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   Chapter 4 No.4

Dead Man’s Hammer By Christina Engela Characters: 5101

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"So, tell me." Said Cindy-Mei smiling. "How are the studies going?"

Danielle shared a flat with some girls within walking distance from the campus. They were quiet girls, who kept to themselves. It suited her. Truthfully, Danielle really thought she was probably the wildest of the three, with her being what she was and all. Her grades were good and so were her test scores. She was enjoying her studies, broadening her horizons. Anthropology class was always a hoot because whenever the term Homo-anything was mentioned, she would go into fits of giggles and end up almost falling out of her desk. Homo Erectus was her current favorite.

"Fine." She smiled back. "Anthropology is fun, and so is Life Sciences. Did you know that Dung Beetles on Earth roll their balls backwards? They also don't really know where they're going."

"Yes, " Mei nodded. "I had a boyfriend like that once."

"What?" Danielle grinned. "He rolled his balls backward, or he didn't know where he was going?"

"A bit of both, I think." Mei replied candidly.

* * *

Villainessa Tittel was a hired killer, an assassin by trade. She had enjoyed the best education and had been trained by assassins who had (until then at least) been considered the best in the business. She had turned to 'cleaning' as an occupation because she really enjoyed endings more than beginnings – and anyway, she didn't need to know her mark's entire pedigree or life's story, or to have some kind of facetious moral justification just to collect her fee. Unsurprisingly, when she did read – on those rare occasions – her books were always dog-eared from the back.

Her family name, 'Tittel' was Latin for a very small thing, like the dot on an 'i' – or in her case, something even smaller – her conscience. She had no qualms about killing and truly thought of it as her calling in life. And yes, she enjoyed her work. Getting paid for it was a plus.

She loved black leather outfits and stilettos. Her nails were always immaculately painted and manicured, not to mention tipped with titanium. Her hair and make-up were always sublime. She was pretty, but as most poets will tell you, beauty can be deceiving. The same poets, who would write about Helen of Troy as the face that launched a thousand ships, would write about Villainessa Tittel as the bitch that flayed all the crew, set them on fire, and sank them.

There was no reasonable explanation as to why she had chosen this way of life. This wasn't a reasonable occupation. Her family had been mostly ordinary working cla

ss people, respectable law-abiding citizens. Villainessa hadn't suffered any abuse or trauma or maltreatment as a child. In fact, one of her late relatives had once described her as 'just being that fucked up of her own accord'. People left her alone because she liked it that way. They always did, eventually. (When she said 'drop dead', it wasn't usually an idle threat.) She was one of those rare individuals who never needed anybody, unless her target-sight was empty and needed filling. Villainessa was extremely refined and surprisingly creative.

At school she excelled in the arts (especially the martial ones) and subjects like history (famous deaths) and biology (vivisection and the vulnerabilities of the human body). She just managed to develop an inordinate fascination with death, the causes of death, and the rewards that could come to the one who happened to be holding the ice pick at exactly the right moment.

When Villainessa finally left home, her parents never saw her (or anything else) again. As an assassin, she was the worst kind; this meant that she took pride in her work, enjoyed what she did for a living – and that above all, she was bloody good at it.

Villainessa's icy green eyes held in their cold view her next target. From her shadowy vantage point she could see all she needed to. Who her target was and what they had done to warrant a paid death sentence were none of her concerns. When she accepted the job, she sent the same anonymous response she always gave over the internet – a Swiss bank account number. Oh yes, the Swiss still ran untraceable bank accounts back on Earth. Or rather, traceable untraceable bank accounts… an arrangement whereby the Terran government would either keep an eye on the underworld, or turn a blind eye for various reasons that suited their purposes for however long it suited them. The only details Villainessa had to work out were who, where, when and how. Admittedly in this case, the first item on the list had taken her by surprise and caused her to pause momentarily. In her career she'd had to end many varied lives, each unique and vaguely interesting in its own amusing little way – but this request though was something a little out of the ordinary – and so was the mark. Where was easy enough, it just entailed following a trail of transactions and a little routine surveillance. When would present itself at the right moment, with a little foresight and planning. Then there was how. She smiled sweetly to herself. Now that always made things interesting.

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