Tuesday, 16 July 2013

No Regrets.

Inspired by a fantastic blog I've found called Baby Baby I'm joining in with her Write On link up. You can join in and see what its all about by clicking on the link:

The writing prompt I chose is "Regret".

She sat still almost mannequin like in the window of the coffee shop waiting. At the back of the cafĂ© almost hidden out of sight a man sat looking at her, he glanced at his watch and noted how long she had been staring into the same cup of coffee. 40 minutes was a long time for anyone to stare like that and he wondered what she was thinking, what she was hoping for and how long she would stay like this before giving up and leaving.

He watched as she played with a napkin delicately between her slender fingers and realised that she was smiling a slight smile to herself. What a beautiful face she had, serene and yet knowledgeable of the world around her. He felt almost intrusive in his curiosity but for a reason only known to him just couldn't take his eyes away from her.

A little girl and her mother stepped in from the freezing cold outside and the door chimed as it closed behind them. He had desperately wanted kids with Kate but it wasn't to be and in the end it was what had broken them apart. She had been all about her career and he had just wanted to have a family and settle down somewhere, anywhere that he could call home. Their divorce had been spiteful and mentally draining and he never thought he would ever get another chance at love again. Kate had told him that he would never meet anyone as he lived in a dream world and the perfect life he desired just didn't exist. He regretted the waste of 10 years of his life and would never forgive her for what she had done to him.

"Right" he whispered out loud whilst preparing to stand up and walk across the room to the women sitting in the window. "Good Luck" said the owner of the coffee shop "Go get her" he smiled back at the man who had known him for years and had got him through many a difficult day with a cup of coffee and a smile...............................This was it, this was the moment he had waited for all year, the time had come to meet this extraordinary woman who had caught his eye on the dating website and who he had been chatting to for a whole 11 months. He had sat and watched her for long enough and knew that she was as beautiful inside as she was outside. He placed a white rose in his jacket pocket and began the longest journey of his life, a journey which would hopefully mend his heart and finally give him a future full of hope. This time he would have no regrets.....................................

The End

Thursday, 11 July 2013


After embarking on a Creative writing course I am thrilled to show you all my first ever attempt at writing a Mini Book. I have been publishing it each week to a band of loyal followers and they have been wonderfully kind with all of their comments and support. But now for the first time the whole book is here on this page for you to enjoy. Please note:- This hasn't been proof read  its just a first attempt at writing a story.

by S J Thurley

Chapter 1.

The day started innocently enough with the sun streaming through the window attempting to wake the sleeping girl. Light beams reflected off of the bottles on her dressing table and formed strange patterns on the ceiling. She awoke with a yawn and a stretch and lay there for a while remembering where she was. Today was going to be an interesting one that was for sure.

Her life was unrecognisable from 2 years ago, and she thought about the past every day. She looked at the calendar....24th September; this was the day 12 months ago she should have been getting ready for the biggest, happiest day of her life. She remembered looking at her dress hanging in front of her and the hustle bustle of the others racing around downstairs.

She also remembered that life changing moment when she heard the phone ringing. Her mother had answered it and she heard the cheery "hello" change to a gasp. Then footsteps, her mothers footsteps slowly coming upstairs. The door opened and the woman who had bought her into this world stared at her in disbelief...."Catherine...I'm....I'm....so sorry......it's Greg....there's been an accident". And in that moment her world had crashed around her ears.......................................

She dragged her mind back to the present day the reality hit her like a door slamming in the face. She swung her legs out of the bed the floor was cold and she quickly pulled them up tucking them under her chin. She had to get going and get ready, a busy day lay ahead. No more time for dwelling on the past today.

The shower was hot and steamy and felt like a haven of peace as well as being like a double espresso shock to the brain. The water ran over her body and she winced as it touched a healing scar. As she sat at the mirror looking at her reflection she came to the conclusion that she liked herself better than she used to. She had changed beyond recognition and that pleased her as well as making her feel secure.

Her outfit had been chosen well and consisted of jeans and a polo neck. She had decided on flat boots today in case she needed to run or issue a blow to the ankles. The last part of her assemble was the most important, this accessory had to be right. The door clicked open and the array of options stood in front of her. "Hmmm" she said out loud which one shall I use today ?" It needed to be small enough to fit into her bag but not so big that it drew any attention to her. The little black one was the obvious option but it needed something else, there" she said as she found it the perfect thing".

One last look in the mirror, a quick adjustment to her hair and she slipped the gun and silencer into her bag....

Chapter 2.

She found the car easily and climbed inside out of the cold. Her mind drifted again and she thought about all the signs that had been right in front of her. The late night phone calls the Sunday meetings and the way he watched her as if she may break if he took his attention away from her. He hadn't wanted to inherit the family business but had felt he had no choice and with his brother dying the year before tragically in a car crash he had stepped up to the post. It had finished his father too and he died of a massive heart attack six weeks later. She had felt like her heart could break for Greg but he had dealt with it all surprisingly well.

The night before the wedding was the last time she had spoken to him and she could still replay it word for word. "Hello Catherine it's me he had said, "hello you" she had replied. Im so sorry but I can't make dinner tonight, something has come up and I have to get it sorted" his voice sounded soft but concerned. Its OK really, I understand. You will just have to wait until I walk down the aisle before you see me" she had said trying to sound seductive but failing miserably.

