Oracles, Demons and Witches... Oh My!

Alec stared after Raiiyn as she ran out of the diner, his arm hanging in the air, powerless to stop her retreat.

Well, that was bloody brilliant.

He ran a hand through his silver hair and closed his eyes.

"How am I supposed to tell them I've scared her off?" Turning, he gathered his things from his table, leaving some notes on the table for the bill. The cook stared at him, unsure what to do as he walked out of the diner and out onto the streets of London. He quickly made his way to a back alley and muttered a few words, opening a portal back home. Immediately after stepping through and arriving in the den of the manor he was accosted by his sister Meghan.

"What happened?" She said in frightened tone. The fact he had returned so abruptly by portal could only mean that something had gone amiss.

"She ran." He said, falling down into a plush armchair by the fireplace. "I told her about the protection spell, her heritage... well at least part of it and she ran."

Meghan's face fell as she wrapped her arms around herself. "Father is not going to be happy about this. We're days away from her 21st birthday Alec... He could find her."

Alec sighed and covered his face with his hands. "I realize that Meg. I really do but there's not much I could do. She ran out of the diner like a bat out of hell and I couldn't just kidnap her here. Do you want her to be scared of us? All that would have accomplished is to push her further and further away from us. Diyerdre and Tr'stan made their choice when they chose to send her away. They sacrificed their lives to protect their daughter from Beelzebul and in doing so, cut her off from all that she is. She's going to need time to cope with who she is, what she is."

A tall, white haired man in a black suit entered the den behind Meghan. "He's right, m'dear. Imagine how she must feel. To find out she's not completely human and her family lied to her, and in her eyes turned their back on her? It's not an easy thing to accept. The time will come when she turns to us but for now we need to trust in the powers that be. She will go home, I have seen it."

His words hung in the air, leaving the room thick with unspoken understanding. Raiiyn would be called to Avalon.

13 Comments

Family Matters

Some people. So filthy.

Raiiyn wiped down a sticky table inside the now empty and dingy diner she worked at. At 20 years old, she had been waitressing here for six years now. At the age of 14 she struck out on her own after a rather brutal fight with her foster father, James. She had been in a very serious car accident along with her foster mother. Raiiyn walked away without a scratch but her foster mother died almost instantly. James couldn't forgive her for that. She'd made a nice little home for herself nonetheless. Working full time, she still managed to graduate from school. Since then she was content to spend her time at the diner, trying to figure out what it was she wanted to do with her life. She often spent quiet mornings wondering about just such a thing. The bell rang, interrupting her thoughts, as the front door opened, signaling the arrival of a new customer.

"I'll be right with you. Please take a seat," she said as she carried her tray of dirty dishes to the kitchen. Turning around she saw a tall man, with hair white as snow, sitting at one of the booths by the windows.

"Morning, Sir. How are you today?" She said with a bright smile.

"Well, well. Thank you. Could I get a cup of coffee, please?" He said, turning his piercing green eyes in her direction.

"Right away! I'll leave you some time to go over the menu." Raiiyn turned and walked over behind the bar to make his coffee.

Those are some serious eyes. I wonder if they're real or if he's wearing contacts...

Her mind wandered off as she went about pouring his coffee. She returned with his coffee, her order pad in hand.

"Are you ready to order, Sir?"

"I'll just have some toast, dear."

Raiiyn walked over to the kitchen and shouted for some toast. Standing behind the bar, she started to put away some clean dishes.

"Is it always this dead in the morning?" The customer asked as he sipped his coffee.

"Not always. Usually it's pretty busy but with the rainfall being this heavy, most people would rather eat at home."

"I see. My name is Alec, by the way. I'm new to town and this place is very close by. It usually seems rather busy in the evening."

Raiiyn laughed. "I'm Raiiyn. And you'd be right. The customers really go crazy for the roast and mash here. And I understand why. It's really fairly good."

"Order's up," shouted the Chef from the kitchen.

Raiiyn brought the toast over to Alec. "Enjoy!"

