This story is one of the October Writing Challenge entries chosen to be a featured story.
“You’re so beautiful, I feel like it’s illegal to touch you.”
“You say the weirdest things,” Rena giggles.
“I’m serious,” Gavin pauses from kissing her neck. “When does the alarm go off?”
Rena takes his hand and settles it at her waist. “If you touch the right places, it won’t,” she whispers, shaking her head for emphasis. She plants a soft kiss to his lips.
Rena jolts away from Gavin when her ring tone sounds inside his room. Now?
She jumps off the bed and fishes her phone out of her handbag.
“Uh, nothing.” She presses the phone to her ear and slowly walks outside the room. “Yes?”
“The target will be at the lighthouse. Get there soon.”
The line goes dead.
“Rena, what’s wrong?”
She can hear the concern in Gavin’s voice. This one has to be good. She turns to him, eyes brimmed with hot tears and chokes out, “It’s my mom.” She pushes past him to retrieve her handbag. “I have to go.”
“What happened? Is she in the hospital again? I’ll take you there.”
She shakes her head. “You don’t have to, I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll be fine, Gavin.” She stops at the front door where he followed her to and faces him with tear-stained cheeks. “I promise.” She kisses him then leaves.
Rena would be lying if she said she didn’t choose this life, because she did. Everyone in Tryte makes the choice when she/he turns eighteen. Everyone gets to pick an occupation. And she chose to be a killer. In truth, she wanted to be a police officer — there was something satisfying about the thought of enforcing the law — but she changed her mind last minute. The police were barely doing anything significant in Tryte, and she wanted, more than anything, to protect those closest to her. A desire only possible if she became an assassin.
If you’re an assassin in Tryte, your family and friends have sure protection no matter what, and that is all Rena cares about. Well, all she cares about are her mother, two sisters, and Gavin.
Gavin. Rena met him five months ago at a store. She was picking out a feather duster for her mother, tugging at the feathers to test their hold when she accidentally tugged too hard and the entire thing came undone. That was when Gavin rolled along. He helped her pick up the feathers while they both had the laugh of their lives. They seemed to just find each other after that.
A few days ago, she was helping Gavin search for his watch when she found a feather from the duster in one of his drawers. It was nestled in a corner, like it belonged. She didn’t say anything about it, but her silence didn’t stop the warmth from engulfing her entire body.
Rena sets up her equipment in the top room of the lighthouse. She settles the rifle on its tripod and positions her eye at the sniper scope. Nobody is there yet, but her target — Alex Jones — will be arriving soon.
She removes the small, creased photograph from her back pocket and kisses it, like always. A reminder of why she has been doing this for the past two years.
A black Range Rover parks outside. Rena takes a breath, rifle at the ready, and waits for Alex Jones to exit the car. He doesn’t budge. She would have shot him through the window, but it’s tinted so she can barely see through it.
“Come on,” she breathes.
Rena waits a while longer before his door finally swings open. Alex steps from the car, and she hugs the trigger with her index finger. Three… two…
“TBI! Step away from the rifle! Put your hands in the air and step away from the rifle now!”
Rena raises her hands, confused. What is the Tryte Bureau of Investigation doing here?
“Step away from the rifle! Now!”
She does as she’s told. Only one officer’s shouting. She might be able to take him out.
“Turn around slowly.”
Unease creeps up her spine, but she ignores it. She turns, ready to attack, but freezes in her spot.