It's done. I'm done. It's all over.

Lynelle patted herself down -- every pocket was empty, from her coat to her jeans. The contents of her purse were scattered on the floor. Makeup kit, wallet, a USB stick containing school documents... even an empty tin of mints.

No cellphone.

I dropped it. It was in my back pocket, and I dropped it, and now it's all over.

She took off her pink coat, and held it by the collar at arm's length. The sleeves had been stained with a thick, sickly reddish-brown -- drying blood, not her own. Blood from another source drenched the front of the coat, and some of it had managed to seep through to taint her white blouse.

The moonlight was the only thing in the suburban house that kept it from being completely dark; the streetlights hadn't been working properly for a week.

Mars has two moons.

She looked outside. The crescent satellite suddenly became enveloped by clouds, as if to remind her that she was, once again, alone. After her mother passed in 2008 was the first time Lynelle had ever experienced loneliness. She bought friends through fashion and conformity, but they had never connected on anything that wasn't superficial.

Meeting Carter last year had changed all that. Every boy wanted her, but he was the only one who chased her. She hadn't thought much of him, at first. Yet another football player, treating his popularity like it was a VIP ticket into her heart. She'd agreed to their first date only because it was her mother's birthday that night, and she didn't want to spend it sitting at home crying herself to sleep.

He picked her up in his dark blue pickup truck, thinking he was hot shit because the other guys at school drove sedans. "I'm gonna be honest," he began as she climbed into the passenger seat, "I have no idea what we're going to do. I didn't even think you'd say yes."

He was so sure of himself in school -- this charming insecurity amused her. The heated leather seat wasn't so bad, either. "So, anywhere you want. Just name a place, and that's what we'll do tonight."

"Anywhere?" she repeated.

"Anywhere," he assured her.

"Headshot Henry's, on 44th."

He raised a brow. "That's... a shooting range, Lynelle."

"Yeah. I know," she scoffed, "I go there every week."

"Do you, uh," he cleared his throat nervously, "Do you have a gun on you right now?"

"Yeah, of course."

"May I ask why?"

"Well... what if you'd tried something?" she reasoned.

He shifted the truck into drive. "If you think I'm that kind of guy, Miss Fairweather, then you don't know me at all. And apparently, I don't know you all that well, either... let's change that, shall we?"

He asked her to be his two weeks later. Lynelle eventually did get to know him, though. Among his good qualities (charming, kind, dedicated), there were also a few she knew would cause trouble. Carter was a schemer. He dealt in drugs, drink, and pain. He had two sets of limbs with which to wreak his havoc: his arms and legs during football games, and his special contacts off the field who would plot to injure or maim opponents before major games. Some theorized that these hits were secretly approved by the head coach himself.

It wasn't long until it'd all caught up to him. She'd gotten a call earlier that morning from Carter's brother/teammate, saying that he'd been kidnapped by the current regional champions for attempting to sabotage their quarterback's car. There was a scheduled game between the two schools next week.

She found them in an abandoned warehouse on the edge of the city, because of course. She'd shot the door guard, to make the entry as silent as possible; dragged his body into a nearby ditch, where it wouldn't be discovered for at least two hours.

There were five guys in the warehouse with Carter. Two of them fled as soon as they saw the gun. One had a gun of his own -- Lynelle quickly shot it out of his hand. His head was the target a moment after. The last two were big, and fast. Her bullets only grazed them, and they managed to pin her down. Luckily, the last round in her six-shot cylinder got her burly assailant in the gut. This was the blood on the front of her coat. With the serrated knife modified to protrude from the bottom of the pistol-grip, she executed the last one.

I guess my phone fell out of my pocket when they tackled me.

She was coming to terms with it. When the police discovered her phone at the scene of the crime, they would be knocking on that door. Good bye university. Hell, good bye everything.

Dad won't want to send his checks into the pen... not that they'd be much use in there.

Carter was already dead. They'd beaten him within an inch of his life, and then some. Blood on his face, blood soaking through his clothes... blood everywhere. She'd cried, of course. She didn't stop crying until just a few minutes ago, when she realized her phone had gone missing.

The doorbell rang.

I guess cops 'round here only act fast when you don't want them to.

She gathered the items back into her purse, tossed her bloody coat behind the couch, and covered her blouse with another sweater. She opened the door.

"Good evening, Miss Fairweather."

He was short, nasally, and by the sound of it, quite old. She didn't know they made hoods that dark. Did he even have a face under there?

"Uh, hi..."

You're definitely not a cop.

He introduced himself. "I am a courier, one of many, here on behalf of the Mentor."

"Who, now?"

"Your potential has been observed by the Mentor. He understands that, while you have talent, you're lacking in many other areas. He can teach you."

"Are you... recruiting me for something?"

"Precisely. Gather your things. I will return at dawn, and we will depart," he ordered.

"But wait, I can't just --

"Your fears were correct. The authorities found your mobile device at the warehouse. The Mentor managed to give them a false lead, but they will realize it sooner, rather than later."

Lynelle's heart sank and her stomach seized right up. "So... six o' clock?"

The End

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