Clara never got along with curfews. She thinks it’s ridiculous how other people’s time is controlled by someone else and see it as a complete waste of energy. Unless you’re a child, then yes, the curfew would be good. But for adults? Completely ridiculous. And that’s the reason why she was hidden amongst the shadows of the London’s buildings, stalking three men that had just left a local pub.
“This is the start of how it all ends…” words escaped her lips as she walked across the roof of a nearby building, watching the trio walked off into a nearby alley. The cold air threatened to remove the hood that covered her head with each step she took.
“They used to shout my name…” she muttered, fire of mixed emotions grew inside her heart. The silver pendant that hung from her neck shone every step she took as she followed the man.
Clara looked down to see the men walking towards a woman who seemed to be rushing somewhere. She heard one of the men taunt the lady as the said stopped in her track, her figure shook with fear.
“Now they’re whispering…”
The other two men grabbed hold of the woman as their leader stepped forward and started to harass her. The poor lass screamed in terror.
“I’m speeding up.” words followed her as she skillfully slid down the water pipe and landed behind the lady without a sound.
“And this is the,” she sung out as she plunges a small knife into each of their spines, earning a satisfying crack. The two men fell to the ground as the lady squatted, clearly confused and shocked.
“Red,” she stepped towards the main man. He stumbled back and took out his gun.
“Orange,” she continued confidently towards him as the man shouted to stay back, pulling the trigger.
“Yellow flicker beats,” she quickly kneeled and dispatched two longer knives from the side of her boots, sending them flying towards the man’s throat before he could even pull his trigger.
“Sparking up my heart…” she sang loudly as she got up and turned around to face the lady, who was still on the ground. Clara walked towards her and offered her a hand, which the lady slowly took.
“I hope your evening will turn for the better after this event. Would you like me to escort you home?” she smiled at the woman. The lass could only nod her head slowly, still shaken from what had happened.
“Give me a moment.” Clara turned around and walked towards the dead leader. She bent down and picked out the bloodied knives from the man’s throat, making him bleed even more. She closed her eyes that were covered by a black mask and looked up at the night sky, saying “Two out of ten… Mark Gillian, you’re welcome.” Wiping the blood off with the hem of her garment and slid them back into their place, she asked the lady,
“What’s your name, lass?”
“M-Marie…” the trembling woman replied.
“Marie….huh. Pretty name. Lead the way, dear.” Clara walked towards Marie and picked the knives that were on the other corpses. She wiped them clean and slid them back into their individual compartment on her olive green corset. Marie nodded and walked deeper into the alley. Clara followed close behind her, feeling content that she had finished her job for the night. She stared at the back of the other female’s head, her mind reminiscing the memories of back when everything was fine. Where she was with other people who are like her;
Even though she promised not to hurt anyone and anything in the past, everything changed when—
“WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?!” a male voice shouted not far where the battle took place.
She quickly whirled her head towards the direction where they came from and saw flashes of lights against the buildings. Marie now stood dead in her track.
“There’s a track! They went this way!!” Clara heard a different voice shout and followed by heavy footsteps.
“Marie, run home, now!” she commanded as she took two knives that were just used for previous murder. Marie gladly followed the command and ran as quickly as she could out of the view. After making sure the other had disappeared out of sight, she hid in the shadow of a small gap between two buildings. Four more men came running and stopped where her footsteps ended, which was a few meters away from her. Crouching, she stayed still.
“The footstep ended here… the guy must be close.” One of them said, shining a flash of light inside a dumpster.
“Come out, you piece of shit!”
Crouching, she got ready with two sharp knives across her chest, one in each hand. She knew they will shine a flashlight on her spot soon and she will be ready.
One of the men pointed his light towards her.
Clara quickly lunged forward and stabbed the man on his sides, crossing her knives across his stomach, cutting it open before he could even finish his words. The three men reacted quickly and started shooting at their direction but Clara hunched down and used the dying man’s body as a shield, blood smearing across her cheek. She walked forward towards one man and threw the corpse at him after clicking her right heel, activating a hidden blade that slid out of the toe of her boot. Before the man could toss the body aside, she repeatedly kicked his sides using her bladed boot, earning screams with each kick. Knives went flying towards the man’s leg and she swiftly ducked, grabbed the two knives, and easily sliced the meat off his leg.
