Dark Karma

Submitted into Contest #55 in response to: Write a story about a meeting of a secret society.... view prompt

4 comments

Mystery Thriller Fantasy

Adira stormed into the barn, her eyes twinkling with a fierceness one could only get from a good reputation and a thirst for violence. Blood dripped from the blades that dangled by her belt, red as the immaculate lipstick highlighting her cupid’s bow. Her leather jacket shined in the moonlight streaming through cracks in the barn, the initials AP scratched into the shoulder.

Scanning the crowd, the silence was heavy except for the sound of light breathing. Adira met each of their eyes, daring them to challenge her skill. Her calloused fingers itched to attack, to fight, but as always, she held back and waited. 

Every time one of the assassin’s sisterhood monthly meetings came around, at least one newby assassin would doubt her skills, and demand to fight her reign. Adira laughed at the thought of their cocky faces, their ignorance being the downfall of them. She spared no one, not then and not ever.

She didn’t spare the 16 year old Emily, who within seconds regretted ever starting a fight. Her blood stained the wood where Adira stood, along with 10 others who died the exact same way. By Adira’s unforgiving blade. 

She met each of their eyes, daring one of them to hold eye contact with her. Each member turned their eyes away, knowing the drill, the submission she had forced onto them. She snorted, how could these people even call themselves assassins when they cowered at the sight of another? Their clothes, simple leggings and leather, were ripped and torn, making a mockery of the style. Their hair untamed, wisps of it falling out of their limp ponytails. Adira always made sure her hair was smooth to perfection, the novices should’ve learned to do the same.

Her steel-toed boots clanked roughly against the wood, as she paced through the room, waiting for the one. She entertained the thought that finally, every one of the members respected her as the most efficient, skilled assassin in the building. It wasn’t possible, Adira clicked her tongue. She would have to probe.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are.” She chanted in a sing-songy voice, pausing to examine the group as a whole. Her eyes scrutinized their expressions, as she circled them like a hawk.

Chills ran up Callie’s spine, goosebumps lining her arms, as she tried in vain to stifle her anxiety. As Adira scanned each of their faces, it took everything in Callie to be submissive and turn her eyes away. Instead of scrutinizing her fellow assassins like Adira, she kept quiet and tried to avoid a fight. Showing off gave you enemies.

Callie fingered the handle of her knife, much longer than Adira’s, it’s steel blade ran longer than her forearm, but it wasn’t quite long enough to be called a sword. Tucked in it’s sheath it dangled beside her thigh, begging for use. Callie bit her lip, she wasn’t one to pick fights, especially with assassins like Adira. Ruthless and unforgiving, Callie could tell Adira wanted desperately to fight. But she definitely did not.

Callie wasn’t exactly an inexperienced assassin, rather, she had made quite the name for herself on the streets. Taking the opposite route of Adira, she hid in the shadows and did her work quietly, under the pseudonym Dark Karma. Their goals were different, though, for Adira murdered for pleasure. Callie punished wrong doers in the name of justice. But none of that would matter as Adira paused, looking Callie up and down and gauging her ability to fight.

Shira’s eyes bulged as she watched Adira pause to examine Callie’s stature, the length of her knife, her untamed hair and unstained clothing. As far as she and Adira knew, Callie was just another novice, not at all related to the famed Dark Karma. She wondered why Adira would even think about fighting her, it would be a quick death. Relatively unsatisfying, Shira knew herself that easy prey was never as fun as a worthy opponent. In her eyes, Adira and Callie were of greatly different skill levels. It was pitiful, the lengths Adira would go to to establish her authority in the assassin’s sisterhood. They all knew she was powerful, she needn’t rub it in their faces.

But something was burning in Callie’s expression, like a fire that had yet to be unleashed. That was when Adira knew Callie would be the one to lash out, to fight her will. She just had to push her hard enough to draw out the flame within her. She would be a fun opponent to fight, even though Adira didn’t know the petit girl’s name, she had a hunch that she wouldn’t go down without a fight.

