By Mercy_ 13 Comments
Her family was dead. The memory of the massacre at the hands of the mob was forever burnt into her retinas, an indelible sight that she could never escape. At the weathered age of nine, Cassidy O'Rourke was an orphan. The cold night wind chilled her to the bone as she slipped between the figures in the crowd. She'd come from a police family and three older brothers, if there was one thing in this world that she knew how to do it was survive.
The crowded streets of Boston should have been no place for a child, but she knew that her best bet for eking out some quick money would be on the streets and lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. Dusk was setting in and people were traversing the sidewalk on the way to their chaffeured cars or taxis. Her hand slipped into the pocket of an impeccably dressed business man and pulled out his wallet without him even realizing. Her father may have been a police officer, but she was also taught using the bell system how to take care of herself.
Cleaning the dirt off of her cheeks, she entered the hotel and walked up to the front desk, the wallet hidden in the small backpack she carried. Holding the key card she spoke in the sweetest voice that she could muster. "My daddy just went out to a show...he sent me back in here so that I don't get into trouble." Her eyes widened to become as innocent-looking as possible and she scuffed her foot against the marble floor of the lobby. It was about five minutes before she was escorted up to 'her' room.
In the two hours that he was gone she had made herself absolutely at home. Tucked into his bed and cuddling a pillow as if it were a lifeline, she had gotten her first sleep in five days. But she had become complacent and lost herself. The shuffling sound of feet outside the door caught her attention and woke her out of a dead sleep.
Flipping the covers off she cased her surroundings, quickly grabbing a letter opener from the desk across the room and slipping on the backpack that never left her sight - it carried everything that was left of the O'Rourke family.Slipping into the connecting kitchenette, she slunk down to the floor and made herself as small as she could while simultaneously looking around for weapons in the case that she needed more.
"Who the FCK is in here?!?!?!" If he weren't so angry, she would have thought that he sounded cultured and worldly. Instead he just sounded mean and angry. She closed her eyes, the instinctual 'if I can't see you, you can't see me' kicking in before he stormed into the kitchen. Her eyes snapped open as she saw the man she'd pick-pocketed. There was a scar across his face and she caught sight of a tattoo on his forearm. Her father had showed her the symbol once, it marked him as one of the top-tier mob associates...somehow involved with the men who'd killed her family.
Everything inside of her went cold as she saw him and the thirst for vengeance filled her with an insurmountable need for sustenance. "I'm...I'm so sorry. I just...I just...please help me, sir." A child's best defense was their innocence. Her voice intentionally trembled as she did her best to quell the rage inside of her, at least for now.
"Ya stupid btch. Do ya know who I am?" He took a menacing step forward and reached out for her throat, leaving his abdomen unprotected. Cassidy, having palmed the letter opened, slid it up towards his ribs. It only penetrated the tiniest bit due to lack of force, but it gave her an opening. Ducking underneath his arm, she flung open a drawer and grabbed a large, long knife before making a run for it.
She got the door to the hallway open before he grabbed her and flung her back onto the ground, her head hitting the hardwood floor and causing her vision to go blank momentarily. Clutching the knife as if it were her only friend in the world, she prepared herself for what was coming. He roughly grabbed the front of her shirt and pulled her up to her feet, about to hit her square in the face when she jabbed the knife into his ribs, sliding it up just like her father had shown her and penetrating lungs and heart. With a large crashing noise that would have alerted somebody in the near vicinity, he knocked over a floor lamp which crashed into the wall-length mirror.
In a swift move, she pulled out the knife and wiped it on his white shirt, leaving the trail of blood. That was the last thing she did with a clear mind. She was nine years old and she had just killed somebody. He was a mobster and it had been in defense of her own life, but taking somebody's life was never something that should be done lightly. Her entire body shaking, running entirely on adrenaline, the small child wiped her bloody hands on the Persian carpet and then exited the hotel room.
There was a man standing about a foot in front of the door as she opened it. Cass quickly held the knife, despite it wobbling in her shaking hand she was ready to use it if need be. He quickly held up both his hands in an almost lackadaisical manner. "I'm not going to hurt you, chere."
Something about him spoke to her. She couldn't put a finger on it, nor articulate it in her own thoughts, but she trusted that he wouldn't hurt her. There was a deadly nature coiled inside of him, his body was well muscled and his eyes held within them a killer instinct, but it wasn't aimed at her. "Why not?" It was an odd question. Not who are you, not why are you here, simply why aren't you going to hurt me. It spoke to her mindset that she was more interested in knowing why somebody wasn't going to hurt her than anything else.
"Because you have skills. Dat man was going to kill you and you put him down. You're what...nine, ten? Dat's quite impressive, m'dear." There was an accent in his voice, it was one that she'd never heard anymore but it sounded like music to her ears. Crouching down in front of her, putting himself at the same level, he gently took the knife from her and re-positioned it in her hand showing her how to most effectively hold it. "What's your story? Why are you here all alone with no family or supervision?"
She held the knife weighing her options. He was close enough that she may be able to move fast enough, but there was no certainty. He was also the first person to show her any kindness. She decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. With a shaky, slightly raspy voice, she began to speak. "My name's Cassidy O'Rourke. My entire family was killed a week ago. They were...they were police officers. My daddy was the best man I've ever known and my brothers could be idiots, but I loved them. They were going to shut down the mob. Somebody was a blabbermouth, though and tattled on them." She was on the verge of sobbing, her voice trembling with every word that she spoke. She was tired, so exhaustively tired. It felt like she would never not be tired or sad. "I've been doing stuff like this ever since. I'm really, really tired."
It was the candor of a child mixed with the wariness of somebody who had been damaged. He cautiously wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. That one bit of compassion was her undoing and she fell into a sobbing wreck. Tears running down her face as heartbreaking sobs wracked her entire body. She was weeping for the loss of her family, her love, her innocence and her childhood all at once. He stroked her hair and rubbed her back, picking her up gently in his arms, he held her in a manner similar to the way a mother held a newborn. "Tis okay, chere. You're safe now."