PROLOUGE: THIS MURDEROUS SCENE
Dead bodies. Everywhere.
Ivy Animosity grinned mischievously at her work. She wiped her hands on her jeans, which now had cuts and holes, attempting to wipe off some of the blood. It didn’t work. Randomly and out of boredom, she tried to count the corpses surrounding her, but there were so many it was nearly impossible for Ivy’s amount of patience. She looked at the details of this murderous scene. Blood, organs, very possibly a spine… In her own twisted mind, it was a beautiful sight.
The rain was steadily falling, as it always was in Washington, and Ivy was soaking wet. She put her hand in her pocket and withdrew her cell phone. Shielding the screen from the rain, she sent a one-word text message: “Done”. She waited a few seconds, then the screen lit up and Ivy read the new message. Satisfied, she put the phone away.
Ivy sat down in the grassy field and waited. After about three minutes, Ivy raised her hands above her head and kept them there for a moment, then put them back down again. A moment later a dark blue dome of light formed around her, keeping off the rain. She put her index fingertips together for a moment, thought of what she wanted to happen, and the water that was already on her evaporated, leaving Ivy as dry as if she had never even been touched by the rain outside her little blue dome. She held out her arms, and watched the cuts heal and the bruises fade away. Ivy had to admit, she loved having magic. It could come in very useful.
About an hour later, when it was already dark, a car’s headlights swerved around the corner. The car screeched to a halt. Ivy stood up and the blue dome disappeared. She walked over to the car, opened the door, sat down, clicked on her seat belt, and shut the door as the car sped away and disappeared into the dark of the night.
CHAPTER ONE: A MEETING WITH THE BAD GUYS
Ivy sat down on her couch and used the remote to turn on the TV. She decided, not for the first time, to watch the news. She liked seeing the new crimes and murders. Apparently, a year ago from today, there had been a major massacre. The cops had brought in all the best agents and detectives they had, but they couldn’t find even the slightest trace of a clue to help with finding out who the killer was. And a year ago, on that same night, Ivy had been at the exact same place. At the exact same time. Killing people. The thought of her crimes brought a smile to her lips. And there wasn’t even a clue, not even the tiniest bit of evidence, to prove she had done anything wrong. Ivy found the entire thing completely amusing.
Ivy had long, wavy black hair, and extremely pale skin. Her eyes were distracting to others; they were different than every other person’s, because they were a dark indigo blue. She was a little bit taller than average, and was much, much stronger, even when she didn’t use what some people called her “special skills”. She had a slight Irish accent, but it was very noticeable if she was angry or scared. What surprised people most was the fact that she seemed to be only thirteen years old. No one ever bothered her about her age, though. No one bothered her and lived, anyway. Being so young meant people weren’t as instantly terrified of Ivy, which came in very useful when she needed to kill someone. They’d immediately underestimate her, which meant Ivy could pretend to be scared and pathetic to trick and distract her enemy. And then, while they were distracted, Ivy could kill them in less than an instant. It was simple, really.
In her history, Ivy had been many things. Smart. Friendly. Nice. Honourable. Trustworthy. She wasn’t those things anymore, aside from being smart. In fact, she was extremely intelligent, and often out-smarted others, particularly her enemies. She had changed from good to evil practically overnight. And that night had been the night she was practically killed. It was not the best experience, and she didn’t like thinking about it.
Ivy had been in the evil business for about a year now, and had quickly become a feared enemy. No one that she had been hired to kill ever escaped, but people had heard the stories. In every story Ivy had heard about herself, her description was always wrong. They always thought she had blood dripping off her or fangs or red eyes or something ridiculous like that, and they always thought of her to be at least 20. Although, Ivy couldn’t really blame anyone for these mistakes, because she had been the one to spread the stories at the start. Otherwise, how would anyone know about her in the first place? No one lived to tell the story afterwards. Ivy always cringed and made her eyes widen when someone told her one of these stories, pretending to be the small innocent victim she could never be.
Ivy’s phone rang, and she answered it on the second ring. “Hello?”
