Saturday, March 26, 2011

Part 6

The next day, Talia emerged from her room as bright as the early morning sun that was rising lazily over Rome. She had already called her sleepy friend, Kristy, and arranged for them to meet at their secret spot at 7:00. She had hesitantly agreed, but she was only staying to see what Talia had to show her, she warned. Talia left a note on the kitchen bench explaining her early absence and hurried along the dirt brick road that trailed from her house to their meeting spot.

She had found that place when she was about six years old. She had been exploring the worn tracks with her mum, eventually become bored, and ran into the bush. There, with her frantic mother stumbling behind her, she had found what she had thought back then to be a magic glen. There were trees, shrubs and ferns covering the fertile ground all around it, but in between them, was a kind of ring. It was complete with a hollow trunk of an old oak and a miniature cave that went surprisingly far and deep. She had walked back to her fretting mother in a sort of trance, still captured by the glens beauty. Now, only her and Kristy knew about it.

Or so she had thought.

It was nearing 7:15 when she arrived at the ring, with an impatient Kristy sitting on the sturdy trunk. “So,” Kristy asked, trying to anticipate what she had to show her. “What is it?”

Talia fell onto the space next to her friend and started with her story. “Well, yesterday when I came home, my parents were waiting for me, ‘coz they wanted to show me something…” She trailed off, realising something she hadn’t in the heat of excitement. She didn’t want to tell Kristy. Kristy; her best, most trusted friend. For how long had they known each other, and told the other one their deepest, darkest secrets? But she couldn’t even tell her about the power, the rush from last night? Or gush about the dagger that was concealed in the side pocket of her red hoddie?

No, it wasn’t that she wanted to keep the news to herself, but because she wanted to protect Kristy. What if magic was real? What then? Would she rush into it, dragging everyone she knew and loved in with her? No, she couldn’t bring herself to do that. If one of them even got hurt, she’d never be able to forgive herself…

“Um…yes? What did they show you, Talia?” She realised Kristy was waiting for her to go on, with a quizzical look on her face. She searched for something to say.

“And, um…oh yeah! They wanted to show me an idea of theirs. Like, a list that I could write on to tell them what I wanted for my birthday.”

For a while Kristy just stared at her. Then, she jumped and almost knocked Talia down in a hug. “Oh of course! Talia, your birthday! How could I have forgot?” She squealed, like the bubbly, ignorant, innocent Kristy she was. For a while Talia was locked in a hug while Kristy gushed about her birthday, presents and parties. She wasn’t really listening anymore. Those things would have probably have mattered to her back then, but now? Now she had unlocked a new power, a new life. A new world.

Finally, they started walking away from their secret glen, unaware of the pair of eyes that were following them.

They were on the highway, on the path to Kristy’s house when the car slammed into Talia and zoomed back down the highway, leaving an unhinged Kristy by the side of a fatally injured Talia. She heard Kristy sobbing by her side, the sirens wailing, drawing closer and then she blacked out.


“Uh…hello?” Rosella was shaking Nyx uneasily. “…Person? We’re here.”

“Mmm?” Nyx mumbled as she sat up. She realised she must have rested her head on the window and fallen asleep. Probably not a good move in front of another assassin she hardly knew.

“Let’s go, sleepyhead!” Rosella grinned, pushing Nyx towards the door. She grabbed her belongings and stumbled out the door, Rosella following swiftly behind.

“So,” Nyx said casually as they walked towards a frost-sprinkled park. “Where are you taking me captive?”

Rosella glanced at her and shook her head. “I’m not taking you captive. You’re free to come and go as you wish.”

“So how did you know I was there when I was?” Nyx challenged her, elbowing her playfully.

“I didn’t,” Rosella replied, jabbing her back. “I saw a person at the side of a road and asked the taxi to stop, so I could check it out. When I saw you…well, I just knew you were one of us.”

“Us?” Nyx asked, prodding her again.

“Assassins,” Rosella waved her hand around the air, gesturing to the early morning sky, before jabbing her finger into Nyx’s side, making her giggle hysterically. “Ninjas, whatever. You saw it too in me, didn’t you?”

“Yeah,” Nyx admitted, as they came to a stop. They had come to a rusted garage door with a chain and lock wrapped firmly around it. But that wasn’t the only protection: Nyx could sense the binding spell wrapped even more firmly around the door than the padlock. Rosella leaned and muttered something, before taking a key out of her jeans pocket and unlocking the lock.

She turned and grinned to Nyx. “Welcome to my grand estate garage-hotel-thingy!” She cried grandly, sweeping her hand around the room as Nyx stepped inside and dropped her bags down.

