The doors to the train opened, and I stepped inside, dripping blood. I grabbed the railing above my head as the train started moving. I felt someone was staring at me and to my surprise, I was right. To my left was a distressed looking mother with a fair haired toddler cradled in her arms. She gazed up at me with a pale, terrorized face and I couldn’t help my smile.
Clearly discomforted, she shifted her weight, causing her toddler to be pressed against her even tighter.
Blood soaked the polished tiles as I dragged my clunky boots along the floor. I knew that walking into the throne room covered in blood would anger the king, but I felt that showing him what I had done would completely pay off. I can’t remember how many times I had to walk through these gorgeous halls drenched in blood that wasn’t mine, and I didn’t consider it a bad thing. Being the king’s hitman had more perks than it did burdens. I remember after maybe my twentieth kill, I had brought in so much blood that even the tiles had to be replaced. I smirked at the thought.
I turned a corner and stood in front of the two immense golden doors leading to the throne room. Two men- younger than me- stood guard with knives at their hips and rifles in their hands. One of them was shorter than the other, with almost a completely bald head and a trembling stare. I inched toward him and tipped his hat over his eyes with my bloodied fingers. “Good evening gentlemen,” I said turning to glance at the taller boy.
This one had the same haircut as the shorter one, yet he wouldn’t make any eye contact with me. I tilted my head to the left so I could see under his hat. “Aren’t you going to let me in?” I questioned, my fingers itching to unsheath my sword. He quickly outstretched his hand and shoved the door so hard I could almost hear how painful the blow was to his fingers. I smiled, placing my hands on my hips and walked into the throne room.
Hanging high on the walls were the banners to the King’s flag. The red was such a deep color compared to the ivory walls that it reminded me of a pure drop of blood, untouched and clean.
“Terrin! I see you’ve been busy.” A large hand slammed into my back. I jumped turning instantly with my sword in my hands.
Of course. It was Rymone. His ridiculously bushy eyebrows rose to the ceiling as he glanced down at his now blood covered hand.
“Ahh,” He breathed, wiping his fingers onto his black sleeve. Rymone was very friendly with me, and I hated it. He was the King’s favorite Commander- who was in charge of every soldier in his army. He had even trained me as a recruit before the King took a liking to me and asked me to become his right-hand man.
“King Stephen doesn’t look too happy, Terrin. I don’t know what you did to piss him off but-”
“Hey, Ry, remember that time I didn’t ask for your damn opinion?” I dragged my fingernails across his cheek, letting the blood cover the entire half of his face. “You’re almost as pretty as me now. . .” I sheathed my sword, walking for what seemed like years until I reached the King’s throne.
He sat wisely with his fingers wrapped together and resting on his lap. His shoulders were rolled back in pride and annoyance, and his eyebrows were knitted together. Instinctively, I kneeled down and bowed my head.
“Terrin Altros. We go through this routine almost every day, why not take a break and just get to the point?”
I said nothing.
“You have been much too. . . Spontaneous for my liking,” He brought up a hand to his face and itched the side of his prickly white beard, leaning forward in the process. His wrinkled eyes showed so much anger in them I couldn’t look directly at them for more than a few seconds.
“Mr. Altros, I expect you to improve upon your killings and how you handle situations. Your aggression and . . . Passion has shown to be too risky for this kind of job.”
“Pardon me your majesty, but what do you mean?” I raised my eyes to meet his. Something was hidden behind that sky blue color. Sometimes it seemed that the King had buried all his secrets in a locked box and thrown away the key.
“The way you rip your enemy to shreds-” I smiled with a feeling of pride in my gut. “-You don’t think about your consequences, you just rely on your violent instincts.”
My smile melted and I felt a prickle of anger in my chest. Why do I need a damn lecture on this? I killed Kalho-that’s all he asked. He didn’t say it had to go a certain way and he didn’t say to hide the body. I clenched my fist tightly and stared at the ground. He might be my boss- my leader- but he could never truly control me.
I jumped to my feet, meeting the King one last time with a lingering glare, and trailed out of the room- my hand itching for my sword again.