"Thanks. If you're not to busy, would you mind keeping me company? I'd love to know more about the area."

Raiiyn looked around and realizing it would probably remain dead for the rest of the morning, sat down and begun to tell Alec about the neighborhood.

***

Weeks passed in much the same fashion. Raiiyn would start a morning shift, shortly to be joined by Alec. On busy days, he would sit at the bar and they would chat as she served other customers. They became friends rather quickly. On quiet mornings she would talk about her past, opening up to him the more she began to trust him and eventually she came to think of him as a fatherly figure. Alec was ever curious about her history and family. And one dreary morning, she found out why.

"Alec! How are you doing?" Raiiyn smiled as she began to pour him a cup of coffee. She had gotten used to his routine by now. "Hey George, order of taters, eggs and bacon please!"

"Not too bad, dear. Not too bad." He took a seat at his usual booth by the window. He looked out at the rain falling down and briefly closed his eyes.

Not too bad isn't exactly good. He looks pretty tired.

"Rough night last night? You really look like you could use this coffee." Raiiyn said as she sat down opposite of him.

"A lot to think about lately." He turned his gaze to her as he took a drink of his coffee.

"Oh yeah? I hope it's nothing too troubling,” she said, concerned.

“No, not troubling at all. If anything, it’s a relief and a truly marvelous thing.”

“Then it shouldn’t weigh on you so heavily.” She placed her elbows on the table and crossed her fingers under her chin. “It should make you happy but you don’t really look happy.”

He smiled. “I am happy. Very much so. I am just not quite sure that my happiness will mean happiness for someone I care about very much. I have some rather shocking news to share with them.”

“If it makes you happy, I am pretty sure it will make them happy too. I mean it’s not like you’re going to tell them anything negative right?”

“Order’s up,” George yelled from the kitchen.

“Let me go get your breakfast. Try not to worry so much in the meantime,” she said as she got up from the table.

“I hope you’re right,” he whispered to himself, “otherwise I may not see that smile again.”

“Thanks, George.” Raiiyn winked as she took the plate from the kitchen window. Walking back to Alec she began to tell him about these hilarious tourists that came by the diner yesterday. She sat with him as he ate his breakfast and chatted about various nonsense.

“Raiiyn, have you ever wondered why you can’t remember anything before your 7th birthday?”

Raiiyn’s eyes snapped up to meet Alec’s. “No, I haven’t. I mean, I’ve had so many foster families I figured it was probably something to do with that.”

“What if it wasn’t though? What if you weren’t meant to remember what happened before then?”

Raiiyn’s eyes roamed over the face that had become so dear to her over the past few weeks. Taking in the serious look in his eyes, usually so full of laughter, she cautiously said, “I honestly don’t see how that would even be possible. It’s not like people can control other people’s memories. And I’ve been an orphan since I was born.”

“You’re wrong. It’s very possible. And you haven’t.”

Raiiyn narrowed her eyes as her body became rigid. “What do you mean, I haven’t?”

“I mean that until you were 7 years old, you lived with your mother, my sister, in our family home along with my younger sister, Meghan.”

Raiiyn sat silent for a moment as his words washed over her. “You’re lying. That’s impossible. I’ve been with 9 foster families from being a newborn until I was 14. My birth mother died giving birth to me and no one knew who my father was. That’s how I ended up in foster care.”

“No, that’s the story we created for you. To make it easier to hide you.”

“Hide me?! Hide me from what?” Raiiyn’s voice started to rise in pitch. The onslaught of information being shared was starting to make her panic.

“From your grandfather. Raiiyn, look, I know that it’s a lot to take in but I’m your uncle and I have been looking for you for two years.”

“Why now? Why look for me now if you wanted to hide me?”

“Because you’re almost 21 and that means that the spell holding your powers at bay will break soon.”

“Spell?! What the hell are you on about, a spell?! You’re bonkers. Absolutely completely bonkers!” She stood up and began to walk away.