“We have one bathroom complete with a shower, toilet and a cracked mirror, this lovely room with an AMAZING view of the tin walls and…uh…this door that is sealed, locked and barred in every way you can imagine for maximum security!”

“I’m loving it already,” Nyx muttered as she surveyed the room, checking if there was any room for a trap or another person to fit through and wait for her. Seeing only a few scattered mattresses, a dimly lit light, and a door that must lead to the bathroom, she drew her attention back to her over excited companion.

“So…what do you want to do now?” Rosella asked awkwardly. She looked at her. Nyx stared right back. Then they both cut through the silence in unison.

“Poking war!” They exclaimed and started poking, prodding and jabbing one another until they both on the floor, trying to catch a breath between their giggles. Eventually, Nyx hauled herself up and Rosella was quick to follow.

“So will you tell me your name NOW?” She asked, her grin so big that it looked like it was about to devour her face.

“Nope,” Nyx replied brightly, and swept past a frowning Rosella to the door.

“Where are you going? You just got here!” Rosella exclaimed curiously.

“I know, but there is some, uh, unfinished business I have left to do…”

“You mean killing,” Nyx turned around slowly to see a solemn look on Rosella’s face: something she had not seen yet.

“Yeah,” she said, her voice softening. “I’ll be back soon…hopefully.”

She turned back and left the garage, swinging the door behind her. She couldn’t let herself become attached to anyone, she scolded herself. What had happened to all the others she had cared for? Her mum…father…Kristy…Tesseract…

She wouldn’t stay for long. It was just another room for her to stop and revive at. Like any other hotel room. She shook her head and continued on her way. She arrived a few minutes later at the old roof top café, and flipped out her phone that was still working, despite being with her when she swam for a full hour. She knew the number off by heart.

“Nyx?” Dusk’s voice answered at the end.

“We might have a bit of a problem,” Nyx jumped straight into the news. “Meet me at the roof top café place now. See you then.” She hung up without waiting for a response.

Five minutes later, Dusk joined her on the balcony.

“Are they dead?” He asked. “All of them?”

“Not exactly,” Nyx replied, and jumped to her story. He nodded at the end.

“So, you couldn’t see any features behind the coat and hat?” He asked.

She shook her head. “I only know that he was BIG. Really big.”

He nodded again. “We will see to that. For now, think of Aquila as a side case, it’s too risky to take action now. There are two cases that I need you to concentrate on now. I think that these two demand more immediate action. They all work together. Do not underestimate them. They are all dangerous in their own way…” He handed her two files and left as swiftly as he had come. It used to frighten her that he could sneak up on her without her knowing but now it was…well, just as terrifying as before. Maybe even more. She looked down at the files. Two new names that burned into her head. Two more faces to join the rest that were haunting her.

March Pathway and Israel Elysium…

She stepped down onto the road, hating how she wasn’t able to hide in the shadows, like at night. A car passed by. Two more, and then a yellow taxi. She glanced in the mirror, and caught a glimpse of a tiny girl with amazing hair that was a burnt red to a charcoal black. She couldn’t see her eyes clearly, but she was willing to bet that they were a perfect crystal blue. She followed the cab intently, pulling her sunglasses closer to her eyes, and her hoddie further down. If she could catch this one alone, she’d have a better chance then going solo against two, or even four. That’s what she missed most about the days before. Never being alone, always with someone close by… But now she was older and stronger. She had chosen magic over a normal life. No, she corrected herself; magic had chosen her out of everyone else. The taxi swerved to the side of a tall, dark building. Nyx had just jumped behind a near-by oak when March stepped delicately out of the vehicle. Nyx watched as she ascended the front steps and banged obnoxiously loud with the gold knocker. A minute later, muffled voice came out from the other side.

“What’s the password?”

“Ha ha. Hilarious, now let me in!” Came March’s reply.

The door cracked open to reveal…

“Ah hell,” Nyx whispered.

Kallista Pendragon, Dragona Pine and Aquila Felis all stood crowded in the doorway, shifting out of the way to let March through. Nyx could bet that Bridget was somewhere inside, as well, and maybe even this Israel person… She crept along the side of the house, stopping just below a window as she heard voices.

“So, did you make it here ok?” That was Kallista’s voice.

March replied; quick and short. “Yep, no one attacked on the way,”

“Where do you think Dusk has sent the assassins?” That was a new voice, lighter and softer than the others. Nyx decided it was Aquila speaking.

“Straight after us. He only sends the best after people who he knows are threats to him,” The deeper, booming voice of Dragona cut through Aquila’s soft voice, and Nyx remembered the despair in his eyes…

“And we’re a threat. A huge threat.” Kallista finished for Dragona.

