Amalia threw a chair out the window.
“What the hell, Amalia?!” Theo yelled. He hurried to the window and gazed down to where the chair had splintered into pieces ten stories below them. “That’s not what I meant when I said it had to go…” Amalia shrugged and closed the window.
“Now it’s gone,” she said, and Theo rolled his eyes. “What else needs to go?”
“No. You are not throwing anything else out the window.”
“Suit yourself, but it’s pretty fun,” she smirked. Footsteps pounded down the hall coming towards them and the door flew open revealing Callon red-faced and breathing heavy.
“What the hell was that?” he didn’t bother addressing Theo since he knew Amalia was the culprit.
“I told her we needed a new chair for this room so she just…yeeted that one out,” Theo mimicked the motion of Amalia throwing the chair out the window.
“You do realize there are screens on the windows?” Callon walked to the window and opened it revealing the mangled remains of what used to be a screen.
“Yeah, didn’t think that bit through, but there’s plenty more in the basement,” Amalia said, walking over to stand beside her brother at the window. “Look,” she pointed down to the chair. “Want to give it a try?” she turned her gaze on him, a mischievous sparkle lighting her eyes.
“The TV also needs to go…” Theo muttered from behind them. Callon turned back, bouncing his gaze from Theo to Amalia.
“Do you understand the mess that would make?” Callon said, but it seemed half-hearted. Amalia nudged him with her elbow. He groaned but a smile crept over his face.
“Oh, screw it. I’ve had an awful week.” Amalia stood back as Callon lugged the old TV over to the window and let it teeter on the edge, seeming to rethink the whole thing before it lurched over the side and plummeted to the ground.
They all burst out laughing as the mixture of shattering glass and crushing plastic hit their ears. After that, everything in the room went out the window. The whole room needed to be redone, in an effort to update the hotel one room at a time, so nothing was safe. The lamps went out the window, the side tables, the trashcans. Anything they thought would make an interesting sound as it hit the ground or would look cool breaking into pieces, was tossed. It served as a great release of stress and built-up resentment for each of the siblings. Amalia personally enjoyed the fact that her father would be furious, but she also just enjoyed having this bit of fun with her brothers. They spent so little time together these days.
“The boss is going to kill us…” Callon said, seeming to come to his senses. “We should send someone to clean up that mess.”
“I’ll take care of it,” Amalia offered. She didn’t want one of the maids to have to clean up after them.
“Why bother?” Callon left the room and Theo followed. Amalia stared down at the pile of junk that now littered the grass behind the hotel. She gripped the window ledge and laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Cyril’s voice pulled her attention away from the mess. He walked over to her and place his arm around her shoulders, viewing the chaos that had been wreaked. “Someone’s been busy.”
“A little spring cleaning,” Amalia joked. “Callon and Theo helped, but I don’t know where they’ve gone off to.”
“I just passed them in the hall, Callon said something about finding the maids,” Cyril hooked his thumb over his shoulder indicating where he’d seen Amalia’s brothers. She leaned her head against him.
“Do you ever miss your brother?” Amalia asked and Cyril let out a bark of laughter.
“Never. He could be dead for all I care.”
“You don’t mean that,” Amalia said, though she knew of his strained relationship with his brother. Cyril didn’t respond. “Sometimes I miss my brothers even though they’re still around, does that make sense?”
“Well, you’re much closer with your brothers than I ever was with mine, so I can’t really relate. But I think I get what you mean. Sometimes I miss you when you’re not around, so I have to imagine that not hanging out with your brothers as often as you used to be able to would have a similar effect.”
“You do not,” Amalia said, her lips pulling into a smile as she stepped back and gazed at Cyril. “If anything, you relish the moments I’m not there to screw up our missions or talk your ear off about stupid movies.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right,” Cyril joked, and Amalia punched his arm playfully. “Speaking of missions, though, that’s why I came to find you. The boss needs us to do a little spring cleaning down on Grammar Street.” Amalia sighed.
“Let me go get my knives.”
Amalia met Cyril in the lobby of the hotel. They left together, slipping into the crowds passing by out front. It was midday, the perfect time to blend in and not draw attention to themselves. They appeared as a couple taking a stroll through town. Once they reached Grammar Street, they took to the roofs, staying hidden as much as possible. The warehouse they needed to enter was abandoned during the day, so they would lay in wait until night fell and their targets arrived.