Alec stood and reached for her forearm, turning her around. “Listen, I know it sounds crazy but your mother, all of our family, we’re witches. From a bloodline almost as old as time itself. And your father, well… he’s not. He’s a demon, Raiiyn. And that means so are you. When the spell breaks in a few weeks, all your powers and your true nature will break free and you’ll have no idea how to control them.”

Raiiyn forcefully removed herself from his grip. “You have absolutely lost your mind. I have no idea what kind of sick game you’re at here but I’ll have no part of it. And to think I actually trusted you.” Ripping off her apron and throwing it to the floor, she dashed out the door into the rain, trying to get as far away from Alec and the diner as possible.

25 Comments

Ideas?

So, my hands itching to write a fan-fic about the DCU... but I have no idea who I want to write about...

Suggestions, please?

20 Comments

Why Being A Cosmo Girl Is So Great

So someone asked me recently what a Cosmo Girl is. I think that a lot of people have sort of a certain stereotype associated with the phrase. **coughs** Ho Ho Ho **coughs** . Being a Cosmo Girl is empowering. Just like I told my dear friend, a Cosmo Girl is the following:

The Cosmo Girl is a woman who is a leader in everyway. She is a beautiful, sexually active and usually single woman in her early twenties to mid thirties. She is a city girl working in the Corporate World. Financially secure, she doesn't need a man or help. A sexual minx who knows how to treat a man should she settle down. She is physically at her prime and ensures she maintains it. She is a fashionista and knows the latest trends, be them financial, fashionable or cultural. In short: She is the Alpha Female.

We live in a day and age where females are no longer oppressed. Ok, yes. There are still some closed-minded people out there, countries where we need women's rights and some issues in first world nations too, like equal pay, sure but we have a lot more opportunities now then we did 50 years ago. Being a Cosmo Girl means that I am a strong and independent woman. It means that I will do what I need to do and won't take any flack from anyone. It means that I can enjoy myself and I know that just because I like to cook dinner for my man or give him a massage, doesn't mean that I am a weak and controlled female. It means that I can work and provide for myself, pamper myself and enjoy a certain kind of lifestyle. I make my own choices. I will take myself where I want to go and get there with class and sophistication. I enjoy my femininity and have no qualms about enjoying it to the fullest.

I love being a Cosmo Girl. It means that I am confident in being a woman and I don't need to fight to be anything more then just that. I am Woman - Hear Me Roar!

48 Comments

SQUARE STOOL PREMIERE

Tip of the hat to ya, CV! I'd like to introduce you to 'Square Stool', the place for the anti-cool katz to chat and discuss comics =)

So for our first stool, I along with two other Viners will be discussing the new 52 Wonder Woman. Feel free to comment and/or share your opinions and if you have a topic for a stool or want to join in, PM me =) Just bear in mind you will need to commit to a one week turn-around to submit your stool as we intend for this to be a weekly endeavour.

And please, POPULAR POSTERS NEED NOT APPLY ;)

So without further ado, I give you your lovely anti-cool-katz stool providers. =)

Raiiyn: Hello All! I'm Raiiyn, first and foremost a DC girl, an Indie lover, part-time Marvel Fan and your giglicious host =) FYI, my comments are full of spoilers, proceed at your own risk.

lykopis: Salutations, I’m lykopis – She-Wolf Warrior Ballerina, die-hard Marvel fan-girl, indie comic enthusiast and a DC n00b. Been here on CV for about six months and it’s been…um…enlightening.

Hawkeye446: Yo-yo Square Stoolers, Hawk here. Glad to have proven my worth as "so-uncool-that-he-qualifies". Also, good day ladies, pumped for some Wonder Woman chat? ;)

Raiiyn: We sure are, dude. Lots of useless opinions coming right up.

lykopis: I resent the use of the words “Yo-yo”, “ladies” and “pumped”. Flagged.

