My heart stopped and I stared. Standing in front of me was my target. He was about six foot three inches and he was well muscled. His short black hair was spiked slightly. His back was to me for the moment and he didn’t seem to be paying attention.
God, you are cute. Wish I didn’t have to kill you, I thought, but nonetheless this was my job so I positioned my gun so it was pointed straight at the middle of his back. I was about to pull the trigger when he turned and looked in my direction. My finger froze on the trigger and I felt my heart stop once again. His cobalt blue eyes called to me, but I stayed still waiting for his move.
But he didn’t move. How stupid was he? Didn’t he see me? I hadn’t bothered to really conceal myself very well. Normally I would have killed my target by now. My gun was still pointed at him but he didn’t seem to care. I took a deep breathe, but no matter how much I willed my fingers to pull the trigger they wouldn’t so I turned and ran. I was going to be in so much trouble if I go back without killing the guy, but for some reason I couldn’t. Why was I being so weak? I knew the punishment for not finishing a job. I decided I better go and finish it.
When I turned I was surprised to see he was right behind me. I jumped back and reached for my gun, but his hand caught mine. I stared at him in disbelief as he smirked at me. I tried to pull my arm away, but his grip was strong. I tried to loosen his grip with my free hand and then decided to skip that and just grab my gun. I got the weapon in that had and pointed at him.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he growled. His grip on my arm tightened.
“Let me go and I won’t,” I said, though it was a lie.
“Really and I should believe that because?” he asked.
“I’m the one with the gun,” I answered, giving him a look that said I wasn’t joking. He didn’t let go so I clicked back the hammer and rested my finger on the trigger. He let me go then and crossed his arms. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“I’m trying to figure you out,” he answered, with a frown.
“What do you mean?”
“Why you were or are going to kill me.”
“I get my orders.”
His eyebrows shot up, “So you are part of a gang?”
“No a Mafia family.” I didn’t think it would matter since I was going to kill him.
“I see so I take it you will pull that trigger then even though I let you go?”
Oh, ah now he was making me feel guilty. Why was it that everything he did stop me from doing my job? I sighed, I suppose I could lie to the boss about killing him…no he wouldn’t believe it. He has eyes everywhere. I went to pull the trigger but again my hand was disobeying my brain. I lowered the gun and put it back in the holster.
“What is stopping you?” he asked a smug smile forming on his face. He knew he just wanted to hear me say it.
I turned and started back for the house. There was no way that I was going to say it to his face. I heard him following so I stopped and turned again. “Follow me and I will put a bullet through your skull. And I won’t feel bad about it.”
He stopped, “No I suppose you won’t.” He turned and walked off. I shook my head. I went back to the house.
I walked into the waiting room and almost immediately was called into his office. I walked into what was normally warm and inviting with the wood floor, dark brown walls, and fireplace that was always roaring. But right now there wasn’t a fire and the room was cold. I walked over to the black chair on my side of the mahogany desk. On the other side sat my father, the boss.
“Skylar tell me, why didn’t you kill him?” he growled. He crossed his arms.
“I don’t know, Father. It’s just that…I don’t know…Whenever I went to pull the trigger but I couldn’t…” I hung my head that was the worst excuse ever.
His jaw tightened he was probably trying to figure out my punishment. “Give me your gun.”
“What?” I sat up straighter than I was already.
“You heard me.” I pulled out my gun and set it in front of him. “Alright so you will get this back in three weeks.”
“Do you want to make it four?”
“Well now get going on your chores.”
I nodded and left the room. I went to the kitchen and washed the dishes quickly. I went around the house making sure nothing needed to be picked up. Then it was off to my favorite job, taking care of my pets. I owned twenty wolf-dog hybrids. Ten females, five of which were expecting, and ten males. My secret was that I could understand them.
I opened the back door and walked out. Truck, the alpha male, came over to me. “Hey Sky. What took you so long?” He wagged his tail as I pet behind his ears.
“Had to talk to my father. How are the mothers-to-be?” I asked.
“Trixi’s beside herself, she should be giving birth now. Sam says probably tomorrow. Jessi is nesting. Alice is saying a week or so. And Charlie had hers earlier; five healthy roly-poly pups.”
“Alright you go back to Trixi. I’m gonna go check on Charlie and I will be there in a minute alright?”
“Alright,” he barked, not wasting a moment to return to his mate’s side.
I walked over to Charlie’s den, all the ‘dens’ were small garden sheds, and I heard a warning growl from Hunter. “It’s okay Hunter. It’s me Skylar.
“Oh sorry Skylar,” he apologized.
“It’s fine,” I smiled, coming in. “How are you doing Miss. Charlie?”
“I think I’m good. This first litter is rough, but I’m good. No problems so far.”
“That’s good. Howl if anything changes.”
“I’ll do that.”