And that was that, the last time she had heard his voice and the last time he had used her old name.

The phone startled her back to reality and she shook her head to jolt her brain back to the here and now. "Yes" she said. "The address is 24 Lynmouth Road, I repeat 24 Lynmouth Road" a mans voice replied. The screen went blank as he hung up; she removed the SIM card and destroyed it. This was all necessary and she did it like a robot that had been programmed to do so.

The drive there was uneventful and she paid no attention to her surroundings until she reached the destination. The road was one of the more affluent ones for around here and it struck her that she could have been living here if things had been different.

With the car carefully parked she retrieved her belongings and made one last check of her appearance. The house was a couple of streets from where she had parked and she made her way blending into the surroundings making sure she didn't draw any attention to herself. The house was big, white and ostentatious with private gates and two burly bodyguards stood like soldiers either side of the door.
This was where her training came in invaluable and she scaled the back wall like a cat landing softly without a sound. The first two shots had meet their targets and both men fell to the floor, two more appeared from behind the wall and they too were shot twice in the chest. One of them looked so surprised it almost made her laugh. Suddenly her real target was in front of her “WHAT THE...... he screamed... "Goodbye Mr Turner" was all she said and then pulled the trigger once more. He had only needed one bullet and she was satisfied the job was complete.

She disappeared into the distance leaving the car which would have been retrieved by another of her associates by now. Mia Campbell, as she was now known had finished for the night and she felt nothing ……nothing but emptiness...................

Chapter 3.

The train station was cold and bleak, Mia watched as the other commuters jostled for a good position. She wondered if they all had homes and families to go home to, warm cosy homes full of love and life. A man in his thirties looked at her and smiled, he wasn't bad looking but she had already noticed he was trying to hide his wedding ring. He started towards her and she felt herself physically tense, he smiled again and then asked her if she had the right time. Mia shook her head, she did have the time but she also knew a chat up line when she saw one. The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a tube of mints "want one? He asked, again she shook her head. Mia wondered how quickly he might change his mind if she was to tell him what she had just done.
His mobile rang and he fumbled to turn it off, he wasn't quick enough for Mia, she had already memorised the name and number on the screen. What is wrong with these men, why couldn't they just be satisfied with what they had? Time to teach him a lesson.

The train pulled in and as predicted in her mind he followed her onto the carriage, she sat down and he placed himself directly opposite her casting his eyes hungrily up and down her long legs. Mia looked around before leaning over and putting her well-manicured hand on his knee slowly moving it up his leg. For a second he looked surprised at her sudden forwardness but that changed to a familiar look of arrogance.

"I wonder she said seductively whilst taking her phone out and dialling "what Claire would think if I was to tell her what I was doing to her husband ". Mia continued to dial purposely showing him that she was dialling a familiar number. "Oooooo look, it's ringing" she whispered. His face dropped and he stood up so quickly he banged his head on the luggage rack. "You bitch" he spat how on earth did you get that number?. Mia smiled to herself as he scurried off to another carriage mumbling under his breath, he wasn't to know part of her new skills were a photographic memory now was he.

The train carried on its journey and Mia allowed her mind to wander back...Back to this time last year. Her wedding day was a blur, a haze of people crying and putting their hands over their mouths in horror. Her name had been Catherine back then and she had loved practising her signature as the new Mrs Catherine MacArthur. She had never got to actually use it but still remembered how it had looked. Her mother had done her usual thing of taking over completely and had deconstructed the whole wedding without even breaking into a sweat. The following few months had been the strangest times ever, a mixture of emotions ranging from despair to anger to emptiness. Gregs family or what was left of it had taken her under their wing and let her stay at their family home to come to terms with what had happened. She would never come to terms with it only learn to accept it.

At the inquest the coroner delivered an open verdict meaning his death could have been suspicious but there had been no proof. How utterly stupid did they think people were, nobody just falls from a balcony 26 floors up. There was no way Greg would have taken his own life and as for all the drugs in his system well that was just nonsense. He hated any type of drug even refusing paracetamol when he had a headache. His death was as much of an accident as his brothers was. And she knew it.

As they arrived at her stop Mia waited for everyone to get off before she herself departed the carriage. She watched as the commuters filed out of the exits like ants scurrying away on a mission. A sudden urge to shout out who she really was and what she actually did for a living took over. She managed to control herself and walked steadily through and out into the darkness. She loved the dark; it made her feel safe, secure and invisible. There would be people looking for her now, complete pandemonium would be taking place at Mr Turners residence and that made her smile. One day she would rid the world of all these drug lords who thought they could push people around and ruin innocent lives, one day she herself would be free of these revolting humans. But until her end goal was reached she would just carry on exterminating and ridding society of men like Adam Turner.

Her apartment was dark and cold but and she shivered to herself as she took her jacket off. The usual routine of checking the security cameras were done and she took comfort that everything was secure. It had to be this way; she had had no choice in the matter really and was in a way kind of thankful for it. The phone rang..............."Hello she answered; Well done Mia" a familiar voice came down the speaker. You did very good work today and all loose ends have been tied up.  Mia didn't reply and a long pause followed, "do you have any questions Mia?". "No" was her answer. Your next job is in New York and the details are in the envelope on the desk. Please read them carefully Mia, it is vital that no mistakes are made the phone went dead and she stared at the screen.

