The security agency had recruited the two of us to carryout special missions that would require the retiring of persons of interests. The common interpretation of this euphemistically speaking was that we were to be assassins. It was common practice to secure pairs consisting of one man and one woman. This allowed for a greater level of flexibility in all types of missions where to be innocuous within the foreign environment would require quickly switching the facsimiles of identities. As every section is instructed in special skills unique to that division our specialty was to center around the use of a knife. The quick deploy of what would be considered a common everyday implement found everywhere on the planet that was essentially untraceable by any local authority was considered as strong an asset as a platoon of special op regulars. Part of the discipline involved being to detect threats that bordered not he supernatural and fend them off with everything from a butter knife to a scalpel. Out trainer was a wiry older gentleman with a neatly trimmed mustache whose general appearance might have fit into any colonial barracks found in the previous century. With a steady low voice that one might have mistaken as being significant of his being beset by slow oncoming rot of age he provided us with a credo that promised the pair of us naught but future bumps and bruises. Maybe a lesion or two?
The best way to learn this business to his way of thinking was learning how to detect a threat and promptly intercept it. Something that one had to revive in their dormant animal skills. To treat their environment like a jungle where any hostile threat was possible at any time forcing once to be ever vigilant on even the slightest anomaly that might present itself in passing. Thus our training began being the proverbial targets of the most dangerous game that mankind has forever pursued. Man and woman we both were pursued by our teacher in a regular environment bearing no arms or physical protection beyond our gift of sight and our wits to preserve us from attack. Something that might be a blow to the chin or a tackle. But more likely a form of sharply incise cut. A form of dueling scar unique to this profession that was sharp, tight, superficial and assured to heal quickly most all the time without scars. The commencement of each day in this training park was to say the least a maddening exercise when one considered that it was near to impossible to detect one’s aggressor whose level of skill was such that one literally could not detect his movement until his blade was on you.
Though the female was perhaps the most constantly aware of danger in general to the level of her entering into a constant emotional state bordering upon a constantly agitated form of paranoia. Her most general method of dealing with the assurance of this threat being to whip about twisting in a manner that resembled an energetic childish participant playing hide and seek who violently struggles to surprise another potentially nervous contestant. The more effective method that came to mind was to calmly use one’s powers of observations after quieting one’s inner being. The notion of surveilling while realizing that inner animal sense of being watched leading to some interesting results. After a series of bumps and sharp edge scratches it became obvious that our assailant had the remarkable ability to transform himself through long experience into what appeared to be thin air. With careful study of what might have concluded to be empty air a smudge or a blur would be detectable. Something along the line of the use of better trained hackles. Something in the way of slightly yellowish like some small portion of directly reflected sun became more easily detectable. The vector and speed of travel recorded in a flicker one could prepare one’s own angled of attack and mount a reasonable defense. After some weeks my partner caught on and we were both soon able to foil any incoming assault. This new ability becoming natural and signaling the end of that phase of the training.
The last incident encountered bringing a sense of chilling immediacy as to what our roles would now often frequently entertain. Having been in the general vicinity of a wagon of straw my guru had attempted to assault me coming down a narrow corridor of varied obstacles from behind. The senses now finely tuned to the point of becoming seamlessly automatic I had spun around to focus my own blade’s tip at the Adam’s apple of his neck before he could even raise his own. The expression incised upon his face betraying sign of an uncustomary frustration that I had up to this point never suspected from a customary quiet sense of fatal resolve that it had usually embodied. His voice now trembling in part from the rigor of exhaustion but equally from having his best efforts tripped up spat out a last command. “Stick it in!!“, he demanded! “Put it through my throat!” The shock of this unexpected demand took me aback. And though I did not relent from pressing the point of my scalpel into his flesh I pondered inside if this was all a case of emotions on both sides having traveled too far down the path of what was considered professionalism in this trade?
I felt the palm of a hand softly press my right shoulder and heard an authoritative voice from behind of a presence that seemed to have congealed behind me telling me to accede to my former master’s request. Though the propriety of my emotions as I had once known them were conflicted , I realized that this was the equivalent of a final test as to whether I would carry out my mission or fall short of the stated goal of it at the last instant. It was quite literally him or me! Even though I did not feel an expected pricking of sharp steel against my own frame, it was evident that only one of the two of us would walk away from this encounter. Saying goodbye to all my former notions of God and morality garnered since childhood I transcended this final threshold jamming the instrument through his rubbery thin neck till the blade struck hard into the weathered wood of the wagon gate’s edge. I was now officially birthed as the new regent having taken my teacher’s place as the reigning sovereign of this dark art. My own position in this dark art as equally secured by of my continued competence demonstrated in overcoming all comers. One day just as surely someone else eventually arriving one day within this unsure future with a greater adroitness to take my place.