Once inside her flat, Eve sat facing the window and stared at the blank piece of paper. While it was empty her secrets were safe. As soon as she placed them down on that paper, the pen would blurt her mind – those same thoughts would became real. She admired the blank paper. It was so pure, virginal, so untouched and so unruined. It felt almost cruel to taint it with her dark thoughts. Yet there was so much space to explore, reveal and reflect. She shouldn’t write but the last disclosure had helped. Maybe fictional people should have an insight into how she thought. It wasn’t like she couldn’t just burn it.
After today's little surprise I’ve been considering the psychology of what I do. I was de-briefed by Sue today, she’s our resident shrink. She remains removed from what we do, but analyses us all, every little nuance. It’s apparently crucial that we’re all kept in check. In the beginning a few of the Feminas suppressed their emotions and broke down. There are rumours of physical reactions such as convulsions and paralysis. Others are rumoured to have ended up with bizarre forms of cancer. After that information came to light Madam had us all regularly debriefed. She is a firm believer in the fact that when people suppress their emotions those emotions take on other forms. Who knows what they are? Still I don’t know whether I’ve been affected. As always I feel completely numb. As if looking at the world through a window, not actually present. Sue calls this ‘my removal defence’. She says war photographers do the same thing. By looking through a camera it becomes a barrier, the lens of violence, they are removed from the whole situation. If you ask me it’s just more theories.
As for Sue’s history: it’s said that she was battered to death by her husband and left for dead. When the bastard went to the bathroom to wash his hands and have a wank she took her opportunity and grabbed a golf club and battered him back. Of course she was given life, even though her actions were purely in self-defence.
Madam is somewhat of an enigma, she established the CLAN about thirty years ago. She was in her early twenties then. Rumours are rife about her. Only a few know the truth and they keep it strictly to themselves. Apparently when she believes you’re ready she’ll take you aside and reveal her story.
Madam hand picks each Femina; it’s one of her peculiar talents. Before she even approaches an individual she has each candidate profiled, and tests their DNA; she believes personality traits are evident at cell level. Once the individual conforms to the profile, if the footprint is right and the characteristics are in evidence, then she brings them in and conducts a personal one-to-one session. From that one conversation, and armed with the genetic profile, Madam makes a final decision. During this process the individual is led to believe they are involved in a sentence lessening interview. But no - it’s nothing like that.
All aspects of the genetic fingerprint are checked and every part of the individual’s history is analysed. Madam’s intention is to know the individual better than they have ever known themselves. Such is the depth of the background analysis, there is even a list of past boyfriends which includes the time and date of virginity loss. She sifts everything to the minutest detail. Privacy disappears.
If a girl satisfies the criteria she will be adopted. However, there are a number of rules: they have to be without family, without parents and without ties. Each recruit has to have killed in self-defence - blooded and thus have crossed the Rubicon of innocence to that of a killer.
Each woman taken has to have endured intense physical pain. Usually they are educated, if not they will be educated. Although they must have a high I.Q., the ability to learn and retain information and not disclose anything is paramount. Obviously I write this now, but names, locations and systems are altered. This could never be traced to the CLAN, and even if it was, there are plenty of procedures in place to divert attention. No-one will ever find out.
Once it’s clear you’re the perfect round peg for the same shaped hole, you are then taken to a room and offered a choice: rot in a cell, be chemically despatched or be trained to kill. What would you choose? I thought so. What’s more, from the selection process no-one ever said no. Either Madam has an ability to choose, or the ones who said no have miraculously disappeared. No-one talks of these things.
Once adopted you say good-bye, not au revoir, to that old identity and assume the new persona. You, whoever is reading this, may think that’s wonderful. It isn’t. Once the contract is signed usually there will be a faked obituary notifying of your death either accidental or suicide.
A cremation follows within days and there is no grave, just a small floral tribute and the undertaker is instructed to scatter the ashes in the Remembrance Garden. No trace, no exhumation opportunities. The old self has disappeared forever. All manner of procedure is set in place: Authenticity is the key.
