Work hadn’t started yet, but that didn’t stop me from showing up twenty minutes before anything was supposed to get done. I didn’t have anything to do, so I practiced shooting. After about ten minutes, there were multiple targets with holes where their faces would be.
I fired a few more time at one target’s chest before my trigger greeted me with the sound of clicks. I took that as a sign to be done.
I put the gun where it was supposed to be in the firing range, away in its case, then onto a shelf. I left and went back into the small conference room.
I took my normal seat, and waited. There were still five minutes before routes were to be issued.
“Hey, Fifteen,” Zoe said while taking a seat next to me. “Any big plans for today?”
I shook my head without looking at her. “I’m attending work, and that’s all. I’ll go home after this and rest.” I looked toward Zoe after saying that.
She rolled her eyes. “Okay, yeah. No secret plans to sleep with Commander.”
I rubbed my forehead. “No, Zoe. She hasn’t asked me over. Besides, it’s likely that she’s busy today. Superior has hardly given her a break, and I’m surprised that Commander even sets time aside to be with me.”
Zoe looked away. “Yeah, that’s what worries me. She either works, sits alone, or is with you. I hardly see her anymore.”
“Well, to be fair, you also have responsibilities now. You took in a child.”
Zoe looked back and smiled. “Yeah, I guess that’s true. Do you think Commander would like her?” I looked toward Shelby’s office.
“Perhaps. I don’t know much about her opinion on children.”
Then, Commander and Superior left the office. Commander looked absolutely exhausted. Zoe sighed at the sight. Superior looked stern and stiff, like she often forced herself to be.
“Alright, everyone. Let’s go to our routes.” Shelby then listed off all of the routes without taking a pause, or waiting for a response.
Zoe and I left after our names had been said. We were going to patrol the larger business district nearby. The one that I had gone to only five days earlier. Zoe drove us there, and I gave her proper directions.
“I didn’t know that you knew the route to the business district so well,” Zoe said.
“I know all of the routes as well as I need to. There are very few routes that I haven’t had to patrol. It’s what happens when you are the best on the squad. You don’t get defined roles. You do everything and then some.” I rolled down my window, and leaned out of it. The wind whipped my hair in every direction before I pulled back in.
“The best at everything my ass. You don’t ever bother to bandage the people you shoot!” Zoe shook her head.
“That’s because when I shoot, I don’t intend for the victim to need any sort of bandages.” I looked toward Zoe. She didn’t return the gesture.
“So Annabelle said she wanted to see you a couple of days ago. Well, not exactly like that, but you get my drift. She asked when she could see you next,” Zoe changed the subject.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah. She thinks you really nice. And, I mean, you are something of the only parental figure she had before me. She’s young.”
“You’re serious. She’s serious.” I sighed.
“You- You do intend to see her, right? Not just hide away?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know. I really couldn’t tell you.”
Zoe put her hand on my shoulder. “You’d better visit her. It doesn’t matter what I think of you, or anyone else. This is a child, and she doesn’t understand.”
“Yes, but why do people keep finding themselves wanting me? I don’t understand.” I really didn’t. Shelby, Annabelle, even Death. Three people who, previously, I wouldn’t give the light of day to now want to earn my favor. Wait, that doesn’t sound right.
“You don’t need to understand. Just do it. Annabelle likes you, and I don’t see any reason for you to not see her at least. It won’t do you any harm. Hell, maybe it’ll do something good for you.”
It doesn’t make any sense. Why do these people want me around? I’m feared in the police force, because I’m ruthless. I don’t care about any of them, and that scares them. Why would they want to be near me?
“Um, hey. Are you thinking about something? You look awfully, uh, perplexed,” Zoe said
“I was just thinking. I’ll visit you and Annabelle sometime. Don’t worry.”
A few more hours passed, and our patrol was done. Commander still looked worn out, even after I debriefed. I didn’t know what to do for her.
I went home after that, and had time to think. Why would anyone want to be around? I’m cruel, and I treat everyone as less than myself. Somehow, people still think more of me. This has to be recent, I don’t ever remember this happening before I joined the Horsemen’s protest group.
No, I’m wrong. There was one person before everyone today. Jade.
I put down my fork and pushed my plate away from me. I held my head in my hands. Jade liked me. She cared about me. Maybe not enough, but she didn’t want to see me dead.
I killed her. Without a thought in my mind about her life and who she, I shot her down. Without a thought about why I was doing that, I shot her down. Without a damned thought about what she thought about me, I shot her down. She cared about me, legitimately, before I even had a notion of what caring was.
What did I do for her to deserve her care? What did I do for her to deserve anything from her? She was my old partner, and I saw her as a nuisance. Yet, she still kept me around.
No, no, this couldn’t really be what I felt. She didn’t care for me that much. She spent most of her time with Smith. Didn’t she?
For the first time in what felt like my entire life, I didn’t trust my memories. I didn’t really know who Jade was, and I didn’t remember who she was, either. I killed her, and I knew now that something about that action was inherently wrong.
What was it, though? Why was I wrong.
A droplet of water hit the table, and my face felt moist.