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Authors: K Larsen

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Target 84

BOOK: Target 84
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Target 84

Bloodlines Book Four

By K. Larsen

 

 

Edited, Produced, and Published by Writer’s Edge Publishing 2015

All rights reserved.

© 2015 by K. Larsen.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

 

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Prologue

“Hell, fear me. I am the one that will bring you down. And when you fall, feel me. You'll see my face on the battleground.”- Devastator, “For Today”

“Tell me, Greta, where do you see yourself in five years?” His voice is neutral. It would be. He has no known reason to be anything else. His wingback chair doesn’t look comfortable. It looks as stiff as he does. We’re positioned facing each other, a mere two feet of space between us. So close. He should really know better, being a shrink. He must deal with many different brands of crazy.

“Five years...five years. Oh, I don’t know, probably retired, lounging on a tropical beach somewhere,” I answer.

“Maybe that’s why you’re having trouble with anxiety. It’s a lofty goal to be able to retire by,” he says and pauses, referencing my intake form and calculating my age before continuing, “thirty-four.”

“I do quite well for myself.”

“Still. That is a lot of pressure to put on yourself.” He offers me a knowing look. But he doesn’t know.

“My anxiety is less about the
means
to retire and more about the
ability
to.”

“You don’t think those are synonymous?” he digs.

“Of course not,” I say and laugh. He scratches notes on his pad with a sharp No. 2 pencil. “Money isn’t the issue. I’ve invested wisely and within a five-year timeline I could absolutely support myself for the rest of my life. It all comes down to the
act
of retiring. If I will be allowed to.”

“Allowed to?” he questions.
Dig, dig, dig
. Let the patient come up with their own answers to their questions. Boring. Predictable. And here I was thinking, perhaps, before my job is done, I’d get a little free counseling out of this appointment.

“My job is more of an
obligation
rather than an employee-at-will situation. I highly doubt I’ll get
permission
to leave.” The therapist’s eyes narrow. His lips pucker. It makes him look like a fish. I uncross my legs and then re-cross them. He watches from the corner of his eye.
Men.

“What exactly is your job, Greta?” I look away to the floor. My new Bebe Elle pumps really are to die for. I flick my wrist, catching it on the fabric of the chair. The clasp of my bracelet breaks and the whole thing falls to the floor. I lean down to retrieve it.

“To kill you,” I state.

Sitting up, I grab the pencil from his hand and plunge it into the skin at the side of his neck, below his ear. His mouth opens. I cover it with a palm slap, suffocating any screams bubbling out. Thank God for those white noise machines these therapists love to keep outside their doors. Blood streams down his neck and clavicle, staining his shirt. His hand is wrapped tightly around the pencil in an attempt to staunch the blood flow. His eyes are wide, terrified.

Tsk. Tsk.

I pull the pencil out, letting the floodgates open. Grabbing my sash cord from my purse with one hand, I angle myself behind him. It’d be a shame to let any spurting blood stain my shoes. I strangle him. It doesn’t take long.

Flipping today open in his daily planner, I see there is no session booked for another two hours. Perfect. I rip the paper from his planner with the names of his impending appointments and take the page on his lap where he scribbled about me. I’d love to know what thoughts he was jotting down. Stuffing both papers in my purse, I fish my cell phone out and hit the speed dial preset number one on my work phone. The line picks up after two rings. As always.

“Arrange transport of the body.” I hit end and rummage through a small stack of files, find my name, and cram that into my purse as well. Better safe than sorry, even though all it contains is my initial new patient intake form.

I walk right out the front door.

The cool air hits my face. It’s refreshing. Cleansing even.

I rummage a cigarette out of my bag and light it. Leaning against the therapist’s office building, I let myself enjoy the smoke filling my lungs.

Eighty-one cigarettes.

Inhale.

Exhale.

I watch the smoke waft away in the early afternoon air.

Chapter One
Greta Billings

“I'll wait for you. Time might take, to see it through. Now I got you at the barrel of my gun. Gonna keep you, gonna freak you, until I have my fun.” – “Killer,” Dev
I scan one last time around my apartment. It’s smaller than what I usually like, and the rent’s a tad high, but it’s in a decent neighborhood, surrounded by cafés, shops, and nightlife—a great place to live if you are a normal, young, single woman. My eyes assess my spotless kitchen, the living room with its hip, sleek decor, and the cozy, inviting bedroom. Everything is in its place. Nothing out of order. I turn off the thermostat and set the alarm before I step out for the evening. There’s work to be done and a paycheck to collect.

I enjoy my apartment, but living in a city does have its setbacks. The headlines from this morning were the familiar, grim litany: a drug bust, a prostitute missing, a police shootout, a rapist stalking women, the usual. It makes me miss Christiansburg, although that town comes with its own set of problems; people are curious. They want to know you. To be friendly. I don’t do that and
that
makes me suspicious to local folk. I carry my oversized purse on my shoulder but tucked under an arm tightly. It’d be a shame for someone to try and rob me, or worse, knock my bag loose and discover the contents. I know how to cover myself, but I’d rather not implement that course of action.