Amalia kept watch diligently while Cyril stared up at the sky, observing the clouds and planes that passed by. He always seemed less concerned about their missions, yet when the time came to exact them, he never made a misstep or showed fear. Amalia had also learned to school her emotions in the face of any threat, but sometimes she slipped, and her father made sure she paid dearly for it.
“Did the boss tell you why he chose these two for our targets?” Amalia asked Cyril. Many times, her father sent them on missions with no information other than who they were to kill. Sometimes Amalia wondered if he was simply selecting them for petty reasons, or whether they deserved their fates. She tried to not ponder it too much, or else it caused the bile to rise in her throat.
“Something about an incoming haul,” Cyril said. Drugs… Amalia shook her head. It wasn’t often that her father concerned himself with incoming shipments of drugs or narcotics, but when money became tight, he considered all options. He had probably taken this assignment from another dealer who wanted these men out of the way so he could take the shipment for himself. That was often the case when they were hired for missions; they were used to weed out the competition for gangs, drug dealers, or other seedy operations. It didn’t matter much to Amalia. She’d carry out her mission and return home to clean her blades as she did every other time. She made a ritual of the cleaning of her knives to try to keep herself sane. If any speck of blood remained, the reminder of who it belonged to needled her until reached near madness.
As the sun descended in the sky, Amalia shrunk back against the roof. Their targets would be arriving soon if her father’s intel were correct.
“Ready for this?” Cyril asked. Amalia gulped and nodded, clutching her knives at her sides. She returned them to their holsters and headed for the door that would lead them from the roof down into the warehouse. She opened it silently and crept inside. The darkness engulfed her and left her blind. She felt her way down the stairwell until she came to an opening that was lit up from the remaining sunlight streaming in through the windows. She remained in the stairwell with Cyril beside her. From there, they would be able to hear when their targets arrived.
She peered around the corner and saw large wooden boxes stacked in rows all throughout the warehouse. She wondered which ones held the shipment of drugs, or whether it had arrived yet. She shook herself, that didn’t matter. Focusing on the men who would be walking through that front door at any minute was her priority.
“Come on,” Cyril whispered, taking her hand. “We can head down; they shouldn’t be here until after dark. We’ll be able to get to them easier if we’re on the first floor.” Amalia followed Cyril, crouching down in case Cyril was wrong and they showed up early. They made their way to the first floor and concealed themselves behind one of the rows of boxes.
The light coming in through the windows dimmed as the sun went down and eventually winked out. Amalia’s eyes adjusted to the darkness. As an elf, her senses were already heightened naturally, but she wondered how much better they would be if she had access to her full magic here in the human realm.
She heard the men’s footsteps before they entered the building. They were heavy and untrained. The door creaked open and they entered, shutting it behind them with a soft click. Amalia heard their harsh whispers as they discussed which bin they were to be retrieving. Cyril slipped away from Amalia’s side, and she headed in the opposite direction. The men stood illuminated by the moonlight in the center of the warehouse. They couldn’t have been much older than twenty-five or six, and Amalia wondered if they had families at home. Don’t think about that, she chided herself.
The men separated to find their prize which made Amalia and Cyril’s job easier. She waited for her target to leave the other man’s view and descended upon him. One quick slice with her sharpest knife and he lay dead on the floor. Amalia kept moving, unable to look back. Cyril would clean up the mess once the job was done. That was their deal. Amalia did the killing and Cyril did the clean-up. Though tonight they each had their own target, he would still hold up their deal.
Amalia found Cyril easily, he had already disposed of his target and headed to take care of Amalia’s.
“You head back to the hotel; I’ll take care of this. Let the boss know it’s done,” he told her, and Amalia fled to the roof. Another job done…another body added to her count. The world spun as she took deep breaths trying to refocus herself. She still had to report back to her father. She glamoured herself invisible, the easier route when fleeing a scene, and returned to the hotel. All the while she imagined herself conversing with her father…
How was your day? A normal dad might ask.
Oh, fine. I did the spring cleaning like you asked — you know, prepping rooms for their updates, opening the windows to let in the fresh air, and disposing of a few drug runners. The usual…
She laughed to herself at the absurdity of it. She had never known a normal life, nor would she ever, but sometimes she yearned for it. Worrying about tests, boys, and a social life rather than hotel upkeep, targets, and cleaning blood from her knives. She didn’t belong in the realm, yet she could never return to the faerie realm from where her parents fled. Her only option was to throw herself into the life she’d been given and pray her actions didn’t slowly tear her apart.
Originally published at https://livingthroughwriting.com on March 22, 2021.