Next comes the confrontation process: time to face all your issues, the origins and trace your patterns. At this point you go through the depths of your personal hell. You face every dormant demon including every emotional scar. You then release it. Your Psyche is crushed, you breakdown. Everything you ever held back rises and attacks. Cry for days? That’s not the half of it. The very pit of your being is waved in front of your face until you accept it. You feel your interior collapse and belief systems shredded. You are not who you thought you are. When this happened to me I retched, shook and convulsed.
Still it didn’t stop there. I can’t say any more about that at this time; the thought of it makes me cold. One thing I will say is that emotional pain is far worse than physical pain. After facing my fears and tracing my patterns I was boxed as a border-line schizoid personality with an obsession for detail. The analysis is a way of dividing the Femina and utilising their natural skills: some are planners, some manipulate and others are just plain vindictive.
Once you’ve bared your soul, the CLAN will kindly re-program you. In your broken mess the CLAN gives you a new identity and a motivation to live. You are given a new face, a new body and a new life. That is once you’ve signed the contract. You have to accept you will never be the same. Then comes the training.
The CLAN’s training isn’t of a standard format. We don’t all line up at a gun alley and shoot wearing sprayed on trousers, nothing like that. Yes, we learn to handle a gun, but you rarely use it. There are far more calculated ways of killing that are not masculinised, Hollywoodised or bullshitised. Plus, the golden rule is that you only kill proven offenders who are likely to offend again or have offended after release.
At this point I would like to say I don’t just exclusively kill men. If a woman is actively involved in hurting an innocent, I would happily take her out too. However, the truth is: women are less violent than men. The second truth: more women die at the hands of men than the other way round.
I can imagine my life to you might seem alien. What I suppose, is odd about my life is my routine. This morning I started the day with a high protein shake; you can’t be a fat killer how would you escape? You wouldn’t be able to jump walls or sprint. Without being able to escape you quickly become the victim. So are you fit? Do you take care of your body? I view my body as a machine. A machine I want kept at its optimum condition. If I bought a fast car I wouldn’t fill it with crap and leave it in a garage would I or you?
So what do I do to maintain myself? I would say that on average I run between five and fifteen miles every other day. Some days I do hill training, other days I just run, the rhythmic pounding sends me away. What’s more I always run in the dark, wearing black. I often run to sort out my mind, to release the gruesome scenes I experience daily.
When you kill you see horrendous things. Some people beg, others scream. While others silently wait for the inevitable. Then there are the violent fighters who cling to life like it owes them: if they struggle hard enough they’ll survive. They never have.
Well I should go, I hope this is a missive of enlightenment.
Eve put down her pen and stretched her fingers. It wasn’t often she wrote for such a length of time. She blotted the paper with a pretty silver and hardwood blotter, like a rocking chair. Absorbing the ink, and rendering the paper safe to be folded with precision, just exactly like the others before this one. She returned to the box on her mantelpiece. She stood for a moment thinking. She was not going to keep her musings in such an obvious location, instead she was going to keep the box where no-one would think to look for it.
Eve sat in front of her fireplace. She took a big zip-lock plastic bag, placed the box inside, zipping it shut and expelling the air at the same time. Once fully deflated she stashed it on a ledge inside the chimney-breast. The only one finding it would be Santa Clause and that was highly improbable. If the worst came to the worst, using the large brass tongs that were resting on the logs in the hearth, Eve could reach inside and dislodge the box and it would be instantly engulfed in a roaring log fire. All traces of these self-styled confessions turned to ashes in a trice.
Admiring the white chimney stack, she sat for a moment. Everything in her house was in complete order. Everything was clean, in alignment and nothing would ever be out of place. Even the angles were always correct. She was completely in control.
Shee took some deep breaths and moved to her training mat. She did her daily one hundred press-ups, countless sit ups and then numerous repetitions with free weights. She did not sweat, her body was used to it. When she was finished she stood by her curtains and glanced out of her window. In the darkness a man with a red Rover was unloading his car; she assumed the stranger was moving in. She rolled her eyes, any man who owned a red car was drawing attention to his sexuality. Admittedly he was a fit looking man with dark hair, strong arms and an air of business about him. Eve sighed, she would keep away, even if he knocked at the door and tried to introduce himself she could not socialise. She had to keep herself to herself. That was all part of who she was – an internal sort. Eve glanced at the fountain pen. A few other details occurred to her. She should write them whilst she thought of them.
