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As Eve approached Madam’s office, her door was ajar. She paused for a moment observing Madam through the gap. Madam was sitting in her black leather chair, behind a large, white marble desk. She was staring out of the window as though examining something far off on the horizon. Her dress sense whiffed of money and privilege and implied she was a wealthy, female banker.
Her outfit was perfect, her skin fresh and her hair immaculate. Still, if she needed to she could blend in in a moment. Her features fitted the criteria of all the women: nothing stood out. There were no large noses, no pouting mouths, fake or overly large breasts. Just an athletic figure concealed under well-tailored jackets that were designed to conceal the wearer’s sexuality. Each Feminia was incredibly fit and each took pride in being precise, articulate and intellectual.
Those dimensional qualities were prescribed by Madam – those were what she looked for in her Feminas. Eve had been informed that when Madam heard what Eve had been through, she knew the girl would carry enough rage in her heart to kill for the rest of her life: that raw unabated hatred was the fuel that kept Eve firing on all cylinders. That subliminal motivation was exactly why Madam had chosen her. There were other reasons too, she had said she would not discuss those until the time was right.
She glanced at her watch and made sure that she was just a minute from the allotted meeting time. When it was the precise moment Eve coughed from outside the doorway and knocked lightly on the door.
Eve strode into the presence of the big boss.
‘I assume you’re not ill. If you are keep away!’ said Madam, her eyes still fixed on that imaginary horizon.
‘Of course I’m not ill,’ retorted Eve.
‘Well come over here then. Come and sit down, make yourself comfortable.’ She gestured to a pair of white chesterfield sofas beside with a silver ornate coffee table between them.
‘So is there something interesting for me?’
Madam swivelled her chair to face Eve. ‘It depends on what you consider interesting.’ She stood up and made her way to join Eve on the sofas.
‘Come on Madam don’t keep me hanging.’
Madam raised an eyebrow. Eve was always so desperate to get on.
‘Regarding your new project, have a look at the files on the table. The digi-pad has more detail, since you are a stickler for every detail. Tell me what you think, I want you to push yourself and flummox the forensic boys. Regarding the additional project: Eve, take it easy with this one. There are no deadlines. Time is not of the essence. Take pleasure in finding new ways. I want you to teach the other girls your techniques. Your contrived accidents are impressive and have become by far the most evolved. Please read the encryptions, digest them, but do not reveal anything unless you think it will help you. Oh! Do modify your behaviour accordingly. I think you understand what I mean. The latter is unnerving me. A clear resolution is required. Remember whatever you do technically can be monitored. Make sure you bear that in mind. Adapt your strategy and its execution accordingly.’
Eve nodded, Madam had developed a certain linguistic understanding and appreciation for Eve’s numerous techniques that made detection impossible. The accidents were so convincing that the obvious was so often adopted by the police and ultimately the coroner, particularly in the absence of living witnesses.
Admittedly her last task with the gas leak had been a bit showy – spectacular actually, but that was not her usual style. Still, it made a change and made her aware of what she was capable of. ‘So....?’
‘Sit down then. The new project is on the screen. Additional detail is in the folder in front of you.’
Eve sat back in the sofa and studied the digi-pad intensely. ‘Interesting... So this time there are two of them.’
‘Is that a problem?’
‘What do you think? No of course it’s not a problem Madam. Both are fresh prison releases I assume that it has been anticipated they will re-offend quickly.’
Madam nodded and skimmed through to the next screen.
‘They really have an extreme rape history. How did they get out so early?’ asked Eve.
‘They had an excellent barrister and both were released on consecutive days. The same as always. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone buying their Rohypnol replica had raised the cash.’
‘Shame they couldn’t just keep them apart for a while,’ said Eve studying Madam, who always took it so personally.
Madam lent back on the Chesterfield and glanced at the clouds on the horizon. ‘Eve they’re evil bastards, look what they do,’ she said gesturing at the digi-pad. Eve stared at images of teens found naked and dazed in parks. Eve shook her head, her jaw locked. ‘So how many have they attacked?’ asked Eve, battling to keep a calm tone.
‘They’re convicted of fifteen rapes/attempted rapes. Although I guess a number have been without satisfactory evidence or witness.’
‘Where do I find them, they don’t just hang around parks - that’s too easy.’
‘No Eve. These guys work night clubs and drug the girls. They have well planned strategies so be careful they’re extremely dangerous.’
‘It so obvious… date-rape pills.’
Madam nodded, chewed her lip and took a deep breath. ‘They manufacture their own. Now Eve as much as you’re likely to resist... well... I don’t want you working on this alone. So... based on your previous history, I’m going to have you work with...’
‘Madam I work alone!’ Eve interrupted.
‘Drop the ego Eve. She’s really good and she’s been through more than one process.’
‘But isn’t she new? Madam I know what you’re up to.’
‘And Eve what am I up to? Pray indulge me and tell me what you assume I am thinking?’
‘This is your way to get me to train someone. Madam please... You know I really don’t like people... I can’t... I mean won’t.’ Eve sighed, ‘Look I really don’t want to be near anyone. I don’t trust anyone other than myself. So the answer is no.’
‘Then you don’t get the assignment, simple as that! I see from your records that you are due a holiday. You could probably do with an unwind but not in the neuro-morphic sense. Plus there are plenty of others who would gladly work on this... but I thought I would give you the opportunity. I know how you particularly like to target sex offenders.’
‘God you’re so damned manipulative!’
‘I know,’ crowed Madam with a hint of triumph in her tone.
‘Madam! Ahhh God! Sometimes... Is there any way…’ Eve wheedled.
‘No Eve you will work with her or you won’t work at all.’
‘That is so unfair!’
Madam was silent.
Eve stared at Madam. Minutes ticked by in a tense silence. Regretting it, Eve eventually said through gritted teeth with a tone of resignation ‘So who is she?’
Madam haughtily touched the side of her nose with an elegantly manicured fingernail. Pausing for effect she maintained her cool, ‘We found her the same place as we found you. Whether you like it or not you have a lot in common. She also has the heart of a killer. Although she has just been re-whitewashed and is still in a fragile state. She hasn’t completely gotten over her experiences yet. Although, from what I can make out - she is more than eager and learns incredibly fast. She has already completed a number of projects in record time.’
‘I say quality, not quantity.’ Eve said tritely attempting to gain ground.
‘Well you can teach her your quality and from what I can gather she intends to do well.’
Almost mirroring Madam’s earlier action, Eve scratched her face, ‘But will she be good enough?’
‘Eve! No-one is ever good enough for you!’
Eve involuntarily fidgeted, Madam watched curiously but with an intensity barely disguised. ‘I don’t do slapdash….. I don’t rush and if, and I mean just that, if… I let her work with me, she has to work my way - no questions. You will make sure she has orders from you that make it absolutely clear that I am the team leader and what I say is law and must be obeyed without debate or contention. Understood? I don’t want her messing up my work and giving me a bad reputation!’
Madam shook her head. ‘Eve do you doubt me?’
Slightly unsure now, Eve sort of stuttered ‘No but...’
‘You were once there yourself. Now you will give her a chance and that’s an order.’ Madam signalled to the pile of research files sitting on the table. They had a time limit on them and she would have to mentally photograph the details. Eve gathered up the armful of files to mentally process, her body language revealed her irritation: she was under orders and either she obeyed or she was side-lined.
Madam watched Eve in fascination. ‘You will return tomorrow and you’ll be introduced. In the meantime, gen up on the targets and bring those files back once you have committed them to memory, you know the rules! Incidentally she’s very eager to meet you. ’
Eve paused by the door way and scowled, ‘I bet she is.’
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