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A garrote is a weapon made from any type of various materials, from scarves to piano wires and everything in between. It is a tool used for choking, strangling or cutting through a victim, though victim isn't always the word one would use in these specific scenarios.

Whomever chooses to use a garrote as their weapon of choice would, of course, need to be someone strong, capable and precise. Wrapping the cord around the wrong place on the neck could cause choking rather than strangulation, and it would take far longer to attain the desired results when someone is being choked.

Another factor to think about when considering a garrote is the force one would need to be able to not only apply the correct amount of pressure with the tool, but also keep the target from escaping or gaining the upper hand while the strangulation takes place.

The entire body-weight of a grown woman should be enough for that.

The last thing to factor in is the stealth that is required for its use. It is most certainly not an offensive weapon to wield, nor can it normally be used to defend. It is a silent assailant, a creature of the night that stalks its prey and strikes when you've just settled into bed, warm and cozy and ignorant of its presence.

It is also Casey Cooke's favorite weapon.

Hers is a delicate-looking thing, made from a strong, co-polymer nylon fishing line, each end tied in a tight palomar knot attached to a small leather wrist-bracers. The outer portion of those bracers are decorated with black lace, and after she cleans the mess off of her line, she unsnaps the right bracer from her wrist and coils up the line around the left one, eventually snapping the right bracer on top of the wrapped line and the left bracer.

It looks like a pretty little watch without a face on her wrist, a lacey little bracelet to gush over and write to the girls at home about.

Casey Cooke surveys her work. He was a man in his mid-to-late forties. His frame is thin and the skin on his face is marked with various pockmarks of agitated picking over the years. He has blond hair and his green eyes, glassy and dead, stare up at the ceiling into a future he will never have.

Good.

She examines his neck--it is thick and corded, the purple veins there forming a hematoma on one side, the other side seeping blood into the frayed carpet of the apartment. She had cut through muscle this time.

Brushing off the still-lingering feel of his writhing body against hers, a small, satisfied sigh escapes her slightly parted lips.

She's getting better.

Her first targets had been large brawny men, necks massive and impossible to cut through. She'd had to first strangle them with the garrote, then finish the job by some other means. While this man was by no means a body-builder (she's seen and conversed with those, she knows by nature right before a show that they are weak with lack of food and water to dehydrate their bodies in preparation for it), he is much taller than she is, and was a surprisingly challenging task to deal with.

Eventually she began to get the hang of these tasks of hers, with just one close call marring her perfect record. That close call had been a dancer, and she had been very flexible. She'd swiveled her body around to wrap one arm around Casey's waist as Casey hung to her back, and they tousled around in the living room of the dancer's house a bit before Casey was finally able to gain the upper hand and beat her to death with a marble bookend. That was an extremely messy cleanup.

This is obviously not where Casey thought her life would be after high school.

She kicks the dead man's body gently in a lazy attempt to verify that he is, in fact, dead, then walks over to see if she can feel a pulse in his wrist (the neck is too damaged to get a good read with her small leather gloves on). Nothing. That has failed her before though, so she decides she should just finish the job and get it over with.

She tugs her gloves down to make sure they are firmly in place and carefully steps over the man's body, careful to avoid the blood. The duct tape on the underside of her shoes makes a soft padding noise as she walks purposefully into the tiny kitchen, slowly opening and closing drawers as she looks for a good utensil that will do the job.

Her eyes flicker to the clock on kitchen counter--it is 2:16pm, and she has just enough time to finish this before the kid and the mom start to wonder where he is. It's a miracle she was able to get this man alone; he rarely ever let his wife or the kid out of the house without him, and when he did, he made sure it was always with him.

Detailed planning and improvisation both, though, are her forte.

When she caught him coming home from the grocery store because he had forgotten his wallet, she was relieved she was prepared enough to go straight-up BAMF on him. She had also made sure beforehand that the wife was a beneficiary of his life insurance, and that she was a good woman, with straight morals even under an unfavorable situation.

All of this under consideration, no one would be laying a finger on that child again so long as Casey was alive to deal with it.

