The days drifted by slowly. Every night, I came home and sat at the dinner table, listening to my family carefully avoid talking about the tasks. I was getting more ashamed by the hour. My parents did nothing to comfort me. They felt the same way I did.
As the sun began to lower, I quietly slid out of the house. My parents wouldn't know I was gone. They assumed I was studying, and wouldn't expect to see me for another two hours. Which gave me plenty of time for a walk.
Once I took to the streets, I began to realize how much I needed the fresh air, and the time alone. My house was constantly busy, what with my parents having five kids and all. Caleb was the oldest, and then it was me. We were born only a year apart. He left a week ago, leaving a message saying that he would be back soon. My mother would never admit to it, but I knew she was constantly worrying about him. When I was two years old, my mother had Emma. I don't actually remember seeing her for the first time. After Emma came Mia, and then, finally, Alison.
After a while, I glanced at my watch. It was nearing eight, and it was beginning to get dark. Soon, the summer would be over and the cold winter nights would keep me confined in the house with my family for comfort. I wasn't really the type to make friends. In the back of my mind, I heard my mother scolding me for staying out past dark, and then my father reminding her that I was eighteen now.
My family all have theories about why it's taking so long for my task to be assigned to me. Mia, staying true to her personality, thinks that it's because I'm not good enough, and they're struggling to find something easy for me. Alison tries to encourage me, telling me that Mia is wrong, and they're taking so long because of completely different reasons. Emma, like my parents, is staying quiet, but I know that she is secretly judging.
I am yanked out of my deep thoughts by a shout from behind me. My feet had lead me to a dead end, and when I turned, I saw to men, a little older than Caleb, fast approaching. Before I could take action, they stopped, and the tallest of the two stepped forwards. "Kiara Beaumont?"
I quickly became less fearful and more suspicious. "That's me." I adopted the stance that my instructor had taught me. Most assassins were trained to be quick, agile, in case we needed to get away. My instructor had taken it upon himself to teach me a little more than the basic defensive moves. I was starting to understand why.
"I need you to come with me." His eyes were blue, his face blank. His hair was hidden my a hat, and he was dressed in a similar way to me. "We are under orders of the five families." The second man held out his arm, pulling up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo. There were five symbols, all linked together. I recognized the one that represented my own family.
And just like that, I complied. They led me along winding streets and through dark alleyways as the sun finally sank below the horizon. "How did you know where I'd be?" I asked the man with the blue eyes. As I expected, he did not answer.
After what felt like an hour, the houses began to get further and further apart, until there was nothing but countryside. "Could we not have taken a car?" I muttered under my breath, annoyed. My mother would be furious when I returned. As soon as the words left my mouth, a large house sprung into view. At the gate, the man entered a code, and we were let through. The driveway was long and winding, lined with trees. I imagined it in autumn, with the sun shining on the leaves, setting them on fire. It would be beautiful.
At the front door, there was another man waiting for us. He exchanged nods with my escorts and ushered me inside. The heavy door closed behind me, and all three men slid through a side door, leaving me to my own devices.
Before me was a huge staircase, twisting upwards. Hanging above it was an impressive chandelier. I took a step forward, unsure. As soon as I did, a woman appeared at the top of the stairs, smiling broadly. "Miss Beaumont." Her blonde hair was pulled into a tight bun. "Come with me, and we will reveal your task."
My task. Finally. I had to restrain myself from launching myself up the stairs after her. My hands shook with excitement as I followed her up the stairs. We entered the first room on the left. A large table was placed at the back of the room. Three people sat, their heads turning as we walked in. The woman took a place. One chair remained empty.
"Miss Beaumont. Are you ready?"