Sasha Aleksandr, prominent businesswoman found dead in an abandoned warehouse by the docks. Police have labeled her death as suspicious. The area is known as a place to conduct illegal business and is usually over run with undesirables, however the circumstances of her death eliminate gang related death. Police have yet to release any additional information, or a statement.
Watching the news broadcast on her laptop, she leaned back in an old wooden computer chair that had been left behind when this place had been cleared out. She started to cross her arms over her chest but stopped herself as her ribs started to yell at her.
This was the second time today Sasha had been mentioned on this news program. She had been on all the others as well.
As she leaned forward, propping her elbows on the table to bit down on her thumbnail. Her biggest regret was the police would not release any additional information on her death.
If they had mentioned that her neck had been broken, that she was covered in defensive wounds, it would make the whole thing more clear to those at Refuge.
She wanted to send a message.
She wanted them to know Sasha had been fighting in her last moments, and that it was a fight she lost.
Typing the name of the motel she had followed Twee and the woman to in her search engine, she pulled up a map of the surrounding area.
Not a lot around.
…Police are refusing to release any additional information until they have contacted Ms. Aleksandr’s next of kin.
The newscast continued to play in the background.
Good luck finding her next of kin, she thought to herself as she looked over the map.
Should she be so bold as to book herself a room at the motel?
No. One level, about twenty rooms…
Getting up, she grabbed her canvas duffel and threw in the few belongings she had. Wrapping her box in a scarf, she gently put it on top before swinging it onto her shoulder and grabbing onto her laptop.
It was time to move on, she had better places be to.
Twee stood on the porch of the last room on the motel strip. He looked out into the woods, his eyes on the trees across the dead highway road.
Watching him through her detached scope, she committed him to memory just as she had this motel, or these woods.
Damage to his right ear. Despite that, his balance is almost perfect.
Gritting her teeth, she thought back to her time at Refuge. To the last time she had seen Twee. He had been almost a foot shorter, lankier than muscle. The fierceness in his eyes was the same though.
The woman joined him outside. She spoke to him for a while, both of them standing rigid, their lips moving slowly as their eyes searched the darkness. Neither one of them glanced in her direction, why would they? The woods here were too dense… for most.
She had been closer to the motel earlier; she had listened in on their conversation. So far, they had no leads, no idea who would be so foolish as to take out Sasha Aleksandr. They had ruled out most, were thinking of chalking it up to some thug with no affiliates to tell him what a massive mistake he was making.
Why would they think it was her?
She was a ghost.
From their conversation, it didn’t sound like they thought Aleksandr was going to come to the city. The body would be sent to him, and he expected them to send answers and a name along with it.
Hearing that did not surprise her, it had annoyed her. She didn’t know why she thought the death of his daughter would bring him here. Aleksandr didn’t leave his throne in Refuge… not when he had all these soldiers to send out to do his bidding.
Putting down the scope, she tilted her head up to look up at the stars.
Maybe she needed to start thinning those numbers.
Pushing the scope into the front pocket of her black pants, she pulled the black winter hat down over her ears before she started to climb down from her perch.
The heavy, steel-toed black combat boots on her feet made no noise on the forest floor as she moved through the narrow spaces between the trees. Her breath smoked the air below her nose as she took slow, deep breaths.
A shadow moving through the trees wearing all black; she moved quickly and quietly, not wanted to waste any more of the night.
Pressing her back up against the side of the motel, she inched towards them.
She had to time this right, she told herself.
“I will call him in the morning. As far as I can tell,” He held up his fists, examining the broken skin on his knuckles. “It wasn’t the doing of any gang or organization. This had to be some unknown. No name worth bringing up because no one knows it.”
His words made her smile to herself.
“Aleksandr will want him anyway.” The woman said.
“Drie…” He sighed. Nodding suddenly, he walked past her towards the rooms. “We’d better start looking. Leave no rock unturned and at this point, we may just have to start looking under rocks.”
Listening, she waited until he was half way to his room before coming up behind the woman she now knew was Aleksandr’s number three. Drawing the large hunting blade out from her belt, she came up behind her and pressed the sharp, jagged blade against her throat. Pulling her back against her, she waited for Twee to turn around, to see how well tuned his senses were.
Drie’s gasp has him turning, his eyes locking on her for a moment.
She spoke in Dutch, hoping it would bring back the memories that had been branded into her very soul. “Aleksandr couldn’t be bothered to come and collect the body of his daughter himself.”
A muscle in his cheek flexed for a moment, as his eyes seemed to burn with recognition and hate. “Een.” He hissed.
“Where is Aleksandr?” She asked him.
He said nothing.
Drie wiggled in her arms, wincing slightly as she moved her throat against the sharp blade.
“There is no one at Refuge that would have guessed it was you who killed Sasha. Although no one else would have the guts.”