I walked out and went to Trixi’s. I heard her panting and whining. “Everything okay in here?”
Truck looked up, “Yeah. This is her sixth pup.”
“And my last,” she said in between pushes.
“Alright. Are the others healthy and eating?”
“Yeah,” Truck answered.
The last pup came into the world and Trixi leaned over the other five and began cleaning the youngest. It began to cry and she lifted it gently and laid it next to the others. It quickly began suckling and Trixi let herself fall back down and closed her eyes.
“Like I told Charlie, howl if you need me.” I petted both of them. “I will be back in the morning to paint their nails so I know they are yours and give all the pups numbers.”
Truck nodded and I backed out slowly. I check on the rest of the pack and then went to my room. I pulled out my diary and wrote:
I can’t believe I froze today. This target, his name was Austin, he somehow kept me from doing my job. Now I don’t have my gun, that’s just great. Now I have to be extra careful on the streets. I guess it is my fault. The good news today is that Charlie and Trixi had their pups. Charlie had five and Trixi had six. Well it’s dinner time so I will write later.
I ran down and found my spot at the table by my father and Justin, my older brother. Mother brought out dinner and set in front of father. He filled his plate and passed it to my uncle Joe. Our family ate together most nights so it took a while to get to me since I was the youngest so I was last. Justin handed me the big bowl and I scooped my share.
We ate and then Father went back to his office. Justin looked at me, “Got yourself in a bit of trouble didn’t you?”
“Shut up Justin,” I said. I wished Ian was here, but he had disappeared and now was considered dead. Though I knew deep in my heart he wasn’t dead. He was the one I looked up to, the one that talked Father into letting me be an assassin, as we call the family members who kill the enemies. I was the only girl and I might have blown it today.
I went to my room and looked out my closed window and murmured, “Where are you Ian?” I felt the hot tears in my eyes before they fell. I wanted my brother back; I would do anything to get my wish. I fell on my bed sobbing and soon fell asleep.
The next morning Father was standing over me. He smiled at me as I blinked up at him. “Hey Sweetheart.”
“Hey Father,” I sat up and wiped my tearstained face. “What are you doing in my room this early?”
He smiled again, “Returning your gun.”
“But you said—”
“Forget what I said here,” he said, handing me my firearm.
“I still don’t understand. Why?”
“You’ll see.” He turned and walked out of my room. I sat up and set my gun on my nightstand. I stretched my arms to the side. I got to my feet and went down to the table for breakfast. Everyone was there Father, Uncle Joe, Aunt Kelly, Uncle Larry, Aunt Jo-Ann, Mother, and Justin. I looked to Ian’s always empty chair and the emptiness in my chest throbbed. That was when I looked at the other empty seat and was surprised to see someone in it.
His hair was short and black and I could tell he was tall. Then I thought about it. It was Austin and now I understood why I got my gun back. In not killing a target it gave Father someone new. Austin was now part of the family.
I sat at my place and kept my eyes on my plate. I could feel his eyes and I had to keep myself from meeting them. I never thought it fair the newest person got to eat before us, but then again in order to have us eat before him meant that he would sit next to Father. This in turn meant possibly getting Father killed by a spy who is pretending to be part of the family. So when I finally got the plate of pancakes I grabbed four.
Once breakfast was ate Father pulled me into his office. “I now thank you for not killing him. Anyways you are going to be his mentor, going to show him the ropes, got it?”
“Why me? Why not have Justin do it?” I asked, looking at him pleadingly.
“Well you know Justin. He’ll know this was the person you were supposed to kill and in hopes to prove something would make Austin do something that would kill him.”
I sighed, “True.”
“How are you dogs doing?”
I smiled, “Fine Charlie and Trixi had their pups, a litter of five and six respectfully. Sam is looking like today is her day. Jessi will be soon after. And Alice in a week or so.” Father doesn’t know I can understand them so I have to word it so he doesn’t think I’m crazy.
“Good. Now off with you. Take Austin to the target rage with the Nerf guns.”
“Yes sir.” I walked out of his office and almost ran into Austin. “Go get ready for target practice,” I instructed and walked to the stairs. In my room I put on my Nerf armor and then put my jeans and a T-shirt over. Then I returned to my closet and grabbed my Vortex Lumatron. Then one of my older Nerf guns for Austin to use.
I went down and stood by the door. Justin passed and gave me a mocking smile and thumbs up. He always hated that I was one of them and often tried to talk Father out of letting me come to the meetings.
“Sky?” Mother called from the kitchen. “Will you come in here for a minute?” I set down the Nerf guns and walked into the kitchen. She was making bread and I smiled at the warm welcoming smell. She handed me two paper bags. “There’s your lunches. Have fun.”
“Alright Mother. Thank you,” I smiled at her and let her kiss the top of my head. When I returned to where I left the guns I was pleased to find Austin waiting. “You ready? Good. Now come on.”
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