How do you feel about Wonder Woman's new origin story?

lykopis: Considering I am new to the book, I’m not too sure. I am aware of who she was, how she was created without a father and what she stood for but I have to say, I do like this more harder, visceral Diana. Granted, learning you have a father (and more) would affect anyone, but seeing her get aggressive as part of the process to reaching resolution was great. I appreciate the direction Brian Azzarullo took, making her more like the Amazon she is with a stronger connection to Greek mythology. Hey, it’s the gods, they’re a crazy bunch so should be a fun series.

Raiiyn: I actually am really liking the new origins. I think that Diana is more of an Amazon now and I think that the Zeus storyline is a nice twist. I am also enjoying the fact that they are really sticking to some of the facts when it comes the mythology surrounding the Amazons. The whole going to sea to populate their race.and how Hephaestus saves the babies by trading them is a nice touch too since most stories say that they kill the male children. One thing I find a little awkward though. Hippolyta is supposed to the be the daughter of Ares.who is the son of Zeus.. so like did she sleep with her grandfather to have a baby?! o.O **twitch** yea, my brain just overloaded there.

Hawkeye446: That's definitely a tough question. I could break it down a lot, I'm sure, but to keep it simple...

I always thought that being made out of clay was such a fascinating aspect of her identity, and having that "no father" facet added to her character. Before the reboot, if someone had of told me that, -spoilers-, Zeus would suddenly be her dad, and that the clay would get the boot, I would have been in the mob with a torch and pitchfork at hand. But seeing (or reading) how Azzarello has tackled it, how he has addressed the resulting issues, and woven a story out of it, I adore what has been done. The fact that Diana is Zeus' love-child has stemmed this whole first arc in her self-named title, and I love what I have read so far. The changes pale to the interest it has sparked in me, and being a big WW fan, I can't wait to see what else is unravelled.

As a side note, despite this "Square Stool" *snicker*, being primarily about Diana, I also quite like the additions to other characters. I find that the Amazons are as intriguing as ever, and I hope to see more from them as a whole and as a community.

OH, and Hippolyta is BLONDE now!? YES, that minor change, to me, mixes it up a bit. I like that they are taking this opportunity to edit small things too. The real question is, is it her natural hair colour?

What do you think are some key differences to the character besides the obvious costume change?

Raiiyn: One of the major differences that I noticed is that Diana is less soft. I mean, it always depended on the writer exactly how compassionate she was, but I find that now she has a more stronger personality and more conviction in regards to what needs to be done. She seems to be a very strong woman from all views, even when she discovered her mother had lied to her all her life and while she may have cried… How she handled the situation there after is a testament to her warrior personality. I really see her as an actual Amazon now.

Hawkeye446: Wow, well for starters, she's a bigger BAMF then she used to be? I mean - I adore Diana, because her character is built on her strength, respect and honour, yet more so, she has such undying care, hope and kindness that separates this Amazon from her kin. A complete mixed bag, at the moment I think we have seen that she fights as well as ever. And despite her numerous brawls so far, we have also seen the person, not just the Amazon Princess. We see her at a cafe, wearing ordinary clothes. Speaking normally, oozing wisdom. I love that, she seems smarter than ever. So, yeah, I guess the main one for me is her intellect, (which was always there), as it is as subtle as ever, yet more frequently expressed, I think.

(As a side note, I'm not saying Diana usually comes off as dumb, far from it, but often those lines get blurred with the other facets of her character, and I don't see that happening here).

And despite it being ever so obvious, I'm a fan of all the costumes we have seen. Loved seeing her all suited up in armour in #8 - awesome.

lykopis: Despite being new to DC, I have read some comics from her “mod” phase but it wouldn’t be fair to compare her to that depiction only. I’ve always thought her to be a strong, kind and compassionate person so I think she has retained those qualities but is now more accessible and not so perfect. She is impulsive, quick to anger and is retributive. I think that’s awesome!

Which do you like better, pre-52 or the new 52?

