I lay in the king sized bed of my London flat. My bare chest covered with scars of bullet holes, former lacerations and the like rose and fell gently as he breathed. It must've been an odd thing to watch me, knowing that while awake I was one of the most wanted men in the world simply because I made killing easy, efficient and clean. There was always a slim chance to be caught of course, but for me it was even smaller than most other hired guns. Technology was like that, I suppose. But to think about what I'd done and what I could do would give a person an awkward sense of self realization that I wasn't the boogeyman, that I was human. Maybe that's what made me all the scarier... In my dreams that were buried in my subconscious like seeded flowers, I watched the death of my parents, my childhood and my innocence all at once. It was perhaps my curse, it always had been. Yet it pressured me to strive, to stay alive. In a world where shadowy faces were worse than the guns they so often brandished. It was those faces, obscure and just out of sight that spun the hands of fate for some else. In this case, it was Blake's parents. Shady eyes make shady lies after all. Words were like bullets in a gun--once fired you can never truly undo the damage that they do. I looked on as my six year old self watched my parents--Charles and Cecilia Reardon pack their things into a vintage full-size Plymouth 1950 Delux. Dad always liked vintage cars. My father was a consultant for a large diamond company and my mother was his secretary she was always more organized than he was. As for me, well, I stood there in front our family butler tears streaming down my face and as I looked down at myself standing there right along with hi with a face void of emotion I felt the need to smoke. Because what was about to happen wasn't so pretty. "Better brace yourself kid, it's gonna get bumpy." I told the memory of my younger self. As my parents started to drive off, the younger me broke free of the butler's hold in an emotional outburst. I watched myself starting to run, run towards their car as my father turned the ignition and it sputtered to life. I continued to watch as my life had been irrevocably turned right-the-fuck-upside-down. The car exploded into a fire ball, pieces of metal sent flying like shrapnel of a live grenade. I didn't stop running right away, no time just seemed to stop flowing and I suddenly felt like I was running in place. That was probably because my heart stopped from the concussive blast that had hit me and sent me sailing, but my brain, my mind was still firing and still think I was running towards a car, towards my parents. Yet that car was no longer a car, just a twisted heap of metal and my parents were no longer my parents. The blast generated so much heat it had fused them to the car seats, hand in hand. I was a brat then. I knew nothing of how the world worked, how it could be so inconceivably cruel and unkind. It was like watching old cinematic movie reels; The faces of my parents on different occasions smiling, laughing, crying, yelling, screaming. It's amazing what your brain remembers when it's being timed till the moment it shuts down and dies. I almost remember my mother face the day I was born. That angel who held me safe and warm in her arms and who never seemed to really let me go. Roderick would finally get me breathing, resuscitating me in a chaotic world when all I wanted was to follow my parents. Well, I guess them's the breaks. The first thing my ears caught was the sound of gun fire and the panic in people's voices as they ran past. Guerrillas were storming the area and making contact with UN forces in the region. As my eyes took in the sight through what I could only describe as someone placing beer goggles on me while I was tripping on LSD--There were multicolored shapes shapes scurrying about with fires pluming up out of nowhere and gunfire--the sound of machine gun one moment then a tank blast the next that rocked the area like a miniature earthquake. My butler kept yelling for me to get up. That we had to go. I couldn't see the carnage unfolding, but I could feel it vibrating in me, pulsating through the ground. It was enough to make me nauseated. I would turn over onto my belly pushing myself up slowly. My knees were wobbling, I was bleeding from my nose and from my ears. I had also pissed myself all thinks to the explosion. I lifted my head up and as my eyes cleared I suddenly felt like I was in a war. Guerrillas climbed onto one of the tanks before dropping a molotov cocktail into the inner compartment. I could hear people screaming, could smell burning flesh though that could have also been from the wreckage of my parents car that now lie in a burn heap behind me. The cackle of machine gun fire was very real, several men dropped like sacks of brick, one even losing an arm was crawling on the ground screaming. I couldn't tell if adrenaline was flooding me, or if it was just an insane amount of fear but I gripped my head and screamed. Probably not the best move I could have done, but given the situation it was probably very understandable. My butler quickly grabbed me, dragging me into the nearest building. What I didn't know then that in March of 91' Sierra Leone had come under a