She remembered the first time she had heard that mans voice and a shiver went down her spine. He thought he was her saviour but she knew differently. It had been just after Greg's funeral and a man in a dark coat had approached her advising her.....No...Telling her to call the number on the card if she wanted to know the truth about Greg and his untimely death.  She hadn't  taken much persuading and called the number the very next day, part of her still wished she hadn't but then again she wouldn't be here today if she had ignored it.

The next morning she waited for the limo to arrive and paced up and down the lobby area impatiently. She had packed light and needed only one bag which she could take onto the plane without even have to check it in. The car arrived and she sat in the back quietly as they drove to the airport.

Once her passport had been approved she made her way to the departure gate to await her flight. She had a travelled so many times now that even some of the staff seemed to recognise her and gave her smile as she waited to board. Mia never travelled first class; she couldn't stand all the crap that came with it. Instead she chose business class which just seemed to be a bit more low key. Her employers always reserved her the same seat and nobody ever sat next to her. She hadn't worked this strange anomaly out yet but somehow they managed to pull a few strings and that was how it had been for years.

The flight was a seven and half hour one and she was dreading it, every minute made her anxious and even when the plane was as smooth as a car on the road she still didn't relax. Mia looked around at all the families and business men sleeping peacefully and wished she could do the same but she just couldn't. It wasn't by want of trying but she just couldn't relax enough to nod off. It didn't make sense for a girl who did what she did for a living to be so afraid of a little thing like flying but it just wasn't natural. A massive tin can filled with people being hurled through the air and god knows what speed was one thing you could never call natural. When she thought of all the sticky situations she had been in this should have been a walk in the park for her. Mia watched the air stewardesses faces the whole time and as long as they were smiling she was kind of alright herself. She sat at stared out of the window watching the clouds beneath her, the sky was so blue up here and she wondered if heaven looked this beautiful. Was there even such a place as heaven? She wanted there to be so that she could think of Greg and feel he was at peace. What would he think if he saw her now? He wouldn't even know her, he would have no idea he was even sitting next to her.


When she had been with him her hair had been blonde, short and curly and now she was dark, long and polka straight. She had lost about 3 stone and had the body of a toned athlete. But the biggest change was her face........Reconstructive surgery had been painful, emotional but totally necessary and she had been given no choice in the matter. If she didn't have it then she would be next, if she stayed Catherine she and her family would be put on the same hit list that Greg, his brother and father had all been on. She often caught sight of herself in a mirror or window and it made her do a double take every time. She had thought that once all the operations were over she could just be left alone to grieve but no.....This was just the start of her long journey, her long almost unbelievable journey.

Chapter 4.

The plane touched down at JFK airport smoothly and Mia felt an overwhelming sense of relief flood over her. She loved New York and felt strangely at home there. The apartment was an half an hour journey from the airport and had been Taylor made to suit her every need. She queued up at Security and watched as they pulled a passenger over to search his bags. The poor guy looked so nervous that she was surprised he hadn't burst into tears at his experience. Soon it was her turn and she calmly walked forward to the kiosk. The man behind the desk was huge and looked like he could have snapped you in two if he felt like it. He surveyed her face for a while then looked at her passport..."Hmmmmm, seems you are here quite a bit Miss...Miss Campbell" he said sounding suspicious. "That's right" Mia said as cool as a cucumber, I come over here on business at least 8 times a year, it's like my second home". The man mountain smiled at her you like it here Mam?" he asked oh yes, I just love it. In fact I prefer it here to England but don't tell anyone" she said whilst laughing and giving him her best Mia Campbell eyes. He laughed with her and wished her a successful trip before remarking what a beautiful smile she had.....Mission accomplished Mia.

New York was the most beautiful city in the sun, the light reflected from every window and she strained her neck up to see the tops of the buildings. Everyone looked happy here, not like at home where people seemed sad all the time. Here it was different, people were on a mission and marched everywhere. The hustle and bustle made her feel invisible, no one paid any attention to her as she walked the last few blocks to her rented apartment. The concierge recognised her straight away and his face lit up as she came through the door "well, well, well, hello Mam" he said happily. "Hello Harry, and how are you?" she replied. They chatted easily for a good ten minutes and Mia asked how his family were and whether or not his daughter had had her baby yet.

She put her key in the front door and opened it and the wonderful smell of her Manhattan apartment swept over her, for the first time in months she smiled a real smile. The apartment was beautiful in every way and had been set up just for her. The wardrobe was stocked with gorgeous clothes and bags and the fridge was full of her favourite things. She did a lot of cooking here and sat on the balcony watching the city below. The most important room was well stocked too and had every conceivable weapon you could imagine. It made James Bonds stash look positively lame.

