I flutter my eyes open to blinding, brilliant light. I had just dug myself out of the grave I had been buried for twenty-three years. They thought it would kill me, but they were wrong. I’ve survived longer.
It’s always weird to wake up after being asleep for so long. As usual, I find that society has changed a lot from the twentieth century to the twenty-first. There are people walking around with their noses buried in what seem to be mini portable computers. How odd.
I’m sure I’m getting many stares, as the clothing I’m wearing is from the early 1970’s, but I ignore it. I know that I would be stared at even if I was wearing clothing that matches the century I am now living in. An attractive female walking through Central Park will be the focus of stares, and that is something that will never change.
I reach the corner I am looking for, the power coursing from it causes it to be unmistakable. To my left is a little, dark alleyway — dark to mundanes that is. As I walk through the alley, my eyes focus and the darkness clears so that I can see the symbol drawn onto the bricks to my right. To someone who didn’t know what I do, they would just think it is graffiti, but I can see it for what it really is.
I run my finger along the curves from the right to the left of the symbol. As I do, a crack forms around it and the bricks push back and to the side so that a doorway is opened to me, through which I enter into the most important building of my kind, the Amazins.
We’re a catlike creature, shapeshifters. Some societies have even called us werecougars, although if we had ever let them take a good look at us, it would be clear we aren’t cougars at all. We originally lived in the Amazon jungle, eventually, breaking off into packs all around the world.
This building, in the middle of a bustling New York City, is the headquarters for our kind. Normal people would take one look at the building and assume it’s full of low-income apartments or something similar, but to me and other Amazins, it looks like so much more. My eyes can see through the glamor and uncover the building’s true beauty. It’s 1800’s architecture shows in the delicate details along the arches of the windows and doorways. It holds the offices of the elders along with shops filled with weapons and other items necessary to our kind that we wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. It also has a library full of books on anything we would need from battle strategies to history and family lineages, along with several rooms for battle practice and strength training.
As I walk through the doorway, a familiar hallway stretches out in front of me, dozens of doorways branching off from it. The building is much larger on the inside than it looks from the outside, another effect of the glamor. If the building looked as large as it truly is, it would bring us too much unwanted attention, something we can’t afford. As I take a few steps, the once dim hall becomes bright, lit by glowing stones in the ceiling.
I open up the second door on my right and enter into a large store full of weapons, potions, and ingredients. After winding my way through the maze of displays and shelves, I finally find what I am looking for, and also the person I am looking for. A well built, dark toned man stood in front of me, his back turned to me, hunched over a glass display case holding a long, thin sword, its hilt, and sheath covered in intricate swirled designs and small jewels.
“So, do you think I could get a discount on that sword? Being it is mine and all.” I say to the man in front of me.
My silent entrance caused my presence to be unknown, also causing him to jump at the sound of my voice. The man seemed frozen for a moment, almost as if he was afraid to turn around. After a few moments of silence, he finally dares to do just that.
As he turns around slowly, his eyes widen at the sight of me. “Rebekah Cortes, it’s really you. I never thought I’d see you again. What’s it been, a couple decades?” my old friend asks, obviously surprised.
“Of course it’s me, who else would it be? As for the never see me again part, do you really think I could stay away from the Matteus Alvarez forever? I know you knew that I wasn’t dead.” I counter back, smiling at how easy it was to fall back into simple banter with this man, who had been my best friend for centuries.
Matteus chuckles and steps back as if to take all of me in. I watch his face, knowing exactly when he notices my clothing, by the way his nose wrinkles in disgust.
I look past him, which wasn’t an easy task with his large stature, and into the glass of the display behind him. I could see my hair was a mess, dirt still lost in the nest of golden curls that fell to my lower back. I feel a tinge of guilt as I notice my ruined clothing. My once favorite outfit was now barely clothing at all. If was half-decayed, covered with small holes and dirt. My tall, white leather boots were no longer white, and you could hardly see the flowered print of my dress underneath the thick layer of grime. My nails and hands were pitch black from my climb out of my grave, and my face was smeared with dirt and old, very old, makeup.
