The names of the characters have been changed to protect the innocent.
Although she had read that line at least a hundred times, it still made her smile. She had been
prepared to pay magazines to run her story as an ad, but decided to try freelance writing instead.
Her article was picked up immediately by a national magazine, guaranteed exposure. She framed
the uncashed check, the first of her writing career. They say the pen is mightier than the sword,
she intended to do her own comparison.
Six months ago, sipping luke warm tea around the kitchen table, Isabella Reese confided in
her younger sister. The siblings, just two years apart, had overcome a past filled with jealousy,
fighting, and drama, and were now very close. That day laughing about old times and new
relationships, each could appreciate the strong bonds of sisterhood. Isabella again tried to
convince Gabrielle to consider a career change. Even though she owned a house, new truck, and
every gadget she could imagine, Isabella was convinced that Gabrielle would be happier if her
job were not so demanding. Gabrielle again considered the pros and cons of her job, a lifestyle
really. It was one she was not sure she wanted to give up, even for her sister, who had no idea
what her younger sister even did for a living. Gabrielle loved her work; she was good at what she
“I have something to tell you,” began Isabella.
Even as she placed her now cold, half- empty cup of tea gently on to the table, Gabrielle’s hands
trembled. Something about her sister’s downcast brown eyes, lowered lashes, and fidgeting
hands caused a chill to slowly crawl up Gabrielle’s spine, spread throughout her arms and legs, and
settle in her fingertips and toes. From that moment, that sensation dictated much of what ever
Gabrielle was to do.
The first few days after the talk in the kitchen had been the hardest. After learning of her
sister’s molestation at the hands of her mother’s then boyfriend when she was 8 years old,
Gabrielle’s emotions fluctuated between rage, disappointment, regret, helplessness, and back to
varying degrees of rage. Gabrielle found the sensation in her fingers was more bearable when
she wrote. She found herself writing about the relationship she and her sister had growing up,
the bitterness towards each other. She wrote details of her sister’s ordeal. She questioned, though
she was only 6 at the time, could she have protected her big sister? She closed with how well
adjusted her sister now seemed, and how strong their relationship was, adding her personal cell
phone number for young women to call if they wanted to share their experience. After verifying
with Gabrielle that the names of all parties had been changed, and Gabrielle’s reply that all
names had been changed to protect the innocent, the editor added the disclosure statement to
protect the magazine from lawsuits.
She had to wait almost a week after the issue hit the magazine stands for the call. When the
call she had been expecting finally came, she was already in her 2001 black Chevrolet Navahoe,
ready for work. J. Savage, read the name on her cell phone caller ID.
“How appropriate,” she said.
“You and your sister should have left well enough alone.”
“Who is this?” she asked stepping out of the truck, dressed in black, blending in with the
“It’s the man that’s making you famous. I’m gonna get you girls for this. I’m a changed
“That’s what your mother said.” she whispered. She didn’t mention how informative his
mother had been in helping her find him. He hadn’t heard.
“I’m married now, with children of my own.” By questioning his neighbors she had already learned all of that, she also knew his wife had left him, and why. “I’m sorry your sister hasn’t gotten over me yet” he continued.
She had already placed the phone down to raise the unlocked back window, stepping one foot at a
time in to his house. As if a shadow, she edged closer and closer to the voice, still talking and
cackling in to the phone. Slipping beside him, she tapped him on the shoulder. His mouth
opened, yet nothing came out. No words of apology, not even a scream as she plunged the frozen
knife in to his chest. Her fingers still tingled as she felt the tips of blade and ice puncture layers
of flesh. Her toes tingled even as she walked through the pool of blood gushing from the body
which would be dead before the knife unthawed.
Just another night at the office. At home, soaking in the hot Jacuzzi did little to abate her still
tingling digits. Late at night, unable to sleep, she wrote about it, all the details, the planning, the
searching for the man, the seeking out of his mother who had Alzheimer’s, the disguises she used
to gain the trust of neighbors, and finally her life as an assassin before and after her last job. In the
wee hours of the morning, the typed manuscript was sent out to a publisher. It remained on the
best selling fiction list for years. The last check remains uncashed, framed next to the first.
Although writing about it was the release I needed, I decided not to make that career change after