You may be interested to know that the contract states what you must eat and a minimum level of exercise. That minimum exercise makes you an athlete. When I write it down it seems so ridiculous, but what was the alternative? At the time becoming what I am now seemed so right. I do find it astounding how many times my face has altered, yet still the physical scar I carry is too deep to ever remove. I accept it will be there until I die.
I don’t often dwell on the past. I want to move forwards never looking back. Never pitying the woman that was once me - the victim. When I do catch glimpses of her in the mirror I wonder about emotions and why I now have none. I wonder if after ‘that day’ I took them to a subconscious vault.
When I was younger I wasn’t particularly emotional. I was trained not to be. Any tantrum I had cold water splashed in my face. Any upset I was beaten. Is it any wonder the patterns developed and I became who I am? Is it any wonder I now live and breathe this profession? If, of course, killing can be called a profession.
I think I have said enough for one day. I need to run, to get the dynamo working. That way my mind is clear and clutter free for my strategy forming. My inaccessible mind works on the strategies and kindly reveals them through dreams or flashes of inspiration.
Eve set down her pen, folded her paper and placed it in the box. As was now customary she replaced the box in the chimney on its inner ledge. She sighed then made her way to her bedroom. It seemed the more she let out the more that wanted to come out. Eve took ten deep breaths and then proceeded to change. She paused and glanced around her bedroom. It was stark, the walls were bare, and there were no images, nothing. Her sheets were white as was her lamp. Everything in her life was sterile. The only objects she kept were books and those books were aligned behind a white screen on a series of white shelves. Behind that screen was a hidden white room where her computer and Internet were set up.
The sound of rain pattering against the window caught her attention and her shoulders dropped. No-one else would be out running in that weather, not unless they were insane or her. Eve went to her built-in wardrobe and selected her running gear from ten exact pairs. She dressed in her black running bottoms, black vest top and black sweater with a hood. On top of that she put on a black light-weight waterproof. She tied up her hair, pulled down firmly on a black baseball cap and tied her trainers. Everything she had was logo-less. Everything she wore stopped her being identified.
When she was ready she took her black camel pack and filled it with water. She then left through her front door. After she had locked it she headed for the stairs, checked the stairwell and then proceeded to skip down. Her body knew what was coming and acted like an excited dog about to be taken for a walk. It was ready to go, almost desperate...
Eve was pre-occupied with her thoughts as she descended the last flight. Just as she was about to open the door the guy from the red car collided with her.
‘Sorry,’ said the guy.
Eve put her head down and said nothing. Keep going.
‘You do know it’s raining don’t you?’ He said.
Eve nodded and avoided eye contact. With that she slipped through the back door. Bugger! As soon as she was outside she broke into a jog, making her way through the grounds to the rear of the block and past the bins. ‘Fuck!’ she muttered. ‘Fuck…fuck…fuck!’
She initiated a slow count of ten to the rhythm of her run to get her mind in order; she increased her mental tempo then adjusted her jog to that pace. She maintained her warm-up pace until she reached the road leading down to a remote shingle beach. That area of the road was in complete darkness; she felt safe. Eve increased her beat of ten to a higher tempo and progressed into a run. As her tempo increased so did her breath. The interaction between her and the man played over in her mind. Why hadn’t she paid more attention?
She picked up her pace. The rain collided with her chin and bounced off; the rest of her face was shielded by the cap and avoided the sharp impacts. Eve focused her attention on the sound of the rain and the roar of the sea. There was something so ardent about the darkness, the pounding rain and the crashing waves. She soon relaxed, the tension of that chance meeting slowly falling away; she was alone, back in her dark space. She increased her pace and headed towards the sodden sand as the tide was some way out and purposely ran into the wind. The more difficult her training was, the comparative life-death situations would be easier.