Hawkeye446: Hmm, a harder question than the first. one that may reside un-answered. I don't think we have seen enough from this new Diana. We may have observed her strength, beauty, grace, intellect, and even her emotion, but I still feel something is missing? And that has nothing to do with Azzarello, but Diana seems different to me, now, and I think I need more time (and more issues) to really state an educated opinion. But I will say, this personification is so so good. I see her character building from here a lot, and I hope I am right.

lykopis: Again --- can’t really answer due to my “newbie-ness”, but I do like this interpretation of her. The art by Chiang is wonderful and I like the new look revealed in issue #8, making her less a Miss America beauty contestant during the swimsuit portion. Some tweaking should be done – I want her iconic double W’s (not her bra size) more pronounced and much prefer Wonder Woman’s hair down. The pinned up look is too goddess-like and what I am really liking about this series is the focus on her bad@ssery. I like my female heroes strong and resilient. Wonder Woman may be a demi-god, but she seems more human now to me.

Raiiyn: NEW 52! Diana is waaaayyyyy better now. The Zeus thing is going to make for interesting interactions with other DC characters. I mean, Wonder Woman is a demi-god now, right? I'm interested to see what that will mean in the future. Besides that, I actually love the way they have her doing what needs to be done and for once I actually see her as an Amazon instead of just a woman in a bathing suit? Even though she was such a famous hero... I never really liked her all that much until now. Out of all the new 52 books, this is one of my favourites.

Do you like her current story line?

lykopis: Well, I was enjoying it initially but then felt annoyance with a few things in regards to Wonder Woman’s origins; especially the reactions of some key characters. I’m not impressed with the story involving Hephaestus - too easy – too quick – too convenient – too forgiving. There should be a real break-down there and real compensation and redress for what’s happened throughout the years. Diana’s reaction wasn’t enough and the acceptance of the situation by the victims frankly unbelievable. I hope there is more coming in regards to this, I really, really do. I don’t feel comfortable should Azzarullo leave this particular revelation as is. It would be a failure on his part in his otherwise great writing of the character.

Hawkeye446: Yes, yes I do. Diana has been tested, we have see new things from her, met new characters, explored some mythological marvels, and so much more. Azzarello is really stepping up and making this character his own, distinguishing her from other heroes out there, and even her past life. And what I think is really great, is his pacing. Some books move so quickly, that we miss what happens. Others stay in the same place, for what seems like forever. Within 8 issues we have gone across the world and back, met a boatload (figuratively, seeing as Poseidon is bigger than one) of Gods, Amazons and other characters. What has been done, for me, is unfathomable. He himself shows in what he writes, it all just seems so brilliant. Why? Because it's not obviously so. We don't see that major emphasis on everything, it's not meant to contrast her past life because it can, it's to be its own. I am blabbering, but the point is - this is a new age for Diana, and her place in the DCU. We have already seen a much broader interpretation of her world in under a year than what may have resulted after many, previously. I hold high hopes for what is yet to come, and this book remains in my inner circle of favourites (at the moment), along with Batman, and X-Factor, and the recently ended X-Club miniseries.

Raiiyn: I like how they have the jealous wife thing going on and I'm interested in Apollo's role in all this too. I am not too fond of how they are portraying the gods though. Poseidon is down right ugly and the whole Hades candle thing? REALLY?! Diana is more a warrior now though and I for one am all for it =) GO AMAZONS GO. I can't wait to see what they have in store for Zeus' latest baby and exactly what is going on up on Mount Olympus with Zeus missing? Baby= Zeus anyone? That's kind of what I'm thinking at the moment. It’s also only issue #8 right now so we'll see if I still feel that way after the next five issues.

Raiiyn: Hope you all enjoyed, or not..whatever your preference ;P See you next week CV!

Hawkeye446: Conversation stirs, stooler's :P Until next time!

lykopis: (....what's taking the Moderator's so long....)


ANTI COOL KATZ ONLY

31 Comments

Frosted (mature)

I looked out through the frosted window of my loft and stared at the phonebooth across the street. I could see my breath form in the air as I leaned in closer to the window.

