Slate grey eyes squinted against the Spanish sunlight as Luka stared, almost obsessively, out of the window at the house her target was in. High cheekbones set, give her an angular, slanted appearance. An intense frown of concentration disrupted her smooth skin. Her lips were medium in thickness and pursed. The curtains in an open window across the street floated gently in the breeze. "No visual on the target." Suddenly the frown gave way to an expression of utter boredom.
Luka sat backward on a frayed rococo chair with pale cream upholstery. The back of the chair providing an armrest for the SAKO TRG 42 sniper rifle sitting snuggly in her shoulder. From inside her ear, a voice grunted and swore in a foreign language. "Shut up. Be patient." Luka retorted in an almost bored fashion. She wasn't bored with her job... she was bored that she had to wait so long to get to the exciting part. Luckily, she didn't have to wait too long. A shadow began to approach the window. Luka's focus doubled and she tightened her grip on the gun, her finger resting relaxed parallel to the trigger. "Here we go." Luka's mongrel accent was emotionless.
Waiting for her moment and shutting her left eye, Luka lined up her shot. Feeling her chest rise and fall with a patient, calculated breathing she mentally grounded herself. Compartmentalizing the sounds of the street and the wind, she waited for the curtains to slip. It was fate that the wind caused a gap in the curtain. It was fate for a moment, the target was visible. It was fate that he was to die, she had decided. Luka smiled and squeezed the trigger. The man's head snapped back with a raspberry coloured hole in his forehead. Luka continued to watch, pleased with her work, as his lifeless body crumpled to the floor, unmoving.
Luka lowered the rifle and sniffed, smacking her lips. "I could really go for a cheeseburger." Luka announced nonchalantly as she began to break down the sniper rifle. "You are so fucking weird." Pausing, Irritation flashed across Luka's face. "Do not call me weird."
Not 10 minutes later, Luka exited the McDonalds in Cadiz chewing on a cheeseburger, her companion in tow. Walking down the Avenue Cayetano del Toro almost shoulder to shoulder with Anton, her dangerous Chechen colleague. Their car was waiting for them at the very end of the avenue. This time, Luka hoped it was something modern, rather than the piece of shit the agency had arranged last time. Preferably air con that actually worked. Tiny spots of sweat glittered on her skin, now tanned from spending months in Spain, observing the target. Next to her, Anton obnoxiously slurped his McDonalds Soda, knowing full well it annoyed Luka. Their relationship was like brother and sister, well as close as a relationship that professional assassins could have. Luka was a loner. She had to be and she liked to be. She did not trust anyone and she barely trusted Anton but she did like him. He was professional on the job, he had a sense of humour and apart from the annoying things he did outside of the job, he did not smother or restrict her movements.
Anton's very existence was ironic. A Chechen man now working for the Russian Government. Russians and Chechnen's hated each other but Anton preferred not to get on that bandwagon, rather exploiting the connections and economic advantage of contract killing that Russia had that Chechnya didn't. Anton had dirty blonde hair and blue eyes that had a sneaky and obnoxious glint in them. He was one of the few in their organisation that had been to Luka's house. He was also one of the few who knew Luka's background out of necessity however, not because Luka confided in him out of a sense of closeness. She wasn't like that. Luka and Anton blended perfectly with the linen-dressed public. Dressed in a stylish, cool duck egg blue linen romper and sandals, one would have thought Luka was a local. Wavy tresses the colour of darkened caramel drew looks of appreciation from passers-by. Anton was similarly dressed and both sported dark sunglasses that hid alert eyes. 400 metres down the street, they turned right into a narrow lane. Choosing this spot as their exit point months ago, they quietly slipped into the street adjacent and spotted their car. The driver's face was hidden by the sunshade. Flickering the lights short and sharply twice, a sense of horror-filled Luka when she realised what their getaway car would be.
"A Fiat 500? What the fuck is this!" Curling her lip up in disgust, Luka tore her sunglasses off and glared at Anton. "Bright Orange?! Really?". Anton instinctively stepped back from his colleague and head up his hands. "I asked for what you wanted." Baring her teeth, Luka grabbed him by the collar and pulled him close. "I do not sign up to do a fucking 3 million Euro job to be driven away in a fucking pumpkin with wheels. Pick a less overt colour!" Snarling in displeasure, she splayed her hand on his muscled chest, pushing him away. "Get in the car!" snapped Luka, cussing in another language.
