I crouched in utter silence in a shadow, undetectable by any of the sensors in the room. My heart wasn’t beating, my lungs weren’t breathing, and my body produced no heat. There were no lights on, but I could see every shade of black in the room with perfect clarity. Between my training, the 7 inch KA BAR blade in my left hand, and the .40 S&W in my right, I knew my target would be dead before he made it to the middle of the room. As I watched the only door into the office, one question popped into my head.
How did I even get here?
A flash back to five years prior. I was a stubborn kid just out of high school, still not fully grown into my knees and elbows. My knuckles were raw and covered in blood, some mine and some not. I tasted copper in my mouth and my lip felt like it was swollen to twice it’s normal size. I was sure that my eye would be bruised the next day, and all in all I felt like I was having a bad day.
I looked at the unconscious form at my feet and was certain he’d feel worse when he woke up. I thought I recognized him from one of my classes. Rumors about him flooded my mind and I tried not to think of what would have happened to me if I hadn’t won that fight. I’d never hit anybody before that day, and the intensity of the fury that had come pouring out of me had frightened me.
A freeze frame of me retrieving my wallet from two feet away, a stolen cigarette in my mouth and a strand of hair hanging in my face. There was something there that I still couldn’t place my finger on.. an important detail that I had never noticed.
Flash forward two and a half years. The fury had never really subsided, so I learned to refine it. I’d grown from skin and bones to curves and lean muscle. I wasn’t very strong, but I moved fast. Most people in the small town I lived in knew not to tangle with me, but there was still the occasional bar fight to keep me sharp. It wasn’t a great life, but I’d gotten used to it and was strangely comforted by the adrenaline. I was making do, until one night when things spun out of control. My deadbeat boyfriend that I hadn’t gotten around to leaving came home in a drunken stupor, pissed off about who knows what and aimed in the wrong direction – he made the mistake of unleashing on me.
When all was said and done, the apartment was torn apart, toppled furniture and holes in the walls. I honestly wasn’t sure if he was dead or alive as I packed a bag and climbed out the window. When I hit the floor, I heard a voice.
“Such raw passion… Wouldn’t you prefer to use that fire for something bigger than this?”
Training was hell. There was a dark, damp room. The smell of blood. Furious screams and taunts and jeers. My body was exhausted, yet my wounds kept healing. I felt a strange bond to the man in the suit. He was the one that found me, climbing out a window and leaving my life behind. He brought me here. He did this to me. I wanted to hate him, but I couldn’t. He never laid a finger on me, but somehow, I knew he was responsible for all of it.
Knife training hurt the most. I got cut many times before I learned how to deflect the incoming blow. After a while longer, I saw the opening to take the blade. I was rewarded with a deep gash on my cheek, which left a scar that never faded. But in that opening, I took the blade, and jammed it into the chest of my trainer with an animal snarl. As two uniformed men with machine guns dragged me off, the man in the suit stopped us. He crouched down and took my bloody, dirty face in his hand, lifting my chin so my eyes met his.
“You must learn to control your beast, or it will control you.”
The night I died was the night that it all ended, for everyone but me. From the high window above the basement, I could see flood lights. There were police copters flying over head, and a shout from outside that the building was surrounded. The room was clear except for me. I had one arm shackled to the wall, a punishment for a defiant act earlier in the day. Faster than I could even see, the man in the suit walked in, moved across the room and came to me.
“I have a graduation gift for you.” he said. I froze as I watched his mouth grow fangs. I’d heard the stories, that bogeymen really did exist, but I’d never seen it. I’d never in a million years imagined that I’d become one.
The memories faded as light from the hallway filtered into the office. I’d come a long way from the skinny, scared barely-adult, and I was much more than a scrapper fueled by pent up rage. He killed those pieces of me. Now, I was something far more dangerous. My Beast had evolved into something much more potent, and now I was in control. I was no longer who I thought I’d be, but regardless, it was who I became, and I was going to be myself.
The door opened, and I sprang into action.