Chapter 20

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I only sleep for a couple of hours. I've had a lot on my mind but somehow it shut itself off in order for me to get a little sleep. I certainly didn't get any last night as I froze on the bridge. Perhaps it's grief that has made me so flat and groggy. Maybe I'm really just tired. 

Moving in a daze to the bathroom, I don't pay attention to my reflection, even though I know my eyes are dried out from tears I don't remember shedding and my lips are dry and cracked. My hair is frizzy, zig-zagging down my back. Last night continues to haunt me. But I have to put it behind me. I have to move onto the next stage of grief.

Revenge.

So the Mafia wants me recruited because I'm their best chance, right? They want to train me up for the big leagues? They want a fit, young assassin to kill their stupid billionaire for a huge pay cheque?

Well they're gonna to get an assassin, alright.

I can use this to my advantage. If they train me, I will become lethal. I will be strong, skilled and exactly like them. It's all I need to get my revenge on Morrison and all the men who threatened me and destroyed the life of an innocent church girl with so much promise. Just the thought of her makes me clench my fists so hard, my nails pierce my skin. Belle did nothing wrong and these people shot her down in cold blood. At least I know Garcia is a monster who deserves to die. Just like the man who I suppose I should now call my boss.

I'm not doing this to help the Morrison get rich. I'm doing it to protect those I love. I'm doing it to protect those who will one day have to make the same choice I did before the leader of the Mafia.

And I am doing it because Morrison fucked with me. I'm not going to take that silently.

Both Alice and Shane have left for work when I go downstairs at around noon. There's a package on the kitchen table for me. It is a simple black box wrapped in a white ribbon with a card attached.

I feel ill just looking at it but I know I can't ignore it. It has to be my first instructions from Morrison.

Reaching out for the card with shaking fingers, I flip it open and read it.

Dear Miss Knight,

We require your attendance at Lot 63 by the east barges at nine pm tonight. You will find a communications device in the package. Please respond immediately. Wear flexible clothing.

Sincerely, S. Morrison.

Scowling, I throw the card on the table and rip open the box. Inside is a slick cell phone, fully charged and with one contact. I want to rebel and throw the phone in the trash, but that would be stupid. I actually need a phone.

I reply with a simple 'can't wait', and then I do just that: wait. I busy myself with eating as much as I can, because who knows what could happen to me tonight. The notion that I should wear comfortable clothing obviously means I'll be training physically. For how long? Will I be returning, or are they going to ship me off to Mafia boot camp on some remote island where I'll have to survive on bugs and seawater and build tents and shit?

That's when I remember Nick's sister's party is tomorrow night. There's no way I am missing that, not even if they break both of my legs. It's the only thing in my life worth looking forward to. Not because I am excited about going to a party full of irritating little kids, but because Nick will be there.

As I lounge at home, I turn on the afternoon news. It's so cliché and I should be expecting it, but for some reason I feel like I'm being stabbed when I see a news report about Belle's murder. The cameras capture footage of St. James cathedral and the police as they carry the body bag on a stretcher down the steps of the church. The reporter says that the police have suspicion it was a cult crime. They are interviewing every person who attended the youth service last night. I clench the remote in my hands, wondering if I might somehow be connected. Pastor Daniel would tell them that I was the last person to see Belle, that I was left alone with her. But they don't know my last name. It's highly possible my DNA is on Belle's body. I literally carried her to the altar. Stupid.

Maybe it's a good thing. If I get arrested, I can't kill anyone. Not from prison. The Mafia can't threaten Nick or Alice or Shane. And I'll be locked away.

It's so hard, but I remain at Alice's for the rest of the day waiting for the police to show up on my doorstep. They don't. Nick doesn't call either. When Alice walks through the door, I'm sitting on the window sofa as the rain starts to pour down like some sad, stereotypical excuse for a girl. Just from her expression, I can tell I look like a soap opera still shot that got run over by a semi-trailer.

She shakes her coat dry, hangs it by the door and walks over to join me. "It's not like you to hang out here all day," she says. "What's going on Jess?"

I look into her kind eyes. She'll never know how grateful I am for what she's done for me and I have nothing to give her in return. It's a wonder Alice doesn't believe in God; she is exactly like the people I met last night. Like Belle.

"I'm sorry I scared you guys last night. I'm just ... I'm in trouble, Alice."

Her brow creases in worry. "Is it something that you need to call the police for?"

I try not to roll my eyes.

"Okay," she says, "that was kind of a stupid question."

"No, it's something I'd call the police for ... if I wasn't me, and this wasn't a complete fuck up on my part."

Alice stares. "What's the plan then?"

"I don't know. I guess I just have to see what happens. But don't worry about me, I'll get through this. I'll find a way."

"I know you will," she smiles. "You always do. Want to help me make some curry for dinner?"

Glad for the distraction, I smile and get up off the couch. I'm sore from falling asleep against a concrete wall on the bridge last night. It's nice to be around people, and when Shane gets home it almost feels like I could be a normal person having dinner with friends. If I didn't have to meet with a group of killers tonight.

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