Death Charms

She added a charm to her bracelet for every life she took.  They clinked along as she slide her hand on the bannister.  The sound of her boots on the stairs cut sharply into the scraping.  Once she reach the top and started walking across the hall, she idly twirled the charms around her wrist.  The Eiffel Tower, a Christmas tree, a Celtic knot… the memories swirled around her, death dancing in pirouettes as she made her way to the door.

She stepped up and placed her hand on the door, pausing to watch the charms gather at the bottom of the bracelet.  The reverie was broken by the sound of steps down the hall.  “Valentina, how interesting to see you here today.”  Without taking her hand off the door, she turned to face the newcomer.  With that accent it could only be one person.  Such an odd accent, she imagined multinational parents, maybe British and Scandinavian?  For herself, she had trained out her accent, no connection, no past.

“Hello Sebastian, I didn’t realize there would be gathering.  Otherwise, why have you come?”

Sebastian didn’t reply, he just smiled and continued to walk down the hall toward her.  Valentina waited, watching, one hand still resting on the door.  Details drifted by her as she waited.  The dark suit was tailored, the custom fit outlining his lean figure perfectly.  His blonde hair was pulled back, neatly tied at the neck.  Nothing unusual, except for the gloves.  Sebastian never wore driving gloves.  Just as she focused on the gloves, he began taking them off.  He placed them in his left pocket and continued to make his way down the hall.

In his left pocket…  the sound of the gunshot briefly drowned out the clamor of her bracelet as she dove to the floor.  Her eyes never left Sebastian, even with the gun lowering to line up another shot.  Squeeze… and jump!

The charms scraped across the stone as Valentina slid over the ledge, dropping into the courtyard below.  She grimaced.  When did she get so careless?  No time for that now, time to get out of the villa before Sebastian moved to the edge and took another shot.

The click as he checked the gun.  “Valentina, my dear.  You cannot be surprised, can you?”  Sebastian taunted her from the balcony.  East through the archway to the outer hall.  The charms jangling, a dissonance for the rustle of leaves as she cut through the bushes.  “Your bracelet has been filling rapidly as of late, and not all from our contracts.  How curious, suddenly working for free.”  North to the exit.

Sebastian’s laughter in her ears, a counter beat to her steps echoing behind her down the hall.  Her nerves were rattling in tun with her bracelet, sliding up and down her arm, her whole body having taken up this sprint for her life.  Had they found out?  When did she slip up?  She shook her head and continued to run.  If they knew the truth, it wouldn’t be Sebastian here, and she wouldn’t get away.

When she got to the entrance, Valentina hesitated on the threshold just a second.  A bullet shattered the silence as it impacted the sidewalk.  Just as she thought, he stayed on the second floor and went around, she hadn’t been quick enough to get outside first.

Valentina twirled onto the sidewalk, the move becoming a mad pirouette, her arms working to get above her head, increasing her momentum.  The boleadora swirled around, the three weights now fully spread.  It left her hand as her foot came down.

Her arm back down at her side, the bracelet crashed against her thigh as one of the weights crushed his throat.  Valentine tilted her head to the side.  “Hmm, I think yours will be a necktie.  I did always appreciate your sense of style.”