PRINCELESS by Cam Jace Storykiller
Copyright©by Cameron Jace
January 15 2019
Venus ran with her back bag across the roof.
France’s irregular roofs presented an obstacle against her escape, but she had been trained to deal with such situations. She was swift. Her body, flexible. And most of all, she was excited. She’s just saved lives with her first kill.
Sirens sounded below in the street. Which was expected. Assassins weren’t thieves. There was no hiding. The kill was in your face. The trick wasn’t to avoid getting caught, but to hide the weapon, disguise and show up a few minutes later as if nothing had happened.
As if surfing, she flapped her arms in the air and stretched a leg further than the other to balance her arial descent down the sloping roof.
Shit. She wasn’t controlling it, if she kept gliding this fast, she was destined to fall down where the police were looking for her.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
She steadied her breathing. Finally her boots friction with the roof’s floor came to a halt. Just a foot before the edge. She stood there observing the world below like Christ the Redeemer’s statue she’d once seen in Brazil. It felt so good to be in control.
But not for long.
Someone saw her from below. A police man pointed up at her, spitting out French words of resentment. The Pillar’s words about the police’s paycheck came to mind. No one was going to pat her on the shoulder today. Thank God she was far up they wouldn't recognize her face.
But then the helicopter showed up.
She had to run.
La Canebiere street was two blocks away. There she should follow the instructions and escape.
Clutch onto the roof’s edge and clamper up again.
The helicopter chased after her but they didn’t shoot. She knew they wouldn’t do it right away, in hopes of catching her first. It was always best to catch the assassin and broadcast it in the news to please the people who knew not what was really going on.
She ran ahead. Just one more block.
To her right, she saw beehives, which was common on French rooftops.
Something stopped her all of a sudden. A thud. A man just fell from the sky in front of her. A police officer or something, but not the usual type who would ask you to stop and read your rights. The paycheck type like Sailor had told her. He was here to—
The first punch threw her back to the sloping roof. He was a big man with a red beard and crooked smile. He watched her glide on her back, soon to reach the roof's edge and fall.
Venus clung to the beehive box.
One arm. Veins protruding. Barely breathing. She used her other arm to prop herself up, awkwardly standing on her feet. One bent and the other stretched. She was in no position to pull out her gun and shoot back. She looked like a girl in the circus, walking a tight rope with flapping hands to her sides.
The policeman glided effortlessly down on a roof familiar to him, ready to punch her off the building. She guessed they gave up on the idea of catching her and decided her death was their only option.
“Why not shoot me?” She growled, ducking while holding onto the box and evading his punch.
He smirked. For moment, he looked like wanted to say something. Like he knew something she didn't know. But it was a brief moment, and tension was too high to linger on it.
He grabbed her by the jacket and pulled her close. “Ready to die, princelesses?”
Venus said nothing. Again, she could not evade his piercing eyes. It was as he was looking for something behind her own eyes. As if he wanted to recognize her. Wanting to see what she is made of. And it wasn't in a good way.
Her had perplexed and hypnotized for a moment.
But she wasn't going to waster ten years of training to her enemy's curiosity.
She locked eyes with him, letting him believe he had her full attention while slowly relaxing her fingers with a slight twist to give way to small pin inside her jacket. She had tens of those strapped to her leather. Once the needle fell into her palm she used her nimble fingers to pinch the inner flesh of his wrist.
The man screamed in agony, and she stumbled back, close enough to fall backwards, but she hun onto the beehive box to her right.
The color of the man's face now matched that of his beard. His face tightened as looked back in wrath.
Shit, Venus told herself. The needle should have hit the artery. He should be bleeding rivers but he wasn't. She missed.
How can she miss? Her jaw tightened.
The man was about to attack back when she had no choice but opening the beehive box.
Swarms of bees stung at his face, hungry for his flesh. Protected by the jacket, she clambered up on all fours to the top of the roof. Still one bee stung her cheek under the hood.
Venus didn't scream. Pain was stupid to her sometimes. A bee's sting can't compete with the bullies hitting her in her bedroom most nights back in Maiden Island.
But it all happened fast, and she wasn't sure of what to do next or how far she can clamper up.
Another bee stung her.
This time, it was her hand.
A complaining scream was about to escape her lungs but she sucked it up when she realized how futile complaining is. Even if she hadn't, she heard the helicopter from above flying as low as possible now.
Craning her head up, the inside was pointing the gun at her. The violent twist in the air from the huffing of the motors alone could have flipped her backwards and below again. Somehow she managed to stay put, neither clampering upward nor falling back.
However, her stubborness didn't stop her from trying to continue her climb up in the helicopter's direction.
The cyclone of spiraling air wasn't helping now. She managed to twist her body sideways and ran like a hunchback parallel to the helicopter's side opening. She figured the soldier inside either had a hard time shooting from the unstable position or he was distracted by his friend whose face had been covered with bees.
Venus didn't care. She practiced what Sailor had trained her and ran in zigzags. Not quite running, but trotting while keeping balance. A target running in zigzags at you was the hardest to shoot.
But she was wrong. The helicopter man didn't care to save his friend. Awkwardly enough, the pilot adjusted position so his sniper would face Venus.
She hadn't expected that, but she was ready for it.
Before the shooter could adjust, she put a bullet in his skull with her silencer. After all, she graduated with a ten out of ten in shooting. Sailor had told her this never happened before. All Venus needed was the chance to shoot someone and their would be tomorrow's first in the obituary column in their local town's magazine.
The pilot panicked at her attitude.
“Who the fuck is this girl?” He roared, talking to nothingness and losing control as she aimed at him.
The helicopter swirled frantically, its rotors about to chop her head off, or arm, or leg.
Venus ducked but lost balance again, rolling full body down the roof's edge again, only this time in the direction of La Canebiere street.
“Shit,” she said, helplessly waiting for the drop. “Shit. Shit. Shit.”
It didn’t come. Her instincts kicked in. The helicopter crashed against the roof as she hung onto the water pipe right under the edge. She felt as her hands acted on their own. She hadn't even seen the water pipe earlier. She had no idea when she actually dropped her gun.
The explosion denied her a moment to breathe. Fire, fumes and smoke suffocated her as the building itself shook from the burning helicopter. People screamed from below, but she could not see them while black smoke hovered all around her.
Venus coughed, swinging on the loose pipe like Tarzan in the jungle. She had to figure a way out before the pipe gave in and helicopter crashed down the street below.
With squinting eyes, she caught a glimpse of the closest balcony, barely looming behind the smoke. Fourth floor, sideways. She had no choice but risk the illogical jump, and find out how she would escape from the building later.
She didn't need convincing to make jump. What bothered her most that she couldn't execute her mission properly. And she hated that about herself.
She gritted her teeth and thought of pineapples. Her only mindfulness strategy when in dark times. The pineapple scent of her mother brought back the memory of when she survived the parking lot. For a girl who had tasted blood on her cheeks upon arrival to this life, she didn't fear death–only failure was death to her.
Now someone shot at her from below.