The sound of the machinery turning with its monotonous clicking was the first thing I noticed when I woke up. The next was the fact that my hands were bound behind my back. I struggled against the ropes, trying to get one of my hands free, but the knots were tight enough that I was already losing feeling in them.
“There’s no point in struggling,” a voice said over a loud-speaker.
When I opened my eyes, I saw the conveyor on which I lay, and the steel panels passing slowly as I trundled along. I turned my head a little and saw the window where the outline of a man stood. I couldn’t make out his face from this angle, but I knew who was there.
“Clever, Eli,” I yelled, “You know this won’t work, right?”
“I appreciate the confidence, Desire,” he replied, “but this is done. I was paid for the job, and my reputation depends on finishing it. After getting to know you, you need to believe me, my dear, no-one regrets this more than I do.”
“Alright, then,” I replied, “it’s your funeral.”
There wasn’t a response this time. I watched the figure step away from the glass, and I shook my head. I rolled onto my back, sat up, and got to my feet.
“Not even brave enough to watch his would-be victim die,” I muttered, seeing the garbage grinder at the end. “At least he was nice enough to not have garbage in here with me. I hate the smell.”
I turned and marched for the end with the confidence that only I could have in the situation. I stopped just at the edge and smiled as the belt dropped me off the end. In a fraction of a second, everything beneath me that would have killed an average person came to a halt, breaking in such a way that the spot the teeth met spread apart. As I passed through the opening, I felt the ropes scrape against the points and tear, freeing my hands.
I landed a the bottom on soft, freshly cleared soil. I wrinkled my nose at the smell, but it was still better than I expected. I was still inside. A large closed bay door was directly in front of me, and to my right was a regular door that undoubtedly led to the observation room.
“Interesting,” Eli said as the door opened.
“I told you,” I said with a shrug as I shook some feeling back into my hands.
“Even the ropes?” he said.
“Yeah, it’s nuts. I’ve had so many people try to kill me in the last two years that I’m not sure it can be done,” I replied with a shrug.
“My employer mentioned that you were talented at getting rid of assassins,” he said.
“That’s why I studied you for so long. Did you kill them all?”
“I didn’t kill any of them,” I said, putting my hands up. “They do themselves in. I’m sure it’s just coincidence.”
“There’s more to it than that, I’m sure,” Eli said, walking forward as he pulled out a knife.
“Have at it, bud,” I said, keeping my hands up. “I’m telling you, it won’t work out the way you think.”
I watched as Eli thrust with his long blade, seemingly on target. He tripped over a pebble and twisted to catch himself. He landed heavily on his back and slid next to me.
“Hmmm,” he said, looking at his knife.
“Feel lucky it wasn’t a gun,” I said with a shrug. “I’ve seen them jam before, but, honestly, that is few and far between. They usually backfire.”
“I don’t understand,” Eli said, looking up at me curiously.
“I can’t be seriously hurt,” I said, holding out my hand for him. “I don’t really know why, but nothing seems to get through.”
“My employer didn’t mention that,” he said, grabbing my hand before I pulled him to his feet.
“Yeah, I’m not sure that many people really know, let alone pay attention enough to know,” I said. “I tried jumping off a skyscraper once. The wind picked up so much that it was like skydiving in one of those wind tunnels until I landed back on the ledge. Crazy stuff, right?”
“You can’t even hurt yourself?” he asked.
I shook my head. “Not really.”
“Here,” Eli said, holding out his knife handle to me, “show me.”
“You’re just going to hand me your weapon?” I asked, hesitating to grab it.
“A knife would do very little to take me down,” he said, moving it closer to me. “I’m not worried about it.”
I took the knife and turned the blade to face me, setting the point against my stomach.
“Ready?” I asked.
I locked my legs and tilted forward, winking at him. I landed flat on my face but felt the ground shift to accommodate my arms and the knife.
“Interesting,” I heard him say above me, “it should have come out your back.”
“Pull me up, and you’ll see what happened,” I said, turning my head to speak.
Eli grabbed my shoulders and tilted me back up. Where my arms landed and where the knife would have been, now was only a collapsed section of the soil.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said, scratching his head.
“You think that’s crazy, watch this,” I said, putting the tip of the knife back on my stomach. “Ready?”
I pulled the dagger as hard as I could toward me like I were a samurai in feudal Japan. The tip of the blade curved, and I felt it change as it folded on itself.
“What!?” Eli said, pulling the dagger from my hands. He touched the blade, and it only moved. “It’s paper.”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I don’t know how the hell this works either,” I said.
“I’ll need to talk to my employer,” he said, scratching his chin.
“Me too,” I said, nodding, “Maybe I should update the contract.”
“What-What are you talking about?” Eli asked.
“I’m the one that hired your employer,” I said, brushing the soil off my clothes. “Why do you think he told you not to use guns and keep your distance?”