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Pen Your Pride

Natalia Takes A Job

Walking down the deserted pathway, Natalia moved further and further from the noisy, crowded mess that was the Paris market. As she walked further and further into the ghettos, the outskirts, and the abandoned buildings, the less and less of people she saw. The cobblestones became older, and worn down from age and the wind and the rain. The shops were cold and bleak, the houses lifeless and worn. Though it was a the middle of a busy day, the street was empty, save a young woman rushing quickly and quietly down the street, rounding a corner into an alleyway and disappearing.

Natalia’s boots made a steady click-clack as she sped up slightly, nearing her destination. She had walked the path a thousand times, yet each time she felt furtive, as if being watched. She took alleyways and side streets and doubled back on herself, as was protocol. After taking the final loop, she walked down a dirt path to a long since abandoned factory.

This factory had once produced countless gadgets and gizmos, state-of-the-art technology, all the latest contraptions. But it was out of its time, out of place. It was abandoned and empty. All the workers, the managers, the suppliers, they’d moved on, to greener pastures. They had retired, or found another factory, another job. The creations that the factory had created, were out of style in a sense, and they were viewed as old fashioned. No one cared about the factory, or even visited it.

It was the perfect hiding spot for the Sontas.

Skirting along the edge of the large rectangular building, Natalia made her way to what had once been the side door. She knocked six times in a rhythmic pattern then flung the door open. Inside, she was greeted with the sight of what appeared to be a pub. Sitting all around were a collection of some of Paris’ best criminals. Some were carting around their latest treasures, some sitting and drinking. Off in one corner, a card game was starting up.

“Alright boys, if you’re playing you’re playing, if you’re not, get lost.” An older worker for the Sontas said as he pulled a pack of cards from his coat pocket. “Okay, we’ll start with ten francs. Money on the table.”

The group of men started to play, one pair of younger men sitting together. “I’m not much of a gambler, you should know.” One said as he fiddled with his mustache. “I’m not entirely sure of myself.”

The other slapped him on the back. “Oh you’ll be fine, there’s nothing to it. Just perfect your poker face and know when to act.” The man still looked unsure. “You’ll be a regular Felippe in no time.” This seemed to comfort the other man, but the dealer caught wind.

“Felippe! Now he was a good cardsman. Always up for a game. Shame he was killed.” The man lowered his voice from a yell to a regular tone, as if less people could hear him that way.  “He was a cheating bastard though, no wonder he’s six feet under. Quite a man, he was always-”

But before he could say anymore, a dagger whizzed through the air, lodging itself in the wall behind him, a few mere inches from his cheek. The whole room froze and looked at Natalia, who stood in the center, her right arm outstretched to the side. Slowly, she lowered it and took a few, hostile, steps towards the card game.

“You are never, ever, allowed to talk about Felippe like he’s some kind of god or something.” She spat.

“And why’s that, Princess?” The dealer shot back. He put on his best face, but it wasn’t enough. He knew that Natalia was a fearsome killer who’d like nothing more than to put him in the ground next to Felippe.

“Because he killed. My. Uncle.” Natalia said, leaning into his face. “So I killed him.”

And with that, she reached past the dealer and yanked the dagger out of the wall, putting it back into it’s hollister in her sleeve. “You sicken me.” She sneered, before heading towards another door at the far end of the pub. On her way, she passed the bar.

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