“Is this Ivy Animosity?” It was a woman’s voice, and it didn’t sound irritated, as Ivy had expected.
Ivy readjusted herself on the couch, trying to get more comfortable. “Maybe, maybe not. It all depends, really. Who are you?”
The woman sounded slightly amused. “My name is Saturnine Morose. I’m calling because I would like to meet up with you, and very possibly hire you for a few murders. That is, of course, if you’re Ivy.”
“Okay, yes, fine, I’m Ivy. Where do I meet up with you and when?”
“You’ll get a letter in the mail, explaining everything you—“
“What?” Saturnine asked.
“Well, haven’t you thought of something more… Modern? Like, oh, I don’t know, any number of things, such as an email, maybe? A text message?”
“Technology doesn’t work as well, because it can be doubted.”
“God, Saturnine, learn to think like a thirteen-year-old, because that’s who you’re working with.”
“I wouldn’t recommend speaking to someone like me like that. Do you know who you are working with, aside from yourself? Because I’m not the friendliest.” She paused. “What’s that sound?”
Ivy had pulled out her laptop and was looking Saturnine Morose up on the internet. She wasn’t listening to Saturnine, and instead was reading what was on the screen. She reread it aloud. “Saturnine Morose is a criminal, wanted for her ruthless killing sprees. She usually kills her victims quietly, but sometimes enjoys a hint of oddity. She is also known to double-cross people often. She has been known of for approximately ten years, and has killed over three hundred people without a bomb and on her own.” Ivy pretended to yawn. “Hm,” she said, “boring. Even I have a better description, and hardly anyone even knows who I am.”
“Miss Animo—“ She stopped and sighed. “Ivy, I want you to work for me to kill someone, that’s all. Can you do that?”
“Of course I can, but why? Is this person kind, and friendly, and compassionate? Do they provide money for charities? Save the lives of innocents?”
“No, actually, they just irritate me a lot and I would be happy if someone else would just kill her so I don’t have to and that way I can sit around and be lazy.”
“So you want to have whoever she is killed because she annoys you? Well, that’s just amusing, so I’ll definitely consider it. When will I get my letter, then?”
“In a few days. I have to go to a meeting now. I hope you decide to work for me. Goodbye.”
“Bye.” Ivy hung up, then set her phone down. As she set it down, however, she caught sight of the time. 10:37 A.M. She had a meeting with her current employer at 11:15. Ivy jumped up out of her seat. Cursing, she rushed over to her main bedroom and opened the closet.
She took a quick glance inside the closet for a split second, then simply grabbed whatever she could pull out first. She ended up with a shirt with an Irish flag on it, and a black jacket, jeans, and pulled on her black boots. She ran a brush through her hair, looked in the mirror to be sure she looked decent, then ran out of the room. She hurried out the house, locking the front door behind her.
Ivy walked into the meeting room at 11:13; much later than she had planned, thanks to the Seattle traffic the taxi had got stuck in. She sat down at one of the chairs surrounding the huge wooden table in the middle of the room. The walls were a rather boring beige colour, and the floors looked as though they were in need of some repair.
Two minutes later, at 11:15 exactly, about 6 people entered the room, all wearing formal business clothes. There was Ivy’s employer, Mr Seeker, who had dark hair that was shot through with strands of grey and a serious expression that never seemed to leave his face; 4 people who, in all of Ivy’s experiences with them, hardly ever spoke and basically just took notes of whatever was said; and today there was someone Ivy didn’t recognise at all. She had reddish-brown hair, green eyes, and looked friendly at first, but Ivy felt like, if she looked close enough, she could see a hint of evil in her eyes. Everyone who had just entered sat down around the table, the same as Ivy had.
Getting straight to the crux as usual, Mr Seeker said, “Ivy Animosity, this is Saturnine Morose.” He gestured towards the woman Ivy hadn’t recognised. “She would like to discuss some matters with you. Miss Morose, you may start.”
Saturnine Morose looked over at Ivy and grinned. “Why, hello, Miss Animosity.”