Nyx frowned. Sure, they must know how they would be chased after, but how did they know it was Dusk? And who was the bad guy here?

Nyx didn’t trust Dusk, but then, she didn’t trust anyone anymore. She had always believed that she had been doing the right thing for her. For her family.

“So now what?” That was March again.

“We go to Elysium Asylum, meet Israel and Bridget, and figure out what to do next,”

Nyx turned to leave. She had a lot of names, and more information than Dusk probably had. Israel and Bridget were somewhere where the others were going. Some place called Elysium Asylum. All she had to do was follow them, corner the victims one by one, and get the job done.

Except it never is that easy…

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Part 5

A knock on her door made Nyx spring out of her bed.

Thump, thump, thump…

She tossed her few belongings into her watertight bag, and opened the window.

Thump, thump, THUMP!

“Open up!” A familiar voice came through the other side of the door. “Come out NOW! We know you’re in there…”

Nyx clambered out the window and dived into the ocean, just before the door slammed down and Dragona Pine stumbled through, with Kallista Pendragon and Bridget Whiplash following. But by that time it was too late, Nyx was already swimming away.

About an hour later, a bedraggled Nyx lay on the rocky shores of Irelands coast. She tripped over her feet several times, on the deserted highway of Haggard. After a while, she collapsed; too exhausted to do anything. A pair of headlights rushed towards her, blinding her grey eyes that were accustomed to the darkness. It could be anyone, she thought, it could be Dragona, come to take me away…or kill me. But she didn’t believe that he would kill her, which was probably very hypocritical of her. If killing wasn’t below a 16-year-old girl, then why shouldn’t it be for an older man? But still Nyx knew somewhere inside her, that he wouldn’t, no, couldn’t kill her. Not because he liked her, not at all, but because it would be wrong and unfair for him to kill her now…

Her eyes squinted, trying to make out the people inside the car as it stopped next to her. It turned out that the car was a taxi of some sort. She dragged herself to her feet as the passenger door opened with an impatient teenager, about the same age as her, sitting inside. They both folded their arms and studied one another.

“Well?” The teenager said eventually with a sarcastic tinge to it. “Are you coming in or not?”

Nyx looked at her straight in the eyes. They were a deep turquoise, like an ocean at storm. They held back secrets and certain wariness… Just like hers, and any other assassins. “I’d like to know who I am meeting, first.” She said, her voice hesitant.

The girl grinned. “You have the great pleasure of meeting Rosella Embers,” she glanced at the front of the taxi. “And on annoyed taxi driver.”

“Charmed, I’m sure,” Nyx replied, as she slid into the seat and plopped her bag under her feet. “So I guess you aren’t going to reveal your name to me?” Rosella asked as they drove away.



The taxi headed off, going who knows where, for all she knew, Rosella could be sending her to Dragona. Nyx thought of the look she had saw in those eyes and decided she was safe from that, at least.

“Are you going to kill me?” Nyx whispered to Rosella. The girl laughed and tossed her thick, brown hair behind her shoulders. “No, not you. I’m taking you to my hide out…not my home, but…it’ll do.” Nyx saw that distant look in her eyes, and knew instantly that she wanted to go home too, to leave the blood and death behind. She almost hugged her.


Dawn was coming, the sun rising lazily on the horizon. Nyx wasn’t sure, but she thought maybe, just maybe, Rosella could be a good friend to her…

Well, for a killer.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Part 4

As soon as her coffee arrived, -and Dusk left- Nyx scanned her files. There were three this week, and next Sunday was the deadline. She flipped through the pictures and descriptions when a note slipped out of the envelope. She picked it up, recognizing the neat, loopy writing belonging to Dusk. It read:


I know that this is unlike me, but I have started to name the cases. It was only before when you were still new to it that I was concerned that you would have a hard time "knowing" the victims.

He didn't even have to sign it- the letter belonged to him. She really looked at the files now. Sure enough, the victim’s names were on it. Strikel Murmur...Olivia Garnet.........Aquila Felis...

Nothing to worry about. Just three people who would be dead in the next week.

The first person -Strikel Murmur- was an easy kill. He was in a cheap apartment with creaky doors and rusted tiles. She slipped through the other rooms (they were all attached to one another) and slit his throat with her dagger before he had time to scream. The next victim -Olivia Garnet- was obviously someone who liked to think of herself as someone of a higher class. She died in the black stretch limo with tinted windows that she had hired.

And it was only Wednesday.

But there was one more...Aquila.

