Saturday, November 3, 2018

Freedom


I tried to open my eyes in the dimly lit room. My head pounded as powerful drugs worked their way through my system. I groaned in pain when I tried to rise, I realized I was strapped down to the bed. Definitely a smart move on their part. I pulled with all my strength but the straps held. Several questions floated through my head like angry storm clouds, the most puzzling one; why was I still alive? After all I had almost killed the director of the agency. My only desire was that I killed the bastard, but my gut told me I hadn’t. He had betrayed me and left me to die and I returned the favor. Panic set in and I pulled harder at the straps. I was alone and helpless, wherever they had stashed me and whatever they had planned for me was out of my control. At this moment I realized my career was over and more than likely my life.

I panicked more at the thought of being used as a bargaining chip in a hostage swap with some foreign dictator. If that became a reality I would have to find a way to end my own life. My one cardinal rule had been not to be taken alive by the enemy only now my friends were my enemies.
I’ve always been a big girl, just under 6 feet tall. I guess I have the attitude to go with it. Growing up I was teased and called an Amazon by the girls and the boys were just intimidated of my size and athletic abilities. I spent most of my childhood alone, lost in books that took me on adventures in faraway lands. Little did I know, I would live those adventures out in real life. 
Petr found me when I was 16. That was the beginning of my life and that was the end of my life, as well. My size and strength was an asset and the fact I was smoking hot helped me get away with murder, literally.
My life had been like Cinderella’s except the one abusing me was flesh and blood and supposed to protect me. Maybe that was the type of childhood that pushed someone over the edge to become a killer. Was it the lack of maternal love or nurturing? There was no nice way to gloss over what I do or what I have done. Nature or nurture? I wasn’t sure what was behind my unnatural and unladylike behavior as my mother called it.   
There was nothing like a lover’s betrayal to make you want to run and hide in the nearest hole from this so called humanity  but I couldn’t do that, it just wasn’t in my nature. No matter how bad things got, I fought on, was it my competitive nature or just out of spite, I did not know. I was survivor and I was a here to stay.
I didn’t like being strapped down to this damn bed, I needed action. When I was still for too long my mind wanders and I get all introspective and dark. I pulled at the straps again and collapsed back on the bed…now, I had to pee.

I knew this wasn’t going to be a good day when the man I hated most walked into the room, now, after Brian’s betrayal, I guess he was the second most hated. “You’re hard to kill, kind of like a cockroach” Jason circled me like a hyena looking to make a kill. “You’re lucky to be alive. Brian isn’t dead. You always were a fuck up.”
I shrugged as best I could in my predicament. “Do you mean because I survived the suicide mission he sent me on or because I was sloppy and didn’t finish him when I got home?” I knew the prick wasn’t dead and don’t think killing him was my actual intention or he would be dead. I wasn’t that foolish because one way or the other I would have been out of the agency. 
“Untie me and I’ll show you what a fuck up I am. Why don’t you smile for me and show me those pretty teeth of yours.” I pulled hard at the straps and Jason jumped back out of reach The terrified look on his face, priceless.
“Just because you sucker punched me once doesn’t mean you can do it again.”  He leaned in close and jumped when I pulled at the restraints.
“You keep telling yourself that.” I chuckled and regretted the wave of pain that followed.
 “The only reason you’re alive is because someone stepped in on your behalf.” Jason, always was a smug bastard and I always wanted to kick his ass somewhere other than the training ring. He made a mistake thinking he could beat me because I was a woman. He never bothered me in the ring after that. I even offered to pay for the dental work he needed but he refused, go figure.
His statement puzzled me; I had no real friends here. I stopped making them years ago after Petr disappeared. It was just too much to invest emotions into a relationship and when that person doesn’t come home one day when their mission goes south. Pain like that makes you shut down and I couldn’t be any more emotionally isolated than I already was…except for Brian. He was a smooth talker who knew all the right things to say to get me into his bed. He was the director and I never had to worry about him not coming home. I just never thought I’d have to worry about me being the one to not make it home.
He walked to the door, opened it and mumbled something I couldn’t quite hear. Then he left. I held my breath and wondered what fate awaited me on the other side of that door.
“You really did it this time.” I heard the accent before I saw the man. It was Petr, the man who brought me into the agency, my mentor, my first lover, the man who taught me how to kill and how to survive in the world of death he brought me into. I would say he had done a pretty damn fine job up until this last stunt of mine. When Petr unties me I hope to show him a little ‘hell hath no fury’ stuff before he kills me. The wave of calm was followed by apprehension and fear, even my drugged up nerves started to fire. I wondered what was in the bag he was carrying. I had seen him carry a bag like that many times before when he needed to extract information or to simply bring someone to a slow, painful end. Petr had disappeared years after I went into the field, no words and no explanations. I believed he had died alone on a mission in some far away land. What was he doing here now?
“I never thought it would be you.” I said in my bravest voice.
Petr clicked his tongue in that scolding matter that reminded me of an angry hen; it had always annoyed the hell out of me. I hadn’t been this wasted in a long time whatever drug they had given me was causing rushes of giddy with a hint of paranoia. I couldn’t help myself and I burst out laughing. He bent over me and I felt a rush of heat burn through me. I was helpless, but then I was always helpless in his presence. That was the kind of man he was, an enigma, as forceful and deadly as he was gentle. I would always be the student who could never eclipse her master. He smiled and his eye crinkled at the corners. He had aged, we both had. I was no longer the na├»ve child but was still in awe of the man.
Petr wrinkled his nose. “You smell like burnt cat.” He played with what was left of my once long, red hair then clicked his tongue in disgust.
I didn’t want to know how he knew what burnt cat smelled like and I wasn’t going to ask.
“Make it quick,  you owe me that much.”  I demanded. A quick death was not Petr specialty.
“You always were a fighter even when the odds were against you. “To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.” This was my favorite quote from Melville. No rainbows or sunshine, just life stripped down to its basest level that expressed my determination to win at all costs, even if it killed me. I felt like a fool when hot, wet tears slide down my cheeks. After all these years, he had remembered. His accent wasn’t as thick as before but still present and in a way, I found it soothing. We had broken the cardinal rule, a lifetime ago; teacher and student had become lovers. There was a tragic irony of him being the one to end my life. But then my life had been one long suicide mission and it had to end sometime.
Petr bent over me, grabbed my wrists, and then kissed me, slow and deep and so very familiar. If I hadn’t been in the bed I would have collapsed into a heap in his arms. He whispered as he nuzzled my cheek. “He’s going to die a very slow, painful death from an infection.” He kissed me again and released my wrists, his hands slowly made their way down my body poking at burnt and torn clothing along the way, until he reached my ankles.
Petr was the master of slow, sexual torture. I burst free and threw myself into his arms; he held me so tightly I could barely get my breath. It felt like we had never parted. “How I have missed you,” he whispered. The moan that escaped my lips was my only reply.
“Get dressed.” He demanded and I staggered my way to what I was hoping was a bathroom. “Hey,” Petr said. He threw the bag at me, I looked inside…clothes.
Petr pushed the bathroom door open and grunted loudly when he saw me struggling to take the clothes off my charred and bruised body.
“Bastard,” Petr murmured. He grabbed me roughly then let go. “Stand still.” his tone as harsh. He pulled a knife from his boot and skillfully cut the clothes from my body. His hand was shaking when he finished and the look in his eye, lethal.
“They’re not going to let me just walk out of here after what I did.”
I went to open my mouth and he raised his hand to silence me. I hung my head. I had failed us both and I my actions were endangering him now, as well.

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