Last Week’s FFF: We Are Young
Yes, I’m an assassin. There doesn’t tend to be many females in this job. The men that kill are looked at as soldiers in an underground war, or at least action heroes. But the women, well, there must be some tragic origin story there. Shrinks and spectators go-to explanation for my line of work is that I must have suffered some terrible trauma. They assume that I was abused, or witnessed some grizzly crime as a child. But those things didn’t happen. I was never exposed to violence, I wasn’t picked on, and my family, well, they were basically indifferent to my existence. If I had to pinpoint a cause for my specific outlook on life, I’d have to go with that.
My family specialized in casual neglect. There wasn’t any malice, they weren’t mean, they just had their own lives. They never planned on having a child, and when I came along, that didn’t really change things. They fed me, clothed me, made sure that I went to school, at first, anyway. Once I was old enough, I took care of myself. I also kept to myself. It’s difficult to relate to ten-year-olds when, even though you’re the same age, you’re playing the role of a adult.
My parents didn’t believe in excess. If I wasn’t starving, then they’d done their job. I didn’t need a hundred dollar shoes, I just wanted to buy my lunch at school sometimes. Some kids might be picky, but I couldn’t live on cheese sandwiches.
I took odd jobs, here and there, convincing people to pay me under the table since I was too young to work. But it always ended the same, with me getting fired. For all of my skills, I’ve never been able to do customer service.
So I began working alternative jobs. You might say that I fell in with a bad crowd. I’d say that I found my calling. As a young girl, my employer wanted me to start small. But I didn’t need to be taught how to steal, and I didn’t need to be paid for it either. Stealing bored me. If I was going to do that, I might as well go it alone. I toned up, puberty hit and I grew, and before long, I was ready to get my hands dirty.
I spent most of my teens working for that employer. Back then, it was all beat-downs and threats. No wet works. Then he went and got himself arrested, and I was out of a job. I figured my best bet would be to join the military. I learned a lot about weapons and hand to hand combat, real fighting, but I didn’t last long. The authority, the structure, it wasn’t for me. I was dishonorably discharged.
Shortly after, I was approached by a man who said he could use someone like me. He made me an offer, with more zero’s than I’d ever seen before, and I took him up on it. I didn’t know if he worked for the government, a mob boss, or was himself a serial killer. None of those options would have surprised me. Truth was, I didn’t care who he worked for. Who I now worked for. A job was a job, and I couldn’t argue with the pay.
My first kill was anti-climatic. I shot a man in the head from a rooftop. I didn’t feel any different after. I wasn’t remorseful, I wasn’t exhilarated. I had done my job. That was it. The second kill was more personal. I stabbed the man in his throat. Blood sprayed across me and the room, and I was only inches away when he died. But I still felt the nothingness. There was no more satisfaction than knowing my job was done.
I went on this way for five years. Killing indiscriminately and living my life in self-imposed seclusion. I never questioned who the job was. I never wondered what they had done to deserve to die, or if they deserved to die. Men, women, none of that mattered to me. Life and death was all part of the same cycle. It was natural. I was just doing my part.
I thought I’d continue doing my part until I was too old to do my job and had retired. Or until I was caught and executed by the state. Whether that would be in a prison or a blaze of gunfire, I didn’t know, but I hoped for gunfire.
That was how I expected life to be.
But then, a kill went bad. Not because I failed to do my job, but because this time, this kill, I couldn’t. When I stared into the resigned eyes of that ten-year-old boy that I had been sent to kill, I hesitated. There was something about the way that he accepted his fate. He was older than his age and ready to be put down. He intrigued me in a way that no one had before him. I had to know more. I had to know why they were ready to kill him and why he was ready to die. But to do that, I had to protect him and let him live.
That was when I became the job.
It will only be a matter of time until someone else comes looking for satisfaction. But I won’t let that happen.