What is the first thing you do when you wake up every morning? Why?
Kalla opened her eyes and stared at the dark ceiling overhead. She fingered her throat and found her pulse. Death had not yet come for her. This was neither a balm nor a disappointment. It simply was. Carefully she counted the beats. This was important. 47. She closed her eyes again and sighed.
She savored the moment as long as she could, though she knew it was useless to delay the inevitable. In truth, the sooner she carried out her duties, the sooner she could return to sleep. 47 was high. It was going to take all day. Best to get on with it then.
Mechanically, Kalla swung her legs over the side of the bed and stretched her arms well over her shaved head. It would be a couple hours yet before someone came to retrieve her. She dropped to the floor and began her exercise regimen with a couple hundred pushups.
She was slimy with sweat by the time her door cracked open, easing the sliver of sunlight in slowly so as not to blind her. She sat cross legged in the middle of the room sharpening a blade. Its siblings were lined in a row in a pouch next to her, already honed.
Kalla rolled the blades and tucked them under her bed as she stood to meet the suits. The four would not be enough on these. They knew this. That was why they let her keep the blades in her room.
The door finished opening and the room was bathed in a warm yellow glow. The sterile tile floor glistened with her sweat where she had gone through her morning routine. Her small bed was neatly made, the dark wool blanket tucked crisply under the mattress, the pillow fluffed and centered at the head. There were no other furnishings.
Kalla stood at attention at the foot of the bed as two tall men entered and stood on either side of her. Their dark suits and shades no longer scared her. She didn’t even glance at their gloves as they grabbed her bare arms and led her out into the bright hallway. She walked with them with ease, absently wondering how she had ever struggled in the past. It wasn’t hard to match their gait, even if she had only half their height.
Those early days had been fraught with pain. Every misstep, every sign of resistance had been met with excruciating torment. They had no use for the weak or disobedient ones, but they all broke in the end. It was either submit or die. Death came for many, but not for Kalla. Not yet. She was still his messenger.
She was brought to the cleansing room. The suits stood to the side as she was sprayed down with a mixture of water and soap then rinsed with cold water. They toweled her dry and handed her a robe. She had long stopped caring about being paraded naked through the halls, but the taskers insisted on some levels of modesty. Soon after, she would have her skin back. 47, she remembered, and clicked her tongue at the thought.
Her entourage reached for their weapons at the sound. She grimaced at her own folly as one of them prodded her side with a small electric rod. She was not supposed to speak or make any sound. Shadows are silent. Through sheer will, and from much practice, she managed not to cry out as the current ran through her. Satisfied their reminder had sunk in, they hoisted Kalla back to her feet and resumed their march to Administration.
They sat her more forcefully than usual in the chair of the small dimly lit office. The tasker at the other end slid her a package across the desk. She pulled it to her and opened it. 47 pages. 47 targets. She scanned each paper for the details. Names, locations, preferred actions, special requests.
Half an hour later she dumped the envelope in the waste bin. She held out a hand to the tasker and he provided her with a light. She struck the match against the box and dropped it into the bin before turning to her escort to leave. There was no need to ask if she had properly memorized her list. They had trained her well.
Finally she could go to Outfitting. Her handlers left her in the locker room. Their duty was done until she returned. She went to the armorer first, requested the weapons and tools she would require using the electronic request form. She needed the alchemist too, and submitted her poison requests with her.
Shedding her robe, Kalla went to locker 7159 and offered her thumb for scanning. Her eyes widened and her face broke into a grin when she saw her suit hanging there. Her second skin. Her most useful tool. The form fitting material stretched as she stepped into it, tugging the zipper up her front all the way to her neck. She slipped on soft boots and strapped her dark fingerless gloves tightly, checking all the hidden pouches and pockets as she did so.
She breathed deeply. It was almost time. She returned to the alchemist, sliding the small vials and needles into safe places on her suit. She reconvened with the armorer, ammo and weapons being tucked and holstered where they belonged. Her grin widened as she saw her blade pouch on the counter as well. Those would certainly be of aid. The man behind the thick glass gave her a wink.
She turned toward the exit hall and waited. The light over the archway was still red. She fished her hood out of its pocket and tugged it tightly over her head. The light turned green. The shadow moved forward. Death’s messenger had been released.
Notes: I tried to think of something different for this one, not a mundane “turned off the alarm” or “brushed my teeth” thing. Not really sure what put the idea of checking a pulse into my head, but then I ran with it. Assassin characters are always fun. Especially assassin characters trained in secret corrupt facilities. Flew by the seat of my pants on this one! I hope it was at least mildly entertaining.
What sorts of morning routines do your characters have? What do you do first thing? Write them down, get the ideas out there.
Friday’s prompt: Write about something you purchased used.
Well this week has certainly flown by. See you tomorrow!