PRINCELESS by Cam Jace Storykiller
Copyright©by Cameron Jace 2019
Hotel Room, Colmar, France
Venus was underwater.
Naked and vulnerable, she lay crying in her bathtub. She was trained to hold her breath longer than most people. This time she tackled the morbid thought: what if just goes out of breath and never surfaces?
She could only describe herself as alone and lost, wishing the Organization provided a magic pill to forget each mission.
Why couldn’t she have had a normal life? Why wasn't she born to a different mother? Why did Mother not mistake her and take another child?
Then again, the Colonnade had come for her the day she was born. Why here? Where can she find answers?
Her first kill, Mr. Bissot was from afar, through a lens. Alan, on the other hand was up close and personal. She hated every second of it. It felt different. Too intense. Too personal. There was a reason why dictators and villains ordered atomic bombs to wipe up nations or their soldier to wipe out whole towns without them being involved. Demanding evil from a distance was an easy job. Calling someone names from a distance was a lazy job. Trolling someone on the internet was a sleazy job. They all served the luxury of hurting other from afar.
But doing it face to face. Feels the warms of the enemy's body. Realizing they are human like you. Comprehending the gravity of the pain inflicted on them and you. Being stuck with them while walls close in, that was a whole different kind of life.
Even in his death, Alan died the evil man he wished to be. He didn’t repent. He didn’t apologize. He even made a joke about his crotch. Venus thought the devil didn’t hold such darkness inside. Only humans did somehow. Only the Colonnade does.
She needed to more.
Her head bobbed out of the water and she inhaled deeply. If people only knew how precious this air was. The luxury of taking a bath without anyone wanting to kill you.
She donned her robe and stared into the mirror. On her chest, the fork's injury left a mark. She didn't know if it will be forever. It didn't matter. But the reminder her Mother left her on the left shoulder, did.
Two Black Swans. Small ones. One behind the with other, looking like two ‘s' letters from afar.
The Organization’s motto.
Venus couldn't grasp the meaning. Sailor had said the highest rank was six swans. She wondered if she was too young for being ranked with two swans. Or did have another meaning?
Venus squinted all of a sudden. What was that small line under the swans? How hadn't she seen it before?
She leaned forward and wiped the sticky humidity on the mirror with the back of her elbow.
This wasn't a line.
These were words.
She had to twist her left shoulder closer to read them. One word she realized. One word that was either misspelled or didn't make sense.
The writing said: Herstory.
Venus closed her eyes and almost stopped breathing. Her resentment to Mother's attitude grew stronger. Or was she only following The Princeless footsteps.
She opened her eyes and sighed then walked out naked to get cell phone and googled Herstory.
herstory /ˈhəːst(ə)ri/ noun noun: herstory; plural noun: herstories; noun: her-story; plural noun: her-stories history viewed from a female or specifically feminist perspective.
Thank you very much, Mother, for shoving whatever fucked up your past down my throat, and trying to make me in your image.
Venus wondered if she would grow up and force her children to call her Mother too. Was this shit hereditary? Then she realized, she may not want to have children at all.
Had Mother written something like Love is a Lie, Venus would at least have a cool tattoo to show of–or make up a story about. Mother's favorite lines was that love was a lie, and Venus could have used it as a rebellious, badass girl attitude as well. But what if she met a boy and he asked her about this feminist, over the top word. What would she say? Would it not scare him.
She went back to the bathroom and wrapped a bathrobe around her and began to dry her hair. Looking in the mirror, she heard Alan call her ‘beautiful' in the back of her head again. How can she just forget about today? And Rue, the child? How did Sailor or Mother — or even Widowmaker cope with the aftermath of these missions?
She turned the hot water back and let fog blur her vision but continued drying her hair. She didn't to look at her reflection in the mirror? She wasn't dating anyone anyways. And if she did, they will have to accept her the way she was.
Two swans and a word that implies that history needed be seen from a women's point of few, Venus thought to herself, unphased by the noise from the hair dryer.
She wondered what difference it would make. Whether most historians were men or women, she was least educated in that department. But it made sense it would be men, especially older books and vellums. Men dominated the world and wrote most of the books in the past, including fairy tales.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm wrote most of today's popularized stories. Before them Charles Perrault Hans wrote Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Bluebeard, and Puss in Boots, which then the Brothers Grimm retold–which made always made her wonder if they technically plagiarized Charles Perrault. The Brothers Grimm were German. Perrault was French, so it's still possible that they only passed the stories to the Germanic crowd. Point was, they were all men, not women.
Then there was Christian Andersen Joseph Jacobs, Andrew Lang, and other male writers. If women wrote fairy tale volumes in the past, she didn't know about it. She only knew about, and admired contemorary writers, like Terri Windling who editing, writer, and researched almost every branch in folklore
She stopped pressing the button and the dryer stopped. Why did think of fairy tales when Mother said herstory — or history? Fairytales were not history. It's just what Mother and the Organization claimed.
True, she liked to believe that story Mother told her about the first princess to oppose baron Gilles de Rais, one of the first documented serial killers in history, and thus the Organization was created centuries ago to sor of fight crimes against women. But she also knew Mother couldn't believe such claims. Venus had always considered it a romantisized backstory of how The Princeless was created. Just a story to keep the assassins together and bond them over a cause.
He head began to ache and she needed one of those chocolates again. All this thinking was her taking her mind of today's kill. That was all.
Her cell phone clinged and showed eleven messages from Sailor. She wasn’t going to check them. Enough assassin friends and family for the day, though she ended up checking the one the mentioned the word paycheck.
Wow, that was a lot of money again.
She had once heard her Mother talk to a neighbor about spoiling herself and buying needless stuff after a hard day's work. She never understood why people spent money they had worked hard to earn so irresponsibly. She understood now, and she was going to shopocalypse right this moment.
And then, she was going to find a place to get drunk and dance the pain away.