The steam from the tea made me feel clean. It makes me feel cleaner than taking a shower does. When I take showers, I get caught on in my thoughts, and I start to count all of the reasons why I should hate myself. Every reason is valid, but I much prefer to drink my tea. Instead of hating, I think about why I do what I do, and how it helps me in the long wrong.
The smell and taste make me feel good, but when I accidentally catch a glimpse of my face in the mirror, the first thing I think of doing is gagging. Seeing my body bare, knowing that no matter how much I scrub, I’ll never get clean. Sometimes I feel so stupid for thinking that why, but the more I think about it, the more realize that it’s true. I hate seeing anything related to my body. It always makes me sick…
“Kate, are you okay? You’re stating at your tea weird.”
“Oh—Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry for worrying you. You should start getting ready for bed Reeda, I’ve let you stay up thirty minutes extra.”
“Okay, but can I ask a question first?”
“Alright, but you better not be stalling.”
“Where do babies come from? At school, some kids said that they come out of people, is that true?”
“Reeda got to sleep.”
“Did I come out of you?”
“No, you didn’t come out of me! I’m your sister. Sisters don’t give birth to each other.”
“Birth… So if you didn’t give birth to me, then who did? I know that all animals give birth, and I’m pretty sure that humans are animals too aren’t they? I must’ve come from somewhere and I thought you of all people would know.”
“R—Reeda, what brought this on all of a sudden!?”
“I don’t know, I’m just curious is all.”
“Okay, fine. The person that gave birth to you is your mother.”
“Oh yeah, everyone has a mother and father that’s supposed to love them, but if mothers give birth on their own, what’s the father for? Do mothers need help or something?”
“Yeah… You could say that.”
“When is our mom and dad coming back?”
“U—Uh, I’m not sure but they told me that they might be coming back next year. Work has them very busy, Reeda.”
“How come they don’t talk to me?”
“They said that they’d feel guilty and would come back home if they heard your voice, so they have to restrain themselves.”
“Wow, really? Their love for me is that strong!?”
“Of course! That’s what good parents do. It’s difficult for them but they have to keep working to send us money so we can keep living in this house.”
“Well if they’re being strong for me, then I’m going to be strong for them by being a good little girl! Goodnight, Kate!”
“Good—” Reeda stumbles out of the dining room chair and storms of to her room, relieving me of an invisible weight. I’m lucky that girl is so willing to listen.
The atmosphere returns to me and my tea, the stream of steam gradually beginning to weaken. That weight always disappears when she heads to bed but never stays away for long. It always comes back heavier, demanding more from my body every time.
I can’t keep lying to her forever, but I’ll hold out for as long as I can. It’s for the better… At least that’s what I tell myself.
Why am I like this? Acting on whims of emotion. Only a dumbass would do what I do.
Wanting my thoughts to end, I force myself to drink my tea, the bitter herb taste, scalding my tongue, irritating the skin in my throat. It spills onto my chin and burns, but it helps me get out of my headspace.
The sweet after-taste makes the burning feel worth it. The pain being relived makes the relief feel twice as satisfying. It almost makes me want to keep doing it, but then I might start to scar myself. That’d just make Reeda worried.
I sip my tea cautiously, taking in the flavor much better than before. It tastes as good as it always does, but I find myself not wanting anymore.
Suddenly, my phone vibrates in my pocket. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world for me. I check my phone, the brightness of the screen flaring into my eyes, the dining room light too dim to compete with it.
A single text reads an address, followed by “You know what to do.” The tea that was just soothing me is making my gut wrench, the chairs stair at me spitting on my pitiful existence. The faucet creaking out water is ready to spew, vomiting at how worthless a human can be. It’s not even realistic to consider myself a human anymore.
I heave, my stomach twisting into itself.
I gasp for air, knowing that I have no right to react like this. I force myself up from the chair and walk to the bathroom, the floorboards damning my soul with each step.
I lock the door, turn on the light, and stare into the mirror.
