other loud commotions to alert people nearby that something was wrong.
Would I really be facing punishment twice in one week?
But I quickly tried to not think of the consequences and focused instead on what I could do now. Letting the thoughts of failure fill me were only going to make this worse. Because I would be successful this time. I had to be. Moving faster than he probably expected, I lunged towards him and immediately tackled him to the ground. The thud was thankfully softened somewhat by a carpet he had, but it didn’t do anything to stop him from flailing around. I just needed to finish this quickly before-.
-You don’t have to do this… You don’t need
“Shut the f**k up!” I screamed at the voice.
My grip tightened on my dagger as I held it against the man’s throat. The whites in his eyes were now so clear as he froze under the touch of my blade. “Please… please don’t do this…,” he whimpered pathetically from under me.
But it was too late to plead for his life. Whatever he’d done to p**s off my father, I knew this was now a result of his own making. If only the situation happening to me internally was as simple as that logic though. …It doesn’t have to be like thi—,’ it continued, but I instantly cut it off, yelling whatever I could just to drown it out.
“Shut up, shut up, shut up!”
I shook my head and gritted my teeth, trying to just get this over with and ignore the conflicting emotions that both the voice and man were creating inside me. Never before had I ever questioned my father on who deserved to die. So why was this suddenly so difficult now? “Please, just take whatever you want,” Noah cried. “I don’t have much but please… please don’t kill me.”
What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I do it?
It was like my hand was frozen, unable to make the final strike. He was right there. Helpless to move even an inch for fear of my knife biting him. This should have been so simple.
And yet it was as though there was something inside, blocking me from finishing this. “Ma’am… please. Please—.”
– You don’t have to…’
The voices continued to speak at once, making it difficult to think….
But it didn’t take long before I couldn’t take it anymore.
A growl ripped from my chest in response, instantly making Noah flinch and whimper some more. An animalistic, guttural noise that held a threat within its tone alone. However, it wasn’t sounded because I was following through with iny orders finally… rather, it was done in defeat.
With a quick flick of my wrist, I spun the dagger around and proceeded to use the hilt to strike the man’s head. A move intended to make him pass out… not kill him.
…Because I couldn’t do it.
I was once again unable to complete a mission. And it wasn’t anyone’s fault except my own.
Somehow, I’d had the perfect opportunity to fix things between my father and I, but I wasn’t strong enough. Or maybe I really was just going crazy. With the last bit of my frustration, I embedded the dagger into the armchair, my breathing heavy as I came to terms with what this meant for me.
I was broken… sick… or maybe just too weak for this job. Perhaps all of the above. But either
way, tonight, I was a failure.
I sat on the floor for several minutes, contemplating what to do next and had ideas swim through my mind. A few times I even tried holding the dagger to his throat again, urging myself to just do it… but failed every time to go through with it. The more time that passed, the more I became angrier, frustrated, and it wasn’t long before new thoughts began to fill my head.
Ones… I wasn’t meant to think of because it wasn’t part of my assignment tonight. However, given the circumstances, there was only one way to fix what was wrong with me so I could fulfil my mission. To find a cure for the problems I’d experienced since that night of the charity event.
…I would just need to go back and eliminate this from the source.
And, this time, I wouldn’t run away.
Book 2 – Ch.#9 “Are you ready to follow the rules now?”