Charrlaine Scarlet is an assassin, but she doesn't just use knives and guns. She protects the mundanes by using her magic. She kills and destroys anything of the magical realm that could harm humans. Scarlet is not innocent though; she has secrets that start to come back to life and haunt her.
Chapter One: Lost Love
Charrlaine Scarlet strolled down the street with her hands in her long, scarlet overcoat's pockets. It was a cold, wintry night, but she didn't care-she was on a mission. Her high heels struck the asphalt with sharp, precise, measured thuds. She was excited, anyone could tell that; but she was also nervous-nervous about killing someone. She had her long, raven-black hair in a ponytail, the ponytail swinging back and forth as she walked.
She readjusted the large, black duffel bag that was hung over her shoulder as she turned into the alley that ran along the side of the theater. Scarlet stopped at a side door and deposited the duffel bag on the asphalt. She rapidly withdrew a diminutive, black box with a weird symbol on it. She placed the box against the lock and whispered, "Atela suvalla!" There was a click as she turned the knob slowly. Scarlet re-pocketed the box and swung the door open as she lifted the bag up again.
"The police! Put your hands up and turn around!" a man's voice shouted behind her. Scarlet dropped the bag, turned around, and put her hands up. The man was a police officer with his gun pointed at her. He looked very familiar to her; something in his eyes. "How did you open that door?"
"What do you mean, officer?" Scarlet asked placidly.
"You didn't pick it. You put that...that box against the door and whispered something and the door just opened for you!" he shouted at her, holding the gun unsteady. Great, thought Scarlet, A rookie. "Was that magic?" he continued.
"Yes, it was," Scarlet answered, stepping closer to the cop. His eyes widened slightly, and sweat trickled down his forehead as his breath came out in short, icy puffs.
"Stay where you are!" he shouted. "You somehow got that door open! You're not allowed to go in there."
"Sorry," she said, smiling sweetly. "I am allowed to go in there. I have a job to do and nothing is going to stop me." She sidestepped, Centering, and Sped toward the officer. His mind didn't even measure the speed she was moving at. She knocked the gun from his hand with a swipe and swept his feet from under him.
The speed she was moving at was dangerous only to her. If she hit something hard enough, her bones would be crushed. The speed was supernatural; she was supernatural. Scarlet called the speed boost Centering. It was a difficult ability she had developed with extreme patience, practice, and circumspection. There is a downside to virtually everything as well as with Centering; when she was shifting that fast, it took a lot of energy.
Scarlet let him fall, but put her foot under his head so it wouldn't strike the concrete. She Slowed. He looked up at her in shock and confusion. "H-How d-did you do that?" he stammered as the shock and confusion turned to incredulity.
"Be quiet," Scarlet said, checking her watch. She cursed. "I have to go. Don't worry. You probably won't remember any of this." She reached down and whispered, "Slaepan!" His pupils dilated and she could tell his body began to try to fight the magic, but within a second, he fell unconscious.
She put her hands under his arms and pulled him to a dry spot along the wall. She pushed him upright in a slumped posture.
Though she was about to kill a man, she never hurt the innocent. All her kills were malevolent men; she never accepted a job unless she knew about the person. And this cop had done nothing but his job; she couldn't blame him. His name tag read SERGEANT MARTIN SCORSESE; her heart sped up at the sight of the name. A half-frozen tear fell from her eyes as sorrow and pain engulfed her and ripped away her usual taciturnity.
Martin Scorsese had been her husband nearly forty years ago, when he was attacked by magicians and died. She thought she would never see that name again; she thought she had finally gotten over the guilt and pain caused by his death. She shoved the emotions down and got control over herself.
She subconsciously straightened Martin's ruffled uniform and walked to her dropped bag. Scarlet lifted the duffel onto her shoulder for the third time and walked to the door. She looked back at the sleeping Martin, then entered the theater, the door swinging shut behind her. The office-looking room went dark, causing Scarlet to squint her eyes.
The room was an office. There was a desk, a chair, a few filing cabinets, some pens and pencils, paper, and plenty of books. There was a door on the other side that lead into a hallway; the hallway had ten to fifteen doors. She set the duffel bag on the desk, unzipped it, and pulled out a Grande Puissance 35 handgun and set it on the table. She zipped the bag back up and put the shoulder strap over her shoulder so she could function without having to hold on to it. Scarlet grabbed the gun and took a gunman's stance as she took a small flashlight out of one of the overcoat's many pockets. She flipped on the flashlight simultaneously while entering the hallway.
Although she was about to enter a theater full of people who would not be alright with guns in their midst, she had learned a long time ago never to go into dark places without a weapon. And she would rather her weapon be a gun in her hand, loaded.
She went past empty and locked offices on each side, ignoring them. Scarlet had no need to investigate this theater or even to dig around her kill's private information; she knew what he had done and he was going to pay. Her eyes finally adjusted to the dark and gave her more clarity of what she was seeing. Some of the doors had symbols on them that protected anything or anyone from entering.
The symbols meant, for one, her target had something to protect from wandering eyes. Two, he could either use magic, which complicated her job even more, or he had a bodyguard who used magic, and that definitely complicated the job even further. She stopped at a door and looked at the symbols closer, never letting her eyes leave the hall for to long. They were complex, extremely complex. The symbolic spells would zap the unwelcome enterer with enough electricity to kill. Thank God she had not tried to touch them; even with all her magic, she couldn't stop herself from being fried. She immediately knew that this job was going to be difficult.