Pale skin. So pale that it reflects sunlight back into the air. Deep brown eyes with eyelids hanging so low that they appear pitch black. Long black hair reaching to my elbows, one side always finding a way to rest in front of my left eye, no matter how many times I move it out the way. Skinny as bone, no matter how much I eat. I don’t starve myself, but that doesn’t stop people from asking me if I do. Some even ask if I’m a French model, my height always surprises them. How the hell would I be a French model? Is it because of my thin nose bridge and thin lips? I can’t even be a basic white bitch in peace.
I’d plunge my fist into this glass, but Reeda wouldn’t stop with her questions. She’d get so worried. She’d think someone broke in… until she figured out that it was me who broke it…
I jump out of the bathroom and creak open the door to Reeda’s room. I’m surprised to see her out like a light. I close the door gently and check my phone again.
“2348 Starlight Ave” the address reads. That address is close. It’s rare that they’re this close but it doesn’t make a difference.
My hood sticks tight to my hair, concealing every part of my face possible. The numbers above the door read exactly as they do on my phone. “Two, three, four, eight. On Starlight Ave…” I hum to myself, looming in front of the door.
I dig into the pocket of my hoodie and take out my weapon.
A pitch-black metal glove that’s flexible enough to move my fingers in, the fingertips fashioned like small drill tips. I slip my right hand inside it, a soft fabric rubbing against both sides of my hand. It’s the only thing protecting me from the cold pinches of the glove.
I ball my hand into a fist, making sure that all of my hand movements are comfortable. They’re gonna need to be.
Once I’m confident, I ball my fist as tight as I can, the tips of the glove becoming hot pink, and a large pink circle forming on the back of the glove.
The sooner I start, the sooner this will be over. I set the tip of my pointer finger to the glass on the front door. I press on it gently, and a high pitch noise rips through my eardrums, the glass shattering right as the noise ends.
Neighborhood dogs start to bark in the distance, reminding me that I don’t have forever to get this done.
I squeeze my way through the entry I’ve made and I wait for the lights to come on. Whoever turns the lights on first is always an easy victim for me. I hear doors opening and muffled panicked voices.
The creaking of the floors makes my heart flutter, but when I can hear the pounding footsteps scurrying down a set of stairs, that’s when I know things are going to get interesting. It’s too dark to tell where the staircase is, so waiting feels a bit more fun, like whack a mole, but instead of a mole, I’m taking someone’s life. The stakes make it far more appealing to me.
There’s so much noise above me. They must be dancing from how terrified they are. Maybe they’ve got a child they’re trying to keep safe or coming up with a last-minute plan.
Suddenly, the pounding picks up in pace and quickly gets louder. It’s about time. The light flicks on, revealing a balding man, adorned in his precious night robe.
“Who’s down—” Before he could finish making a facial expression, I gouge the fingertips of my glove into his neck, a high-pitched ringing mixed with the smell of burning flesh. In the moment, the smell is unique and wonderful, sending blood pumping through my veins, but I know how it’ll make me feel afterward.
He drops to the floor, dead within seconds. His neck is burnt black, leading to the bottom of his jaw. Can’t make a mess with blood if it all gets burnt. Whoever designed this weapon is a genius.
“What did you do to him!?” I look up to see a blonde woman up the stairs, in a robe as well. Probably his wife.
Her breathing is terribly erratic, failing to look me in the eyes. She darts from me to her husband constantly. It’s fun to see them realize that they’re next.
Growing bored of her reaction, I start making my way up the stairs. She has no weapon, isn’t saying anything, and isn’t moving. I like it when they make it easy for me, it’s kind of them.
Once I get within arm’s reach of her, she retreats to the right, entering her thin hallway. I hear a door smash open, but I follow her patiently. If she gets away and tries to run to some other part of the world, they’ll send more after her. They always get a hit on their target.
Right at the end of the hallway, I see her putting her body in front of a crib. I feel my heart sink, but I ignore it.
“I—I don’t know who you are, and I don’t care! I already know that I’m dead—just don’t hurt my child! Please don’t hurt him, whatever you do!” The woman begs, crumpling up onto the floor, soaking herself in tears.
I ponder how pathetic it is to have to beg your killer for your child’s life. This is the part where you’re supposed to defend them, but whatever.