People are hurrying along the sidewalks, disappearing down side roads that lead to their homes. The miserable weather and the cold bite appear to have kept most people indoors tonight. Perfect, really.

A breeze rattles the branches of the trees. My heels tap a quick staccato on the pavement as I turn down the vacant side street. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I check my surroundings. I listen. Nothing. No one. The tree-lined street is guarded by maples and magnolias—their delicate, white blossoms scattered across the well-kept yards. The homes lining the cul-de-sac all look the same, each marked with a rectangular plot of grass and lined with the same small walkway leading to the house. So cookie-cutter. So cliché.

Senator Hollingsworth is a man of a notoriously ruthless and
immoderate
disposition. As I approach the stately front door, a shadow passes behind the side window. He’s expecting me. The wide door swings open as I reach the top step. I draw in a breath to ground myself.

“You must be Ava.” The Senator is smiling but the look in his eyes is far more sinister than friendly. Chills creep up my spine. I can always tell when I’m dealing with scum of the Earth. I plaster a smile on my face and nod at the old, fat bastard. Target 82 to be more precise.

He ushers me into the foyer and takes my coat from me as I look around. “Pretty thing aren’t you?” His breath hits my ear, damp and hot. Disgusting. I turn and bat my lashes at him innocently.
Hurry up and get to the point, Senator. I don’t want this to take all night.
His hands are traveling down to the small of my back, lower now, reveling in the feeling of the thong resting just at the crest of my buttocks.
Pig.

“Could I have drink, perhaps?” My voice is not my own. It’s sickly sweet and virginal sounding. There is no
me
right now. I’m just a container. He slides his clammy palm up, up, up. His hand travels from my hip, up my arm, and he winks at me. I will myself not to shudder as goose bumps break out along my skin.

“Of course. Have a seat,” he commands, pointing left towards a living room decorated with antique furniture, including a grand piano and settee upholstered in lush, crimson silk. I’m no expert, but the pieces look authentic. I follow him into the impressive, formal living room and perch my pert ass on the edge of the sofa as he moves to the bar to fix me a drink. He pours too much gin and not enough club soda into a glass before returning to the couch and sitting beside me. I take a sip and smile at him.

“Where would you like to start tonight?” he asks, dragging an index finger from my shoulder to the outside of my breast. My breath falters. I stare at the red lip marks on my glass, focusing on the little lines until they blur. I close my eyes, pretending to enjoy his touch as a flashback assaults me.

It has been made known to us that everything outside of the school is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power. But what would I know about that? Here, we are not gender specific. We are all asexual. My body barely registers its natural physical desires anymore. I’ve learned to suppress them. They are useless emotions that lead to weakness.

A hand cupped my breast. Then it trailed down my stomach, touching, exploring. Teasing. Immobilized and helpless, I was unable to protect myself. Fingers probed at me brutally where I am the most vulnerable and then came a ripping sound I recognized--duct tape. It sealed my mouth shut, making it hard to breathe. Terror and fury vied for control in my mind as my eyes followed a needle’s descent toward my jugular vein. I blinked back the tears that wanted to pool in my eyes. I do not cry. I will never cry.

“Ketamine only lasts an hour or so. Guessing the right amount was harder than I thought. Too little and you’ll still be able move. Too much and you won’t be able to breathe. I think I nailed the dosage, though. What do you think?” Thirty asked as numbness spread throughout my body. My bindings were cut loose yet my arms and legs refused to move. My brain was alert. My eyes were able to see everything. My body still
felt
everything yet I could not move at all. He ran his fingers over my skin. My body betrayed me by shuddering and breaking out in goose bumps.

Ravenbrook
.
No one ever breaks free.

Opening my eyes, I hold his gaze. “The dining room table, perhaps?” I suggest, noticing the ornate chairs surrounding the table. His lecherous smirk gives away all his nasty intentions for the evening.

I point to a chair. He sits, looking smug, so happy that he’s going to get some sick, sexual fantasy played out tonight. I reach down to unzip his pants. His bloated belly makes undoing his belt difficult. Disgust washes over me. Wave after wave of it. His sandalwood cologne is overpowering. No wonder he hires hookers, who else would willingly touch him?

“Hold on to the back of the chair,” I say, mustering all my seductive qualities. He reaches back and clasps his hands together.
Idiot,
I think. I pull the zip tie from the inside of my platform heel and run my hands up his thighs and around his arms until my fingers are holding his wrists. The plastic cable is on and secured before the bastard even knows what’s happened. All he saw coming was a set of perfectly perky tits. He’s too obese to maneuver his shoulders in a way to get out of the chair.