Mia's moment of joy was interrupted by the mobile on the table buzzing, "yes" she answered. "The envelope on the desk has your next job inside, read everything carefully please" the voice on the other end instructed her "It is important that you do not carry out anything until all the players are in place on this one." he said. " I understand" she replied. She had the impression he was going to say something else but silence followed by a small beep told her he had gone. Once again Mia went through the same pattern destroying the SIM card and replacing it with a blank one. The envelope  was exactly where he had said it would be and after reading the contents she set about getting rid of anything that may incriminate her.

Once dressed appropriately Mia hailed a yellow cab. The driver was not the slightest bit interested in her or what she was carrying and she sat quietly in the back watching the New York skyline whizz past her. He pulled over 4 blocks from her destination and she paid him the total amount before grabbing her bag from the back seat. As she watched him disappear out of sight she wondered if he liked his job or was it just a means to an end. She had only ever had a few cab drivers over here that had been chatty and most of the time they just ignored her.

The car park stood tall and grey in front of her and she found the back entrance easily, the instructions had been very clear and Mia followed them to the letter. As she reached level 15 she was careful to check her surroundings before leaving the elevator. The deserted construction area was sealed off with heavy plastic sheeting and Mia noticed the strong smell of dust mixed with soldiering metal. She pushed quietly through and the fresh air hit her full in the face, she scanned the scene in front of her and found her bearings easily. The sound of her bag being unzipped broke the silence around her and she carefully lifted her long, sleek weapon out of its home. She lined up the scope and closed her eyes for a couple of seconds to prepare herself mentally before beginning.

The target was exactly where he should be and she could see him clearly through his window from across the water below her. He looked so relaxed and as the instructions had said there was a girl beside him who looked like she wanted to be anywhere else but by his side. He lent over and grabbed the back of her hair forcing his lips onto hers, she winced in pain but he carried on regardless of her obvious discomfort. Mia hated men like him more than any type, those men that thought they could buy and manipulate others to suit themselves.

The girl could not of been much older than 18 and she looked terrified and confused. The door opened and a second man came in with a tray placing it in front of the pair. He lifted a syringe and waved it in front of the young girl as if teasing her, the men laughed as the girl attempted to stand up. It was at this point Mia realised she was tethered to the chair and there was no escape. The second man plunged the needle into her arm and she flopped forwards like a rag doll that had been used and disposed of. As she raised her head the man smacked her hard across the face and once again laughed, the young girl stared as he started to unzip his flies and the realisation of what was about to happen flashed across her eyes.

Mia had seen enough, she always watched for a few moments as if attempting to justify what she was about to do. She had a clean shot and she focused completely almost disappearing into her own world. And then.........It was all over........The man almost gracefully fell to the floor, the girl let out a silent scream and the door burst open to reveal several burly bodyguards. Mia laughed to herself......"Call yourselves bodyguards" she said out loud. She wanted to stay and watch the shock in their faces but knew what had to be done next.

As she exited the car park she carefully pulled off her wig and discarded it into a bag and then into the river making sure she wasn't seen. "Right" Mia said to herself "time to vanish". And that was exactly what she did.......Vanish......Right into the crowds.

Chapter 5.

Mia sunk slowly into the warm water and washed any trace of the past few hours from her body. It still amazed her that she had never even been close to being caught and nobody ever suspected her. To anyone that was lucky enough to know the other side of Mia she worked for a huge corporate company that redeveloped large areas for commercial use. People always commented on how lucky she was to have such an amazing job that allowed her to travel all over the world. Mia didn't get too close to people and she kept herself very much to herself making sure she never gave anyone the chance to ask questions.

Her training had been disciplined and Mia knew what was at stake if she didn't follow the rules. It had been hard in the beginning and Catherine as she had been known then fought them every step of the way. "The Associates" as they were known had been clear from day one, follow the rules, do as we say and ask questions only when necessary. They had been responsible for all her facial changes and had nursed her back to health afterwards when she had been in the worst pain of her life. The Institute had been enormous and she had felt completely overwhelmed in the first few months of her induction there. She had been one of 20 to arrive on that cold and wet day, most of them were her age and all of them looked terrified to death.

The programme had been laid out in front of them on the second day. It was quite simple and involved a lecture by a stern looking woman called Elaine. They had all been chosen for their own safety and if they wanted to pull out of the programme they were on their own and no help would ever be offered again to them. Mia  sat and listened as Elaine read out all of the kids stories. Some were drug related with no hope of ever getting clean on their own and some were that of abuse. After 40 minutes it was her turn ....."Catherine S" Elaine said "Yes Miss" Mia replied. "You are here for your own safety, you have been involved with one of the biggest drug cartel families in Europe. You are now in imminent danger as are those of your family. We can help you to gain a new identity and keep you and your family from harm. You will undergo surgery and completely forget the old Catherine, a new name will be allocated to you and your family will be forgotten."  Elaine read from a piece of paper as if she was reciting an article in a magazine. Mia remembered attempting to put her hand up and defend herself at her lack of knowledge about Greg's family but was abruptly interrupted.  "Your death will be faked and your family will grieve for the loss of Catherine but you..." she stared coldly into her eyes "Will be saved".

And that was how she had become Mia Campbell, as simple as that. Little did she know that The Institute would want much more in return for her silence and safety.

