Past Ghosts by Kila Pope
Past Ghosts by Kila Pope
Runner Up (Young Adult category)
The wind howled and the rain battered down as the hooded figure ducked and weaved through the abandoned street. Pressing themselves against the alcove of a door, the being froze as a searchlight from an overhead helicopter swept down the street. As the light passed they backtracked, heading in the opposite direction of the helicopter.
The slight being slipped towards a house and slowly opened the door before slipping inside.
The removal of their hood revealed a delicate but determined face with large brilliant, cold blue eyes. She climbed the stairs, not a sound emitting from under her feet. Entering a room upstairs, she stepped up to the desk, and addressed the deeply tanned man with dark whiskers sitting behind the table, ‘Brandon.’ Her voice was smooth, bringing a sense of hidden wisdom to any listener.
Brandon assessed the girl that stood before him with his dark eyes. Her shoulder length sandy hair framed her face as is hung loosely. At her throat a single deep blue elliptical pendant hung on a leather chain. Anyone who didn’t know her would believe her to be a regular innocent 16 year old, however, Brandon knew this was not the case.
She had trained under his hand since she was five, now she easily outstripped him in skills of deceit, subterfuge, assassination and theft. She watched him as she carefully placed her hand inside her black leather jacket, retrieving a USB from the inside pocket. Holding it up, she slid it smoothly across the table towards him. He caught it and slotted it into the mac that sat before him. He scanned the files on the USB quickly, determining whether the girl had done her task.
‘Well done, Zea,’ his voice rough from smoking. ‘You’ll be paid tomorrow.’ He then turned back to the computer and the girl took her leave, quietly closing the door behind her.
She started down the corridor, treading so smoothly and silently that she could have been an apparition. She stopped in front of one of the many closed doors and opened it quietly. Slipping inside quickly, she closed it, flicked on the light and looked around sullenly at the bare room. A single bed stood against the opposite wall, taking up its entire length. A small desk sat next to the door, taking up the remaining wall, allowing for a narrow walkway between the desk and bed. Under the bed were four storage containers on wheels.
These contained her few possessions, the black jeans and single coloured shirts that were her bleak uniform, and her few treasured possessions that she had managed to buy with her meagre salary. Brandon payed his employees with board and meals, money only being a factor when they completed a task before the deadline given. She knelt on the floor and pulled one of the containers out and opened it. Reaching in, she retrieved an elegantly carved but worn box make of deep rosewood. Her only possession apart from the pendant around her neck that she owned before she entered Brandon’s service.
Pressing her long nails into the unnoticeable crack in her pendant, she opened it and caught the small key. Slipping the key into the lock she twisted it and reverently opened the lid. Within the box held her most precious possessions and a pouch of money. Placing the pouch on the bed she placed her fingers into the box and pulled out a ring with a single stone. She had taken it to a jeweller once and found that the stone was apatite, a rare stone, worth enough to get her out of the deep hole she lived in, but she stayed, the ring being the only possession that she knew was her mothers. She slipped the ring on the middle finger of her right hand and stretch her mind back to the subtle, almost dying memories of her mother, the faint smell of roses and the warm hand that had once embraced hers, the time before Brandon dragged her from the ruined car.
Running her hand across her forehead to clear her hair from her eyes, Zea reached into the box again and pulled out the worn photos, each contained the picture of a young smiling woman in her mid-twenties. Her long hair reached halfway down her back and her eyes twinkled with a happiness that Zea had never known. She flicked through the photos until she came to one of a small boy and girl in the embrace of the woman, her mother.
She allowed herself to shed a tear as her mind flashed back to the night, the boy sat in the booster seat next to her in the back of the car, her mum in the front, they were singing happily and noisily, then there was screeching and a loud crash.
She screamed, but neither her mother nor brother responded, she had screamed at her mother, trying to wake her until Brandon had arrived, he had taken her and had trained her, trapping her in the ways of criminals. The box was the only possession taken from the wreck.
Zea gripped the photos to her chest to protect them from the tears that were openly rolling down her cheeks.
They were her only link to a past life that would never be hers.
She would never leave, this was the only life she knew, and she was wanted for a large number of felonies. The sound of faint steps sounded down the corridor, prompting Zea to hide her stash. Sliding the photos back in and slipping the ring off her finger, she placed the pouch back over them. She locked the box and slipped the key back into the pendant, clicking it shut. She quickly placed the box back into the container under the shirts and pushed it under the bed.
Standing up and sitting at the desk, Zea opened a book and began to write. Brandon would expect a report by morning.