I walk up to her, kneel down, and grab her wrists, forcing her hands from her face. Her eyes puncture mine with every emotion she has rushing through her poor heart. Sometimes I try to see their life flash before their eyes with them. It’s the least I could do. I gaze into her pupils, but I can’t seem to notice anything. Maybe it’s too hard to see from this angle? Well, whatever.
I sink the drills into her neck and watch her get cooked alive, her eyes slowly rolling back as she recoils from the pain. The best part about going for the neck is that you can’t hear them scream.
I stand up and look into the crib, the baby sleeping safe and sound. Guess that means I did a pretty good job, seeing as how a baby didn’t even wake up. He even ignored the glass shattering. This is one impressive baby.
The smell of burnt flesh continues to trail into my nose. I need to do this before it’s too late, so the child can pass away peacefully. Everyone in this house has to die, that’s just how it is.
My nostrils start to feel putrid like they’re melting away. Red and blue starts to flash outside, tires screeching on asphalt. I need to do it, now.
My head starts to feel light, my stomach churning. My thoughts begin to catch up to my actions. It has to be this way. It just has to!
I look away and reach down with my right hand and let the glove do the work. A high-pitched sound followed by burning flesh follows.
Footsteps downstairs start exploding with volume. I claw at the window over the baby’s crib, shattering the glass instantly. I leap out as fast I can, noticing that I’m about to land on top of a car. The moment my feet make contact, I roll off the side of the car, my feet planted onto the asphalt of the driveway with no recoil. I quickly sprint away from the car to the backyard, concealed by the cloak of night.
As fast as my legs can carry me, I run. I’m lucky enough to make out the fence in the backyard, that I manage to jump over with ease. I don’t bother looking back, what’s done is done.
Right over the fence is a thicket of trees I’m forced to maneuver through in the dark. It shouldn’t be long until I come into contact with the next house, but right now I just need to run, or else they’ll see me.
If I get caught, then my life is over.
Sinner, scum, shit stain, that’s what I am. You know you loved every second of that. You’re what’s wrong with this world.
You don’t care what type of people you’re tasked with killing, you do it for the thrill! You love seeing people scared shitless.
Of course, I love seeing them like that. Where else in the world can catch sight as unique as that. Staring people directly in the eye before I steal their lives from them. Good or bad, it’s golden.
In some bushes on someone’s lawn, I launch my head inside and vomit. I do it so often that it’s become comforting for me. Maybe if I keep vomiting, I’ll lose the will to keep killing. It hasn’t worked yet but maybe one day.
The taste of my saliva is bitter, running thick along my tongue. The metallic taste of stomach acid mixing with the taste of old food. It burns, sometimes it burns below my nostrils, but it always burns. It’s not normal to be throwing up from sheer self-hatred. When’s the last time I threw up because I was sick?
You should hate yourself. The life that they worked so hard for was stolen from someone that views brutal murder as a game. Keep gagging until your organs start crawling out of your esophagus!
Inside of my throat continues to shake, convulse, and pulsate. It’s like worms are trying to writhe their way out of my pores.
“Excuse me, are you okay?” I hear someone, but I don’t dare face them.
“I’m fine, j—just too much alcohol.”
“Uh… Are you sure? I have some water on me, do you want—”
“Get away from me now!”
“Okay, sorry. Dumbass drunk…” I hear footsteps getting farther away along the sidewalk. Once they become distant patters, I set aside my discomfort and start jogging.
My stomach feels like it’s melting out of my body, but I have to keep moving.
I barely take ten steps until my stomach twists and burns. I fall to my knees and start heaving, my body trying to force the acid out of my stomach.
You don’t deserve love. Let the police catch you and make them kill you on the spot.
My body is doing what it wants, I can’t even convince my mind to stop hating me. Everyone that’s crossed paths with me needs to hate me. That’s the only way I can live with myself.
My heaves persist, as my thoughts spiral out of control.
How can I look at Reeda after what I’ve done? How have I ever been able to look at her!?
To be fair, that was back when I was taking out assholes. I knew everyone I killed deserved it. Every day I’d see the smug faces of thugs and murderers who were proud of their lifestyles. To think I was put there because I never “performed” well enough. I did just fine when I needed to but now look at me. I’m so used to it that I can’t stop.
When I first saw Reeda, she was like the physical embodiment of why I wanted to kill all the scum on the streets, or wherever they hide. I wanted to give her the life she deserved.