Mia jumped as the door buzzer sounded, she sat on the bed for a while trying to figure out who on earth could be at her door. It buzzed again and she swung her legs round ready to run into the hallway, suddenly a noise that she didn't recognise rang out through the apartment.....A key in her front door.....Yes...A key. What on earth was going on she thought? Mia leapt into action and grabbed her gun, she left no sound as she sprinted to the other side of the room. Her heart was beating so hard in her chest she could barely hear anything else, she had to regulate her breathing before she had a full on panic attack. Footsteps approached her bedroom and they were definitely men's footsteps. Mia crouched behind the curtains and waited. It seemed an eternity before the handle twisted slowly and the door opened. Mia squinted at the figure that appeared in the doorway, he was about six foot and dressed in black, black coat, black hat and gloves to match. A voice pierced into her quiet state "Mia, Mia I know you can see me, show yourself my child".

Mia slowly rose from her hiding place and stood firm staring back at the man all dressed in black, "what the hell are you doing in my apartment?" she asked. You haven't been answering any of our calls young lady and as you well know in circumstances like that we have to check in personally." He replied.

Mia flushed a deep shade of red as she remembered turning her phone onto silent in  the car park and forgetting to turn it back on once home. This was a cardinal sin and one that would not go unpunished. The man in black sat on the end of her crumpled bed and smiled a dark sinister smile before saying "you had us all worried you know. If it hadn't been for the news coverage we would have assumed you had been caught". Mia apologised and wrapped her robe around her already freezing body "I don't know what to say, there is no excuse for my lack of communication and I will understand if you want me to leave my post ". The man sneered There will be no need for that Mia, just make sure it never happens again, there will be no second chances. Do you understand me?" He said . "Yes Sir, I understand and I promise it will never happen again" she replied.

He left as quickly as he had appeared and Mia sat for what seemed like eternity thinking about what had just happened. She was left under no illusion that they could get to her whenever they wanted and wherever she was. Mia was well and truly a kept woman and they were in charge of her destiny.

 Chapter 6.

The sound from a siren woke her from a dream, she had been running along a narrow path by the side of a canal being chased by someone. Greg had been standing on a bridge urging her to run faster, she hadn't dared look round in fear of seeing what or who was chasing her. The siren got louder and louder and it was only when she was fully awake she realised it was for real and was outside. Mia sat up with beads of cold sweat prickling her skin. This was not the first time she had had this dream and was becoming a weekly occurrence.

Sometimes she wondered if it was Greg's way of telling her from the grave to run and get the hell out of the situation she found herself in. She knew this to be an impossible task, she was getting closer each day to her final goal. Mia smiled as she thought of the moment she finally came face to face with the person who had murdered Greg...The person who had forced her to become Mia Campbell.

It had taken her a long time to gain the trust of The Institute and along the way she had become relatively close to a few useful people who had given her access to the records department. Here she had copied details concerning her life old and new, incident reports about Greg's death and those of his family. She had been correct about their endings and had not been surprised to find out that none of them were accidents:-

File 1026 - Blake MacArthur - Killed in a car accident in Northern Cyprus - Verdict - Accidental death due to misadventure.
Extra Notes - Eye witnesses told police officers that a black Mercedes had been seen forcing the car off of the road resulting in the car plummeting over the side of the mountain. These statements had not been recorded due to inaccuracies.

File 1037 - Callum MacArthur - Heart Failure - Verdict - Death by natural causes.
Extra Notes - High levels of Potassium found in blood stream, enough to stop the heart of an elephant. Autopsy notes had been discarded from investigation due to negligence case concerning the pathologist.

File 1067 - Gregor MacArthur - Accidental fall from a height due to intoxication - Verdict - Open verdict, although alcohol and drugs were found in system no foul play had been detected.
Extra Notes - N/A

Mia knew that Greg would never of done anything to jeopardise their happiness, he had been her soul mate and had even joked they were like lobsters that had their claws locked together....Inseparable.

She rose from her bed and padded softly across the room. The car would be here in a couple of hours and she had to make sure she had everything before heading back to England. Mia flicked the news channel on and was greeted with the sight of her last target. Police were saying that there had been 2 fatalities and that a young 18 year old girl had been arrested with their murders. That poor kid, little did she know that she had been part of a bigger picture. The Institute would take over now and represent her claiming it was all self defence then she too would be swept up and given a choice of giving herself to them or risk a life of jail. Not only had they got away with another hit but they got a new recruit as a bonus.

The plane touched down at Heathrow with a bump and once again Mia thanked God that she had made it all of the 3,500miles home from New York. Luggage retrieved she made her way through security feeling tired and almost hung over. As she emerged into the arrivals lounge she watched as loved ones greeted each other. How she wished someone was here waiting for her with open arms full of love. There was no one here for Mia Campbell and the best she could look forward to was a microwave dinner and a glass of Chardonnay for one.