Making Anton sit in the front, Luka took the backseat and pinned the driver with a filthy look. "Is it done?" The driver asked, his breath stank of cigarettes. Anton shot him a warning look. "Don't waste my time with stupid questions. I saw the fool's head explode. Hand over the rest of the payment and get us to the hotel. Then you can fuck off and take this shitty car with you." Luka jerked forward, her seat belt straining. "You can tell Sergei that he better be at the meeting point in London on time." Seeing the driver about to argue, Anton backhanded his shoulder. "Drive."
As they passed through to San Fernando, the frantic sirens of the Spanish Police zipped past into the direction of Cadiz.
Four hours later, Luka sat comfortably with her legs crossed at 35,000 feet jetting towards London. Crossing into British airspace, Luka allowed herself to relax slightly, sipping a glass of Perrier. Starting to feel the ache of exhaustion in her limbs, she silently reassured herself she was almost home. Well, as close as home you could get for someone like her. The one place she liked and could fully relax was her apartment in London. Just because she sometimes had to slum it for work, she refused to do so for her home. Splashing out on an apartment at One Hyde Park, she had more than enough money. She was a millionaire but popular definition. Not that she appeared in Forbes. Her money was hidden. When she initially started contract killing she had to work her way up to be as expensive as she was. Luka was expensive because she was good. Very, very good. She never left a trace and no one had come close to catching her. She preferred being in a position where she was not constrained by Governments and political issues. Instead, she worked for a private organisation that paid her the fee she demanded. She never refused work. She had assassinated in all corners of the world, from Budapest to Iceland, and all across Russia and Israel, her work preceded her. Interpol couldn't find her, neither could MI6 or the CIA. All for giving credit where it was due, her internet footprint was barely there. That was due to her employers who were birthed in the black ops rooms of Governments. Dissatisfied with the lack of freedom, they wanted to seize power. They went off on their own and they took a group of assassins with them. At the top was Luka.
One Hyde Park, London:
Luka's apartment was reflective of her life: the monochromatic interior traded between a very select palette of Grey, charcoal, and black colours. Modern in style, there was no clutter. One entire wall was black shelves. At the centre, a 65 inch Samsung TV was bolted into the wall. A single black soundbar lay parallel under the TV. The floor of the lounge was darkened ash wood. A comfortable L shaped couch with charcoal upholstery provided a fantastic relaxation spot for Luka.
The same colour scheme followed throughout the whole apartment: smooth concrete bathroom floor and black tiles up to the ceiling kept things a simple colour. Everything was sharp straight lines. Nothing round, nothing soft.
Groaning in pleasure, Luka dropped down onto her own couch, closing her eyes she crossed her feet on the coffee table. Sighing contently, she took a large gulp of her latest purchase: Remy martin Black Pearl Louis cognac. At that moment all of the last 3 weeks flying from country to country, constantly being alert and never being able to switch off. God, she was tired.
Any plans she had of a quiet night were put to the side when Luka's phone went off. Groaning, she rubbed her face, ignoring the Russian folk music blaring in her apartment. Rolling her eyes, after the 5th ring she rocked forward on the couch and picked up her phone. "What?." A heavy, Moscow accent replied, informing her that he was outside.
"Okay." Luka ended the call and tossed her phone onto the couch. Padding over to the door she had just come through, she tapped her back pocket, feeling the familiar weight of her switchblade. Always have a weapon. Pulling open the door, she stared with empty eyes at her visitor, holding orange flowers and a box of pizza.
"Asshole." Luka rolled her eyes and stood aside so he could come in.
"No, you started it with the stupid bet." Sergei teased, following Luka to her kitchen where she took the pizza from him and placed it in the oven to keep warm.
"I didn't actually think you'd be so stupid to arrange a fucking orange car as a getaway."
"It is a popular colour in Spain. No risk to you." Sergei shrugged and helped himself to her kitchen. "Why are you so tense Luka. Relax. You are at home."
"Because I feel tense. I'm going to have a shower, and you can set the table. Dinner first, then we can talk. Okay?" Sergei pouted and nodded. "I do this."
Sergei was the only one that she would let in her apartment. Not even Anton had been inside. Sergei needing to know where she lived was an unfortunate necessity. Knowing he knew probably meant someone else knew. So as a result, Luka allowed herself to be just paranoid enough to have weapons around the house. Strapped under her marble bathroom sink was a handgun, one clip, and a silencer in a plastic bag submerged in the cistern of her toilet.