And… and… and I’m doing exactly like that.
Like magic, I gain control of my lungs, bringing my breathing under control.
I found her in a dumpster as a baby, whoever did that to such a sweet girl is unforgivable. There’s filth inside of every human being on this planet, they only pick and choose when to show it. I don’t owe anyone anything.
I don’t know how those parents were planning to raise their kid. They could’ve been racists, or even worse. It’s always the people you expect the least that are monsters. They’re everywhere and I’m the only that can cleanse this world of them!
Monsters, demons, all of them! It’s only a matter of time before they start laying waste to human life.
All of the annoyances in my body vanish, allowing me to return to jogging.
Those parents were going to throw their baby away, whether physically or by neglect. They just keep up the front so nobody suspects the abuse. Having the audacity to commit such cruel acts and keeping it quiet. They already know how vile they are, that’s why they hide it so much, but when they get caught, it’s excuses, begging, pleading for forgiveness.
I love the ones that try and justify their actions with a causal tone in their voice, and that soulless stare in their eye. That’s when it’s best to get in their face, searching for the visions of their life in their pupils. I want to see every sin that they’re paying for.
That’s why I kill, and why I’ll never stop. I’ll make people pay for their mistakes, even if they haven’t made them yet…
“Be sure to clean up after yourself, Reeda. Just because your off from school today doesn’t mean you can make messes.”
Cutting through my omelet is underwhelming. It’s weird to be cutting something and then eating it afterward. I’m used to just watching it sit there, knowing that it’ll rot until there’s nothing left of it.
“Are you gonna finish your breakfast?” Falling asleep last night felt terrifying like I was accepting my death. Maybe the shift from a gruesome murder to a relaxing morning breakfast is doing my head in. I hate thinking about my feelings, they never make any sense…
“Kate? Can you hear me?” I’ll just think about happy things, happy thoughts for the rest of my life. I’ll start with these pancakes. Soft, brown, warm, tasty. They go good with syrup too. Nice gooey syrup, that makes the pancakes taste even better. This omelet is pretty good too. Sometimes I outdo myself with my cooking. That’s good, that means Reeda gets to enjoy it too.
“Well, since you won’t eat…” A fork punctures into my pancake, its innocence being ripped from its flour compacted soul. A pancake can’t even live its life in peace. “Can I have it?”
“You already stuck your fork in it, it’s all yours.”
“Thanks! You should have the rest though; I know you need food to stay strong. You’re skinny enough as is.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” I say, letting out a chuckle.
“You’re gonna need a good breakfast after staying up so late. What were you doing anyway? Were you out with your friends?”
“When I was going to sleep, I heard the door slam, really hard too. I knew you left but I stayed in bed. I was really tired.”
“So, who were you outside with? Was it just fun with friends, or were you doing adult stuff? You don’t have to tell me the details if you were, I know I’m too young for that.”
“What was I doing last night?”
“Yeah. I know you left, but I don’t know what time you come back. I guess you were having too much fun out there with your friends. Can you tell me what you were doing already? The curiosity is going to kill me.”
“Are you sure you want to know?”
“Of course, I want to know!”
“Fine, come with me.” We get up from the table, and I lead Reeda into my room. If I don’t tell her the truth soon, then she’ll never understand what I do. She needs to learn about the reality of the world while she’s young, that way the world won’t catch her off guard.
“Your room? Why are we in here? You have a present for me?” I kneel down, dragging a small metal box from under my bed. I press my hand against the top, a strong pink color flashes, followed by the lid opening.
“Woah, what is that!? It looks so cool.” I take my glove out and put it on, The pink glowing with radiance at the tips of the drills.
“This is what I use to do my job.”
“Oh, really? You have a job? Why would you need one of our parents are always sending us money?”
“I—I don’t want to keep relying on that. It’s an adult thing, you’ll understand one day.”
“Okay… Well, what’s your job then?”
I want to tell her the whole truth, but I can’t even bring myself to tell her about her parents. I have to come clean about everything, or else she’ll never trust me again.
“My job is a violent one, that not many people would like to do, but it needs to be done.”
“I’m… I’m an assassin. I kill people that I’m ordered to kill.”
