Saul stood with his back to the derelict kitchen, gazing out the window at the storm raging outside. Serenity stood motionless in the doorway, waiting. She knew he had questions, but he just stood there as the wind hurled the rain against the glass. After what felt like an eternity, Serenity sighed and sat down at the broken table. She massaged her neck, trying hard to mask the tension visible in her body language.
Saul did that to her. She had known him half her life, or thought she had. Right up until she turned eighteen, she’d known Saul as the sexy older guy next door. She knew he drove a Mondeo, she knew he worked for a law firm in London and she knew that he just needed someone to look after him and maybe then he would smile. The thought made her smirk to herself now. Oh, how wrong she had been!
When she’d turned eighteen she had taken full advantage of her freedom to disappear for days on end, turning up when she felt like it, or when she found herself into trouble. The last time she had set foot into her parent’s home had been after she’d been away for a whole week, staying in some random apartment with a bunch of people she barely knew. She crept up to her parent’s house in the early hours of the morning, her eyes barely open as she stumbled up the steps to the front door. She kept her gaze down as she stepped over the threshold and came face to face with the body of her mother, limbs bent into odd angles, blood pooled around her head, laying at the base of the stairs. The next thing she could remember was being in Saul’s study with a paramedic shining a torch into her eyes.
That very night, Saul had told her who he really was. A member of a super-secret organisation created centuries ago by members of the community who wanted to protect their communities from dangerous people. They called themselves The Secure Community Society. Serenity had wanted to laugh at the name, but Saul had looked so serious that the laughter had died in her throat, The SCS would attend neighbourhood watch meetings, walk the streets late at night looking for any instances of trouble, check newspapers for suspicious patterns and…they would take out people who threatened lives in their communities.
Saul had taken Serenity as his protégé and had trained her to be an assassin. The Secure Community Society was a private affair and was definitely not operating under the knowledge of the Crown and Government so it was vital that she learn survival skills alongside her weapons and hand to hand combat training. She had excelled at everything she was trained in, specialising in axe weaponry, coming top of her class and graduating from the Secure Training School a year earlier than usual.
Those 5 years of training had hardened Serenity. She didn’t recognise the girl in her memories. She would never be that person again. The time had now come to take her final test: Kill a murderer, and get away with it. Saul was here because she was stalling. She’d been given 6 months to complete the task. That was deemed more than enough time, even for a first timer. Her deadline was up in just 48 hours.
‘Do you know what will happen to you if you fail to complete the test? Nobody outside of the SCS is allowed to know anything about us.’ Saul’s voice was low and gruff. Serenity could hear the suppressed aggression in it, despite Saul’s efforts to mask it.
‘I am well aware what failure means Saul. They’ll kill me.’ Serenity looked down at the floor as Saul spun to face her.
‘Then what the hell are you doing? You have just 2 days left Sere and you haven’t even submitted a target to HQ. How on earth are you going to satisfy all the criteria necessary for an assassination within 48 bloody hours? How?
‘Within your lifetime you have walked past thirty-six murderers. That’s a lot for someone so young. They have gone on to kill people. Innocent people. You have been trained to save lives, Sere. Think of all those girls out there like you who could one day walk in their front door to find their parents dead. You can prevent that from happening. Can you honestly say that you don’t want to prevent someone else going through what you went through? Well?’ Saul had paced over to stand before Serenity towering over her. She could see the tightness of the muscles in his arms as he fought to control his temper. She was his protégé, his project, and she was letting him down.
Serenity slipped a dagger from her sleeve and in a blink of an eye it was buried in Saul’s chest, puncturing a lung. Serenity finally looked up into his eyes as he staggered backwards, his eyes wide as he looked from her, down to the dagger in his chest, and back to her again.
‘I decided six months ago that my first kill would be the most important, Saul. I would pass my test by killing the person who murdered my parents. I knew I would find them, but I never imagined it would be you. Killing innocent people just to recruit their children into the cause? Why would you do that? It doesn’t matter. HQ approved my target and evidence. You can’t be allowed to destroy any more innocent lives.’
Serenity reached under the table and brought out an axe, which she spun and slammed into Saul’s chest. When his tortured breaths rattled between his lips no more, She threw some petrol around the kitchen and lit a few candles. As she walked away, she fished out her phone and hit speed dial. When the call connected she spoke just two words.
Image from http://www.freaksugar.com