Life's Too Short

Chapter 3

Chapter Three

It occurs to me after running for several hours that I look like a freaking prostitute. The Agency provides uniform. But the ratio of boys to girls is inadequete. It's probably about two boys to one girl. And the founders of the Agency were men. So they had us girls dress like prostitutes... I look down at my outfit in disgust. It's a black and red, extremely lacy, short and very, very tight corset paired with tight black leather trousers. The corset comes down to the bottom of my ribcage, revealing my tanned, toned stomach. The top of the corset barely covers my breasts, and leaves little to the imagination. The leather trousers come up to my waist and end at my ankles, hugging every curve. My shoes may not look practical, but these super-high, black heels grip the terrain unbelievably well, and the platform at the bottom stores my daggers.
Us girls suffer harder training than the boys. We have to be able to run in these ridiculous outfits, and keep perfectly toned at all times, because occasionaly, Don, um... 'rents' us out to various people. In the Agency, too, athough there the boys don't have to pay. We just get shoved at them. I'm one of the more popular girls, among the young and old. I really wish I had other clothes.. I'll probably get arrested, dressed like this. Oh well. I'm planning on keeping away from civilisation, anyway. Unless it's necessary. But I can hunt. It shouldn't be necessary.
Glancing up at the sky, I see the sun is rising slowly, casting a glowing light over everything. The trees are good camouflage, I notice, which is something that could come in handy. Don ins't the type of person to just let someone live because they're running. What a ridiculous notion. Just because they're running doesn't mean they won't get tired. And when they get tired, they fall. And then we strike.
I run on for another bit, painfully conscious of the fact that as soon as Don realises I'm missing, he'll be sending people after me. I need a headstart, even though he might not notice for another week. He expects me to track the unfortunate victims. Ha. Like I'd bother...
I weave around a tree quickly. Wait. I duck back around the tree again and peer out around the side of it, listening closesly. I can hear a man. Crap. God, he's loud...
There's someone else there, too, I realise. I can't hear him, but the man is obviously talking to him.
"Ya need to learn to be quiet if ya want to be a hunter, son!" the man roars. I roll my eyes. Right. And you're doing a great job of that yourself, aren't you?
"Now, I don't want any of your crying when you see blood, alright?" he shouts.
Oh God. It's not...
I peek around the outside of the tree.
It is.
But then it occurs to me; here is my way to make some money. Alright then. Going with that. I scamper up the tree and hide my weapons amidst the leaves. Then I come back down again and walk out casually from behind the tree.
"Good morning, sir," I say politely. His eyes widen when he sees me.
"Zara!" he shouts. "What a pleasant surprise!"
I can see the boy now. He has short black hair and piercing, ice-blue eyes. He looks pretty wary of me.
"A lesson for you, boy!" shouts the man, striding towards me.
"What you do is, you keep the women that're whores and you shoot the ones that ain't!"
I pull back as the guy tries to undo my corset and hold out a hand expectantly.
"Money first," I say, tilting my head to the side and clucking impatiently. The man grins.
"You know your stuff, you do, sweetheart," he says, brushing my dark brown hair off my shoulder inatimately.
"Do the boy next, would ya? Show him how it's done for his first time," he says, pulling out his wallet and handing me a fifty.
"Fifty each," I demand, and he frowns.
"Fine," he grumbles, pulling out another fifty. "That's your allowance for the next year, son," he yells. "At least you're spending it wisely."
I realise that he's serious and raise an eyebrow incredulously. This is wisely?
The boy looks embarassed. "Dad, I really don't want-" he starts.
"Nonsense, boy!" interrupts his father. "Zara here is my favourite! She'll sure show you how to have a good time, the dirty slut!"
I force a smile and the man whistles.
"Just look at her! That face, that body! How old are you, deary?" he asks, leering at me. I smile even more fakely and cheerily than before.
"Eighteen, sir." LIES. Fourteen, really. But hey, with the clothes and the makeup, I could pass for a short eighteen year old.
He smiles. "Look at that, sonny," he whistles, "Only twoyears older than yourself!"
"I can't service minors," I say promptly.
"I won't tell if you don't," he says, winking at me. I fake a smile that is more of a grimace.
"Anyway, let's get down to business!" he shouts.

When it's all over, I turn to his son.
"Your turn," I say briskly. He still looks uncomfortable.
"D'you wanna just bail?" I ask kindly. "I'm not supposeed to service minors, so..."
He looks at his father, who's kind of groggy.
"What'll he say?" he hisses frantically.
"I can knock himout for a few hours," I say, shrugging. The boy nods hopefully.
"Okay," he breathes.
I take a tranquilizer dart out of the bottom of my shoe.
"I hate him," the boy adds, looking at the man in disgust. I shoot the man with the dart.
"Why?" I ask, pulling on my underwear and bra. The boy watches me blankly, as if he's not concentrating at all.
"You've seen him," he says. "He's a pig. And now I know that you 'service' him regularly?" He sighs and looks into my eyes as I pull on my leather trousers.
"Not just me," I say. "There're other girls." He shakes his head and looks away.
"Why do you do it?" he asks,after a minute.
"What do you mean?" I ask, squinting at him and lacing up my corset.
"Why do you sell yourself to rotten pigs like him?" he asks, and I can hear the disgust in his voice. "It's dispicable. Do you know he's married?!"
I smile sadly at him. "It's not like I have a say in the matter."
"Don't you?" he questions, shaking his head. "Can't you just stop?
"Do you think this is voluntary?" I ask incredulously. "Do you seriously think there isn't someone makeing me do this?"
"Why don't you just leave?" he asks. "Run away. Leave it all behind and never look back. That's what I'd do."
I sigh and turn away. "It's not that easy," I say in a a small voice. He snorts.
"Yeah, right. It's a hooker agency, I doubt they have laser sensors or ninja spies."
"You'd be surprised..." I mutter.
I look at him. "You don't know anything about where I come from. You couldn't possibly understand what my lifeis like."
"Why not?" he challenges. "What's so difficult about sleeping with random old men?"
"They're not all old," I say passively, then sigh. I sit on a log opposite him. What the hell. Might as well tell him.
"It's not a hooker agency," I whisper.
"What?" he asks, looking confused.
"It's not a hooker agency," I repeat, louder this time.
"Then what is it?" he snorts. "Prostitute school?"
I stand and walk a little way into the forest.
"Hey, wait!" calls the boy. "I'm sorry! Did I offend you? Come back!"
I ignore him and climb up the tree to get my weapons. I walk back to him, my arms full of guns, daggers and knives. I drop them at the boys feet. His eyes widen.
"Where did you find these?" he cries exitedly.
"They're mine," I say heavily. "I don't come from a hooker agency. I come from an assasination institute."

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