I had started to become less and less devoted to the Games for some reason. Now each time that I went and slashed a throat, cut a vein, my senses recoiled in disgust.
Some kind of voice in my head screamed against it, demanding for me to stop.
Perhaps I had. Sure, I still helped Kera with her 'victims' but as little as possible. Sometimes I left a kill prematurely in the hopes that whoever I had attacked would survive, even if with a bone to pick with me.
Now I was starting to shift to the defensive, hiding and sneaking around, sleeping with both eyes open, killing only when provoked.
My motives were changing. All I wanted now was to win the Games with as little blood on my hands as possible by staying out of the spotlight, get into the ISSK and then write up a resignation. Collect my records and change identities.
This family tradition was only hurting me now. It was making me sick, plaguing me with nightmares and emotional breakdowns. I was never living in a natural existence, raised with the constant sight and smell of rotting flesh around me with two mass murderers as parents.
I wanted to be normal. The crusade against evil had drained me. My years in the war were over, even if I had been conscripted from birth.
Once this particular battle was over I'd be MIA.
If I survived until then.
But for now I had a part to play. So I kept up the dramatics, the indifferent attitude, the dark words marring my somewhat posh British accent. Wore the fedora, despite the countless blood spatters camouflaging in the deep crimson.
It had passed through the family. Said to bring good luck.
That was why I had worn it to the spot downtown where a string of murders were happening, hoping to take out a fierce competitor.
My hands were shaking in the cold of the night. More because of the cool metal against one of my palms than the chill itself.
A taser. I'd never really used one, but with a few adjustments I'd upped the voltage to well-over fatal.
Clean death. No blood or guts, just the scent of seared skin.
I could live with that.
The heels on my oxfords clicked as I strolled into an alley, trying to look like bait.
Now the hunter was trying to become the hunted. How ironic.
The sound of feet on the pavement made me whirl around to the noise, trench coat billowing around me as I did.
And then I saw him.
"Grandfather," I breathed, feeling terrified and pleasantly surprised at the same time.
I knew he was dead. And now I knew I was just as crazy as my parents.
"Jacqueline, you know why I'm here. For the same reason that my son adopted the name the world gave us as his own and named you after me."
He sounded so real that I almost thought he was for a second.
"Why's that?" I said, starting to chuckle at my situation.
"Because," he said, his blue eyes growing dark, "You were trusted to continue my legacy."
My fear of the man was suddenly forgotten.
"No. I'm tired of this endless fight. You can't make me do anything."
Grandfather reappeared much closer and I fought to keep from shrieking in surprise.
"Yes, I can."
I felt a sharp pain in my hands and, looking down in horror, saw blood dripping down the pale skin along the scars that had tainted them since my childhood.
"This, Jacqueline, is what happens when you disobey."