She pushed her way through the heaving crowds making no eye contact with anyone. As the doors came into view a gust of wind escaped through the terminal sweeping Mias passport straight out of her grasp. It plopped to the ground and she swung round to retrieve it. Her hand reached out for it at the same time as another "Whoops" said a voice "Bloody wind. There you go". "Thanks" said Mia slowly raising her head to see who had spoken. A pair of familiar eyes almost knocked Mia backwards with surprise....Her mother stood before her smiling holding her passport out in front. She tilted her head and squinted at Mia as if a memory had been triggered. "No problem" her mother said. Mia stood staring for what seemed like an eternity at the woman who had driven her mad but who now seemed so sad that Mia wanted to scoop her up and tell her it was all ok. Her mother smiled again and turned to walk away, something wasn't right and Mia knew that although her face had been completely reconstructed and contact lenses had been applied there had been something in her mothers look that had recognised a tiny feature.

Mia watched as she disappeared out of sight desperately wanting to follow her but knowing that it was the worst thing to do. Had that really just happened ? Had that really been her very own mother right in there? Why had she hesitated and looked at Mia that way? What if she was on her way back right now? The answers to all those questions ran through her mind as she grabbed her luggage and high tailed it out of the airport and into the fresh air. They had been very clear "you must disappear, or your family will be next". She had no choice and had to follow their instructions or God knows what would happen.

Over the next few days Mias head was a complete mess. She hadn't told a soul even though she knew it should of been reported to The Institute. This chance meeting changed everything and she was going to have to step it up a gear and finish this once and for all. The Institute had taken enough away from her and seeing her mother had almost broken her heart.

Enough was enough!

Chapter 7.

The rain fell heavily like shards of glass under her feet, Mia tutted to herself as she tried to avoid splashing through the puddles. She found the little coffee shop that had become like a second home to her and pushed the heavy old door open revealing her own little bit of heaven. Big comfy arm chairs with pretty scatter cushions and mismatched furniture adorned the little shop. On each table sat a vase with Peonies in each one and next to them a pile of magazines and books to make it feel more like a home rather than a business.
The smell of coffee and home baked goods filled her nostrils and Mia closed her eyes and inhaled the heady aromas. Her usual chair was empty as always, Mia knew exactly why....It was because it was the oldest, scruffiest one in there and to the naked eye looked to be uncomfortable. That couldn't of been further from the truth and Mia sank down into the squashy chair feeling like she was being enveloped by an old friend.
The girl behind the counter nodded and smiled "Just the usual" she said whilst leaning over the back of the chair. Mia jumped "Err...Yes.......Sorry....Yes please, just the usual". The girl laughed and hurried off to get the order.

Hours had gone past and Mia had read 3 magazines, 7 chapters of a book and finished 2 crosswords. She had also consumed 2 slices of lemon drizzle cake, 1 ham sandwich and 4 coffees. She sat back and marvelled at how hungry she had been whilst rubbing her belly. It was dark outside now and Mia decided it was time to make a move or risk exploding through greed. Just as she reached for her bag that familiar ring that only Mia understood sounded in her ears....."Yes" she answered "There is an envelope waiting for you in your mail box, once you have finished your coffee and copious amounts of cake I would be grateful if you could retrieve it and follow the instructions" the same electronically distorted voice spoke to her. "OK, OK, no problem, calm down, I was only grabbing a bite to eat.....I take it that is allowed" Mia spat back down the phone. "Now now little one, lets not forget where you are and who you are shall we" the voice on the end calmly replied.
Mia almost threw the phone across the coffee shop but instead grabbed the sim out of the back and snapped it viciously between her fingers.

She walked home kicking at the puddles whilst looking around to see where he was watching her from. It was worse than being a prisoner and she knew that every second of every day was governed by them.
Once in her building she grabbed the envelope and stormed upstairs to her apartment almost taking the door off of its hinges as she opened it with a bang. She had to calm down and control her emotions, Mia didn't care what they did to her but after seeing her mother it confirmed why she was doing all this.
The instructions were as detailed as ever and she read them the usual 3 times before destroying any evidence. She made her way down to the parking lot and was greeted by a BMW Z3 waiting for her in the allocated parking bay. The car was new and Mia screwed up her nose as the smell of the new leather hit her, she quickly turned on the engine to get some air into the small space.
Suddenly she stopped.....This was the very same car that Greg had been going to buy her as a wedding present, she had chosen it herself and it was to be the first brand new car she had ever had. Was this The Institutes idea of a joke she wondered as the car roared to life and she sped out of the car park.

It handled beautifully and in no time as all she was at her destination. She carefully adjusted her wig and left the car in the correct bay as instructed. The building was dimly lit as she entered. Expecting to find at least one security guard Mia was surprised to see the front desk completely empty and the screens of the security cameras all turned off. She made her way to the elevator and pressed the button for floor 26. A memory pierced her subconscious...Floor 26 was where Greg had fallen from............

The elevator pinged and the doors opened to revel a long corridor with offices either side of the hallway. Carefully checking her surroundings Mia made her way along the hall "Good God what awful wallpaper" Mia whispered, Funny the things you notice just before pumping a bullet into someone she thought.

The office of Mr Neville Dawson was in front of her and Mia stopped outside for a few minutes to get ready for her grand entrance. Mr Dawson deserved everything he was about to get, he had stolen millions from a soldiers widows fund and then claimed he had lost it all in bad deals. He was to stand trial in 2 days and had been granted bail on the condition he didn't leave the country. Unfortunately for him for whatever reason someone wanted him dead and they clearly wanted him gone before the trial began.

