Johnny sat in a chair fiddling with a knife in his hands. Testing the edge for sharpness was an old habit of his. Waiting around in a basement was tuff for him. The sound of thousands of shoppers pouring into the mall from above irritated him immensely. People are his greatest stressor. The stomping feet and shouting voices made him consider mass murder.
Even with all the noise, Johnny could hear footsteps leading down to the basement. He wasn’t sure who it was, regardless, he was prepared to throw his knife between the eyes of whoever it was. After catching a glimpse, Johnny relaxed. Johnny was familiar with the girl who walked in. Her name was LaCie Lynn and she walked into the basement and stood a few feet away from Johnny. LaCie was too addicted to her phone to look up to speak to him. So she spoke while texting.
L.L. The thingy you were doing was put on hold. You have a new thingy.
I can’t believe that worked. Now I can leave this annoying mall. My plan better not backfire. I know there are a lot of people out to get me. Wherever I go it better be quiet. I’m too stressed. I want to think clearly.
Johnny gave his full attention to LaCie to see what assignment awaited him. Knowing how his companions like to play pranks on him, Johnny prepared himself for the worse.
Johnny Badmen What is this thingy?
L.L. Finley got drunk before going on his diplomatic mission. He messed up now were at war. Your job is to end it.
LaCie explained his mission as if it were a second thought. As she spoke she smiled at a message texted to her. Johnny was not happy. He knew of Finley’s mission and its importance. Within his society to end a war usually meant to kill all members of the other party. Johnny was in conflict with his murderous upbringing.
J.B. Where’s my assignment?
L.L. In my pocket. Wait. Let me finish texting.
Johnny thought about how in the past few months LaCie had taken to texting her friends instead of speaking to them face-to-face. It occurred to him it has also been several months since he last spoken to LaCie. Since his return back into the organization LaCie had been ignoring him. He knew why, but there was nothing he could do to change it.
L.L. Your briefing, which I opened, in detail.
LaCie handed Johnny sheets of folded paper. Johnny took them and skimmed through them all. He noticed that in the letter it read “No Survivors”. Johnny felt conviction because it brought a certain person to mind. At that moment, Johnny fell into a deep depression and wanted to be alone.
L.L. Dad, can I take this mission? My friend and I were texting about these super cute boots on sale. They sell them here. It’ll be a really awesome pre-charismas gift for her.
J.B. I keep telling you I’m your brother, not your dad.
L.L. You’re my dad.
It’s been four years now and you still call me dad. I’m only three years older than you. Besides, I have too many problems right now to be worrying about children.
L.L. Can I take the mission?
Johnny paused to think about giving her the assignment. Despite not being able to get to know her better or spend time with her Johnny wanted to protect her. If he could he would shield her from murder. He’d even go back in time to prevent himself from training her in the first place. However, it didn’t matter how hard he tried. If a higher ranking member gave her an assignment to kill a woman and her daughter, LaCie would do it without remorse.
J.B. Fine. His name is Craig Baker. It doesn’t matter how you kill him, but it needs to look like an accident.
I’m not much of a role model either so I shouldn’t be flaunting around like I’m your father. You wouldn’t be what you are right now if it wasn’t for me. I’d hoped Emma would rub off on you, but you’re still that same girl from three years ago.
L.L. What are you thinking about?
Reality jumped back into Johnny. He could hear the screaming voices above him again. This time, the sounds above were soothing his nerves. It helped relax the conflict in his mind.
J.B. I was thinking about Emma.
L.L. Good. You need to get back with her.
J.B. We’ve tried many times already. We don’t mix and besides, I’m with Bernadine.
L.L. No. I want you and Emma to get back together.
LaCie put her phone to her side and looked at Johnny. He could see the sincerity on her face. She had the body of a child and the mind of one too. In spite of being trained to become a killer, she remained unchanged.
L.L. Emma told me she’s leaving the society.
J.B. She’s been saying that for years. We’re a society of assassins. She’s going to have to kill again eventually. The punishment squad are only going to become more brutal with her. Trust me I know. It doesn’t matter if you leave. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been or how far you’ve gone. They will find you and give you an assignment. As if you never left.
Johnny wanted to stop to contemplate what he said, but he knew he needed to get a move on.
J.B. LaCie, I’m leaving. Take care Craig and go buy your shoes before they’re all sold out. Bye.
LaCie took a second to think about what Johnny had said to her, but after hearing he was leaving she smiled and prepared a response.
L.L. Bye daddy, I love you.
J.B. Yeah, love you too.
Will that girl ever change? Oh well, at least I can finally get out of this mall.
Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net