I stood on the porch and watched them leave. At the top of the hill, they turned left and disappeared from view. Still, I waited for them to return, but they never did. After half an hour, I walked into my cabin, into the back room where Jade had hidden, and I opened the door. She was gone.
Truth be told, it was for the best. I walked to my closet and opened the door. On the floor sat a black backpack, my bug out bag, and inside it were two passports. One identified me as Timothy Osiris, the other as Lancer Zeus. On top of my passports was a Israeli Jericho 9mm, four 17-round magazines, and 250 gold bullion.
It would get me to my next destination, far away from Brander and Mathias, but even as I laid out my plans, I knew if it wasn’t those two I’d end up dealing with someone else. Retired assassins do not get a life of solitude and stillness, not as long as evil people roam the earth or hold power.
I had no choice, I could do what Mathias wanted, or I could go on the run. I looked around my cabin, at the books I had collected throughout the years and the memories I’d created here. There was nowhere else for me to go. This was the hill I’d die on.
My life was my own, after years of servitude to The Council of Assassins, and I would not relinquish this small grasp of freedom without a fight. First though, I would sharpen my skills that had rusted.
Behind me, a noise sounded and I spun around to confront the threat. It was the slave girl from Mathias’s headquarters. Her tiny hands were raised, and I frowned. I’d forgotten about the girl. Apparently, she had no idea of what freedom meant.
“What’s your name, girl?”
“I don’t have one. They always called me Girl.”
I stared at her for a moment, and then asked, “Did not having a name bother you?”
“No, how can you miss what you never had?”
“Do you want a name now?”
“I guess, or not, I don’t really care. Do you desire for me to have a name?”
“You should have a name. It helps people to blend in. How do you like the name Lydia?”
“It’s okay. Is that my name?”
“Does the name please you, master?”
“Um, I’m not your master, Lydia. You’re free to live your own life, to go your own way, or to choose your own path.”
“I don’t know what that means, or even how to do anything like that. Will you help me?”
She stared at me with those big brown doe eyes, and inwardly I cringed. It’s a trap. I’ve gotten sloppy. What are the odds I’d run into two women on the same freaking day, and both require my ‘help’? Run, run as fast as you can.
“I’ve got a need to address but I’ll come back in a few minutes. Give me just a second to get caught up.”
Lydia sat on a footstool, and I walked to my bedroom. A transistor radio sat on the desk, and I picked up the microphone and pressed the key.
“Ghost Element, this is Spooky One, over.”
“Go for Ghost Element, Spooky.”
“Roger, Spooky. I copy all.”