Thirty years ago the United States was torn apart. When a newly divided America emerged, the new President Caesar Valence instituted the casting system. A casting ceremony is held quarterly for those who have recently turned sixteen. During the ceremony it is determined which class system each selectee will be permanently placed. Now that Caesar is dead, his son Justice has taken over as the new President. His rules have changed. Keeping order throughout America is no longer important to him. To him, it is a game.
During Clara Mitchell’s casting ceremony, she is lucky enough to be chosen to remain in the Upper Class system, or so she thought. Years later, a brutal attack rips away the one person she loves more than anything, her fiancé.
Clara’s quest for retaliation against the men responsible for her fiancé s murder thrusts her into a secret society of assassins. It is there she learns that the world she thought she knew was all a lie, and she must learn to kill or be killed.
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About the Author: T.L. Coulter is the author of the young adult series, The Arcadian Series. When T.L. Coulter is not writing, she holds down a full time job, enjoys spending time with her eight year old son, and husband of sixteen years. She enjoys living in a small mountain town in Northern Utah. She has traveled the world with some of her favorite places being Norway, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and too many others to mention. She highly encourages everyone to get out there and explore.
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RETALIATION CHAPTER 1
It is especially dark out tonight, not even a glimmer of light from the moon can be seen. This is the perfect night to make my move. Most people wouldn’t even be able to see their hand in front of their face, but I can though. I’m wearing the night vision goggles that were given to me by Brina. She’s my instructor, my guardian, and my voice of reason. I met Brina shortly after that fateful night two years ago. But that story is for another time. Right now I have to concentrate. I’ve been watching and waiting for months to take this guy down. I’ve already taken down two of the six that are on my list. The first two were easy, they didn’t cover their tracks very well. However, this guy had. It’s as if he knew I was coming for him. But, no matter how much he thinks he’s planned for an attack, tonight I will kill him.
I hear their voices before I hear their footsteps coming down the hallway. He’s not alone, but that’s not a problem for me. I just have to re-assess my plan of attack. I had a lot of training with Brina, before I ever started working through my hit list. She taught me how to think on my feet and change tactics at a lightning fast rate.
I need to concentrate on the job right now, I slow my breathing and listen. They should be close now. I can hear them on the other side of the door, whispering lightly to one another.
From the tone and timbre of their voices, I can tell that there are just two of them. My target and a woman. I can hear them start to make out, I roll my eyes and wait; my timing must be perfect. There is no room for errors.
Their moans get louder and I hear a thump against the door, he’s backed her against it. Well, they’re certainly taking it up a notch. I feel sick to my stomach, and I find myself starting to breathe hard in anticipation. I have to control my nerves. I’ve worked too hard to give up my position now. In their current state, I’ll be able to catch them off guard easily.
I hear someone fumble with the doorknob, I mentally ready myself for the attack. I want to get to them before they turn on the lights, that way they never see me coming.
I quickly make a game plan, I’m going to attack the man first, mainly because he’s the largest and hardest to take down. A positive by-product of this is the fact that she will be confused by what’s going on and I can take her out in the confusion.
I hear him say something to her. By the sound of their voices I can tell they’ve been drinking. I smile to myself while thinking that this is almost too easy.
As the door opens I ready myself for the attack, I crouch low to the ground and watch. I see him reach for the light and that’s my cue to move. I quickly and quietly sneak up behind him, taking him by complete surprise. I put him in a chokehold and pin one of his arms behind his back so his chances of fighting back are limited.
I quickly put him to sleep, but I’m careful not to kill him just yet. The moment isn’t quite right. I want him to see me, I mean really see me before he dies. I want him and all the rest of the men on my list to know who’s taking their last precious moments of life away. I want them to know who their killer is.
These are the men that the so called “soldiers” of the capital can’t touch. Men that have killed and hurt so many people, including me. I want to put them six feet under where they can’t hurt another person, ever again.
I turn now and face the woman. When she realizes that she’s my next target, she starts to scream. She has no idea what’s going on or if I’m going to kill her.
I quickly grab her, putting her to sleep as well. I hope her screams haven’t drawn attention to this room. I look down the hallway, assessing the situation, but I don’t see or hear anything out of the ordinary.
I return to the unconscious man, and get to work. First, I tie him up, and then I take care of her. I give her an injection in the arm, tomorrow she’ll wake up with a massive hangover, but with only minimal recollection of tonight’s events. Brina supplied me with these little cocktails to help erase the minds of innocent bystanders, such as this woman. I try not to use them if I can help it, but tonight is one of those nights.
I quickly drag the woman’s body into the stairwell where she’ll remain until she’s discovered in the morning.
I walk back into the room with a glass of cold water that I got from the bathroom in his office, and I throw it in his face in order to revive him. He comes to groggily, looking around the room slowly.
His eyes grow wide when he sees me standing over him. I can see his mind working, he’s trying to figure out who I am, why I’ve captured him.
He begins to panic when he realizes that he can’t talk or move. I’ve covered his mouth with tape and tied him pretty tightly to a chair. After letting him stew for a bit, getting more panicky with each passing second, I finally speak.
“There’s no use in trying to get free. I hate to pat myself on the back, but I tie a pretty mean knot. I’m sure you’re wondering why I attacked you and tied you up. Well, you’ll find out in due time. Now, before I introduce myself, or should I say, reintroduce myself, you need to understand that you had this coming. You need to realize that you attacked the wrong couple that night.”
I walk over to the light switch and flick on the remaining lights. It’s time to let the scumbag sitting in the chair know who I am.
I turn back to face him while I slowly pull my mask off, uncovering my face and hair. Recognition of who I am is written all over his face, and his eyes grow wide with fear. He panics, it’s as if he’s seen a ghost.
I ignore his panicked look, and resume my story.
“So, as you can see Mr. Bentley, I’m in fact not dead, but very much alive. I’m here to make you pay, and pay you will. You murdered Johnathan Blake, and I will have retaliation for your crimes.”
Now that he’s seen me, and knows just what crime he’s dying for, I’ll torture him a few more minutes. Then I’ll kill him and make my escape.
I already have it all planned out. I always survey the buildings inside and out before going after the scumbags on my list.
I continue to taunt him for a few more minutes as planned. I tell him how I over-powered his other two friends, and what the next three have coming. I will hunt them down for the rest of my life, if that’s what it takes to get the retaliation I desire.
I soon grow tired of toying with him. With my mind made up and my face a steel mask, I walk up to Kristopher Bentley and punch him hard, directly in the face knocking him out cold. I do it for no other reason except that it felt so good to hit him. I quickly inject him with a serum that will stop his heart.
I wait until I can no longer hear or feel his heart beating.
I grab his wrist and check his pulse just to make sure he’s dead.
I don’t bother to untie him. I want him to be found just like this. I want him to be a message to the others. I want them to know that they’re being hunted, and there is nothing they can do about it.
I shoot one last glance in Kristopher’s direction, then walk over and turn off the lights.
It’s now time to make my escape. I only make it halfway out of the building before I realize that something is wrong. I feel a tingling sensation on the back of my neck; I’m being followed. How is this possible? Did Kristopher have someone watching over him? It shouldn’t be possible. I was nothing, if not thorough. If it were Kristopher’s men, then surely they would have stepped in to help him.
I try not to panic. I steel my nerves and decide the best course of action is to follow through with my escape plan. If I move as fast as possible, I should make it out before they can catch up to me.
I realize my mistake much too late. I’m so focused on the person I hear following me, that I don’t see the person that comes up on my right. I feel a blinding pain on the right side of my skull, my last conscious thought before the world goes black is; “I’ve failed.