No, it couldn’t be. He’s not real, he’s not real. I don’t see him.

I repeated these words over and over again in my head. This wasn’t happening.

People say that the past comes back to haunt you and what you do is what you have to live with. I’ve had to live with a lot of bad things but this one… I thought this one was dead.

I remember the first day I saw him. The perfect hair, the perfect smile… He made me want to gag. He was such a pretty boy, but within the first five minutes of our conversation… If he asked to marry him I would have said yes. I was entranced and naïve and I believed every word that came out of that perfect mouth.

I crashed back to reality as my phone began to ring. Once…Twice…

“Hello.”

“Hello, Arabelle. How are you?”

I recognized this voice. It was the voice that used to whisper in my ear of how much he loved me. How much he needed me.

“You’re not real. I saw the body. You’re not real.”

“But Ara, I’m very real. Can’t you see me? I can see you.”

“Stop! What do you want?”

“I want you, Ara. I want you.”

The line went dead. I closed my eyes tight and sought solace in my mind. It didn’t work. My mind strayed to a time three years before…

15 Comments

Chapter One

` I don’t Ara. It’s not your priority. You’re a damn good field agent but I’m not about to risk my top Terminator on this mission. End of discussion.`

`Henry, you have to let me go with Luce. I think something bad is going to happen. What if the P.G.B. finds out about the operation?`

`Don’t worry your pretty little head, Ara.`

`Look. Henry, you’re my friend and my boss but if you don’t assign me as Lucifer’s partner you are going to lose a damn good friend and your best agent. And don’t tell me, I’m not the best, Henry. No one has ever beaten my scores.` I placed my hands on his desk and stared him down.

`God, Ara. Luce asked me not to send you because it’s a volatile sitiuation. You’re not giving me a choice though, are you?`

`No, I’m not. Agent Bri is on operation 81A and that’s that.`

Intuition is a funny thing.

Operation 81A. What a tragedy. No, no more memories. Not tonight. Tonight, I have to find Lucifer… Before he finds me.

***

It wasn’t like this before. I used to be happy and I used to have faith in people. Of course, interaction with people changed that.

Luce and me… We go back. Way back. I met him at my seventeenth birthday party. A few days later I found out he was sent by the Agency to recruit me for my skills. The Agency is an organization that is dedicated to keeping the world safe, and they will do anything to ensure innocent people don’t die or at least that’s what I was led to believe.

I was all for it. I became the best damn agent the Agency ever saw. Sure, a small-town girl like me… You’re probably thinking I sat behind a desk or something. Think again. I excelled in all areas of my training but two things stood out. I had stealth and I could take out a guy four times my size. You know, I never thought I’d thank my parents for the Tae-Kwan-Do lessons but man, have those come in handy. Now, to understand me and my life you have to know three things. I’ve only ever truly loved one person. I’ve assassinated two hundred and thirteen people for the Agency and there are about seven people that want me dead and won’t quit til I am dead. I lost my innocence a long time ago.

I see the world for what it is. It’s cruel and unfair so I made my own justice… Well, at least I did once I realized I could.

***

I looked at myself in the mirror. I hadn’t slept in days but you couldn’t even tell. My eyes looked like ice and my hair flared out at the back like little black knives. My pants were made of leather just like my top and it felt like a second skin. God, it felt so good to be back in uniform. Yea, right. It’s almost like I can still feel the blood on my clothes.

I was dressed to kill, literally.

***

"Don't move. We're here. Now, Rafael is the next guinea pig. Hopefully this will be the last one you leave on your blood trail.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Arabelle smiled up at Lucifer, “This will be quick. Hopefully I won’t be seeing you anytime soon.” Arabelle started to walk away.

"Ara! Try not to get too excited when they come for you. And remember, at the end of the day, they don’t even accept you as human. Don’t let your guard down."