Mia slowly opened the door and looked around for any signs of life. That was the strangest thing....There should of been the face of Neville Dawson looking surprised as she entered but instead she was greeted with an empty chair. For a few seconds Mia was confused, then a sight that she wasn't expecting......A man......Neville Dawson..........was there but he was slumped against the wall with a single bullet hole between his eyes.

Her eyes darted round the room as the sound of the door locking behind her rang out. Mia swung round only to receive a swift punch to the face followed by the gun she had been holding being grabbed out of her hand. She shook her head trying to gain some composure, a figure stood in front of her wearing all black, a hand reached for her face and she smacked it away.

Then a voice....................Not just any voice.............A voice she knew..................."Catherine, my little one"

Mia slowly lifted her eyes to face a ghost.......There in front of her stood a very real a very alive....... Greg.

Chapter 8.

"What the hell.....What.....Why?" she stammered not quite believing her eyes "What's the hell is going on?"
"I'm so sorry Catherine" he soothed
"Don't you dare call me that, my name is Mia now" she spat her words in his face.
"Now now" he said and pulled a reel of cord from behind his back.

Mia tried to fight, tried to struggle but was overpowered by this strong powerful man she had once known and loved with every piece of her soul. He tied her hands together and gently placed a piece of tape over her mouth.

"You will listen to me Catherine and you will listen well" he whispered into her left ear.
"Now" he begun "I will start at the beginning, I owe you that much.......... I loved you with all of my heart Catherine and slightly misjudged your intelligence. I would of married you and we would of had a happy existence with you having no knowledge of my other life" Mia's eyes widened in disbelief at what she was being forced to hear.

"The problem was you got nosey, really nosey. Questions after questions about my father and brothers deaths. I begged you to stop but you wouldn't and when you started to question their accidents, well that was the last straw. It was me you see Catherine, me who ordered their hits" he laughed as he retold his sick and twisted story. Greg poured himself a large scotch and drank it in one go wincing at the sharp taste.

"They held me back so much and wanted no part of the amazing empire I was building. They threatened to reveal everything I had worked so hard for. All the targets we had taken out for the good of society for clients, all the cover ups and lies that had been told. That's when I came up with the plan, the plan that could kill 3 birds with one stone" he laughed again "Literally".

"My father was easy, a fat over eater who drank to much and thought he was some big shot. My brother was even easier, he had more drinking convictions than anyone I knew so when he drove his flashy car straight off of a mountain nobody batted a eyelid. The story about them being part of a big Mafia cartel was built by me to make sure you were scared enough to comply." Greg looked pleased with himself and Mia could barely breath as she listened trying to recognise this monster that stood before her.

"Then it was just a case of tipping you over the edge and what better way to do this than fake my own death on the eve before our impending marriage." The final unbelievable pieces of the puzzle were slotted into place as Greg paced up and down the office.

Mia wanted to put her fingers in her ears and block this horrific story from her mind. Tears poured down her face stinging her cheeks and silent sobs throbbed in her throat. A wave of nausea swept over her and the room seemed to spin. Greg slapped her face again and Mia glared at him through her agony. "Come on now Mia, you are made of stronger stuff than that. I know you are because we trained you" he said whilst wiping her face with a hankie. Mia twisted her head away and shut her eyes tightly.

"I had to make sure you would never find out but I just couldn't bring myself to have you killed. Don't you see Mia, this was the only way and funnily enough it has almost been like we have been together. It has been me that has instructed you each time, me that organised everything for you to live a charmed life. I've watched you grow into a powerful woman"  Greg looked like he actually believed what he was saying and that he had in fact done Mia a favour. He poured himself yet another Scotch and greedily drank it in one go.

"Eventually we would of let you go to live your life in peace, safe in the knowledge that we had all of your ....shall we say...Indiscretions here on this memory stick." he lifted a USB stick up and waved it around to show her then placed it in a briefcase he had on a chair.

"That's why I have brought you here tonight, admittedly it is a little sooner than I anticipated but with all of your snooping in the records office I figured it was only a matter of time before you discovered the truth. And once you had bumped into Mummy I knew it was time to bring you in" He knelt down beside her, his face closing in on hers.

It was him, everything she had ever believed had been a lie. All the painful surgery and the forced separation from her family had all been for nothing. Greg butted in on her thoughts..."Tonight my darling, you have a choice you see.....A very important choice." Mia stared at Greg in confusion.
"You can go now from here tonight to a new life, a new start where you must never look back. Nobody else in The Institute knows of this and seeing as there is nobody above me nobody ever will. The one stipulation is that you will forget everything you have ever known and done. The minute I feel you are getting nosey again then Mummy might be paid a little visit from me" Mia kicked out with her free leg and Greg laughed. "You always were a little minx Catherine". Greg stood up and walked across the room to the briefcase and pulled out a gun.

"The other option should you chose not to take the generous offer of a new life up is a slightly more difficult one. I will put one bullet into your head and we can call it a day, Now then little one...What's it to be....I've laid all my cards on the table and told you everything" He was beside her again and ran his hand up her leg then started to unbutton her shirt "We could......You know...Always catch up for old times sake too" Mia thought she was going to throw up but managed to hold it down. She nodded and raised her eyes in the only way she knew how to win him over.