state of civil war. The Revolutionary United Front or RUF, with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia, the NPFL, had intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government. The resulting civil war lasted 11 years, enveloped the country, and left over 50,000 dead. There was also the fact that my father, the consultant, had lobbied to ban the import of blood diamonds from Eastern Africa. This rallying call pissed off a lot of smugglers and warlords in various countries on the continent of Africa. He would take a major export that funded their militias, their armies--their drugs. It was no wonder they were pissed and wanted him dead. That said, at the time I couldn't keep from bawling like a baby. My brain was so hung up over them that I had failed to realize how much I was in pain physically. My ears drums were ruptured, I had a concussion, second degree burns. Aside from those I had cracked ribs and I could not, for the life of me, stop shaking. But while that was all bad news, it was about to get worse. As I observed quietly cigarette in between my lips burning the fictitious paper away as if counting down the seconds, knowing that nothing that I said or did would hold any true bearing the man that would sell me into slavery opened the door, gun in his hand. He popped a cap in my butlers crown like it were just a wave to say hello. Casual, remorseless. But hey, I got it-- maybe not then, but he was doing a job. It was all business for him and he didn't like snot-nosed loose ends. I screamed, my mind simply couldn't take anymore loss. Shrieking I scrambled over to Roderick who had a clean cut bullet hole straight through his head. From the bottom of his receding hairline, through just above his occipital bone. I began crying and sobbing uncontrollably. In less than an hour everyone I knew, everyone that was close to me was dead. The blood draining from their corpses like free flowing red ink. I remember trying to hold Roderick's brain matter in, least the parts that I could plug the hole in the back of his by means of my small ass fingers. A child should never have to plug a bullet hole with their fingers. Then again, they shouldn't be sold into slavery to be "adopted" by a local warlord. My associates always wanted to know if I was really adopted or not. Being of caucasian ancestry, I didn't exactly fit in with the rest of the negros. But I tell them if they mean if I was beaten, starved, dehydrated and drugged till I no longer cared--then yes, I was adopted. The leash of a warlords control on the hearts and minds of his child labor force relied extensively on the distribution and use of drugs that were deliberately addictive. Why watch someone when you know they'll be back for their daily dose? Why pay them? when all they will want is a quick fix? Why love them when the more you punish them and you beat them, they take their ruthless aggression and unbridled anger straight to the grave. Those days I spent as a child soldier, I don't remember too well. I was too busy trying to stay alive when kids like me were getting blown to pieces. I've done some pretty fucked up things, shot innocent people. I've shot their kids, their dogs. For a while I'd forgotten I was a slave. Hunger, pain, tiredness tends to do that. You sleep with one eye open and a hand on your gun. You start to look at things in a different light and the lines of right and wrong blur. Then one day, the drugs don't make you forget. They don't take the pain, they don't ease your heart. It's like touch a raw nerve, that almost electric vibe that jolts you when you conscious comes knocking to make your sins painfully clear. When mine did, it didn't take long for me to decide where I was, was not where I needed to be. I didn't want to die in some ditch, as just another unknown. If I was going to be marred and forsaken, it was going to be on my terms. I would eventually kill my would be father, shooting his entourage before making good on my escape with one of the trucks we had stolen. I was 16 then. When I was 18 I joined a private contracting company, Valkyrie. It was an Brittish-based company but it was founded in Norway. Been with them ever since. The pay is good money, made around £50,000 British pounds or 71k in US dollars per mission. Eventually I worked my way to the top, although some other contractor companies were pretty pissed if I wound up taking their clients out through non-conventional means. My life was one big ball of fucked up, but it was mine. I heard my cell phone ring even in my sleep, and just like that the slide show stopped and I was back in my room. I picked up my phone and sat up slowly on the edge of the bed. Rubbing my eyes, I touched the touch screen while rubbing the bridge of my nose. "Hello, Blake here." I slightly groaned as I took my sweet ass time waking up. "Hello Blake, I have a job for you." An older man's voice rang through the phone. "Assassination and retrieval. We have a high priority target. Suspect is male, early fifties. Five foot eleven inches--dark brown, curly hair. Brown eyes and has a scar on his right palm. He is control of a SDXC that holds the names of British agents in place in the German government." "Alright, send the records to my phone. I'm on my way." I answered.