“Guts.” Drie scoffed. “Sasha has been out of Refuge for years. She has been sitting at a cozy desk, making phone calls and deals. It does not take guts to take someone like her out, you might as well have been taking out any stranger on the street.”
Sasha had been out of form, but she had held her own. The pain in her chest as Drie wiggled back against her was proof enough that Sasha had fought the best she could. It had been disappointing, but it hadn’t been completely unfair.
Pulling the knife away from Drie’s neck, she shoved her forward. Sheathing the knife, she looked at Twee. “Where is Aleksandr?” She repeated.
“Where would you imagine he’d be?”
“Refuge.” She couldn’t go back there.
Stepping forward, Drie grit her teeth. She was challenging her.
Widening her stance, she unclipped her belt and let it fall to the floor before nodding slightly in the direction of her challenger. Twee took a step back, his eyes locked on the two women.
The lights outside the motel flickered slightly as Drie inched forward. She walked with her hands at her side, waiting. They circled one another like two wild dogs, their teeth bared, the eyes locked.
Drie was fast, her movements precise and strong; but she was faster. Drie’s hand whipped through the air, slicing through it towards her, and before it landed, she tilted ever so slightly away.
Grabbing hold of her wrist, she twisted her challenger’s hand behind her back. Kicking at the back of her knee, she pushed Drie down.
Drie brought her head back, connecting with her abdomen before she could move. She felt the slight crack, the way the wind rushed out of her chest, could feel her knees buckling as the memory of pain came back in full force.
Staggering back, she kept her face blank as she watched Drie get quickly to her feet. She made no indication of the agony that ripped through her, instead, she did as her time at Refuge had taught her; she went on the offensive.
Moving quick, she closed the gap between them. Her hand shot out to connect hard with Drie’s throat.
She could feel her palm slicked with her blood as she pulled it away. Her careless wiggling had fed her hungry dagger earlier on. She could use that.
“Is this where you want it to end, Drie? Outside a fleabag motel where the few patron who call this place home couldn’t care enough to open their blinds to see you die?” Twee’s voice was light, a taunt more than anything else.
Drie wiped a hand over her throat. Some of her heavy twists had fallen out of the pile atop her head and hung on the sides of her face. Growling, she looked at the girl before her. “Een.” She murmured. “You’re not worthy of being called that.”
She said nothing.
“I was not at Refuge when you were, and Twee barely had a chance to knock you off your pedestal.” Drie snarled her teeth at her.
Drie’s works almost had her raising her brow. She had no idea what Refuge was like when she was still and orphan there, and she clearly had no idea what her relationship with Twee was like before she escaped.
She didn’t care about that, not now.
Raising a brow, she shook her head. “I guess that will be decided later, over the body of the defeated.”
Her words hit Drie like a slap to the face. She was losing her composure, crumbling as she opened her mouth and let out a war cry. She threw punches quickly, giving up her accuracy for numbers.
Dodging most, she missed a few; one to her ribs, and another to her stomach.
Dropping down, she swept her feet through Drie’s. They caught her ankles and had her falling onto her back. She pushed up, flipping herself back onto her feet no sooner than she hit the floor.
Fast. She was mildly impressed.
Her body moved with instinct, her eyes were glued on Twee. This girl was good, she could understand why she was number three at Refuge. But she felt like the skills had mildly diminished since she left. Sasha was no longer there to fuel the orphans’ rage, and she was no longer there to push them further.
How bored he must be there.
Her foot shot out and connected hard with Drie’s stomach. As she was doubled over, she grabbed hold of her pile of twists to pull her head back. She punched her once hard in the face and retreated.
Drie dropped down to a knee, pressing her hand to her nose.
Raising a brow, Twee snarled at her. “It isn’t like you to toy with your opponent.”
“You don’t know me.” She said.
Raising a brow, he ran his thumb along his jawline as he watched Drie try to compose herself. His eyes looked busy, as though he was no longer looking at her, but remembering something.
She knew what he was remembering; it was the same memory that was urging it’s way to the front of her mind. Pushing it away for now, she locked eyes with him as Drie got to her feet.
Her upper lip was shimmering with freshly shed blood. Her nose was slightly askew.
Anger burned brightly in her eyes as she looked at the one who was called Een, the one who had taken that rank and fled with it, preventing anyone else from ever holding it. The frustration she had harboured for years, unable to ever reach the top, or even see it.
Aleksandr rode everyone hard, broke them, beat them; all to attain the rank of two, since one would never be given, not until she returned. The thought of the constant torture she went through, never getting her prize, she was suddenly fueled.
Looking at the way Drie’s stance changed, she widened her own. She was growing tired of this. She needed to end this now.
“Are you ready?” She asked her.
“I’ve been waiting almost my whole life for this.” Drie replied.