The air was cool.
Flipping up the collar of his leather jacket, he shoved his hands into the pockets and lifted his shoulders up around his ears. He had been pacing early, perhaps that was why he didn’t feel the sharpness of the air.
Standing back on the grounds of the Hunter estate filled him with both dread and euphoria. All his memories, both good and bad seemed to clash in the air around him, they mixed in the air like a storm.
Letting out a breath, he tried to push his bad memories away from him, keeping only the good ones around him. He hoped they would do something to add some warmth to the air around him.
Taking his hands out of his pockets, he cupped them to his mouth and exhaled hot breath into them.
“It’s weird that is was so simple.” He said finally. Her presence was overwhelming, it made him forget the cold for a moment. “Tedious if anything. A lot of waiting. It’s weird to think of you out there, perched up in branches. I guess you’ve spent a good deal of your life perched somewhere, always watching…”
Her silence was something he was beginning to get used to.
“The building is something of a landmark. If it weren’t I would have burnt the whole place to the ground.” He still regretted not setting it up in flames, but something had told him it wasn’t something she would condone, no matter how deep her hatred for Aleksandr was. Sighing, he ran his hand across his face. “But I am guessing there won’t be much of a Refuge left behind with him gone… all of the others will branch out, live their lives out from under the weight of his thumb.”
Reaching around his back, he pulled the 9mm pistols with stainless steel slides from his belt holster. Pulling back the slide, he inspected the pistol. “Those who feel like they have to live up to Aleksandr’s legacy will be found… and dealt with.”
She had lived her life alone, searching for a piece of herself she knew she hadn’t the right to take but rather, had to earn. She had hoped to earn it one at a time, one slip of paper put inside the old wooden box.
Sitting on the concrete bench, he opened the black bag he had with him. Pulling out the wooden box he had been given on the plane, he ran his thumbs along the rim.
Hesitating for a moment, he slowly opened the box.
Inside this box, he had found so many names, even the name of his own father. He wondered how much it must weigh on her, all these little papers, all these names.
She had been made into a weapon, her main skill being able to stifle life with the simplest of ease. She could have turned away from it as a whole, camped out somewhere along a beach and learned to try to enjoy life any way she could. Instead, she had leaned into all she had been taught, yet used it in a way that could change the world, one slip of paper at a time.
Pulling her computer out of his bag, he opened it and browsed through the page he had opened. “I am not as skilled as you at finding people. I guess I will learn in time. In the mean time, money does seem to find whoever you are looking for, and I have found quite a few people who are tipping the scales as you would say.”
He chuckled, more to himself than anything else.
“You changed my life.” He told her. “Before you, I was…” He tried to think of the right words to say. “Nothing.”
In a way, she should be happy. She had escaped Refuge more than once, escaped the hungry clutches of Alexandr and snubbed out his legacy.
Alexandr had believed himself to be like Death. His reach was black and everything he touched seemed to fall to his feet. He had taken in the innocent and corrupted them, making them all pieces in his chess game. The weight of Aleksandr on the scales of evil was heavy, and she had finally tipped the scale.
What was better, was she had influenced someone to want to make the same changes in the world.
It wasn’t ideal. She had always hoped to keep that burden on her shoulders alone, but now she could be sure the scales could be tipped in their favour.
Getting up from the bench, he shoved everything back in his bag.
It was time to go, he had a lot that had to be done.
Shoving his bag on his shoulder, he rested his hand on the large slab of stone. “I’ll be back soon. Sleep well, Athena Hunter.”