Now that I think about it, Erin was the root of all my problems. She was our grifter. She was intelligent, had a will of iron and had a sharp wit. She may have seemed perfect but she was likely to stab you in the back if it would advance her plans. She only kept you around if you were useful, and as soon as you were not, she found some way to get rid of you.
I am extraordinary in my ability to remain unseen. There is nothing about how I look that would set me apart from anyone else. I looked more like the second cousin of an important person than a celebrity. I had a commanding presence if I wanted, but also could go completely unnoticed wherever it was required of me. I am a killer and a thief. I can do my job efficiently and get out of there before anything can happen to me.
Could I have killed her, found a new grifter, and made a new friend? Maybe I would have been better off but I had to give her a chance. To live, to grow up, even to cause more problems for me.
We met when she was 12 and I was 10. I found an anchor, a support, a sister. She found a pawn. I have remained so ever since. I am fine with that. If you ever met Erin, you would know what it was like to follow her lead. Her charisma is without bounds. She lives to lead.
Even today, I remember how she smiled when I first stole something for her.
I got out of the system at 13. Erin at 15 had a few freckles across her nose, accentuating her black Irish lineage. The black haired beauty not only convinced our Chief to adopt her with her amazing skills but also my brown-haired, blue-eyed self.
That was when our real training began. I was an apprentice of our Chief’s master thief, a man so dirty, drunk and murderous that even thinking of him today gives me a chill down my back. Even so, he managed to teach me all I needed to know. He constantly tested me against mobs of thugs, any one of whom could have killed me with next to no difficultly. As my abilities grew, I was able to beat entire squads in a short time. I became a weapon. Eventually, I surpassed my master in skill and presented myself to my Chief again. I was 16. I still remember walking into Chief’s office and seeing Erin talk and laugh with him like a friend, as she had once had with me.
She smiled and hugged me, “You did it.” She whispered in my ear.
My first assignment was simple. My teacher gave me the floor plans to the building and the make and build of the vault in which the item was located. I was in and out in half an hour.
I was successful every time. Erin and I were a team. The best team he had. At least, that is what he told us.
I got paranoid. I was always afraid that if I talked to anyone, or spent any time with anyone, that that person would die. I even went as far as to teach Erin how to defend herself against a killer.
I had lived 9 years of my life in child services. There I had learned that to survive, I needed to be silent and unseen. I still use those skills today.
I lived, I breathed, I fought, and I stole.
Life is full of surprises. Like when I went to kill Erin and knew that not only I could do it but also I had plenty of reason to. Then I started thinking of the conundrum of our lives. She used me, I loved her and did what she asked. Suddenly I felt a searing pain in my shoulder and realized that it was entirely my fault, I taught her how to defend herself, and she did.
Then she ran… and came back to ask why.
Often I forgot that I had spent more of my life without her than with her. She had that sort of personality.
I remembered on the road, and kicked myself. Hated myself for what I had had to do. I returned home to an ambush. Attacked by the very people who had taught me to fight and kill with the utmost accuracy and speed. The people I had fought every day.
They thought they could beat me. Now Chief no longer has anyone to teach his hitters how to fight. He had forced my hand. As I ran, I nursed my hatred for him. I hated how he made my only friend lie to me, test me, trick me. This trick not only showed how loyal to Erin I was but also how little I cared about him. I never had any reason to care or trust him. Erin had taught me everything, he had taught me nothing.
I slowly realized I had reached the mountains. I changed everything about my appearance and went into town. I bought a bow and arrows and some supplies.
I lived in the wild for a year. Gained muscle and lost every ounce of fat. Ate only what I needed to survive. My hair grew out and I cut it again.