I tapped my foot nervously, my hands trembling. A foot from across the table kicked my shin, and my head snapped up.
I looked across the table to see my sister shooting daggers through her dark brown eyes. I made a face and waited for Fallon to apologize but quickly realized she had kicked me to get my attention.
“Keiran? You all right?” Mom asked, rubbing my shoulder.
I met Mom's eyes and bit my lip, nodding.
Mom grabbed my trembling hands and rubbed her cold, icy fingers over them.
“And you're feeling alright?”
I nodded again, tears stinging my eyes.
“Could I be excused?” I whispered and pushed my chair away from the table right and shot up the stairs immediately after mom gave a slight nod.
Once safely in my room, I shut the door quietly and locked it, pacing back and forth around my room.
Thoughts sped through my brain one after another going faster than I could keep up. I ran over to my window, my heart pounding against my chest.
I pushed the window open and stuck my head out, tears streaming down my face.
I took in the lights and buildings, illuminating the city. The cars raced past beneath my apartment; I focused on each of them, busying my brain.
Once my thoughts slowed down, I crouched by my wall below the window, bumped my fist against it, and watched a small piece of the wall fall onto the ground.
I took a shaky breath and stuck my hand in the hole, pulling out a small ripped piece of paper. I opened it up slowly, my eyes bouncing around the page, jumping from word to word.
I heard a knock on the door and instinctively stuffed the letter into my pocket and slid over, covering the hole.
Fallon crept through the door and smiled half-heartedly; her long, icy silver hair fell neatly over her shoulders, going all the way down to her waist.
She pushed her hair behind one of her small ears and sat next to me on the floor.
“You alright sis?” She asked quietly.
I could feel my emotions boiling and forming a giant lump in my throat.
I nodded, swallowing hard to hold back tears.
“I’m fine,” I told her, showing off my biggest smile. “I don't know why everyone keeps asking me that.”
Fallon closed her eyes and rested her head on my shoulder, playing with a strand of my long brown hair.
“Because we all know you're not,” she said quietly.
I could feel the lump getting bigger, tears welling in my eyes.
I turned my head away, hiding from Fallon. She couldn't see the weakness. The pain. That wasn't me. And I tried my hardest to never show anyone that side of me. Fallon put a gentle hand beneath my chin and turned it towards her, beating my resistance.
“This isn't you,” she said gently, wiping a tear, rolling down my cheek. “If you can’t tell mom, could you at least tell me?” She asked gently.
I bit my lip and when I opened my mouth to speak, all that came out was a stream of tears rolling down my cheek.
Fallon put her arm around me and rocked back and forth.
“Please Keiran. If you can't tell mom, please just trust me. What's going on?”
I took a shaky breath and used the sleeve of my shirt to wipe away tears. I drew a deep breath and used my shaking hand to knock on the wall, revealing my compartment.
Fallon watched as I pulled the letter out and handed it to her. I hid my head in my hands, dreading what was to come as her soft smooth voice began to read.
“Keiran of 33rd street, floor 12, we are formally recruiting you to join the league of-” Fallon looked up from the ragged piece of paper, horrified. “Keiran your not-you're not thinking about actually becoming an assassin. Are you?”
I looked away, ashamed of my thoughts and Fallon shook her head furiously.
“What will mom and dad say? They planned on all of us being hunters. Keiran we are the most famous hunters in the entire city. A-and you’re actually thinking about joining the most vicious league of-of assassins?” She asked, gripping my wrist.
I shrugged, tears pricking my eyes like my eyes were pin cushions.
Fallon shook her head in disbelief as small tears escaped her eyes.
I bit the inside of my cheek, doubting my decision.
“I’m sorry Fallon,” I told her, slipping my hand into hers and rubbed my thumb over the lines on her palm.
Fallon lifted her head and met my eyes, her face red and puffy.
“Do you know how much this is going to kill mom and dad?” She asked, her eyes bloodshot and cold.
I bit my lip and let out a small sob.
“How could you even think about killing other people for what, for money?”
I looked away, her words tearing me apart.
Fallon sighed and retracted her hand from mine, pushing herself up. She shuffled out of my room, leaving me alone.
Once she had completely shut the door, I grabbed my pillow and screamed into it, muffling the scream. Once I was finished I squeezed the pillow to my chest and rubbed my eyes.
Why did I want to be an assassin? What did I actually want? Adventure. Victory. Pride. My brain echoed. The words bounced around my head and I took a sharp breath. Could I really get those out of being a hunter?
I shook my head and stood up, the wind from outside blowing my dark blue curtains around. I pulled the window down and slipped into bed, too exhausted to even change.
I woke up the next morning and jumped awake; throwing my arms around. There was a yelp and I forced my eyes open.
“Presley!” I shouted, “what are you doing?”
Presley grinned and threw her bright red hair behind her shoulder.
“Fallon came into our room last night, heartbroken. She told me you got invited to join the greatest assassin league of all time!” Presley said excitedly.
I nodded, rubbing my eyes to get them to adjust to the light.
“Why did that involve you watching me sleep?” I asked.
Presley laughed and sat down next to me at the end of my bed.
“I didn’t need to, but I didn’t want you to do anything else without hearing what I have to say.”
