Path of Endurance chapter 04
Cary dug out a wrap of bucks from his wallet.
A guy with dark shades on his face took the wrap and counted. Adequate.
"I'm in. What do I need to do?"
Cary gave him a photograph. "Dispose them."
The guy looked at the photo. There was a beautiful, young brunette with her white-haired little-brother in the picture, sitting on the same bunk. They were both young, the girl must have been in her 17's and the boy was definitely less than ten years old.
"You sure?" the guy inquired.
"The girl's a psychopath, and the boy just tags along," Cary replied. "It will be better if they are both killed off. One won't live without the other."
The guy nodded. "Piece of cake."
Bryan's illness had lasted for days, and it was weakening him gradually. Brianna was getting extremely worried. Especially when they began to run out of groceries. It was still out of the question to leave Bryan alone with Cary, but Brianna had to leave the house.
She swiftly walked into her and Bryan's room and shook her brother awoke. "Bryan?" she whispered. "Bryan, you awake?"
Bryan opened his eyes as a respond.
"I'm sorry that I have to drag you up, bro, but I'm afraid you'll have to come with me now."
"What is it?" Bryan asked.
"We'll just pay a visit to the store nearby. Come on, it won't take long, but I can't leave you here alone with him. Or are you willing to stay here?"
Bryan sat up with a sharp "No!"
Brianna smiled and caressed his hair. "Thought so. Now go on, dress up."
The boy dressed up quite quickly and in no time they had left the house. Cary was pretending to have passed out on the sofa again, but as he heard their front door being shut, he sat up and grabbed the phone. After a while, he informed that the targets were on the move and "ready to be dealt with."
After counting every cent in her usage, Brianna noted she had skimped in paying enough to afford buying a lollipop to Bryan. After all, he could use the extra energy. They were walking home hand-in-hand from the mini-market, Bryan concentrated only on the lollipop while Brianna's gaze wandered around. She had a feeling they were being followed ? she just couldn't say who it was. The feeling of danger was very intense. Finally she grabbed Bryan by his arm and led him into an alley.
"What is it, sis?" Bryan inquired. Brianna replied with a quick "Shh!"
And true. After a moment, the man with dark shades entered the alley. But Brianna and Bryan were nowhere to be seen. Brianna had hid her brother behind a dumpster and decided to take the guy head-on. Feeling confident and strong, she stepped up into the arena. Sensing her presence, the guy quickly pulled out a knife from his pocket and threw it at Brianna ? who dodged it with ease. This, if anything, freaked the guy out. He subdued his panic, even though Brianna's psychopathic eyes laid a murderous gaze at him.
"Brianna Grendel..." the guy snickered.
"Who the hell are you?" Brianna growled.
Instead of replying, the guy pulled out another knife and threw it at her. With an open palm Brianna slammed the knife to the side, however it managed to make a cut into her hand, but she left it unnoticed. The guy had one more knife to throw, and he aimed straight at Brianna's head. The girl caught the knife midair, yet got more cuts into her hands. She turned the knife around and threw it back at him. The knife hit his stomach, but Brianna was able to hear an unusual, metallic ?thud!? from the guy. The guy just pulled the knife out and took off his jacket, revealing a bullet-proof vest. Brianna stood in her battle stance, getting ready for everything.
Bryan peeked from behind the dumpster. The incident had revealed a whole new side of his sister; he had never seen her that aggressive and brave. He watched as the assassin lunged at Brianna, trying to dig the knife into her chest. Brianna crouched quickly and swept his legs off with a ring-like movement with her left leg. The assassin fell down on his back and barely dodged Brianna's incoming heel drop. Wasting no time, Brianna threw a left-right punch at his stomach and struck his chest hard with her right knee. The assassin flew backwards a few metres, accomppanied by Brianna's manical laughter. As the guy attempted standing up, Brianna pulled him up and twisted his right elbow into a painful and tight hand-lock. She laughed.
"Some assassin you are, huh!" she mocked. "Who sent you?"
The assassin didn't reply.
"Who sent you!?" Brianna growled and twisted his arm more. The assassin sunk his left elbow into Brianna's stomach, forcing her to let go and drop on her knees. Being well aware of Brianna's fighting skill and not willing to get a second whoop-up, the assasin fled without a trace. After being sure that she wouldn't throw up, Brianna straightened her back carefully. "Pesky little chicken-shit..." she muttered and stood up. "Bryan!"
The boy raced back to his sister and wrapped his hands around her waist. Brianna was about to caress the boy's hair again, but felt a sudden pain in her palms even during the slightest movements. Only now she noted the deep cuts in her hands, and she wondered how she could have left cuts like that unnoticed.
"Sis, you're bleeding!" Bryan cried out. Even though Brianna felt as if her hands were burning, she refused to show the pain in front of Bryan. "It's just a scratch, brother," she said. "Nothing serious. Now let's go home before that creep comes back."