Ara looked back at him. He looked so innocent and worried standing in the back corner of the alleyway. The snow drifted down from the rooftops and Ara thought to herself that he couldn't possibly be more perfect. Actually worried about her safety..."I'll be fine, Luce. Remember, this is the kinda thing I was made for. And I promise I won't show off too much."

"I’m being serious, the Russians are devious. You shouldn’t underestimate them. They play dirty, especially the noviates. They don't wanna die before they get a chance to be somebody. You have killed four of them already, sooner or later they might band up against you. I am going to climb the fire escape and watch from the rooftop over by where Rafael is interrogating that poor woman. If anything and I mean ANYTHING looks wrong to me, I'm sniping him and we're calling this mission aborted, got it?"

Ara just shook her head and kept walking. She knew she wouldn't mess up. She had been doing field ops for almost seven years now, way too much experience under her belt to slip up and let the bad guy catch her unawares with a hidden blade or a lucky shot. She was already thinking of how she was going to do this. Snapping his neck wouldn't catch anyone's eye; that was too basic. She didn't want to go over the top though. She decided that cutting his air off would be good enough after a little bit of a demonstration of her capabilities.

She walked down the narrow laneway and thought to herself what it would be like for her in Moscow if she was just on vacation, like any other normal American. She would be exploring the tourist attractions instead of walking down the alleyways of the ghetto… but that life wasn’t for her. She knew that and she accepted it.

She could feel someone watching her and prayed that it was Rafael. The whole plan was based on her ability to provoke him into a fight...and entice the viewers into a private audience. She had to get admitted into their base, figure out why they suddenly changed their secrecy policy. Why all of a sudden they were letting women join their ranks.

The P.G.B.. had the most moronic name of any terrorist organization she had ever heard of:Правда Гонка Бога. In short, The True Race of God, that’s what they called themselves. They prided themselves on being made up of only men...and being some of the most deadly assassins in the world. They demanded the world be ruled by one united power controlled by the people. Yet they hated governments and the idea of them, which is why they’d been systematically trying to bring down the world’s power houses for decades. For the most part they hired themselves out to other organizations for murder purposes. In return, those organizations owed them a favour...The P.G.B. had a lot of debt they had yet to collect and now they were slowly collecting. They were up to something, the agency just didn’t know what, and it was Arabelle’s job to find out.

They used to have a leak. Someone who was part of P.G.B. would send them vital information. They had an agent in the lower ranks a few months ago but just like Rafael was about to die... so did he.

“Красивая леди, where do you think you are going?” a boorish looking man of about 6’3 steadily approached her from behind. “I bet you haven’t even seen half the sights of this beautiful city and I bet I can show you a good time, no?”

Ara turned around slowly looking him up and down. He was fairly large, broad shoulders and large hands. He was eyeing her like some piece of meat. “осветите и темнота.” That was it. She had uttered the words that would set everything into motion. Light and darkness. I am the light, you are the darkness. I will brighten your day. A few choice words from the initiation ceremony, all she needed to say in order to get what she wanted.

“What did you say, сука? I don’t think you understand what that means. Have you ever experienced pain, сука? You are going to know it now.” Rafael began to come towards her and for effect she let him grab her arm. He pulled close and she twisted herself so her back was to his chest. He tried to put a strangle hold on her but she had already anticipated it and had ducked to the right. She lifted her hands up and brought his head forward as she positioned her foot firmly between his legs. She lifted him off the ground and dug her elbow into his waist making him gasp. She threw him to floor and laughed backing up.

“Really? I think you are the one to feel the pain. Don’t test me, you’re in for a world of it as it is, monsieur.” As the last words escaped her mouth she started to run. He was back on his feet and she ran up his chest and jumped over him twirling in the air as she grabbed his head. She landed one knee on the ground, her other leg firmly planted to the floor. Her hands were above her left shoulder, holding his head between her hands. Well, looks like I ended up snapping his neck anyways, she thought to herself.

Slow clapping came from her right. Clap...clap...clap...

“I see that you do not like to toy overly much with you prey, that is a valuable trait in this trade.”

