This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
“You said you’re 18, right?” Brown hair framed a face that was almost a circle on Teycha, the addresser. Kyle had to admit, he didn't find the bowl-shaped cut particularly flattering on Mr. Teycha. The third man in the room, sharp-chinned and obstinate, put his hand palm down toward Kyle. He would answer that question.
“Yes, sir,” Kyle said. He crossed one leg over the other, clasping his hands together on the knee. The sharp-chinned associate shot him a look. Kyle’s face remained completely passive, giving away nothing but a slight eyebrow raise. He looked away shortly after, back to the floor where he’d been focusing before, to show his deference. His colleague coughed slightly.
“Well Mr. Teycha, I can assure you that your family will be absolutely safe with our boy here,” the employer spoke. His voice was higher than Kyle’s, which seemed to amuse Teycha. It amused Kyle, too.
“You can? How can I tell this young man will be adept enough to care for my wife? She is quite beautiful, sir, so she will need above average protection out of house, and she will need extensive care whilst I am gone,” Teycha said. Kyle remained silent, looking at his employer with careful attention.
“Trust me, Mr. Teycha, he’s very good at what he does. Bree is one of the very best Bastinik has to offer. Isn’t that right, Bree?” The employer turned around to look sideways at Kyle. Kyle nodded. But it had been an invitation to speak, and Kyle had rejected it. The man pursed his lips, jaw tightening. Kyle smiled slowly, allowing the employer’s temper to flare a bit.
“I do not mean to brag,” Kyle said, slowly dragging his eyes off his employer to his new client, “But I am the best.” He kept his tone light and humble. He wasn’t bragging when he said that. It was pride in the skills he had, and Kyle personally saw nothing wrong with it. Teycha visibly relaxed, smiling personably before he wiped the smile off his face, face betraying surprise that he'd smiled. Kyle hadn’t been surprised in the least. He’d trained that smile.
For the past month, Kyle had been working tirelessly to pinpoint this man. He used everything in his arsenal to learn about Teycha. He’d learned everything about the man, done his research to carefully pick out words to use and words not to use. Kyle had analyzed down to Teycha's soul, into the crevices of his brain. He learned the most comforting dialect was Franco-American, and he’d learned the right pitch to soothe the man’s psyche, which was slightly below his regular speaking voice. He’d worked for a month getting his voice comfortable with the new words, accent, dialect, and pitch, and now he was ready. But he’d been told to avoid speaking if at all possible.
Personally, Kyle found the direction an assault on his expertise.
He knew how to work people. But all of the leaders except Elder had begun to doubt. They had begun to doubt his reliability after his more recent conquests. Kyle disobeyed orders, and there was no place for a disobedient child in the Bastinik Alliance, let alone in the personal courts of Elder.
“I see. Well sir, it seems I’ll be accepting your services,” Teycha grinned. He stood and Kyle followed suit, shaking Teycha’s hand and offering a small bow. “When can you start?”
“As soon as possible, Monsieur,” Kyle whispered. Teycha liked calm and quiet, as he himself was often bouncing off the walls with energy. He was a very high-strung man, a natural opposite to Kyle’s actual demeanor. Teycha’s face lit up and he grabbed Kyle’s hand with both of his own, shaking it heartily.
“Wonderful, my boy, wonderful! Come we will take you to see the house! You must know the layout, yes!”
“Oui, Monsieur,” Kyle said. Teycha guffawed.
“What a polite gent!” In moments, Kyle was whisked away from his employer. He had a communicator in his cufflink, but he felt no need to go for it. There was a thrill of the unexpected here. What was he about to walk out to?
There was nothing in the world that Kyle feared more than the unknown, and there was nothing Kyle loved more than being scared.
“We’re really not far from the house. You know how to drive? Of course you do, here, you drive and I’ll give you instructions,” Teycha yammered. He tossed a set of keys at Kyle. Kyle fumbled, missed them. “Not the best at sports, were you my boy?” Teycha laughed, getting into the car.