Ivy arched an eyebrow. “Hey, Saturnine,” she replied, and noticed the look of slight shock on Saturnine’s face from being addressed so casually. “What happened to your old-fashioned way of communicating? I thought you were sending me a letter. Glad to see you’ve upgraded. Congratulations.”
“I have someone I’d like you to kill,” Saturnine retorted, ignoring Ivy’s comment. Ivy guessed she wasn’t exactly Saturnine’s favourite person.
“So no small talk then? Pity. You already mentioned that you wanted me to kill someone over the phone. So who is it?”
“And that is…?”
“She’s about 23, has brownish-blonde hair, green eyes, and is highly trained in fighting skills. She’s clever and difficult to out-smart – so don’t try anything fancy. Understand?”
Just for the sake of it, rather than speaking to Saturnine, Ivy used one of her “special skills”. As a response to the question, Ivy thought, “Yes, of course I understand. I’m not as dim-witted as I know you think I am, Saturnine.”
Saturnine’s eyes widened, and Ivy grinned.
“She has magic?” Saturnine asked furiously.
Ivy’s “special skills” were, officially, magic. One of the many things she knew how to do was to read minds, as well as speak to other people in their head. Everyone always seemed shocked at this, because they were never expecting it. Ivy was, after all, one of the seven people on the entire planet who had any magic whatsoever, known as the Seven Sorcerers. Every time one died, a baby was born as a new sorcerer. She didn’t know who the other six people were, but she knew that they were somewhere. Ivy looked at Saturnine again, who looked incredibly angry.
“She has magic,” Saturnine repeated, glaring at Mr Seeker.
Mr Seeker looked at Saturnine. “She does indeed,” he responded calmly. “She has quite a lot of magic, actually. She’s probably in the top three of the most powerful out of the Seven Sorcerers. Not that any of the other Sorcerers know about her, though.”
Saturnine just stared at Ivy, then at Mr Seeker again. “Do you know how dangerous that is? She could kill us in an instant and we’d never see it coming! Doesn’t that concern you in the slightest? She’s far too young to use magic! She can’t be trusted with power like that!”
“She’s fine to work with, I assure you. She’s been working for me for just over a year now, and not once has she tried to kill me.”
“What about other people, then? Has she tried to kill any other people she’s worked for?”
Mr Seeker hesitated. “Yes,” he said.
“And did she succeed in killing them?”
He paused again. “Yes.” He glanced over at Ivy, who had a slight grin on her face. “Miss Morose, would you care to speak with me outside?”
“Fine,” Saturnine snapped, obviously still irritated.
Mr Seeker nodded and walked out, with Saturnine following, who shut the door behind them.
Ivy sat in the room, and could quite easily hear their voices gradually rising. It got to the point where they were practically shouting at each other, and Ivy thought she could hear them swearing. She stood up, saw the surprised looks on the four note-people’s faces, and opened the door. Saturnine and Mr Seeker glanced at her for a moment, then got back to shouting at each other. Ivy looked back and forth at the two of them, arching an eyebrow at the fact that they hardly seemed to notice her. She crouched down, put her hand against the floor, then sent off a wave of electricity. Saturnine and Mr Seeker both felt the shock and jumped, then fell silent to look at her as she stood up again.
“Have you finished arguing yet? Or do you need to continue?” Ivy asked.
Mr Seeker and Saturnine glanced at each other, then Saturnine sighed and looked at Ivy. “I apologise for freaking out,” she said. “I still need you to kill Anomaly Despair, and I’d like you to do it as soon as you possibly can. Okay?”
“Okay,” Ivy agreed. “I’ll kill her. Where will I find her?”
“Willow,” she replied. “It’s a tiny little city hardly anyone has heard about and it’s not too far from here.”
Ivy smiled. “Why, of course I know where Willow is; I live there as well. I’ll have no problem finding her, in that case.”
“Wonderful.” Saturnine looked at both Ivy and Mr Seeker. “Tell me when Miss Despair is gone,” she said, “and have Miss Animosity meet up with me afterwards for payment.” And with that, Saturnine nodded to them, then walked away and left.
What she didn’t tell Ivy, though, was that there was a surprise waiting for her when she found Anomaly.