“If you hadn’t already realized, I came straight here from the cemetery,” I inform him.
He winces at my use of cemetery, and his face blushes with shame when he realizes his reaction. “I should have come to look for you. I should’ve been with you in the first place, then you never would have, well, you know.” he stammers, guilt coating his voice.
“Matt, you couldn’t have done anything to help. It was all a part of my plan, and now I get my revenge. You going to help me?” I ask, taking the focus away from my “death”.
“Well, of course, you know better than anyone that I love a good challenge, not that this will be much of one,” he says with a wink.
“Good, you can start by giving me my sword.”
“Of course, I wouldn’t give it to anyone else,” he says smirking
It felt nice to finally be swinging my sword again, my hands had been aching to hold my beloved blade since I first stepped out of my grave. The sound of my sword hitting Matt’s is like music to my ears, a sound I found myself missing a lot during the last three decades. While battling back and forth, I have learned how little my muscles had forgotten, how easy it felt to parry blows after such a long time. A true warrior never forgets how to fight.
Matt and I are in one of the several battle rooms. He suggested we go at it for a while, that I might need to warm back up after being buried for so long. However, based on the frustrated look on his face, he is struggling a bit more than I am.
I take a step towards him and with a swipe of my sword, I send his flying. I straighten with confidence and see that defeat fills his face even though he’s smirking.
“You’ve always been the better fighter, but I thought maybe today would be the day I could finally win. I guess two decades underground doesn’t make you as rusty as I thought,” he says chuckling,
“A true warrior never forgets how to fight,” I repeat my previous thought. “Well, should we go check the database in the library, maybe give our little friend a visit. We might as well get this confrontation over with, huh?”
“Let’s do it.” Matt walks over to his sword and picks it up before following me out the door and down the hall.
The library is only a few doors down the hall, and we get there quickly. It’s an impossible to miss room. The doorway is a giant open arch, and through it, you can see the huge room with every wall covered in shelves full of books, and a maze of more shelves covering the floor.
We make our way to the back left corner of the library where three of what Matt calls computer screens sit on desks. Matt sits down in the chair at one of the screens, and I pull up another next to him. He pulls up the location database used to keep track of the location of every Amazin in the world. It’s nearly impossible to deceive the elders who update the database. I’m probably one of the few who you won’t find on here, only because I had been buried for two decades. Another reason to get this over with, if I wait too long, the elders will learn that I’m back and I will lose my element of surprise.
He types in the name of my long time enemy, Manuel Chaidez. In less than five minutes we find his address in Houston Texas.
“Looks like we will need to get ourselves a couple of airplane tickets,” I tell Matt.
He grimaces, “I always hated flying.”
We step out of the airport and the bright Houston sunlight almost blinds me. I take a deep breath and the hot, dry air fills my lungs. I hail a passing taxi and Matt and I climb in. I situate my backpack on my lap and get ready for the ride.
“Where to?” asks the driver.
“45 Aberdeen Way please,” I tell him.
The driver simply nods and pulls away from the curb. I watch as the tall business buildings make way to the smaller houses just outside the business district. In a few short minutes, we reach our destination. The driver pulls the taxi up to a curb across from Manuel’s.
It isn’t surprising to see that Manuel’s house is quite lavish. Being that Amazins are immortal, we have a very long time to rack up a lot of interest. The house, or mansion rather, looks to be about three stories tall with a large front porch framed by tall, marble pillars.
I pay the driver and climb out of the cab. I pull my backpack onto my back and wait for the cab to drive away. I turn to Matt and see he’s already strategizing. This is why we make the perfect partners, I take care of the fighting, but he gets me in.
After a few moments, he turns to me, “Let’s head to that group of trees near the house. It’ll give us some cover to get our weapons ready and figure out plan.”