Once Eve was in the full rhythm she flipped her mind to the two men and re-scanned the mental images. How was she going to terminate them? It had to be subtle, yet terrifying. They deserved to suffer! Those bastards were going to get it!
She could feel her body and mind following the usual routine: after twenty minutes of rhythmic breathing she felt her dormant anger and frustration rising. She should learn to control that anger that always manifested itself when she recalled the sordid crimes of the jerks who she targeted and so effectively terminated. Eve pushed herself and pounded over the sand and focused on what she felt.
The methodology nagged at her. How was she going to do it? She sprinted and hurdled a groyne, the beach was lower by nearly a metre on the other side. The extra drop threw her off balance for a second. She quickly recovered and returned to her repetitious motion. She tried to focus on the roar of the sea to blank out her frustration and smouldering anger. The clouds parted to reveal the moon shimmering on the sea’s surface. It was beautiful; however, Eve clenched her fists and kept running. For a short spell the rain stopped but a few hundred metres on it started again this time it felt harder, more vicious.
The hour of mental churning and speculative plans, grabbed then discarded, Eve had hammered out a strategy. She knew how she would do it. She would just go for the obvious. Keep it simple had often been a wise approach. The more detail and more complications just made it that much more possible for some element to go wrong. The specifics weren’t there yet, but that was not the point. She had the goal, she had the outcome - she just needed to work on the process. In the meantime she had to go and find them, survey them and establish behavioural patterns to make sure her plan could be safely and effectively executed.
She ran towards a dark spit of land with an almost vertical path that snaked up the rising headland to a bench and a lookout point. She gritted her teeth put her head down and pushed herself and sprinted the incline until her heart thumped through her chest. There it was again - the anger bubbling as her blood raced. She wondered fleetingly if adrenalin rush brought on her anger. The pounding of her heart was supercharged with the adrenalin from the anger and resentment. She needed to focus that anger on her targets and not waste it on a hill. Those men had to be exterminated.
She purposely redirected her thoughts, God she wished she didn’t have to train anyone, allow entry into ‘her’ world. Her world was her own and it was not to be invaded by anyone. Eve stood for a moment at the top by the lookout point; she could see in all directions. There was no-one to be seen, no-one nearby. She paced for a while before sitting on the bench in the rain, focusing for a moment on her true feelings, it was always the same - she was able to see inside herself after that muscle burn and adrenalin rush up that hill.
She played back the debriefing and what she kept back from Sue and the CLAN. Her rage welled up, her scar ached and she gazed up at the sky, rain stung her upturned face. Her throat constricted violently throwing her forward into a convulsing retch. Tears joined the torrent of water on her cheeks. For a short while she sobbed. She cried silently until she could cry no more. The rain merged with her tears and no would ever be able to say they saw her cry. It was her time.
Every time she focused on her emotions - she felt something was missing, like something wasn’t there anymore, or had something been removed? Eve had no idea what it was, but it was there, dormant. She silently wiped her eyes and nose and stared down at the lights in the harbour. Why did that keep happening to her? Why did she keep re-living the same emotional sensations? Why couldn’t she understand them and let them go forever?
She rose from the bench and paced for a while, her body communicating with her muscles to get them ready for the return run. At the same time, as much as she didn’t want to face the truth, she realised it was part of a pattern: once out in the open she would run, grow angry then retch. It would make her feel like the pain was leaving her body. Maybe it was the killing doing it to her. Eve shook her head, when she killed she felt hatred, but no remorse. The killing had become automatic and that confused her. She had initially thought the more she killed, the more the pain would be avenged and subside within her. No. That was far from the truth - if anything her response was the opposite. With every death she witnessed a mental image of a face staring helplessly at her. That face belonged to someone she had once known, but who was it? She sensed she hated and loved him simultaneously – and why was it a man? Every time his face entered her mind the sheer agony was back, her heart ached, her body ached, she convulsed. Once the physical reaction subsided, she ached inside, longing for him to return but dreading it at the same time – the vicarious combination of love or hate that are so close to be almost indivisible. But, who was he?
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