“You… you kill people,” Reeda asks, backing away from me.
“Yes, but I only ever kill people that are bad. I never kill innocent people, that’s not how my job works.” Reeda doesn’t say anything, she just looks confused. “I know this is coming out of nowhere, but I need to tell you the truth about what I do. I’ve been so scared to tell you for so long, I didn’t want you to hate me for what I do.”
“You kill people… Ha! Who do you think you are trying to joke like that? You almost had me with—”
“I’m not joking! Why would I joke about something like this? You see this glove? This is what I use to kill people!” In a fit of unbridled rage, I slash the drills across the wall, a loud sizzle ripping into the room, followed by deep black scratches wounding the wall. “That’s what I do to people, Reeda! Do you think that’s a joke!? You think it’s funny to do what I have to do!? Every day of my life feels like a mistake like I’m not good enough to live in it.”
Reeda’s breathing starts to get faster, her eyes stuck on the black gashes on the wall.
“You asked me what I was doing last night, so I’m going to tell you. I was tasked with killing some very bad people.”
“What did they do…?”
“They were deemed to be terrible people. I’m not sure what they did, but if I’m told to kill them, then they’re terrible people. That’s how it is.”
“If you don’t know what they did, then how do you know they’re terrible people?”
“They just are. There are people that hide themselves from the world, acting good as a front, but they’re hiding dark secrets. There’s no sense in trying to reason with them, so I have to kill them.”
“But… what did they do? How can you kill people when you don’t even know what they’ve done wrong?”
“I have reliable sources. That’s—”
“Reliable sources!?” Reeda turns her body to me, finally looking me in the eyes. Tears are running down her face rampantly. “Tell me what they did wrong, and how’d you even end up as an assassin!? None of this makes any sense.”
“I’ve been trained for as long as I can remember. I didn’t choose to do this, it’s just what my life is, and I’m lucky to have the little bit of freedom that I have now.”
“Wh—What? Your whole life? How—”
“We’re not actually sisters. I found you as a baby. I was out on a request and you were outside, abandoned. I’ve been lying to you because I didn’t know how to tell you, but I can’t wait any longer. All the money we have is from my job.” Reeda starts shaking, her breathing becoming drastic.
“B—But my parents love me! They have to be real! Wh—Why would you—”
“Why do you think you’ve never seen them? They left you for dead when you were born. I’m the one that took you in. It’s people like your parents that make my job a necessity.”
“Stop lying to me! Y—You think you’re funny!?” Reeda rams herself into my legs, almost knocking me to the floor. She starts barraging my legs with a flurry of punches. “Liar, liar, liar!”
“Reeda, stop,” I scream, kicking her off me.
“I—I bet you killed them, not that you’d even know!”
“It wouldn’t matter if I did. Someone would’ve gotten them for what they did to you, but there’s one thing I need you to understand. I’m here for you. I’ve always cared about you, trying to give you the life that you deserve, the last person I want to see suffer is you.” I take my glove off, letting it drop to the carpet. “Reeda, I love you; you know—”
“Stay away from me you murderer! I wish you would’ve let me die in that dumpster!” Reeda grabs the glove, slashing my leg with the drill’s tips. She throws the glove away and sprints out of the room.
“Reeda, get back here!” Luckily, the glove wasn’t on, but it’s still capable of killing even if it isn’t. I check my wound to see a clean slash across my right thigh, only three of the drills managing to make contact. Blood stretches out of my skin, creeping onto my jeans.
The sound of a door slamming explodes in my ears, making me ignore the blood I’m losing. “R—Reeda!” No response.
With both hands gripping my thigh, I shuffle as fast as I can out of my room, dragging myself through the hallway, and dropping myself in the kitchen.
The cuts themselves are small but they run deep. Squeezing my wound only caused the blood to run out faster. Thick streams of the red trail onto the floor. How’d she made such a deep cut on me? I press my sleeve onto the wound as hard as possible, soaking it in blood.
“Reeda? Reeda!?” My head flies back and forth until I notice the front door. Wide-open.
“Reeda! Come back! Wh—Where do you think you’re going!?” My throat burns, sandpaper scrapping my esophagus. “Reeda, I love you!”