The sound of footsteps came from behind her. She whirled around, gun ready. Her eyes met the eyes of Sergeant Martin Scorsese Her gun met his chest. He gulped as she pressed the gun into his chest even more. "Do not sneak up on me!" she snarled. With the flashlight head, she hit his hand down from the wall. "Don't touch the doors or the walls. There is magic at play. And with magic at play, you don't touch anything!" She put so much emphasis on "anything" that it sounded like she was yelling at him.
"Okay, okay. Just don't point the gun at me," he said, smiling a crooked grin. She found herself grinning too. She dropped the gun and flashlight hands to her sides and stood up straight. "What are you doing in here? You're breaking and entering." He relaxed when the gun left his chest.
"Actually, I haven't broken anything, and is it against the law to enter a theater?" she asked, looking away before she lost herself in his deep, brown eyes. He brushed a random lock of wavy, black hair from his forehead, taking her attention. She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. "Why are you here? Aren't you supposed to be calling this in?"
"I would, but you would probably just knock me out again," he said, "And for some odd reason that you are going to explain to me, I trust you. And I feel like I've met you before." He looked her straight in the eyes, stubborn and sure-of-himself. He cocked his head, waiting for her to answer him.
Scarlet paused, and froze in shock and panic as she realized why she recognized him. Did she tell him the truth or lie her way out? She couldn't tell him all of the truth. That would make both of them very uncomfortable. He pursed his lips which drew her attention to them, which drew his attention to her's. She shook her head. Get a hold on yourself and your emotions! she screamed at herself.
"Well, are you going to tell me or look at my lips the whole time?" he asked impatiently, smiling as Scarlet blushed.
"You are right about the knocking out part, though I did not 'knock' you out. I put you to sleep," she said, pointing the flashlight down so he couldn't see her face as much. "I also laid a spell on you while you were asleep, that if you talked about me at all, you would fall unconscious. That would have worked until I could get away."
He leaned against the wall, his grin getting bigger. "What about the other questions?"
"They weren't questions; they were statements," she said, stopping a grin. "And don't touch the walls." She moved him away.
"Why do you care so much, Char?" he asked. "A random person doesn't care about another random person like you do." He paused as he let things sink in. Logic; he had logic. "You disabled me before I could even react. Plus, with violence most people don't know. You could've let me hit my head on the pavement and let me get an concussion. Why would you care? But you saved me with your heel. And then just put me to sleep." He paused again. "Now, a thief, and you're no thief, would not have cared. You would just have run. Now, tell me why I trust you so much. And why you act like you know me. And why I believe I have met you somewhere before."
"Yet again, no questions, but--" Scarlet's heart stopped as she realized what he had called her. She gulped back a sob as a tear ran down her cheek.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
She wiped the tears and asked, "What did you call me?"
"What?" he said, confused.
"You called me something. What did you call me?" Her voice was a bare whisper with sorrow, anger, and confusion.
"Char. Why? Your name is Charrlaine," he said, quirking his left eyebrow. Realization hit him.
Scarlet backed away from him while saying, "I never told you my name, sergeant. How did you know my name?" She stopped, her knees shaking, her mission forgotten. "My late husband was the only one who called me Char. He died fifty years ago."
"What? You're not a day over twenty-five," he said, stepping a foot closer. She took another step back.
"How did you know to call me Char?" she asked, putting emphasis on the words.
"You...must have...told me." He didn't believe. She knew that.
"How did you know to call me Char!" she nearly yelled.
"I don't know," he stammered.
Suddenly, Charrlaine remembered her mission. All the emotions left once again as she put up the walls she had had up for decades. She brought the flashlight up to see the clock. Oh, Lord! She had ten minutes to get upstairs and set up her equipment. "Go, Martin! You do not need to be here. And you can't stop me. Forget this conversation and go back to your life. I'm here to restore order. Go!"
Faster than she could think, he had his gun out, pointing at her chest. He licked his lips and walked closer. "Stay where you are! You are under arrest. I cannot let you do whatever you're going to do."
Scarlet stared at the gun for a second, then his eyes, then his lips, and back up to his eyes. "Please, he's going to kill innocents! I have to go!" He lowered the gun a little. She didn't want to, but she was going to have to threaten him. "If you don't let me go, I will kill you faster than you can pull that trigger."
He laughed, which was odd to her in this tense moment. "You can't kill me." A dagger stabbed Scarlet in the heart as she knew he was telling the truth. She began Centering; she Sped up.
"Don't!" he commanded, lifting the gun again. She Sped toward him as she heard the gun fire. She saw it speeding toward her and she dodged to the right, but the bullet grazed her cheek slightly. He had good aim. She slapped the gun from his hand, and placed her right hand around his neck. Her left hand pressed against his chest. She Slowed as she tightened her grip so she wouldn't break her hand.
"I can kill you. We both know that. And I wouldn't have a problem doing it," she said, looking him straight in his deep, brown eyes. "What, now you fear me?"
"No," he said, his voice a little rough. "You can kill me, but you won't. And I'm not that afraid of you. I was actually afraid I had shot you." He began to bring his hand up to wipe the blood from her cheek. Her grip tightened on his throat and the pressure increased on his chest.
"Don't," she whispered with sorrow in her voice. "Please, don't. You're supposed to be dead."
"What?" he asked, not knowing what she meant. She released his throat, but kept her hand on his chest.
"You're supposed to be dead," she whispered again as she brushed the top of the fingers of her right hand up his neck and cheek. Martin reached his hand further up to finish wiping the blood, but she was gone, standing ten feet down the hall, her gun in her hand, her body Centering and Speeding up. "Don't try to stop me again. You have been spared. Next time we meet, I will kill you. There'll be no mercy." He did not follow her.