There wasn't much information on her, there was her power: a shape shifter, her age: 17, her possible location: somewhere in Berlin, Germany, and a blurry picture of her. She had long, brown hair and matching eyes that were like two big o’s.

She was off to Germany.

Nyx sighed. “Really?” She thought to herself, “Dublin and now Germany?” She tossed her hair that was dangling in front of her eyes. “It doesn’t matter,” She reminded herself. “By doing this I’m taking one more step towards home.”

Then why did it feel like she was taking a step back?

Nyx was in the tiny, almost empty airport waiting for her delayed flight when she heard the first gunshot. That was then followed with a series of unending bullets. All she could do was duck under a table close to her to cover her body from the hail of bullets. When she had been brought up again, she had heard that even though they were superior beings and magic, didn’t mean that they were invincible. She curled up under the table for what seemed like hours, as she heard the shots thundering down, the strangled cries of the unfortunate people who were exposed to the guns. Finally, the buckets of gunshots ceased and after waiting for 3 minutes, Nyx crept out of her hiding wondering why no one else was out. That’s when she realized that everyone else was dead.

Bodies lay everywhere, littering the floor. Blank eyes stared up at the ceiling. Except for the dark man on the opposite side of the room. She couldn’t see his face; it was covered in the shadow of his wide-brimmed hat. He held two massive pistols in both hands. Nyx stayed where she was, aware that he must already know that she was there. Then why wasn’t he shooting? Suddenly, he threw both guns at her and they landed at her feet. She flinched as they hit the ground, expecting them to go off, but as she looked at them more closely, she saw that they had the safety on. Without another thought, Nyx dived onto the guns, grasping them both tightly in her hands and flicking the safety off. Her hands shot up, searching for the man’s chest. But he wasn’t there anymore. She glanced at the window and realized what had happened. Cursing, she told herself that she shouldn’t have let him distract her.

At that point, the door burst open, with two people, a man and a girl, running in. Nyx ducked under the table again, hoping that they wouldn’t check her reliable hiding spot. The man searched the room, scanning his eyes over all the dead bodies and hung his head. “We’re too late, Bridget,” he whispered. “So many lives…” The girl, Bridget, placed her hand on his shoulder. “It’s not your fault,” she insisted. “The message came in too late.” Nyx widened her eyes in surprise. The girl was a vampire. After awhile, the two walked around, inspecting the damage. “Were they killed by magic?” The man asked. Bridget shook her head. “No, bullets. Can you see the holes?” Crouching down near one of the people, the man nodded. They started walking again, drawing uncomfortably close to Nyx. She had to leave now! She looked at the open window. If she could just make it there… The vampire gasped, and Nyx saw what she must have spotted. The edge of her leather jacket was sticking out, in plain sight. They started approaching the table, the man drawing out a gun, Bridget was starting to bare her fangs. “Come out, we know you’re there,” the man warned. “Come out with your hands up and we won’t hurt you…”

“They’re so not going to buy that.” Bridget snapped. Nyx moved into a crouching position. She had to catch them by surprise, not the other way around… She could see the man frowning at the vampire. “Be quiet!” He hissed, “Do you really think that they can’t hear u-“ He was cut off from the thick, wooden table crashing down on them. They both leaped back, Nyx took this as an opportunity for her escape. She ran to the window, dodging the new bullets that came for her. “STOP!” He could hear the man chasing her now, his gun still firing those bullets. “Dragona! Wait!” There was another person joining the chase now, but this one was impossibly fast. “Stop! We have to deal with this, she’s got the head-start on us now, can’t you see?” She came to the window, not even bothering to stop as she leapt through. She had to keep going! She didn’t dare look back until she was at the end of the street. Through the window, she saw Dragona with his shoulders slumped and Bridget standing next to him, staring right back at her. Nyx turned around the corner. All she could do was run, but thoughts still buzzed through her mind. Who were those two? Were they part of the group that Kallista had mentioned? Who was that man? Why hadn’t he killed her? And why, WHY had he framed her?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Moving down the darkest alley Nyx could find, she slipped from the rooftop she had just been on top of. She moved swiftly, yet so silent, no human ear could have heard her.

But a magic-wielder’s could.

The silhouette stood out at the opening of the building. Nyx could tell it was a magic-wielder, even from a distance. She stepped warily through the rest of the alley, aware that they could now see and hear her. It seemed like the only reasonable option, if she turned around, or climbed up the wall, then she would seem scared. If she stayed where she was, then, surely, the figure would come to her, she had the higher hand if she came to them. There was no going back.