15 minutes later, Luka walked out of her bathroom rubbing her hair vigorously with red Thierry towels, the only thing that was coloured in her house. The caramel of her hair was faded somewhat with the true colour of her hair showing through the roots like soot. Sergei was pouring wine for them at the table. "Okay, let's eat. I'm starving." Luka cleared her waived at Sergei and took her place at the head of the table, one foot folded onto the seat of the chair. For the next while, only chewing of greasy cheese and pepperoni was their silence. Sergei observed Luka while she ate, trading her pizza for a sip of white wine at regular intervals.
"So, how did you do it?" Sergei burped and reached for another slice. Luka dislodged a piece of pepperoni from her back tooth and picked at cheese on her third slice, stretching it out and clamping her mouth around it like a crocodile. "Clean, as requested Through the forehead and back of the skull, painted the wall." Luka smiled with closed lips, her mouth bulging with food. Sergei laughed and raised a glass to her. "Such finesse. I have another job for you." Luka paused for a moment. Sergei watched her, wondering what the hesitation was. "Don't worry it's in 1 week here in London." Sergei lent to the side and dug into the pocket of his coat, producing a thick brown paper envelope. "Good I'm fucking tired. Who's the target?" Luka wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and sat back, resting her clean hand on her stomach. "Her." Sergei swallowed another burp and slid over a photograph of a woman Luka instantly recognised. "Is this not a Police commissioner?" Luka frowned. "This is correct. Put away close associates of our employers. This associate is now in witness protection with MI6. We do not yet know where but we kill the Commissioner to send a message then we find an associate." Luka ripped off a piece of garlic bread and chewed thoughtfully. "So." Luka pointed at Sergei with her three remaining fingers clutching the bread. Garlic oil oozed down her hand. "I kill her to send a message. Obviously the associate will get scared. Who do we know is protecting the associate?" Sergei shrugged. "I have little information. We are currently in the process of getting intelligence. I will deliver it to you on Wednesday."
"Okay if you're finished, can you get out of. My apartment?" Luka tossed the crust of her garlic bread on the plat and slapped her hands together. "I need to be alone." Sergei eyebrow rose. "You are always alone." Luka stood up and rested her hands flat on the table, leaning over she grinned in Sergei's face.
Two weeks later…
Luka flopped back onto her couch, shoveling creamy chicken and bacon pasta in her mouth. The BBC news channel with a flashing red banner announcing "Breaking news" passed across the TV. Smirking darkly as the news anchor announced the murder of the commissioner.
Turning the volume up, Luka stabbed a few strands of pasta and sucked them into her mouth. Placing the plate down and standing up, she kept her eyes glued to the screen as she headed for the wine on the bench.
"The British government has assigned a team to investigate this high profile murder. There were some evidential traces that are presenting as leads…" Luka immediately froze and completely focused on the TV. Something didn't feel right. Usually when Law enforcement said that it was a move to flush out the killer. Inside herself, her instincts were blaring. Rushing back to the couch she muted the TV and pushed her hands through her now naturally black hair, mentally retracing her steps. It took her a few minutes to playback the job in her mind. The entry was perfect, the patience, taking the Judge's life was all without error. The exit plan was flawless.
In Luka's mind, flashes of the day passed through her head, right down to when she climbed out the window at the back into a hidden alleyway, sure she struck it a bit hard and the zipper got caught briefly but.."FUCK!" Luka thumped the couch. Scrambling up, she ran to her room and snatched her jacket off the bed. Roughly stretching it out on the duvet, sure enough. The zipper head was missing. Luka released her breath and let her head fall back, closing her eyes as the rage built up inside her. Disbelieving, Luka rested her hands on her hips and shook her head, sucking her upper lip between her teeth. Suddenly, the familiar Russian folk ringtone sounded behind her in the direction of the kitchen. It was Sergei. He was furious.
With a raging yell, Luka threw her phone across the room, striking the wall and cracking. "SHIESSE![Shit!]" She swore in her native tongue. The authorities had her zipper.