“Non, Monsieur,” Kyle responded. He wasn’t. Not that it mattered. Kyle had more pressing concerns, frankly. He leaned down to pick up the keys, then walked to the driver’s side. He didn’t need instructions. Kyle did his research.
“Melissa? Darling, we’re home!” Teycha called. “She’s probably in our room,” Teycha said to Kyle. The assassin dipped his head.
“Tey?” A faint voice came. Teycha’s face lit up. The man moved towards the stairs. Kyle felt as though he’d seen this movie before when Melissa poked her head out from a door, looking down the stairs. She saw Teycha and squealed, running to the stairs and jumping down them four at a time. Teycha beamed, bounding to the bottom of the stairs and holding his arms out. Melissa rammed into her husband, burying her head in his chest joyously.
“I’m so glad you’re home!” Melissa said. Her voice was muffled through Teycha’s shirt. She pulled back, getting onto her tiptoes to grab Teycha’s face and pull it to hers. Kyle stood awkwardly in the doorway.
“Melissa, we have company,” Teycha said, pulling back with a cherry-red face. Melissa looked over at Kyle. He waved.
“Bonjour,” Melissa said, looking from Kyle to her husband. “Who are you?” She was confused. Kyle didn't blame her.
“This is Bree. He’s here to attend to you while I go on my trip next week. I thought he might want to get to know the house before I left,” Teycha explained. Melissa nodded slowly, pulling away from her husband and walking over to Kyle. He moved to meet her halfway.
“It’s nice to meet you,” Melissa said. Kyle kissed her hand briefly, nodding.
“You as well, Madame.” Kyle tried to keep his words short. There was no need to speak more than was strictly necessary to get Melissa and Teycha comfortable with him. His instructions specifically went against talking too much. Kyle had a bet that he wouldn’t have a problem with talking too much.
“Well, you are our guest, allow me to show you around,” Melissa began. Kyle shook his head.
“Non, I will be here for a while. I will learn quickly,” Kyle said. Melissa frowned.
“Please, enjoy your husband.” Kyle added a smile of finality to the end of his statement. Melissa eyed him warily. Kyle bowed and took his leave, wandering to explore the mansion by himself for a while.
Kyle wandered the whole house, fading in and out of thought and attentiveness. He had an itch to call Elder, but it was somewhere close to four in the morning where he came from. Not that Elder would be asleep. Elder rarely ever slept. But Kyle disliked being scolded like a child at four in the morning. Besides, he was feeling quite jet-lagged. He decided against calling. They would wait. Kyle found his way to an empty room, securing it to his personal tastes before collapsing into the bed, exhausted.
Nine in the morning on the dot was when he woke up, eyes flying open and limbs flailing out to all sides of his body with a start. He’d had some sort of awful dream or something, but now that he was awake there was no retrieving it.
“Bizarre.” Kyle hadn’t had nightmares since he was eleven. He was seventeen. Kyle shook it off, climbing out of the bed and slipping into a change of clothes. He buttoned the shirt all the way up save one button. Kyle stared at his reflection in a mirror, looking at the pocket in the shirt.
“I really shouldn’t,” he mumbled. But heck, why not? Kyle dug a small, white rose out of his suitcase, tucking it into his pocket and letting his eyes close for a second. This didn’t need to be messy. It needed to be calm, sophisticated, and flawless. Kyle had no doubts he couldn’t accomplish- or perhaps wouldn’t accomplish- flawlessness, but he could abide by neat and tidy. He didn’t want to, but sometimes his line of work required doing things he didn’t want to do. It was just like any other job in that aspect.
Walking the house, he’d seen no servants. There were two guards posted in front of Teycha and Melissa’s room, but otherwise he had the house to himself. It was a rather nice house, after all. Kyle was looking forward to not having to destroy it. He looked for loopholes in security, finding three in fifteen minutes. Not exactly the most fool-proof system, but it had kept Teycha and Melissa alive for ten years, so Kyle had to give it some credit for that. Not everyone was as good as he was, anyway.
