A-24

9 2 3
                                                  

I

She walked past the fence and glided into the house with ease. The gate wasn't unlocked, but the lock obliged without much of a fuss. As she walked further into the sleeping house, a strange feeling passed over her, a certain sense of déjà-vu. The sensation was so strong she had to stop for a second, overwhelmed by her body's strange response. She shook her head and looked around, trying to get rid of the unwelcome feeling. But that didn't help. The kitchen made her feel a sense of longing, and the living room opposite it made her think that what she was about to do was very, very wrong.

A rush of static through her earpiece pulled her back to reality, forcing her to concentrate on the present. "A-24, why have you stopped?"

For the first time since waking up, she felt an inexplicable urge to lie to her handler. "I thought I saw something out of my peripheral vision, sir."

Silence ensued as she waited for them to tell her they knew the truth, that they knew she was lying, that they knew she recognised this place. The seconds stretched on, each passing one unbearably longer than the previous. Her heart, whatever was left of it anyway, leapt into her throat, threatening to rise to her mouth and out her.

Then her ear was finally filled with the crackling static of her handler preparing to respond. "Nearby cameras can't see any threats. You are clear to go. Proceed, A-24."

She straightened her shoulders and marched up the stairs, batting away any thoughts of doubt or guilt that began to creep into her brain. She needed to concentrate on the task at hand.

Pushing the door to her mission's bedroom, she saw a woman sleeping with a child wrapped in her arms. She paused for a moment taking in the way the full moon hit their faces. They looked so calm, so content. An image, strangely similar to the scene in front of her, flashed across her mind and the feeling of déjà-vu returned. For a moment, she considered leaving. She didn't want to disturb the purity of the scene. But that thought only confused her more. She'd killed plenty of others before and none of those had bothered her. There was no reason why this should be any different.

Once again, she shook off her apprehension and slowly unsheathed her standard issue Glock-17. She clicked a suppressor to the mouth of the barrel and took aim, her shadow draping over them, casting a blanket of death over their innocent forms.

The reservation then came back, as, for a split-second, she wondered if she knew the people lying in front of her. In the next, she pulled the trigger, sending studded projectiles towards their stomachs. She wasn't sure why they made her aim for the stomach, the temple would be much easier and quicker, but she didn't argue. She didn't ask questions. A-24 simply did as she was told.

As the bullets made contact, the victims' eyes flew wide open, the colour gradually draining from them. Then their faces relaxed as they slipped into a permanent slumber. She watched impassively as the sheets they lay on slowly turned a dark shade of crimson. And in that moment, the source of her apprehension dawned on her. She suddenly realised why she felt as though she had been to this house before, why she felt as though she knew the bodies before her.

It was because she did.

She knew this house. She had laughed with these people. They had been her family. Before they took her and wiped her memories. The memory of nursing the dead child in front of her. The memory of cooking merrily with the dead woman in front of her. The memory of painting this very room while the dead child clapped and laughed along happily.

Yet she didn't know what scared her more: the fact that she had just killed her whole family or the fact that she couldn't bring herself to regret it.

In the Eye of the Beholder and Other Short StoriesWhere stories live. Discover now