Flight of The Blackbird
An all-black car pulled up to Benny’s late at night. It parked directly in front of the restaurant, and James Oakman stepped out of the driver’s side. His greying hair seemed to shine in the pale moonlight as he opened the front door of the building. I was standing on the other end of the door, a backpack full of clothing and amenities. Benny and Marie stood next to me. Marie was trying to hide it, but she had a few tears spilling out from behind her glasses. Benny had his arms behind his back in a stiff, militant stance, which was unlike him.
“So…” Benny began, wringing his hands, “this is where we part ways, huh, kid?”
I nodded slightly. I hadn’t realized just how hard saying goodbye to them would be, so I was also holding back tears.
“Well, before you go, I have one last thing to give you.”
Benny reached one of his large hands into his left pocket and pulled out something shiny. It was a pocketknife, about eight inches long, with a seatbelt cutter and glass breaker.
“It was your father’s. I grabbed it up out of your old house so I could give it to you when the time was right. I figured now was as good a time as any. Good luck kid.”
I took the pocketknife in my hands and flicked it open. The silver blade gleamed under the electric lighting, shining a ray of light in my eyes. I flicked it closed again and turned back to Benny.
“Th-thanks, Benny” I said, as my tears finally started to win. “I’m gonna miss you guys.”
I hugged Benny and Marie, then turned my back to them a final time and walked out the door. The car was still running outside the restaurant, so I opened the door and climbed into the passenger side. Oakman entered the driver’s side, checked his mirrors, then began to drive.
“We’re on our way to the Nest’s training facility. For two years, you will be taught everything about the ways of the assassin. Your body and mind will be honed until they are sharper than any blade. On top of that, I will teach you a few things that even my top-ranking assassins don’t know. Call it favoritism.”
I dried my tears and took a deep breath to calm myself down. “U-understood.”
The car sped through the city street, weaving between buildings and people until we made it outside the city. The drive took four hours, but once we were out, we kept driving through the undeveloped Wildlands.
The Wildlands were an area of untouched forests outside of Genesis where many genetically-mutated animals were dropped after experimentation. Experimentation on animals had been abundantly popular for testing products and items of radioactive qualities, and as a result, some abominations had been mistakenly created. The forced mutations had turned them into monsters like that of a fantasy world. A black market in Genesis paid top dollar for pieces of these monsters, but they were so hard to kill that most sane men and women chose not to hunt them. It seemed like wherever Oakman was taking me was inside the Wildlands, which almost made me question my decision.
We pulled up to a large, sheet metal, warehouse-like building. Hidden behind the trees in the forest, it seemed almost like a fortress. Oakman stopped the car and flipped the engine off, then opened the door and got out of the car. I did the same, grabbing my backpack on the way out. At this point, the sun was starting to rise, so I assumed it was around 4:30 in the morning.
Oakman led me to another, smaller building behind the warehouse. Inside were rooms that looked like dorms. There was a bathroom at the end of the hall, too. It reminded me of a college dormitory.
“Your room is at the end of the hall, across from the bathroom. The kitchen is on the opposite end. Put your stuff in there, change into something you can move in, and meet me out in the warehouse. You’ve got twenty minutes to check out your room and the bathroom.” He smiled and patted me on the shoulder, then turned around and left.
Nervously, I walked down the hallway. The door to my room was already open a smidge, so I pushed it open all the way. Inside was a bed with a nightstand next to it, a dresser to put clothes in, and a desk with a holo-computer projector. I tossed my bag on the bed and changed into gym shorts and a T-shirt. The dorm room was connected to the warehouse by a single hallway. I took that hallway to the door at the end and opened it.
The inside of the warehouse was far nicer than the outside had led me to believe. In the far right corner was an entire boxing gym, fitted with punching bags, speed bags, mirrors to shadowbox, and a ring for sparring. In the left corner, weapons decorated the walls. Everything from knives and swords to handguns and sniper rifles. Anything used to kill another with was on that wall. In the right corner closest to me was what looked like a high school classroom, which I assumed would be where I would be taught school subjects and “extracurriculars.” The final corner held workout equipment like weights, treadmills, ellipticals, ropes hanging from the ceiling. I breathed in the smell of wood, sweat, and gunpowder and smirked a bit.
“Smells good,” I said to myself.
In the center of the warehouse stood Oakman and a woman I'd never seen before. I assumed the lady would be my teacher for the time I was here. I jogged to the center of the room to meet them.
“For the next two and a half years,” Oakman began, “You will train here. You will learn every possible way to dispatch your enemies, along with training your body to keep up with your skills. On top of that, you will keep up with your daily studies and more. By the end, you will be one of the most dangerous people on the planet.”
The woman cleared her throat and looked me up and down. “As you’ve probably figured out by now, I will be your tutor while you’re here. My name is Emma Bates. It’s nice to meet you.”
She stuck her hand out, which I took and shook professionally.
“Are you ready to become a part of the Nest?”
“Hell yeah, I am.”