Gratitude. To be grateful. I was familiar with the concept, but my life hadn't given many instances where I could use that particular emotion. Anger. Hatred. Fear. Those were more familiar, and easier to deal with. I had been...trained excessively in those emotions. Trevor Mason had taught them to me to such an extent that I could hardly feel anything else.
So when the Tracker had killed my master, I had been confused by the emotion I'd felt. I was finally free of my tormenter. For once, I could use my skills for me, and not because I was forced to use them. And any profit that came would go to me and me alone. I sat on the edge of the bed in the dirty motel room and ran a cloth over the blade I held, relishing the freedom I had discovered. I had been liberated and was free to thank the person responsible for my sudden ability to choose my own actions.
Finding the Tracker's father had been easy. Mason had a phone number, and it was only a matter of calling him and setting up a meeting. He knew ‘John Doe’ from his previous contact with Mason, and hadn’t flinched at setting up a meeting. When he’d arrived, the John he knew—a quiet but intense Goth kid—had disappeared. What he’d seen instead was my true form. The assassin who’d been trained in the art of pain and fear. Kindred. The man I’d become after Mason had been through with me. McCoy’s fate had been sealed with the first sign of hesitation when he’d seen me change in front of him. Too easy. But still fun.
His friend had been harder to find, but I had finally succeeded. I took away his ability to trap or hurt the Tracker...Jason, again. My mind drifted as I idly flipped the knife in my hand. There had been another emotion that had been brought out when I had seen the young street kid hanging from the ceiling of Mason's shed: sympathy, and also some regret.
I regretted that the Tracker had to go through what I'd been through. It had seemed like a waste. The kid had people who cared about him. Mason's actions would have kept him from his loved ones, and changed him into someone they wouldn't even recognize.
Exactly as he'd done to me. I don't remember my life previous to working for Mason, but I don’t think I was ever completely on the side of legality. However, I did suspect that I'd had a family at some point. Perhaps they had even looked for me. Now I would be unrecognizable to them. I am no longer who I was before, and now I also was not enslaved to anyone. Therefore I am no longer exactly what Mason made me. Perhaps with time the person I was before would emerge and reveal the secret of my past.
There was a knock on the door and I slipped the knife into the sheath I wore under my shirt and opened the door. "May I help you?" I asked the overweight deliveryman.
"Mr. Smith?" he asked, consulting the envelope he held and his clipboard.
He held out the large envelope. "Have a good day," He said as I took the delivery.
I nodded absently, staring down at the envelope as I closed the door. I slid the picture out of the envelope, and committed the face to memory. Flipping the picture over, I saw the information I would need to find the man in the picture. There was also a phone number to call when the job was done. I slid the last thing out: a smaller envelope containing ten thousand dollars in cash. I would receive the rest when I called after the job was finished. My client had made contact: it was time to move.
I stuffed my few belongings into my bag with my clothes, put on a pair of latex gloves, and wiped down the entire room. Covering my tracks had become second nature to me after several years in Mason's service. My other talents came in handy for that as well. The woman at the check-in counter might remember a nondescript white man with light brown hair and dark eyes, while the delivery man would swear in court that the man he'd given the envelope to had been Latino. Neither would be correct. Covering my identity had become like breathing; it came automatically. That had been the main reason for the warning I'd placed in the last gift I'd given the Tracker. He might be the only one in the world who could find me, and I didn't want him to try.
I swept my gaze over the room once more, making sure I left nothing behind. It was clean, as far as motel rooms go, so I pulled the door shut and tried to decide where to go next. The man in the photograph lived on the other side of town, so I'd go there, find a motel, and follow my prey until I found my opportunity to strike. I felt a spike of adrenaline as I drove away from the dingy motel, and a smile appeared on my face. All thoughts of my past fled with the excitement I felt now. There was nothing like a good hunting trip to make the blood flow.
End of Chapter two- Please let me know what you think!