Standing, I walk over to the hutch and grab a bottle of vodka and what looks to be an extremely expensive cigar from a spectacular glass-and-wood case. I loosen my top, just enough to let me breathe easier with a hint of black, lacey bra showing. He still doesn't understand. I strut back and eye him for a moment. Men like him are leeches. Abusing their power and money. I don’t know who, and I don’t know
why
someone wants him dead, but I can imagine he’s done terrible things in this life. I secure his ankles to the chair legs to be sure he can’t move. His breath hitches and his eyes narrow in on me murderously.

“This isn't what I signed up for!” he barks, testing the strength of the ties. The chair creaks but everything holds.

Opening the bottle, I dump the vodka over him and cut the cigar with the cigar punch as he sputters and questions what I’m doing. I ignore his sad attempts to gain control over the situation he’s found himself in.

Talking over his displeased cries, I start talking. “Do you know the first time I ever smoked a cigar was with someone named ‘Twenty’ in school? I adored him. Well, as much as someone without real emotions can,” I say and laugh before lighting the end of the cigar with the lighter that was on the bar. He whimpers.

Actually whimpers
.

I watch, fascinated, as his eyes plead and I place the lit cigar in his mouth. His teeth clamp down, trying to hold it in place. He struggles to breathe around it without letting it drop and light him on fire. I stare in awe at his conviction to live. All these years and I’m still awed by human nature, by the desire to persevere. I think maybe the will to live is only present if one is scared of dying. I am not. Death doesn’t make me tremble. I think it will be a relief. Sometimes living is more terrifying than the idea of dying.

“Gotta say, the suspense is killing me. How long would you actually last like this?” I ask. The fear rolling off him is palpable now. “What did you
do,
Senator, to warrant your death?” I ask curiously. He tries to utter something without dropping the cigar. I shrug at his attempt to form words. It doesn’t matter anyway. Pleas fall on deaf ears. This is my job and I’m good at it. No mercy. “Lucky for you, I don’t have the time to wait and find out,” I chirp. I pull the cigar from his mouth and stub it out on one of his immaculate china plates. I strut to the living room, grab my purse, and walk back to where he sits. Pulling out my silenced Glock, I cock it and shoot him in the heart. Bang.

“Much better,” I say and sigh, gratified. I fish my cell phone from my purse and press the speed dial preset number one on my work phone. The line picks up after two rings. As always.

“Arrange transport of the body.” I hit end and keep walking, right out the front door. The cool air hits my face. It’s refreshing. Cleansing. (Is this supposed to be the same as before?)
I rummage a cigarette out of my bag and light it. Leaning against the house, I let myself enjoy the smoke filling my lungs. Eighty-two cigarettes.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Watch the smoke waft away in the night air.

Pushing off the house, I practically skip down the stairs. I pull my coat tighter around my neck as I make my way down the narrow walkway. Not a soul out. Not a witness to be had. Perfection, as always.

I hurry along the street as the brisk weather nips at my cheeks. Tomorrow I fly back to Christiansburg. I don’t live a normal life, but being there resembles the most “normal” thing I think I’ll ever have. I have friends, kind of. Some people know me, or rather know what I let them. I have Hoot, who wishes he was more than a booty call, when I’m feeling horny and need a routine of sorts. It has a calming effect on me, one that I never dreamed could exist for me. Calm and routine do not normally live in my world.

As I approach my building, my phone vibrates once. The text reads, “Finished.” They’ve already arrived and taken care of the body and any evidence I may have left behind. I breathe another sigh of relief. Another one finished. Another step closer to my goal of retiring. Just the thought of escaping this game I’m trapped in brings on a memory of days long gone.

Twelve immediately rolled to the side to avoid crushing me under his body and I rolled with him, somehow ending up lying on top of his chest. I lay there panting for a moment, my face inches from his. From that close, his eyes were light blue. He smelled good--his own clean scent and a hint of soap, maybe. My chin tingled where it had brushed the line of his jaw. I knew I should get up. Right then, as soon as I caught my breath.

“Tag,” he said, but he didn’t move either. A flicker of amusement danced in his eyes. Could it be my boy? The one who hummed? That voice sounded so familiar. The moment stretched and my little heart sped up. It pounded so violently, I felt it pulsing in my neck. And surely the boy felt it too. How could he not? My body was pressed against his. Remembering the cameras and crowd, I gasped. I needed to get off him. Right now. Mad then, at myself, I slapped his chest and rolled off him. I stood up and he rolled to his feet as well. The calm friendliness in his eyes seemed genuine.

“Whatever happens here, you can’t it take too seriously,” he whispered. His voice was familiar. “It’s just a mind game. But you’re a nice kid, and this isn’t a very nice game. Be careful.” He jogged off before I could respond, before I could confirm it was the same boy who talks to me through my door at night.

I didn’t understand then.

How could I have?

BOOK: Target 84
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