Leverage

The sun kissed the tip of her nose as she sat on the rooftop of a small five storey apartment building looking down at the crowd.

It was unseasonably hot today. She could push the sleeves of her grey hoodies sweatshirt up over her elbows, but she decided instead to just ignore her slight discomfort. 

Twee had been seen mere hours before going into the building across the street. She had followed him from the gloomy apartment of his ‘hacker’ who she assumed worked for the promise of life as opposed to cash. Twee wasn’t the kind to pay for things he wanted.

Had he branched out as she had, he would have been able to do whatever he had threatened the thin, pale guy to do for himself. Having to rely on other for information usually left a trail… she didn’t like leaving any trace of herself behind.

Two people stood outside the building Twee had gone into. They didn’t look particularly suspicious to anyone else, but her eyes instantly narrowed to slits as a they came from around the corner to stand outside the heavy doors. They were the only ones in this crowd of people, who stood perfectly still, their eyes scanning the crowd.

They didn’t pull out their cellphone to pass the time or fidget with their clothes as though they may be waiting for someone. They just stood.

Refuge, she thought. Perhaps the new Drie and Vier. She didn’t expect anything less from Aleksandr. He would move through the ranks, sacrificing as many as he needed to if it meant getting her back to Refuge. 

She stopped her mind from travelling back to the day she left when one of the statuesque figures entered the building.

Brows furrowed, she leapt over onto the neighbouring rooftop before quickly climbing down. She was across the street and in the alley in moments. Hopping up, she grabbed onto the ladder of the fire escape and quickly ascended. 

The roof would provide her with the view she needed. She wasn’t ready to approach them, not just yet.

The stranger came out of the side door, just as she suspected. She had been at this long enough to be three steps ahead from anyone she was watching. Reaching behind him, he pulled out someone with a black canvas bag on their head.

Her eyes quickly accessed.

It was a man, tall. Muscular.

Hunter.

Before her heart had the time to jump up into her throat, she had pulled her backpack off and was pulling out the Remington Defense CSR. It wasn’t her first choice of weapon, but it was one she carried around when she didn’t expect to be using it. Twisting the suppressor into place, she clicked the scope into place.

Firing a single shot, she watched as the man holding onto Hunter buckled, his hands falling limp at his sides as he slumped forward onto the ground.

Twee stuck his head out from the door, pulling Hunter back into the shadows.

The third orphan came barreling down the alley. She downed him before he made it halfway to the door. Lowering the gun, she looked at the door, still slightly ajar.

“Twee.” She called out. “How do you expect this to go?”

“I am planning to use this guy as a shield as I make my way to the van parked on the curb. I am going to drive that to a private airport where I will take a client’s jet back to Refuge. I imagine you are going to make your own arrangements.”

“Do you honestly think I am going to let you get to that van?”

“I will wear this guy as a hat if I have to.”

She grit her teeth. “I can always shoot you in the chest.”

He paused, silence filling the hot, stinking alley between them for a moment. “I would like to think you still retain some honour from Refuge.”

Honour?” She laughed at the word. “I don’t hide behind that false sense of honour Aleksandr instilled in us. What we did there, what you do now, there is no honour in that. If I have to shoot you from the top of this rooftop to keep you from taking him, I will.”

Silence.

Her brow raised as she looked at the door. She waited a moment before hissing through her teeth. “Shit!” Tossing the rifle on the ground, she hopped over the edge of the roof and onto the fire escape. She made her way across the alley and ripped open the door.

Staring into the kitchen of the cafe, she cursed and ran down the alley.

She got to the street just in time to see the van pull away from the curb, the one she knew would have Twee and Hunter in it.

“Fuck!” She ran her hands through her hair for a moment, trying to sort through her thoughts.

They had Hunter, they were taking him back to Refuge.

“Fuck!” She said again, kicking her foot out. She hit a newspaper box, the people around her staring at her wide eyed as they sidestepped her and continued on their day. They were sheep, so unaware of the wolves that had just been here.

Sighing, she walked back into the alley, made her way up to the roof and put the rifle back in her bag. Shouldering the back, she made her way back to the loft she was staying in. As she walked through the crowds with her hood down, suddenly uncaring of the countless cameras capturing her, she tried to sort through her thoughts.

She was a ghost.

For years she had belonged to no one, answered to no one, and cared for no one. She had pulled the trigger adding more names to her box, names that never quite fit her even though they no longer belonged to anyone.

Malcolm Hunter II.

Why did that name mean so much to her? Did he mean enough for her to follow? To go to the very place that transformed her into this sociopathic vigilante she was now? She had taken someone from him, someone that needed to be taken from this word to slightly tip the scales that were always being thrown off balance.

She owed him nothing.

Kicking open the door to the empty loft, she walked over to her duffel. Picking it up, she walked over to the desk and grabbed her box. Placing it inside, she threw the bag onto her shoulder and left.

She was already at the private airport before she fully thought about what she was doing. Pulling the Desert Eagle from her belt holster, she pressed it to the temple of a businessman as he hung up his phone.

His hands shot up, his voice trembling as he looked straight ahead. “What do you want?”

“Where are you heading?”

“Uh, wherever you want to go…” He pointed a shaking hand at the private plane on the tarmac. “Papers have been filed, I like to fly… untraced.”

“Brandenburg, Germany.” The words burned inside her mouth, leaving a bad taste behind.

Nodding, he walked out with her. “Sure. Germany.”

Sighing, she felt she needed to get everything out in the open. “Look, I will put the gun away and we can walk over together. I am not going to cause you any trouble, I just need to get there as fast as possible. I should also tell you that I can find anyone, anywhere, anytime. Do you understand me?”

“Perfectly.”

“Amazing.” She pushed her gun back in the holster.

Clearing his throat, he began walked towards the jet.

He met the pilot outside who smiled at him and looked at her cautiously. “Sir?”

“Change of plans. We are going to Germany. Brandenburg, Germany.”

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