Of course, she could kill them, if she wanted to, but it was better to avoid that. She didn’t need anymore spare bodies to deal with. As she came closer and closer, Nyx realised that the “it” was actually a “she”. Was she as deadly as Nyx was? As she took one step closer, it was obvious that it was one-step too many. She barely had time to leap out of the way as the mysterious female swung her samurai sword around her. Cursing under her breath, Nyx looked up to see the girl grinning broadly, her teeth gleaming like her sword. “Hi Nyx,” she said cheerfully. “I’m Kallista Pendragon, I’ve been sent to give you a message, if you’re okay with that.” Seeing as Nyx was not going to say anything, she continued. “My companions would like you to join us, and leave whatever it is you are doing right now. If you come with us, then none of you’re past will be held against you.”

“And why,” asked Nyx coolly. “Would I want to do that?”

“I thought you’d ask that.” Kallista chirped, not losing her merry tone. “That’s what I’d ask if I was you, I think. So I prepared a list of reasons why you should. One: you’d be fighting crime, doing some good in the world. Two: there’d be tons of fights, testing you’re skills. Three…” She studied Nyx’s face for a second; quickly catching on that she didn’t have to hear all of what she said. Why hadn’t she killed her yet? That was what was buzzing around in Nyx’s head. She could strike out right now, stop her cheerful talking. But she didn’t. Maybe it was because her happy talk was something that amused her, it was hardly like she heard it everyday. “Well…I’ll just skip the rest, you get the idea. But you know, the part I like best,” she lowered her voice, so that Nyx had to lean in to hear what she was saying. “Is that it’s like a family. Maybe not biologically, but still. We’re all in it together.” Nyx laughed at that part. Even though some small part of her tugged at her chest with longing for a family again. Those kinds of thoughts were dangerous to even think about. She shouldn’t feel. She couldn’t feel. Not when your daily routine was based on slaying innocent people for a living. “That sounds like some terrible line from a Disney movie.”

“I know,” Kallista’s smile grew bigger, if possible. “But it’s true. And secretly, you want it to be true.”

She was right, but Nyx couldn’t let herself give in to those feelings. Not yet, anyway. “Listen,” she said. “I have to be somewhere now, so I don’t have time for team motivators, or whatever.”

“Just think about it,” Kallista insisted. “You might change your mind soon. Each of us has our own struggle…you might even find you like it with us. Here’s my card,” she said handing a small piece of white paper. “You can call me whenever.” And with that, she leaped onto the nearest roof, bounding away at an astonishing pace. Nyx looked down at the card (well, card might have been an overstatement). It was just a piece of paper with a number hastily scribbled on. Nyx sighed and stuffed it in the pocket inside her jacket.

She stepped into the dimly lit street, and made her way to the old red café. Although it was late in the afternoon, the clouds shrouded any sunlight that dared to peek through. She made here way to the far table in the corner, sitting down on one of the cushioned seats. She ordered a coffee, to not look suspicious and waited. About a minute later, Dusk stepped into the café, and headed towards her. He sat across from her with a brief case in his hand. Nyx knew that it would be holding her pay check, files for her next victim, and his syringes to stop him from ripping his client’s throats out at night.

“I assume they’re dead?” He asked as soon as he sat.

“Wow, you really cut to the point,” Nyx remarked, arching an eyebrow. He shrugged.

“I really don’t see the point, so yes?” She nodded. “In that case, you deserve this,” He slid the envelope -he had somehow got out of the briefcase without making a sound- over to her. He pulled out the files as she grasped it. One more step to getting back home. “You’ll also need this.” She took the files and placed them on her lap with the envelope. He nodded in an approving manner. “You have adapted from when I first lifted the blindfold off your eyes,” he quoted from one of his favourite sayings, following the words of what she had been taught from.

When Nyx had joined Dusk and the rest, it was as if she was an infant again, even if she had been fourteen years old then. She had been taught, along with magic and combat skills, that when you didn’t know about the magic world, you were “blinded” in a sense. But now she was “awoken” or “had been given sight”. There were many quotes that she had been taught, but they all meant the same things. She was different from the mortals. Yes, “mortals”. That was what they were called. But she, and many others, were called “magic-wielders”. And they were higher than the others.

Nyx smiled. “Well, I had a good mentor.” She replied. Dusk gave her one of his quick, rare smiles. Knowing that there was no point staying, he stood. “I’ll leave you now,” he said, glancing at the waitress eyeing him reproachfully. Probably because he hadn’t ordered anything. “And I suggest you get straight on to those files. There are more than usual.” Nyx waved airily.

“I’ll be on them soon enough. But right now, I have a coffee coming.”