The rest of the journey was silent. Even though both of the siblings were cautious now, there were no further signs of the assassin. Back at home Brianna tucked Bryan back into the bed and after putting the groceries where they belonged to, she sat down at a table to check her wounds. She had a massive bruise in her abs from the assassin's elbow, her palms were shattered but there seemed to be no further injuries. Brianna wrapped bandages around her palms and kept a bag of ice on her stomach for a while to subdue the pain, still wondering her behaviour in the battle. She stood up and went to their living room, and noting that Cary had left the sofa she laid down onto it. Her mind wandered back into the fight; all of a sudden she had lost every bit of fear and insecurity, she had almost forgotten her whole existence when the assassin began throwing the knives at her. It was then, when she, too, began to question her own sanity.
She sat up, still holding the bag of ice on her stomach. Who could have sent the assassin after them? He couldn't have been just a plain old mugger; he had too advanced tools for a simple mugging; the knives were military knives and you don't find bulletproof vests from a local hardware store. And even though Brianna had gotten the best of him, he had been no amateur.
Suddenly, Brianna heard a soft thud from the next room. It was actually her parents' bedroom, so she figured Cary had turned over in his sleep and fallen off the bed again. For a moment she pondered if the assassin was sent by Cary himself. Did he really want to get rid of them that badly? Was he seriously ready to hire an assassin to kill her and Bryan? But even if he was, how could he afford one?
As Brianna was lying on the sofa with closed eyes and the ice on her stomach, Cary stumbled into the living room in his underwear. Brianna sensed this, but didn't react. She heard and felt Cary's heavy footsteps approaching the sofa.
"Heeeyyy....!" He hollered. He was still drunk. "That's my place! Get out!"
Brianna didn't react.
"I said get OUT!" Cary roared and lifted his hand to strike again. Without opening her eyes, Brianna parried his puny punch and continued lounging. "You smell bad," she simply said. Cary tried to hit again, but Brianna parried once more.
"Go take a shower," she suggested.
"Grr... I'll throw YOU into a shower if you don't...!"
Cary had no chance to finish up his sentence when Brianna stood up from the sofa, laying her insane eyes on him again. "Don't you dare to threaten me!" she cried out. "I just dealt with an assassin, you think you'd offer me a greater challenge, old man?"
Cary grinned with rage. "An assassin? Bullshit, you're not even worth an assassin's bullet! You must have beaten up a common civilian, like the psycho you are!"
"Enough! Shut your mouth or I'll make it swell shut!"
Their argument had woken Bryan up. He had sneaked behind the door of his and Brianna's room and listened to them. He was too scared to look at what was going on, but he heard them more than well enough. Knowing of his sister's injuries, he hoped with all his heart there wouldn't be a fight between them two now. He peeked from the keyhole of the door, hoping to be left unnoticed.
"Common civilians don't come equipped with triple military knives and a vest that could take a Magnum shot from a close distance!" Brianna growled at Cary. "Nor do they come equipped with commando martial arts. And yes, even if I was a psycho, it is all because of you!"
"Don't you dare to blame me for your insanity, you cheap whore!"
"It was YOU who broke a beer bottle into my head, asshole!" Brianna shrieked as she shoved Cary backwards. "You left me dying onto the floor! You cold-blooded murderer! And now that you realized you're not man enough to kill me, you hired an assassin to deal with me and Bryan!"
"Call a shrink, Brianna!" Cary cried out . "You're lost your mind!"
"Listen now, old man ? if you just dare and lay a finger on Bryan anymore, I'mma hang you by your balls into the minute hand of the clock of the elementary school!"
Now that Brianna's attention was somewhere else than in guarding or parrying, Cary sank his fist straight into the bruise that Brianna had in her stomach. She cried out her pain, and before she recovered, Cary struck her down with his elbow. Brianna fell down hard onto the floor, hitting her head again as she went.
"Bryan-ah!" Bryan cried out and threw the door of their room open. He crouched down at his sister and lifted her head into his arms. ?Leave her alone!? he shouted to Cary, who grabbed him by his hair and threw him aside. Brianna forced herself to regain consciousness at once, and she stood up on her shaky legs. "Like I said..." she growled, "If you lay your finger on him again... I'LL KILL YOU!!!"
With a manic shriek, she lunged at Cary. Even though he was drunk, he moved quite swiftly. He got out of her way quite easily and picked up a coal poker from a corner and swung it like a baseball bat. Brianna barely dodged the first swing, but the second hit her side and tore it open. The third swing hit her head and she fell onto the floor unconscious. Everything went dark in a second.
Moments later Brianna felt pain in her body. Her head, side and stomach were almost burning with it. And the thick smell of gasoline didn't make her feel any better. Voices faded in and out again, and the burning sensation began to spread all over her body. It was very hot. All of sudden, a clear voice of a young boy pierced her mind.
"Bryan-ah! Please! Wake up!"
Brianna opened her eyes, only to see their living room in flames. There was fire and smoke everywhere. Bryan was tied up, and he was lying near her. He was all over covered with bruises, and his eyes glittered with tears.
She tried to move, but only to realize she, too, was tied. Her hands were tied behind her back and her ankles were tied together, the same way as Bryan had been tied, too. She tried squirming away from her bondage, without any success. The smoke made breathing next to impossible, and it triggered another couching seizure in Bryan. One last squirm.... nothing. Cary had tied the ropes too tight for Bryan and Brianna to break free.