I nod and turn to head across the street. I discreetly scan the windows of nearby houses and vehicles to be sure no one is watching before making a dash to the trees. I duck under the low branches and crouch in the dirt below. I slide my pack off and open it up. Inside I have my sword along with a couple throwing daggers. I slip my daggers into sheaths I have already strapped to my body, one at each of my thighs, on my calf, and one on each of my lower arms. Matt also has his chosen arsenal. He has a whip which he keeps wrapped around his wrist, along with a long sword strapped to his back and daggers at his hips.
I pull the map of the house out of the side pocket of my bag and look over it. “If we go in the back door, the stairs should be straight ahead. At the top of the first flight of stairs, there should be a hallway to the left, and the first door on the right should be his study. He should be in there,” I state.
He nods and we start across the lawn. Staying close to the walls so as not to be seen, we check the windows for any unwanted visitors. After the all-clear, Matt picks the lock and within a matter of minutes, we’re in. Just as we expected, only a few steps ahead of us are the secondary stairs for the staff. We take them up to the second floor where we find the hallway that the map showed. I walk up to the door of the study and after testing the knob, see that it’s locked.
I turn to Matt, “This will have to be the quietest lock you’ve ever picked,” I whisper.
He nods, knowing that if we are heard, our whole plan goes out the window. He takes out his gear and gets to work. Even my highly acute ears can barely hear the small clicks as he works. It takes him a few moments longer because he’s being so careful, but after a couple minutes he steps back and nods to me. I nod back and he quietly opens the door.
The door silently opens and I see that since he situated his desk to face the window, his back is toward us, a mistake that will cost him his life, at least in a quicker fashion than if he wasn’t. I take a dagger out of the sheath on my left thigh. I focus in on a spot on his desk right next to his hand, where his sleeve sticks out from his arm. I give the dagger a toss, and as I expected, it pins his shirt to the desk.
His head jerks around and I see his face for the first time in twenty-three years, but instead of his face being filled with triumph like the last time I saw him as he closed the coffin lid on me, it’s filled with absolute fear at the sight of me.
“How are you here? You should be dead!” he yells in astonishment.
“After all those tests you did on me after making me your own little experiment, it was quite the surprise that you never found out one of my abilities. You see, thanks to you and your little group of scientists, I no longer need oxygen to survive. Being immortal, we never have to worry about age, but people can still kill us. Now, I don’t even have that as a weakness. You didn’t just make me stronger, you made me invincible. It may have taken my body two decades to rejuvenate to my highest power again, but that is barely a sliver of the time I will live thanks to you,” I sneer.
While I was talking, he had been sliding his hand toward his desk where the dagger had stuck when I threw it. Little did he realize that I was watching his movements the whole time.
With one last swift movement he throws the dagger at me with all of his strength, but even then it was no match for my reflexes. I simply grab the handle of the dagger, “Thanks for returning this, it’s one of my favorites,” I chuckle.
I place the dagger back in its sheath, taking my eyes off of Manuel as a bait to get him to attack. It worked. As he flung himself at me, I reach my hand out a grab hold of his collar and hold him off his feet in front of me. I reach to my back and grab the sword that he had so wrongfully taken from me all those years ago.
“You know, if you had simply just buried me, I may have been able to overlook it, but you never mess with a warrior’s sword.” I place the point of the sword against his chest. “I could make you suffer and do something like what you did to me, but then I would be making the same mistake as you. You see, the number one rule if you want someone dead is to never let them leave your sight until you feel the pulse of their heart stop.”
“Please, don’t do this. Do you really want the blood of a measly scientist on your hands?” he pleads.
“I am an Amazin and we are warriors. Warriors kill.” And with those last words I drive the sword into his chest, his screams barely even registering. His body falls limp in my hands and I toss it to the ground.
“He got what he asked for,” Matt says from behind me.
I look across the room to the window, sunlight from outside shining in and warming my skin. After nearly a century of being controlled by that man and his experiments, I am finally free. He left me with both a blessing and a curse, an eternal life.