CRASH! I knock over several pots and pans as I stumble through the dark alley. blood is dripping from my knife and I can hear voices through the night. “I can’t believe I was caught,” I think to myself. The master will surely kill me after this.
A chill goes down my spine as I hear a man yell, “I’m going to slaughter you, little girl!” I drop into a sewer as soon as I see it. I hear footsteps above me and I know I’m safe. I heave a deep sigh as I shake the exhilaration from my body. I get this feeling every time I kill.
I hate it so much. but I can’t turn away from someone who offered to protect me. I suppose everything comes at a price. Whether I like it or not, this is my life, and there is nothing I can do about it.
I use the water to wash the blood off my hands and I decide the safest way back to my “Home” is through the sewers. I am aware that it will take several weeks to wash all the sewer water from my hair, but it’s better than being caught and killed.
My name is Ember Rose and my parents died when I was ten. For nine years, the master has taken me as his apprentice, and I have been forced to learn how to fight and kill. I don’t particularly like it, but if I refuse to do what he says, I will be kicked out. I already know I won’t survive long in the wilderness.
Most days, I do enough damage to my opponent to send them to a hospital with the severe damage, but not enough for death. The people I have killed however, I felt dreadful doing it, and terrible to this day. I know if the master finds out about my failed missions, I would be killed before I would have the chance to explain.
I walk all around the sewer until I get to a dead end. As I start heading away, I hear a soft pitter patter, pitter patter. Paranoid from being chased less than an hour ago, I break into a run. I find a ladder, scramble up it, then breathe in the cold air of the night. I decide to ignore the noise I had just heard and find my way back to the Runaways hideout.
The Runaways is what we call ourselves. We run away from rules and possessions of any kingdom that wishes that upon us. Many kingdoms have attempted to capture and torture us, but we are too organized and quick for that to happen. Fortunately, the hideout is right neat where I am standing.
I whisper, “Runaway,” and enter a large room. It’s mainly composed of black and brown stone, torches lit all around, and drunken assassins around every corner. I stroll over to the bar and order a drink. I’m just about to take a sip when a maid comes over and says, “The master would like to speak to you.” I nod and set down my cup without hesitation.
As soon as I enter his room he beckons me to sit. The master keeps his face covered and gives off no expression when he speaks. Nobody knows much about the master. Except that he speaks little, has high expectations, and is an extremely harsh trainer. No one even knows his name.
“How did the mission go?” he asks gruffly.
“It went well, master.”
“Really? Even though you were nearly caught?” My blood runs cold as soon as he says that. How could he have possibly found out that quickly? “I dropped into a sewer, master.”
“You still could have been caught!” he yells. I flinch, then he yells some more at my sign of weakness. He gets back on the topic of me almost being captured and says, “You are one of my best killers. I need you to not get captured and killed.”
“I’m sorry, master.”
“Go wash off!” he booms. I turn on my heel and walk out. I exit the hideout with several people staring at me. I’m sure they heard everything that just occurred.
I head over to a hot spring to get washed off. I strip off all weapons and clothes, but keep a knife on me. It’s never safe here.
I feel instant relief as soon as I hit the water. The beautiful, light-blue water quickly turned an ugly shade of brown as my blood seeps into it. I duck my head under water in hopes of getting any sewer water out of my hair. Of course, it will take several more baths for my hair to be completely sewer free.
Eventually, I pull myself out and attempt to comb my knotted fiery red hair. I don’t get far with it, and soon I just put it in a bun. I catch my reflection in the water and I smirk. My usual electric green eyes are dull and worn, and my skin is such a ghostly pale, it’s funny.
I then return to the hideout and curl up under dozens of warm pillows and blankets. I always feel safe and sound when I’m in my bed, away from everyone else. I take a sip of hot tea that soothes me to sleep, but not tonight. I’m still thinking about the noise I heard in the sewers.
I glance cautiously around my room. Everything is the same as normal. My closet is still in the left corner, knifes I never bother to use are sticking out of the wall, my father’s old swords were right next to my bed, and my mother’s bow and arrow was hanging above my dresser. One single candle is burning on my nightstand, and there are no noises. I decide I’m safe and I drift off to sleep.
In my dream, I am standing in the dining hall of the hideout when I smell smoke. I don’t panic or react since there is almost always several torches lit. But then, the burning smell intensifies. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe at all.
I jolt awake, gasping for air. I expect the burning smell to go away, but it doesn’t. It takes me a moment to realize my entire room is on fire. I leap from my bed and cry in pain as I attempt to reach my door. Smoke floods my lungs and I crumble to the floor in despair.
“Get up, get up,” I mutter to myself. I force myself up with the help of my burning dresser, and I lunge for the door. It opens immediately and I enter the hallway. My hands are on fire and I can’t breathe at all.
I trudge down the hallway, trying to find an exit. I know the hallway by heart, but with the smoke and fire, I don’t know where anything is. All I can hear are screams from fellow assassins. I try to follow their voices, but I end up smacking into walls. “I’m going to die,” I think.
After what seems like forever, I break out of the hallway and into the main room. There, I see burning bodies and colors of red and yellow. I scan the room searching for a door, but there is too much smoke in my eyes to see anything. I run blindly, hoping to find something, anything, to help me escape. The fire is searing and I know I won’t last much longer.
I crash into something tall and solid and I know it must be a door. I grope around for the door handle and push down. I stumble out and I run far away from the burning hideout. As soon as I sense safety, I collapse onto the ground in relief.
My body feels like its on fire and I can hardly breathe, but I am alive. I cough and hack, but the smoke won’t leave my lungs. I force my eyes to remain open because I don’t know what will happen if I close them. I can feel myself letting go, I’m letting go, letting-