Wasting no time, Luka ran to her wardrobe and started packing. Sprinting to her bathroom, she almost lost her footing and slipped as she went for the gun under her sink. Next, she hefted the cistern off the toilet and collected her fake Italian passport. Already running through her plan through her mind, she prepared herself to flee. First, to Milan, Italy to the Il Massimo Del Gelato. There, she would meet Mario who would give her the coordinates to a private hanger, a further passport of a different country, from then on she would disappear to India. Quick hands rolled some tops and shoved them into her bag as she closed it, threw it over her shoulder, and went for the door. She was but two steps from the door with her hand outstretched when the door crashed open.
Luka was open with the surprise on her face. "Sergei? What are you.." Sergei swung his fist into her face, connecting knuckle and bone. Luka slammed against the floor heavily, feeling a crack in her shoulder. Her head erupted in blotches of red and black as Sergei rammed his fist into her head and torso repetitively. Luka cried out in pain, then her training kicked in. Kicking out with her legs, she struck Sergei's kneecap, disrupting his balance. Being almost half Sergei's age, she had youth and a great deal of experience against him. Gasping for breath, Luka lunged forward on top of him, ignoring the pain searing through her ribs. Luka slammed the heel of her palm into his rib cage, quickly following by two swift fists to the head. Air expelled from Sergei's body. Throwing his weight, the two rolled over her apartment floor. "What the fuck is wrong with you Sergei!" Luka yelled in confusion. What the hell was going on? They were on the same side! Sergei roared and planted a sharp undercut to her chin, Luka's head snapped back, dazed. Large bear hands gripped her shoulders and pulled her forward. A Jagged knee to the stomach. Gagging on air, Luka felt her legs collapse from under her. She never touched the ground.
Sergei's soulless blue eyes bore into her as Luka felt her head spinning. Why was her body floating? Luka had trouble focusing, blinking as a hand grasped her throat, cutting off her air.
"Serg..urk…ser." Luka felt a tightness in her throat and a pressure in her temple as she felt her windpipe being crushed. Clawing at his hands, Luka began to panic as she frantically tried to find something to use. AS desperation smothered her, Luka strained jerked her knee into Sergei's crotch. The pressure was released immediately. Dropping to the floor with a sickening judder through her joints, Luka groaned as she clutched her stomach and dragged herself across the floor to the couch with her right forearm.
Behind her, Sergei clutched his groin painfully. Locking up with squinted eyes, Sergei saw Luka heading for the couch. Knowing exactly what she was going for (after all, he arranged her apartment). He sprang forward. Luka's arm gave out and she reached out for the corner under the couch where she kept a knife hidden. She wasn't so lucky. Sergei's cold hand gripped her ankle and with a rabid snarl, he yanked her away from the couch. The sound of a metal switch scraping on metal filled her ears. Luka barely had time to think when Sergei shoved his fist right into her stomach. Sergei's eyes met Luka's and he watched as her surprise morphed into shock and then realisation.
Something cold.. was inside her. Luka's features were mystified. She felt wet. Sergei had stilled and was grinning at her, his mouth and nose bloody and eye split. Just like hers.
"You are not getting out of here alive. You are a liability and you are no longer wanted." Sergei hissed, his bloody spittle splatting in her face. Luka suddenly felt cold in her stomach. Confused, Luka looked down and cried out. Sergei hadn't punched her, Sergei had stabbed her. Luka was transfixed on the blade and the red seeping through her grey shirt. The seep began to spread rapidly. Her sense of her surroundings popped back into her mind and the pain slammed into her as Sergei twisted the knife.
"I have waited for this long time." Sergei chuckled evilly and yanked the knife out, what one was not supposed to do. Then again Sergei was trying to kill her. Luka moaned as the steel withdrew from her body followed by pumping blood. Luka lay on her side, her booted feet scraping uselessly against the floor. Jamming her fingertips into her wound to try and stem the bleeding. Her rage and pain melted together in her gut as she bled out on her own floor.
Sergei stood back, wiping her mouth with his knife-hand. Panting like a ravenous lion. "Goodnight Luka.." Sergei whispered at her icily and retreated out of her apartment. Luka lied there, gasping as she tried to get up, her eyes bulging and her desperate panting loud in her ear. She felt weaker but desperation was keeping her going. Luka reached out with a shaking, bloody hand for the coffee table and tried to pull herself up. The blood on her hand caused her to slip and her head bounced against the corner of the table. Luka's eyes slowly began to roll back into her head as blood trickled out of her mouth.