The colors ran like crayons on a hotplate. It felt like a bad acid trip, as memories returned out of order. Liza didn’t know what to trust.
The only thing that grounded her was looking into Mrs. Davenport’s eyes. It was then that she knew for sure it had all happened. The older woman was her life jacket in treacherous waters anchoring her to shore.
After Blackfoot pulled himself to his feet with his one good arm, Mrs. Davenport ordered him to leave warning him that we would be speaking with his commissioner tomorrow.
To his credit Blackfoot hadn’t tried to dissuade the older woman. He apologized, his head hanging in defeat while she spoke to him in clipped cool tones. However, when he looked at me, Liza saw all the burning rage she’d expect from a beaten opponent. She’d never felt more alive. It took everything in her not to smile back at the man.
After he left, Mrs. Davenport said nothing about what she saw. Once again Liza felt like the outsider, but the woman didn’t tell her to leave.
Every thought in her head began and started with one word: “Leave!”, but she didn’t. She couldn’t. The mission wasn’t complete. Instead Liza kept her mouth shut as she watched Blackfoot back out of the driveway. After his rear car lights disappeared around the corner, Mrs. Davenport told her to lock up then went to bed. She’d looked very tired, but she could see a hesitation in her red watery eyes. Liza couldn’t blame her.
It was a blessing that Mrs. Davenport had come in when she did. Liza had been so close to fatally harming the detective. If she had, there wouldn’t have been a choice in whether she stayed or didn’t.
In her world she had every right to protect herself. If someone attacked, there was no time to think you had to put the threat down. Central would understand. Regardless of what Blackfoot thought about Trina, he was in the wrong. It was the only reason she didn’t run.
She’d killed before, but they were all sanctioned kills ordered by Central. But Trina’s wasn’t supposed to be like this. What had happened with Blackfoot, that was Liza.
For once, Liza had doubts. For the first time she wondered what it would be like to not have to forever be running from mission to mission. In the past few days she began wondering if her life was what she wanted. She’d never had that thought before, and it made her doubt herself which she wasn’t used to doing.
She didn’t know what made Blackfoot come after her like that, but the look in his eyes told her that he knew he’d crossed a line he shouldn’t have regardless of what he believed to be true.
Liza would try to convince Mrs. Davenport to leave it be, but she knew for someone like her there was no other option but to file a complaint. If Liza intended to stay, she would have to follow through.
After Liza locked up the house she went back to her room. Lying in bed she tried to convince herself she could be like the Davenports but her mind kept returning to Blackfoot.
It felt good taking the detective down. When Blackfoot had her against the wall she felt excited. It only got better when she fought him bringing him to his knees.
All the drills she’d learned from Central were still there. She knew they would always be there, but once again she wondered if maybe she could have more than Central.
Wilson, her husband, was never an equal partner. She’d married him, but she’d never felt a fraction of what she’d felt those moments with Blackfoot.
Her mind raced through all the lives she’d lived in her thirty-two years yet she couldn’t say she’d ever had a life of her own.
She was still up when Leena and Zuri returned, but she didn’t move from her bed as she tried to will herself to remember the time before she came to the Davenports.
She reached beneath the pillow for the coolness of the knife. Beneath the mattress was the gun loaded with the bullets she’d bought.
Somewhere around one in the morning Liza fell asleep. When she awoke a couple of hours later, she knew immediately something had changed as she stared in the mirror as she brushed her teeth. She let her mind wander as to the previous night.
A trill of electricity ran down her spine every time she thought about sparing with Blackfoot then to the confusing lack of memories since her arrival in town. Only this time the spaces were filling in like a pinball machine, so many memories that she could barely keep them straight so she stopped trying. Liza let them wash over her accepting them as they came.
“Trina, Zuri is about done with breakfast,” Mrs. Davenport said on the other side of the bathroom door, “I’m going to take her on to school, okay?”
“Sure thing,” Liza said on autopilot. As soon as she heard the front door slam close, she crossed the hall to her room.
For once she wasn’t concerned about what Trina might wear. Instead she grabbed some jeans and a t-shirt, slipping her sock covered feet into sneakers.
She pulled on a heavy plaid long sleeve shirt then pulled the denim coat she’d been wearing everyday over it. Dumping everything from Trina’s purse into a sturdier canvas bag she strapped it across her body.
Grabbing the keys to the Chevrolet once again she walked quickly to the car already thinking about the route she was going to take.
She knew exactly where she was going. The only problem was she wasn’t sure about what she’d find once she got there. Her memory was still playing catch up with her. Her steps quickened because she knew she didn’t have much time.
In her mind she saw the route to take. As soon as she backed out the driveway, she pointed the car north driving the streets further into the sprawling suburb. Her eyes darted to the rearview mirrors out of habit. She hadn’t thought of a trail following her in days, but suddenly she was hyperaware of the possibility.
Sure enough it didn’t take long for her to spot them.
They were so close she could actually see their faces. Liza felt a cloud of disappointment settle as she lead them through the maze of houses and convenience stores. Their sloppiness made her wonder who sent them.
Watching them for several blocks in her rearview mirror Liza could see there were two people in the car. Every turn she made they followed. It was too many to be a coincidence.
A few days ago she hadn’t noticed anyone following her , but her head was much clearer now.
She was remembering. Before last night everything had seemed muted and off balance. It was a part of her that she’d been ignoring that kept her in the dark. The denial was real. Her memories had always been there she knew that now; she just hadn’t wanted to see them. She had chosen Trina’s life over her own.
Liza maintained her speed taking it slow through the grid of sprawling neighborhoods. She made sure not to repeat or circle her path making it obvious she’d spotted them. She didn’t want them to know she knew they were there. It would make it harder to lose them when it came time. She lead them further away from her intended destination.
Once she’d cleared the neighborhoods and entered a busier section of town, it was time to make her move. Inching closer to the intersection Liza stayed in the right turning lane. When the light turned green, she put the car in neutral and pumped her brakes several times causing the car to jerk as if she were having engine trouble.
Predictably the irritated driver directly behind her beeped, but Liza stayed put blocking the roadway until the light turned yellow.
When the light changed red, she put the car in gear and took off trapping her tail two cars behind her. Liza then made an immediate left crossing the highway and speeding through several side streets trying to put as much distance as possible between her and the car following ber.
By the time she made it to the Super Walmart parking lot, she was sure she’d lost them, but she didn’t stop. There was no time. If they were professionals they already had a tracking device on the car, and would be there in a matter of minutes.
Liza ditched the car, walking quickly through the parking lot to the field of trees behind the Wal-Mart. She ducked into the pines as soon as she got close enough then took off on a brisk run. She had no time to spare.
Her breathing was easy as she sprinted north deeper into the woods then cut through a shallow stream and headed west further away from the city and the subdivisions into even thicker brush. The forest were so thick in spots she couldn’t even see the sky but it comforted her more than anything. She didn’t need to see, because she knew exactly where she was going.
She remembered everything, and God help anyone who tried to stop her from completing her mission. Liza had no doubt they’d find the car, however, she intended to be long gone by then.