One of the two leftover men charged at the half-masked woman but she easily dodged him with a twist of her body. The other man pointed his gun and pulled the trigger, only to miss as Clara had crouched and abruptly removed the knives that were hidden in each of her boots, throwing them at his direction, aimed at his heart which it successfully hit. The man fell backward with a thud. Just as Clara got up and turn her body to face the remaining man, he had gained his distance towards her and tackled her towards her ground.
She yelped pain as the man straddled her torso. Ringing sound was all she could hear and her vision blurred as the man repeatedly struck her face. With each hard blow, her consciousness was slipping away and at that moment, she knew it might as well be the end for her. Before the attacker could give her another blow, she saw his fist dropped quickly and felt the crushing weight on her stomach disappear. As darkness slowly consumed her mind, she saw a cloaked figure standing above her, a strange smile on their feature.
Darkness took over her.
“Clara! Help us!”
“It burns!! Help us, please!”
The brown haired woman screamed and jolted awake as the sudden throb of pain struck her left shoulder and face, making her gasp in pain. She withered back down and her body shook with electric pain that seared through the two regions. Closing her eyes, she brought her hand up and traced the bumps on her face, light stinging sensation following her fingertips. She heard a door creaked open and footstep approaching her. Starting to panic, she scooted away from the sound.
“W-who’s there?! Leave me alone!” she yelped. Unable to open her eyes due to the pain, she scooted too far and fell off the bed.
Before her back could hit the cold hard ground, she felt a pair of leather hands caught her waist and brought her back up onto the bed. Still being unable to see, her body shook with dread. Clara felt another weight pushing down on the bed in front of her and she dared not to move.
“You can be assured that I mean no harm.” A male voice spoke just in front of her. Still not trusting the voice, she sat still.
A hand lightly traced the bandages that were wrapped around her shoulder and she responded with a hurt filled moan, flinching away. She heard the man hummed approvingly and moved his gloved hand towards her chin, grabbing hold of it and moving her face from one side to another.
“Who are you?” she heard him say.
“Me? No, who are you?” Clara finally had the courage to speak.
She heard him chuckle and got up from the bed, leaving, only to come back again. The sound of a cotton pad being dabbed with water reached her ear and she started to back away. “Hey, hey, no, what is that?” she questioned worryingly.
He sat back down, this time closer to her, and said, “No fret, it is only a medicine that will help with your... injuries. You took quite a beating in such a short amount of time. It is a miracle that you only took three days to wake up from a broken shoulder and battered face.”
The man can clearly see the surprised look on her face and it amuses him.
“What?! Three days!? Are you serious?”
“Very.” He gently dabbed the soaked cotton on her face. The sensation made her hiss and fidget in place, but she decided to trust her healer.
“Give it a few minutes, it should numb the sting. Also, you have not answered my question.” She heard him put the bottle aside.
“So have you, nice stranger.” She replied.
“Hm… You may call me V.”
“May? Is that not your actual name?” she tilted her head. The pain on her face was slowly going away and she blinked her eyes open to see her savior. The only sight she saw was a man masked by Guy Fawkes, accompanied with a long bob cut hair. He was wearing all black, every inch of him covered with clothing. The man was staring right at her and she can see that through his mask.
“You…I know you…” she muttered quietly.
“Oh? How so?” he tilted his head, confused. After all, he was still preparing for his big plan. Nothing has started yet.
“Words on the street, you know. Rumors and such… wow… I never expected you were real…” Clara reached out with her right hand to touch his mask. V stiffened visibly and grabbed her hand, lowering them, away from his face. Clara sensed his discomfort and retracted her hand.
“Sorry… Oh, right! My name is Claramond Burr. Clara for short.” She offered her hand to shake, which he did.
“Thank you for saving me. I would’ve died without you. I’ll be out of your hair as soon as possible.” She looked around, wondering how the massive amount of books were stacked like in an impossible shape.
“It’s quite alright. After what I saw you did for that woman, I couldn’t help but wonder. A lot of questions rests in my mind but that can wait. You may stay as long as you like, at least stay until you are fully healed.” V got up and looked down at Clara’s brilliant green eyes.
“Rest, for now, and we shall talk once more afterwards. I will leave the door open so you may reach out to me if you need to, but I advise otherwise.” He turned around and started to walk away.
“Wait, how do I know where to find you?” she called out to him. He stopped at the door.
“Simply call my name and I shall be there. Good evening, Mrs. Burr and welcome to my humble abode, the Shadow Gallery.” V turned to face her, bowed gracefully and continued his journey out of the room.
“Thanks for saving me again!” Clara called out once more before slowly laying down on the soft mattress with a smile on her face, letting sleep consume her.