“Bree! Bree, sir!” Kyle turned around to Melissa’s voice, eyebrows raising in anticipation. She looked hurried.
“Is something the matter, Madame?”
She huffed, bending over and putting her hands on her knees to catch her breath. Kyle waited patiently. “No, I just needed to tell you...Teycha got a call this morning.” Oh dear. Melissa straightened up. “He had to leave early, and he wanted to know if you could protect me for this time he’s gone, as well as next week. He says money is no object.” Kyle frowned.
“Oh dear,” he muttered.
“What? Is something wrong?” Kyle started back to his room, running a hand through his hair.
“This complicates things very much,” Kyle muttered. He was talking mainly to himself, ignoring Melissa by this point. She continued to question him, and he sighed. What was he to do? He stopped, Melissa bumping into him. She started to apologize, and didn’t even get it out before Kyle sank a knife fingertip-deep into her liver. She coughed, eyes flying wide in surprise.
“Bree!” She rasped. Kyle took the knife out of Melissa’s body, stabbing a bit above that as quickly as he could. The liver and the lung area seemed to be where he’d stabbed her. Kyle had spent time studying anatomy, and unless he was wrong she should be dead in ten or so minutes. He pulled the knife out. Melissa dropped to her knees, intelligible words turning to nonsense quickly as she tried to make sense of what had happened.
“Who are you?” She cried. Kyle chuckled.
“Me? I’m just the guard dog from hell,” he responded. Melissa went into convulsions minutes after, her mind rejecting the notion of the death that was fast approaching. He smiled down at her living corpse, nodding when she finally stopped twitching.
“I guess I will have to get a little messy,” Kyle sighed. He plucked the white rose from his breast pocket. Sliding his finger across the blade and careful not to cut his own finger, Kyle fastidiously dripped the blood on three petals. He placed the bloodied purity across Melissa's chest. Kyle frowned. He knelt, tidily tearing her clothes just to highlight his handiwork. “That’s a shame.”
Bradley Darewood: I really really really liked this. I just voted for you!The voice is flawless-- I can't write men as well as you do and I have a penis. Maybe I'm narcissistic but I particularly enjoyed the moment where he muses about how artists would do better in such a solitary job. But my favorite moment ...
MusketeerAdventure: Well - I really enjoyed this very much! The whole idea of a shared haunting really intrigues me. I thought you did a wonderful job; and I really liked the idea of hearing from the first ghost's point of view. It would be interesting to read more about these two - and the ghost-busters that inf...
Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.
Deleted User: You put a lot of effort into this story, and in some places the detail is lovely. The beginning is really good. There is a lot of good detail in the first paragraphs. I get a good feel for his confusion.But I am lost in the back story. I have no idea where this is going. Perhaps mention someone y...
gunter1987: I just want to say here that this is my first review, but I really wanted to review this story. I apologize if I don't write English to well, I am French.Reading through the many science fiction stories posted here and other places in the world, I started to see a few linking themes: heavy-hande...
Shelley Miller: The ideas and the set up and this are amazing! The feel of the story goes from science fiction to horror to suspense all in a big, thrilling ball. I really like your character so far and her powers and the idea of the ark being a person. The world is intense and gritty and clever as well. While a...
Caitlin E. Jones: Such a riveting short story, full to the brim with folklore and horrors! The rich details used to make up Doolin were as well-placed as they were written, right down to the disturbing presence of magical creatures. The lives of the humans are used to great effect, giving us short glimpses of thei...
Sarah_M_G: This story was truly gripping from start to finish. The way the author used Scottish dialect throughout the novel really helped to put you in he in the place where it was all happening. Every character was well described and thought out. How they all fitted together really worked and loved how t...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."