General Ryan Sanderson VI waited for Colonel Jason Brander to report. When he’d heard that Brander had seen the assassin known as Freeman, he told him to apprehend him and bring him in for a debriefing.
Sanderson knew Brander would accomplish his task, of that there was no doubt. The man had a stubborn streak a mile wide and was hungry for the promotion that would make him a general officer.
The general knew Brander would do anything or kill anyone to achieve his goals. He pressed the button that summoned his secretary into his office.
She crawled in on her knees and stopped at his feet. Her enormous brown eyes looked up at him, and he felt the thrill of dominance rise in him.
He slapped her across the face and shouted, “is there any word on Colonel Brander and his mission?”
“Yes,” she answered timidly, “he is on his way in. The target gave them no trouble and came along peaceably.”
Sanderson slapped her twice, and then soccer kicked her in the side. She crumbled to the ground wheezing for breath.
He grabbed a handful of hair and lifted her head from the ground. His round face and bulbous eyes filled her vision.
“You best learn what I want quickly, girlie. Or you’re not gonna last. Don’t make me wait for a report again.”
The girl didn’t fight as Sanderson grabbed her by the throat and dragged her from his office. She didn’t resist when he slammed right and left hooks into her ribs. As she passed into unconsciousness, she hoped with all her being that this was the last time she’d wake up a slave to the man called Toad.
Brander walked past Sanderson’s slave, and into the office. Sanderson watched as Brander closed the distance between the door and his desk.
“You get off beating on that helpless girl, don’t you?”
Sanderson grinned broadly, the gelatinous rolls of fat adding weight to his already impressive girth. He nodded, and Brander felt waves of nausea wash over him.
“She could fight back, but then I’d kill her. I like my women docile.”
“You’re disgusting,” Brander thought, “and you should do the world a favor and kill yourself.”
“Where is the assassin?”
“My team is bringing him up, sir. He’s in chains, so there’s no need to worry.”
“He came willingly. Are you sure he’s not playing you Brander?”
Brander blushed red with indignation, and rose to defend his actions, when I was pushed into the room.
“General Sanderson, this is the assassin named Freeman,” Brander growled.
“I can see that, Colonel Brander. Welcome to my headquarters, Freeman.”
“Thank you, general.”
Sanderson motioned to an empty chair, and one of the black-clad soldiers shoved me toward it. I sat and waited.
“A real-life assassin,” Sanderson squealed. “I can’t tell you how stoked I am to meet you,” he shouted, gleefully rubbing his hands together.
“Well, thanks. I appreciate the sentiment.”
“What does a retired assassin do?”
“Whatever he wants, sir.”
Sanderson laughed and laughed, until it became a cough. He cleared his throat, swallowed, and started laughing again. The general bent over and slapped his knees.
“He’s got a sense of humor, Brander. Look at that face, he isn’t sweating this at all.”
Brander grinned coldly and nodded. His eyes met mine, and we locked gazes. Sanderson stood and walked over to me. He leaned his enormous buttocks against the desk and crossed his fatty arms.
“Consider yourself returned to active service, assassin. I have a list of targets I want purged.”
“You don’t have the authority to activate me, sir. That comes from the Council of The Voiceless. Last I checked, they vanquished us assassins, and demanded we put aside our weapons and live in peace.”
Sanderson’s visage paled, if that’s even possible, and sweat poured from his pores. He shook with anger, clenching and unclenching his fist, as if he was torn between striking me or striking Brander.
“You refuse to honor my request?”
I leaned back and wiped his spittle from my chin and gave him my best smile in return.
“You didn’t request my help, sir. As a matter of fact, I’d say you expected me to cower in fear, or in some weird reverence to your status. I’m not the terrified little girl on her knees outside.”
Brander chuckled, and Sanderson flushed red. He gnawed on his bottom lip until blood seeped from the wound. His bulbous eyes enlarged further.
“What would it take for you to work for me?”
“I’m an assassin, I demand payment. If I’m going to defy the Council of The Voiceless, it’s gonna cost you everything. To get started, I want the slave girl outside that you terrorized.”
“Fine, take her. I want a target eliminated.”
“Give me the list. I’ll contact you when the job is done.”
Sanderson guffawed and leaned toward me. “That’s not how this works,” he bellowed at me. I shrugged.
“Okay. Do it yourself.”
“Now, hold on,” Sanderson shouted. “I choose the targets…”
“No. These are your enemies, yes?”
“Then, I choose who to hit, when to hit, and you sit back and wait to confirm it.”
“There’s a deadline…”
“No there’s not,” I said, cutting him off. “I don’t work according to your deadline. I will do what you want, but I do it my way.”
Brander sat quietly in his chair, but his expression more than verbalized his thoughts. His pale blue eyes seemed light, and his tight smile had softened. He seemed to enjoy watching his boss get shoved around.
“Here’s the list. Get it done,” Sanderson shouted at me. I picked it up and shoved it into my pocket. Then, I turned to Brander and asked, “do you mind giving me a lift home?”
“I’ll have one of my team members return you.”
Neither Sanderson nor Brander said anything to me. I walked out and took the slave girl by the arm and pulled her to her feet.
“Come with me,” I said coldly.
She followed me out to the vehicle, and one of Branders goon squad drove us back to my cabin. Me and the girl watched until the dark Charger rumbled away before I opened the door.
I opened the door and motioned for the girl to follow me. She did so, wordlessly. I waved at the couch, and she sat down.
“My name is Freeman. From this day forth, you’re not a slave. Do you understand what I said?”
She nodded but stayed silent.
“What is your name?”
“Janice. My sister was…”
“Jade. My neighbor.”
“Yes. She was working to set me free.”
“Help me,” I heard Jade whisper from my subconscious. “Help me.”
I had no trouble believing that Jade was her sister, she was an exact copy of her. Younger, but still an exact replica of Jade.
“Okay,” I whispered to myself. “I’ll help you.”