Greg gently pulled the tape from her mouth and Mia took a much needed deep breath. "Oh Greg...Why have you done this to us. It didn't have to be this way, I would of understood if you had just confided in me. We could of run the operation together and been the most powerful couple in the world. I still love you Greg as much as I did back then, it doesn't matter what has happened. You only did it for my own good. Please darling, I just want to hold you" Greg looked taken aback by this unexpected revelation and a frown appeared on his forehead. He studied Mia's face and then bent down kissing her hard on her mouth. Mia responded and she felt the familiar feeling of Greg's mouth on hers. He snipped the ties from behind her back and Mia placed her arms around Greg's neck. The smell of Scotch on his breath was overpowering and Mia wondered how many he had actually had. Their kissing got more and more passionate and Mia could tell that he was putty in her hands.........Men....She thought.....Honestly, what a dumb son of a bitch he really was.

Mia issued a powerful kick to Greg's groin and smacked him hard in the nose. Blood splattered across his face as he dropped like a stone to the floor in complete agony. "YOU BITCH" he screamed. "I'm only what you created" Mia replied. "Now its my turn to speak you spineless bastard" she shouted.

She thought about all the horrific times she had spent recovering from surgery, all the lonely nights spent alone whilst laying awake torturing herself about all the murders she had committed. How could another human being do this to someone, how could she of been so blind. Before she could speak Greg lunged at her knocking her into the desk, Mia gasped for breath as he winded her. A sharp pain pierced her chest as he punched her in the ribs, then his hands were around her throat. Mia grasped for something to defend herself with but everything was going blank, her windpipe felt like a straw that had been pinched shut at the top.

Suddenly she felt something cold, long and sharp, a letter opener was within her reach. She curled her fingers around it and stabbed it hard into the side of Greg's neck. He stumbled backwards towards the window holding his throat a gurgling noise escaping his mouth as he stared in disbelief at what Mia had done. Blood poured down his shirt and dripped onto the floor, Mia grabbed the gun she had been holding earlier and pointed it at him,  she fired it but with her head still swimming she missed him instead shattering the window. She tried to fire again but something was jamming the barrel.

Then something happened, time almost stood still like it was giving her the opportunity to think about what would happened next...................................................


OK lovely people....Here's where it gets interesting.....I have a slight dilemma....I have 2 endings...And you are going to decide which one you like best. So without further ado...Here they are.


She stared for a long time at Greg, the man she had trusted, loved and even worshipped. The way she saw it she had no choice in what happened next, her life was over whether she lived or died.

Suddenly she found herself running almost charging at Greg, she put all of her weight into knocking him off his feet and then.............The sound of more glass shattering filled the room.

Then a scream.....His scream followed by a silence she had never experienced. The wind rushed past her face and she watched as Greg fell, his face filled with terror. She knew she was falling too but felt nothing but peace, Mia shut her eyes and prepared to meet her own end. Finally she was free of this existence, free of all the loneliness, guilt and pain. She took one last look at Greg .....

"Till Death Us Do Part My Darling" was Mia Campbell's last ever thought.



She stared for a long time at Greg, the man she had trusted, loved and even worshipped. The way she saw it she had no choice in what happened next. Suddenly she found herself running almost charging at Greg, she issued a well trained sideways kick and he toppled backwards. Then the sound of more shattering glass filled the room, it all went in slow motion as Greg just kind of disappeared out of the broken window. A scream broke the silence that followed as Mia came too from the trance like state she had been in. Then screams of horror in the distance came next as Mia realised Greg must of met the pavement below. She felt pity for the people that had witnessed it and the terrible nightmares that would haunt them forever. Mia knew she had about 8 minutes before she needed to get the hell out of there and she had to get out of there fast but there was something she had to do first.

The plane had started its decent, Mia had taken only what she needed and stupidly Greg had bought all the relevant paperwork with him in his briefcase to Neville Dawson's office. He had meant it when he had offered her a new life and Mia had all the money and documents in her bag and more importantly the USB stick. Where she was going nobody would ask any questions, they would just be happy that someone was coming to their island to create jobs.

She looked at her new passport, what sort of name was Sophia Jenkins...Honestly....That man had no imagination.

One day she would go back, back to her Mother and try and convince her that it had all been a terrible lie. But that day was a long time in the future. She would just have to wait until the dust had settled and the second inquest into the death of Greg had finished.

It would tell a story of a man that had coldly and brutally murdered his father and brother, faked his own death in order to be the most powerful man ever only to suffer a breakdown after assassinating Mr Dawson. He then threw himself off of the 26th floor of a high rise office building after being intoxicated and racked with guilt and not able to take any more.

The inquest would know all of this as Greg had left a suicide note admitting everything including information about all the murders and more importantly all the kids that had been coerced into becoming assassins for The Institute.....He obviously hadn't written this himself but after years of being with the same man as well as the training she had had in forgery it had been a breeze to write a quick detailed note herself. The Institute would be discovered and many arrests would be made as well as many young men and women being freed.

Mia put her head back and shut her eyes tightly as the plane touched down. This was it, her new start and she was going to live it to the full.


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