Shortly after her encounter with The Beast, she'd bared it all to the officers that had taken her in for questioning. Her uncle, his abuse, her ragged childhood. She rode the emotional roller coaster of reliving those events again in her head, which were more fresh and potent at the time of telling than what she'd just experienced underneath that zoo.

They brushed her allegations off. All they wanted was information on The Beast. All they wanted were answers to what The Horde was like, and how she was able to survive it all. They wanted his weakness, his kryptonite, his name. They wanted to know where she was at the time of Marcia and Claire's deaths, and why she hadn't done anything to help them. Did she think her relationship with her uncle had anything to do with her getting kidnapped? Did she help The Beast kidnap then kill those girls as revenge for some sort of clique in-fighting?

Are you fucking serious?

Classic victim-blaming bullshit.

In that police station, in that interrogation room, a switch flipped, and she withdrew again. But this time, it wasn't to be the victim--this time, it was due to a resolute vindication. People didn't care about the bad things. They just cared about the dramatic things. A girl being abused and molested by her uncle was apparently way less of an issue than some psychopath running in the streets eating people up. No, that sort of thing sat on the backburner of a tired cop's long list of Things to Look Into, and cannibalism ran the gamut of the rest of the police force (and then some).

A few months later, she was finally hitting the gym.

At first it was just some cardio--she figured running would be a good way to train herself in case something were to chase her. Then she began to use dumbbells and started resistance training, thinking she would need to be able to throw a good punch if it came down to it. Some sort of small droplet of empowerment began to grow.

Her uncle started to notice her frequent outings, though, and that put a stop to working out for a while. The abuse continued, and she was too conditioned to do anything about it at the time, even after The Beast. Her uncle's presence, the mere smell of him, made her cringe and close in on herself. The whole apartment was a jarring reflection of him--empty beer bottles and stained carpets and the constant murmur of the television.

She needed out, as soon as she could. That road had been an agonizing trek, from struggling through to get her GED to getting a job her uncle would allow her to have. Thankfully one of his buddies worked at the gym she had worked out at as a trainer, and when he gave her the ok to interview, she feigned indifference through her elation. She worked the front desk, but her job there meant she could use the gym equipment any time she was off the clock. "Working late" held a completely different meaning to her. She would spend days on end "working late" and it never dawned on her uncle that she was preparing for any given apocalypse.

One of those late sessions is when she saw a woman hoisting something almost three times her bodyweight over her head using a barbell and her sheer force of will.

She needed that. And so, when her uncle was at the bar, she was too, in her own right.

Jackpot.

Casey opens the last drawer to find several knives scattered about in it, no rhyme or reason for their organization. She snatches one and closes the drawer, walks the distance between the kitchen and the body, crouches down almost as though to caress his face with it, and quickly stabs the knife into the side of his neck just under the jawline. It severs his carotid artery. The blood glubs out gently, a small waterfall forming into a stream of red along his neck.

Tossing the knife aside, she takes a long, lasting look at the man on the ground and thinks about her uncle. His fists, his many knives, his cigarettes and the way they feel on her skin. The way her skin sounds as it sizzles underneath the ember. The way he says Casey-Bear while he's telling her to go get him a beer, while he calls her to watch a stupid show with him, while he's on top of her and breathing rapidly.

It brings bile up into her mouth and she retches.

No vomiting. At least, not here. Can't leave DNA.

She finishes up at the scene—wiping down surfaces, cleaning up the struggle area and the like. There wasn’t a lot that they touched in his attempt to buck her off, which is a rare occurrence, and one that she welcomes with some relief. She hated the cleanup. The adrenaline goes away and she’s left with a hollow hole that nothing seems to be able to fill.

The wife and the kid will come home and see the body. It will be jarring, but she covered it with a sheet before she leaves. She knows that doing something like that indicates remorse, but she can’t seem to find any for him—for them, though, her heart weeps. She reminds herself that they are better off, and that the life insurance will cover them at least until they can get on their feet again—and this time, it will be without him.

This time, they will be free.