Callie inhaled sharply as Adira dragged a fingernail across her cheek, not enough to scratch, but enough to make Callie debate fighting back. And that was more dangerous than a scratch on her cheek. Because if she lost control, lost her cool, then her reputation for being harmless would be shattered. Unready to make her ability public, Callie held her breath and hoped Adira would pass. However, Adira was persistent as usual, and Callie finally decided enough was enough.

“You have more fight in you than you let them believe.” Adira’s voice was like a haunting lullaby, coaxing Callie into her fighting stance. Oh, Adira would have fun with this fight. She inhaled sharply, before her eyes narrowed on Callie. Lunging toward her, Adira couldn’t help let the side of her lips lift into a satisfied smirk.

Callie easily dodged her lunge, sidestepping and watching as Adira compensated for her momentum to keep from falling forward. Her eyes glistened with the threat of violence, and Callie did everything she could to keep herself focused. She scanned Adira’s stance, from the way she gripped her knife to the additional weight carried on her left foot. Every move calculated, Callie pulled out her knife with theatrics. If she was going to come out, that was the time. “You have no idea what you’ve done.” Callie’s voice was low and grave, coming from a deep part of her throat. Swinging around her knife, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the blade.

Adira laughed at the girl’s dramatization, her exaggerated movements. If she wanted a show, she would get a show. But Adira would be the star.

Callie couldn’t bear Adira’s condescending laugh any longer, it was time for her to pounce. Charging at Adira, she ducked away from a slash of her knife and launched herself onto Adira’s thin shoulders. Struggling under Callie’s weight, Adira thrashed wildly in an attempt to fling her off. 

Time slowed for Callie, every movement precise and calculated, her knife took Adira down in one swoop. Unsatisfied, she watched as Adira writhed on the ground.

Shira gasped, and she heard the others gasp as well. Never in the history of these meetings had anyone beat Adira in a fight, nevermind a rookie. But Callie’s eyes were stormy, and her cut clean, it was obvious then that Callie was not the novice they all believed her to be. 

Adira fought the urge to vomit, her pride dissipating by the second. The girl - she was skilled, more skilled than Adira knew. She hadn’t even made one cut on her before she was crippled under her long blade. Adira knew it was over, and spared herself the embarrassment of a slow death. 

Callie watched numbly as Adira ended the fight herself, not bothering to get up for another shot at Callie. She turned to face her audience, each one of their mouths gaping and eyes wide. Callie bowed for theatrics, knowing every member was tired of Adira’s hold on them. She did them a favor.

Shira couldn’t figure out the puzzle that was Callie, how such a skilled assassin was unknown. But, as Callie dragged her sword into a familiar pattern, a modified K, the mystery was solved. She stifled a gasp as the pieces fell together, as she and many others finally uncovered the identity of Dark Karma.

 It was Callie Jenson. 

August 15, 2020 20:29

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4 comments

Jane Andrews
10:03 Aug 27, 2020

I like the direction you went in with this one, including the way you flipped between Adira's and Callie's viewpoints. You did a good job of building tension - we were all rooting for Callie, but you could have still chosen to let Adira win (although I'm glad you didn't!). There are a few grammatical errors, but most people won't pick up on those. I won't comment on punctuation apart from mentioning your use of the apostrophe eg it should be assassins' sisterhood because it's a sisterhood of assassins, plural, not one assassin; and when you...

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Natalie Dafoe
13:03 Aug 27, 2020

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and give me feedback! It is much appreciated.

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Jane Andrews
23:14 Aug 27, 2020

It’s the sort of story I wish I’d thought of writing myself, so I’m glad you made a good job of it.

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Paul H
18:25 Aug 22, 2020

I really enjoyed the concept here of the assassin sisterhood. You built up Adira as someone to be disliked really quickly and I desperately wanted her to get put in her place. I think you also did a great job of making Callie someone I was rooting for as well. Given how invested I felt, I would have liked even more of the fight between the two. I really enjoyed your story.

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