“This should be fun,” I grumbled.
Presley nudged my shoulder and I rolled my eyes but waited for her to talk.
“First off, we both know you’re in no way fit to become an assassin or even a hunter for that matter.” Presley paused and I scowled. She made a face, mocking my expression.
“I on the other hand am perfectly fit-”
“Way to be modest.” I cut in.
“I will train you so you can pursue your dreams!” She said.
I raised my eyebrows as Presely made a motion with her hands.
“You’re in a weird mood today?”
Presley shrugged and I watched as she pushed herself off the bed and skipped to the door.
“I’m eleven now.” She said, a wide smile spreading across her face. “A new year a new me.”
I shook my head as she skipped out the door and almost missed ten-year-old Presley. I leaned against the wall and questioned whether or not Presely was actually going to help me.
To my surprise later in the day, Presley was already starting to bug me to start “training”.
I quickly found out that Presley’s training was a lot harder than I had thought it was going to be. We started with strength and carried on with strength for a very long, exhausting two hours. Then we went on a jog, more like Presley sprinted around the city and I went for a jog. She taught me tactics, strategies, all that I needed to know apparently.
By the end of the day, I could barely hold myself up as we trudged inside; Presley looked exhausted but still perky as ever.
I sat at my desk scribbling away all through the night. Crumpled pieces of paper scattered around my room.
I rolled my aching hand and switched to my right hand. I had been switching every hour and that still wasn’t helping. Hundreds of drafts for my letter back to the League mocked me around my room. I sighed and rubbed my eyes before starting the letter again.
By breakfast time I had composed a good enough letter and I dragged myself into bed. I didn’t care that I had been wearing the same clothes for three days. And my parents didn’t seem to care either so I didn’t think much of it, though I guessed I smelled pretty gross.
I closed my eyes, words swirling around my head. I took a deep breath, trying to recap the last three days. Between training with Presley -who was far more athletic than I remembered- and getting so anxious to the point where any food I ate, I would throw up an hour later. I hadn’t told anyone else except Fallon, and Presley, and they both seemed to be keeping their mouths shut, which I was thankful for.
I had a gut feeling that my parents were going to say now anyway, but as I stood up and slipped the note to the Assassin League under my window, I could feel my racing.
I was doing this. I was going to be an assassin.
Presley knocked on my door and skipped through, humming to herself. She pulled something out of her pocket, a ragged envelope, and slipped it over top of mine.
“What is that?” I asked.
Presley bit her lip and looked away.
“Presley,” I warned. “What’s in the envelope?”
“A letter to the League.” She mumbled.
I raised my eyebrows, had she been invited too? Is that why she had been staying so active?
“You got invited too?” I asked slowly. Why hadn’t she told me in the first place? Presley laughed quietly to herself and shook her head.
“Invited? No, that happened a while ago.”
I did a double-take and my eyes widened.
“W-what?” I gaped as Presley played with the bottom of her shirt.
“You're in the League already?” I asked and stumble back onto my bed when she nodded.
“For how long?” I asked.
“A couple years. I haven’t told mom and dad yet though, and I don’t plan on telling them. But they’re starting to suspect me, so I’m leaving officially tomorrow.”
I blinked slowly and said nothing. All the words had been sucked out of my brain.
“And you’ve gotta come with me!” She exclaimed, her clammy, small hands gripping onto mine.
I pursed my lips, glancing at the letter wedged underneath my window. I had planned on telling mom and dad, but according to Presley’s plan, well it wasn’t part of the plan at all.
“Does that mean you’ve been an assassin since you were 8?” I asked.
“Around that age, but I don’t become a full assassin until I turn 13.” Presley stopped and glanced around. “I can tell you more later, but I don't think this is the place to discuss all this. More people than you think want to keep tabs on the two of us.”
I squeezed Presely’s hand a little tighter.
“Who?” I squeaked.
“Everyone. The bad, the good, everyone wants to watch and see who will be the League’s next greatest assassin.”
I let go of Presley’s hand and walked over to the window. I pulled my letter out from under the window and met Presley’s emerald green eyes. I saw her face fall as I took the letter away.
“You’re not going?” She whimpered.
“I’m-I’m going, I just wanted to change something.” Presley's face lit up and she watched me as I unfolded the note and scribbled over something. I let out a breath and nodded. I grabbed a new piece of paper from my drawer and wrote a small, vague note to my parents.
“Ok, now what?” I asked quietly, slipping the note under the window.
A grin spread across Presley’s face, “we wait for a little. The League will see the letter, and come pick us up. And that’s the best part.”
I scrunched my brows together and cocked my head.
Presley’s smile got bigger and bigger, “their mode of transportation is-different.”
I rubbed my eyes, not caring anymore.
“So we’re really doing this?”
“You’re doing this. I’ve been in the League for a while. If you’re referencing running away from home, then yes. We are really doing this.”
I let out a shaky breath and nodded. I was doing it. I could feel the weight that had been pushing on my shoulders fade away; I felt like I could breathe properly again. I didn’t have to tell mom and dad, I wasn’t going to be alone, and I didn’t have to become an archer. Presley grabbed my hand and smiled. “It’ll be fine.” She told me.
I nodded and for once, I believed her. “I know.”