It was almost midnight. She was called to the office for her next assignment. She did not knock when she reached the door and let herself into his glass-walled room, the place where she had been given a second chance at life many years ago, the place where she had almost been killed. He was waiting for her at the table and she sat down. Her long flowing hair broke free and swayed in the chilly air. Her eyes glowed like a cat’s in the darkroom; the light was never let in, a dark room for dark business. The man passed her a brown file, background information of their next target, the first lady. Whom it was, was not a matter of interest to her, but one thing was for sure, her name was marked and if she had failed to carry it out, she would pay a dangerous price for her incompetence; no, she would not be killed, but compared to what he could do, death seemed a walk in the park, she had never failed him and did not intend to either.
She turned to leave, but he asked her to sit down; something which happened only on rare occasions when he wanted to boast his reason, full of wine. “Elena, do not go for her now, no, wait until the sun sets tomorrow, let her have some fun for the last time with that husband of hers and her pretty little daughter too! Do you know what day it is tomorrow, little bird?” She hated him when he called her that, but she did not, however, know what day it was tomorrow; the Americans and their stupid days for everything, she thought and answered him that she was not aware of anything significant on the morrow. “I got you there! Ha! Well, tomorrow is… Mother’s Day! And that moron, our dear President had the guts to decline our offer of weapons for the army; well, our first lady, Sophie’s face had an innocent look which her child, the belle, did not share; nobody lives after crossing their paths with us, but the man loves his daughter more than himself, so selfless of him, won’t you agree? We’ll see how well he fares with heart-break, besides, death is so… so… painless compared to what life can do to a man.” She was sick of the stink which wafted through the air and wanted to hear no more. She left abruptly.
She was obedient to his words and did not go to the manor until the evening when the red rays of the sun burst out. She was careful as she knew that there would be security but felt relieved when she realized that the President had ordered them away to have a private family dinner. When she entered the living room after locking his bedroom as he was dressing, she saw a young lady, no more than 30; she was sitting on the sofa playing with her small daughter who did not, like her mother have the homely and warm plain face, but took after the handsome President and Elena would have mistaken them for servant and child if she had not heard the child call her mother. The time it had looked warm and motherly and she inhaled sharply, thinking of her own mother. She stood behind the curtains and she knew that she had to act fast if she were to escape unharmed without revealing herself, but she was helpless as memories of her past came rushing, memories which she had long burned and buried.
Little Elena was narrating the story of the beauty and the beast to her mother when her drunkard father came in after a fight at the bar. His face was all bloodied and his nose twisted and Elena thought for a second that the story had come alive and in front of her stood the beast. “Moya Lyubov’ (my love), go inside and lock your door, do not come out until I call you. Now go! Run!” For a moment, she did not understand what her mama was saying, why should she run? It was only her daddy, but seeing the fear on her face, she ran and locked the door. She waited for a long time; the growls of her father had subdued and it was completely silent. Elena who was not able to contain herself any longer sneaked out to the living room. She screamed in terror at what she saw. Her mama was lying on the floor, her hair drenched in blood and her clothes ripped to shreds. Her father had escaped to Russia after murdering her mother and her American neighbours took pity on her and raised the girl as their own. She ran away at 17 and never turned back.
Though it was 14 years ago, the wounds still had not fully healed.
Suddenly, she knew that she could not do this, she could not deprive the small girl playing on the sofa of her mother because of something her father did. She did want them to get hurt and came out into the open. This shocked them and the child hid behind her mother. Elena did not waste any time in warning the pale-faced lady of the dangers that they would face and asked them to stay alert at all times and told them that she was supposed to kill Sophie but did not have the heart to and asked her to go and let the President out after she left. Sophie’s face changed into a sweet smile and she pulled Elena to her and hugged her; Elena felt awkward at this physical display of affection and pulled away, she disappeared into the night.
She stopped at a pub and had a few shots before she pointed the gun at her temple and pulled the trigger.