Ara slowly stood up, tossing the dead body of number one-oh-seven to the floor. “My mother always told me not to keep people waiting. Are you the next in line or have I sparked interest yet? I hate to be kept waiting myself.”

“You seem quite sure of yourself for someone so young,” a man who looked to be about forty-seven years old approached her from her left side. His hair was greying slightly by his ears and he had crow’s feet yet for all that he looked like a harmless young grandfather, glittering green eyes over top a warm smile. “I wonder why that is. Are you convinced you are the best? I can assure I have seen better but then again I haven’t seen one this good in a long while. You’ve been hunting down the new guns. I suppose this means you know who I am?”

“I know where you come from. The interest isn’t deep enough to research the who’s in depth. Look I’m not into the cat and mouse game. I was never very good at pretending to be a mouse. So I have one question for you, have I proved my worth to you people yet?”

“Very straight-forward I see. Well, I can tell you that yes, you have sparked our interest. It’s why I came to meet you personally. My name is Edmund Cartier. You may or may not have heard of me. If you know anything about your business at all though, I can assure you that you have. My father, Michel Cartier, founded this organization in 1923 after he decided that the world affairs were being sorely abused and the leading powers were misusing their powers. I hope that you at least know something about our history?”

“I know that you have the assassins in high demand and that you guys seem to be paid the most. It was enough to spark my interest. I also know that your father was the CO-founder and the other founder was Sergei Dvorak, your father’s long time business partner. I also know that in no point in history were women even considered worthy of joining your ranks and that you are the largest organization of trained assassins in the world today.”

“So you do your research after all. I think that this alley way is too open,” Edmund began to walk towards the main street. “What do you say to a business date? We can discuss possibilities over coffee?”

“Possibilities? Don’t you mean how much I’ll be making and who you will be sending me out to target? I’m no fool, Edmund. I’m in this for two things. Money and power. I believe your organization the best qualified to give me what I crave. Either I continue to kill your noviates or you tell me I’m in.” She was being bold, she thought to herself. His compliments had given her a boost of confidence and it was creeping into her speech. She could entice him or she could be signing her death certificate with every word she uttered. She didn’t know which it would be but she knew her sharp tongue was sparking his interest more than her skills ever could. She had to remember that women weren’t considered human by these men. They were property, toys and a means to an end. She could use that to her benefit if she could just rein in her attitude.

“I like your fire, child. What is your name? Come, come. I think you already know you have made your way into our ranks. I hardly ever leave the office especially for some chit of a girl who thinks the world is owed to them. Maybe coffee was too formal? Come with me to the brother’s household. We shall settle you in quite comfortably.”

She walked over to him, feeling Lucifer’s eyes on her the entire way.

“Desiree. That’s it. No last name, no family ties. Just plain, old Desiree.”

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Frozen

I looked out through the frosted window of my loft and stared at the phonebooth across the street. I could see my breath form in the air as I leaned in closer to the window.

No, it couldn’t be. He’s not real, he’s not real. I don’t see him.

I repeated these words over and over again in my head. This wasn’t happening.

People say that the past comes back to haunt you and what you do is what you have to live with. I’ve had to live with a lot of bad things but this one… I thought this one was dead.

I remember the first day I saw him. The perfect hair, the perfect smile… He made me want to gag. He was such a pretty boy, but within the first five minutes of our conversation… If he asked to marry him I would have said yes. I was entranced and naïve and I believed every word that came out of that perfect mouth.

I crashed back to reality as my phone began to ring. Once…Twice…

“Hello.”

“Hello, Arabelle. How are you?”

I recognized this voice. It was the voice that used to whisper in my ear of how much he loved me. How much he needed me.

“You’re not real. I saw the body. You’re not real.”

“But Ara, I’m very real. Can’t you see me? I can see you.”

“Stop! What do you want?”

“I want you, Ara. I want you.”

The line went dead. I closed my eyes tight and sought solace in my mind. It didn’t work. My mind strayed to a time three years before…

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