“I should go bald,” Renjana thought as she washed her hair. It was a weekly ritual that came too soon for her. Once, she decided to skip it and felt dirty the whole week, even dirtier than the time she got too drunk and was found by a couple of cops on the side of the road, in her own vomit. Hence, the weekly loathing and the washing continued.
‘It would have been easier if I didn’t have these wounds,’ Renjana thought trying to keep the water and soap away from the knife wound she had on her arm. It was a gift from some guy who had tried to attack her when she was coming back from buying groceries.
“Who does that?” Renjana uttered angrily. Unfortunately, he ran away before she could capture him or even identify him. She didn’t understand why it happened to her but she was determined to get to the bottom of it. ‘No one messes with Renjana and gets away with it,’ she thought fiercely.
That attack was three days ago. Since then, she has been cautious of another attack and has been trying to make a list of her enemies and potential enemies. The attacker didn’t try to take anything from her and he was far too skilled to be a regular joe.
She got out of her shower and started to get dressed. Suddenly, the glass shattered and a bullet hit the wall beside her. The glass was slightly distorted which affected the aim of the shooter. This won’t happen the second time.
Renjana looked outside with her binoculars and saw a man sitting on the roof of the next building. She ducked just in time to avoid the second shot. She picked her own gun and shot towards the building. She didn’t expect to hit from a regular gun to such far distance but she was hoping to scare the shooter off. The attack seemed to have stopped.
Renjana looked again and the shooter was packing his gun. She ran towards the door.
“I have to catch this shooter.”
She grabbed the t-shirt on the way and wore it by the time she reached the door. She opened the door and in a moment of clarity, hesitated. She tried to close the door again but felt weight against it.
‘Shit! Renjana, you idiot!’ Renjana thought and jumped away from the door. A knife slash occurred as the door opened. Standing in front of her was a man over six feet tall with a murderous look in his eyes. His face was covered but her knife was what was attracting Renjana’s attention.
‘Thank God, he doesn’t have a gun,’ Renjana thought, hiding her gun with her body.
“Finally!” The man said and attacked Renjana. Renjana waited for the last second and then pulled out her gun and shot at an angle. His knife hand was punctured and became useless. Before he could use his other hand, she shot that too followed by a shot each on his legs.
The man screamed while Renjana went and closed the door. She knew that despite the silencer, the gunshots and the scream would be heard by others and the cops would reach here in a few minutes.
“Who are you?” Renjana asked calmly. “And the one who tried shooting me from long-range. Was he your partner?”
The man looked at her blankly. Renjana unmasked him and found a 20-something guy with a babyface. Despite the situation, she chuckled.
“Who sends a kid to kill someone?” She asked.
It was clearly a touchy topic for the man as he immediately tensed, despite four bullet wounds.
“I’m not a kid. I have killed a lot of people.”
“So have mosquitoes. The question is why?”
He turned to look away.
“No worries. You don’t have to talk. I’ll ask your baby sitter. I’m assuming that he will come once you are caught.”
“He’s not my babysitter.”
“Let’s be honest. He’s here because you failed last time, isn’t it?” The man nodded.
“What’s your name?”
The man looked at her confused.
“Of course, you won’t tell me your name. I’ll call you John Doe. So, John Doe, you have less than one minute to tell me why you are trying to kill me. I’m not going to wait for the cops to take you away and do a case on you. You will die right here.”
Renjana said and pointed the gun between his eyes.
“You are not a normal girl,” he finally said.
“Finally caught up, are we?” Renjana said in a monotone.
“You promise you won’t kill me if I tell you the truth.”
“Yes. Tell me who hired you to kill me.”
“I don’t know that.”
Renjana looked at him confused. “You are killing me on a person’s order that you don’t know.”
John Doe nodded.
“I work for a contract killer organization and they give us assignments. We are not supposed to ask details unless absolutely necessary. Chinese walls and all are set up.”
Renjana listened carefully. This wasn’t the first time she had heard about such an organization but she assumed it was a conspiracy theory – another attempt of average people to impose order over chaotic events. Apparently, she was wrong.
“Okay. Now, once you have missed killing me twice, very publically, I’m assuming that your career is over, am I correct?”
John Doe shook his head.
“It’s a good company. They don’t fire people for mistakes. They train and teach us. Good benefits too.” Renjana looked at him with her mouth open.
“Did I just hear an employee praise his company?” She said out loud.
John Doe nodded.
“Okay. I’ll let you live. And I’ll even protect you from the cops but I need you to open a communication channel for me with this company. I want to know why they are trying to kill me with so much incompetency and diligence and I want to know how can I avoid this.”
John Doe nodded again and then looked at his watch.
“You can call them right now from my phone. Talk to my mentor.”
She picked the phone and called the number.
“Did you finish the work?”
“No. This is work calling. I’m unfinished and plan to remain this way. Can you tell me whom should I talk to ensure that?”
“You? Where is Shakib?”
“Shakib is sitting, riddled with bullets, planning on dying soon but I thought I would try to save his life. So, if you can save me, I will save him.”
“How much time?”
“Okay. I’ll call you. Keep him alive at all costs.”
“Wow! This is a good company. I was expecting him to tell me to kill you.”
Two minutes passed which then increased to five.
“I guess I spoke too soon. And why have the cops not showed up yet?”
“Because we rerouted the call towards us.” A man said entering the room. He was followed by three more people – one guy and two girls – guns in each person’s hand.
Renjana aimed her gun towards Shakib.
“One more step and he dies.”
“Don’t worry. We are not going to kill you right now. Our employees are important enough for us.”
“What about in the future?”
“We will tell this client that we failed. This will hit our reputation but this happens. But if in future, a new assignment comes, we can’t say no to that. It’s business after all.”
The man looked around at the room.
“I’m impressed. You managed to save yourself from two of our people, twice, and you have managed to even pin one down. And while it doesn’t look like it right now, he’s actually good at what he does.” The man said with a smile.
“Thanks!” Renjana said, uncertain about how to handle the compliment from someone trying to kill her. “Why was someone trying to kill me?”
“You must be in someone’s path or you crossed someone’s path in the past.”
“You know exactly why, don’t you?”
The man nodded with a smirk. And suddenly, it dawned on Renjana.
“The reason is incredibly stupid, isn’t it? That’s why you decided to save Shakib than kill me for this stupid reason. You won’t do it for other cases.”
“You are a smart girl, Renjana. I’m constantly impressed by you.”
“Is there no way to gain immunity from this?” Renjana pleaded.
“There is one way but it’s not easy.”
“Join the corporation. We won’t kill our own or let them get killed for stupid reasons.”
“You are offering me a job?” Renjana said incredulosly.
“As they say, if you can’t kill them, hire them.”
“But then I’ll have to kill other people, innocent people.”
“Looking at this room, and the way you have held the gun at Shakib’s temple with a steady hand, I really doubt that it is going to be a new experience for you.”
“And what if I don’t have the stomach for it?”
“You can leave. We are not movie gangsters here. Of course, the immunity goes.”
Renjana looked at all of them. Even while she held a gun to Shakib’s head, two of the folks were tending to his wounds, completely fearless about a crazy lady with a gun in her hand. There was a calm around the main man.
“What’s your name?”
“If you accept the offer, I’m your mentor. If not, then I’m no one.”
Renjana sat down on the bed. After thinking for more than fifteen minutes, she finally decided.
“I’ll join you guys.”
“Excellent. Welcome to M.A.I.D.”
Renjana giggled. “You’re called maid?”
The man, now her mentor, smiled.
“I know. What were the founders thinking, right?”
Renjana nodded, a weight lifting off her shoulders.
“Now, can you tell me who was trying to kill me?”
“After the paperwork. Your first day would be the coming Monday. Come to the address on this card.” Her mentor said sharing a card with her.
“But you can guess it.”
“It’s my ex-boyfriend, isn’t it?”
“Rich guys, spoilt with their parents’ money sometimes take heartbreak too seriously. But don’t fret, that won’t be a problem anymore. We’ll take care of that.” The man said and left. The whole team left, carrying Shakib with them.
Renjana looked at the card. It had M.A.I.D. written on it along with an address.
“Time for a new life,” She sighed.