Epilogue: PART 1
Part 1. The Rise of the New Envy
Imagine being the least important of many children. Each one before you being bigger and magnificent. And you, well not that much. But at least you try. Then one day, they don’t accept you anymore. Why are you so small? You’re not one of them, why were you even created? They distance themselves from you until other people forget that you were one of them. One of the greats.
Is this how you feel Pluto?
The forgotten planet.
They tell you that you aren’t a star. And you don’t believe them.
“Ardor, go faster, I’m bleeding out!” his voice is screaming in my arms.
My name is Ardor. This is my story. My old lover Craving always told me it fit me, which sucks because that name will change shortly. It doesn’t matter. My real name isn’t really Ardor. It’s just a codename. A title. See it’s not my real name. It’s a codename. I am an assassin or at least I was trained to be. My story started by being kidnapped and trained to kill at a young age with many children. That was the highlight of the story. The high and low. Bisexual children were taken away from their homes and raised to be weapons. And then we escaped. It’s been a while since that escape but it still feels like we never get far enough.
They always come back.
They always come to get us.
Tonight was the night that they finally found us. I’m looking up in the sky. This was all my fault. All my fucking fault. We arrive at the hideaway. It’s Allure that opens the door to me and sees that I have Desire in my arms. The others are all in the house when I arrive. Their eyes get wide when they see the condition that Desire is in?
“MOVE!” Urge growls at me in a way that makes me shake so much and almost drop the boy in my arms.
It was 3 am when I finally returned carrying Desire in my arms. His arm was bleeding from the gunshot he took. Probably in the escape. When he pulls Desire away from me I’m helpless. Not like I knew how to help people. I couldn’t do anything but watch as Desire drank whiskey before they start sewing the wound. I’ll never forget his screams as he anesthetized the pain with alcohol, rage and the MIgos playing out loud.
“What happened to him?” Urge asks.
Urge is Desire’s husband. The look he gives me scares the fuck out of me. He was intimidating, to say the least. He always had been. I wouldn’t put it past him to kill me now. Twist my neck or maybe even something worse. He was dark, chocolate and attractive but not the kind of guy you fell for. He was the kind of guy you realized was handsome from afar. I never understood how Desire could fall for such a threatening person. He was the most dangerous of us and his only weakness in the world was his husband.
The gay assassin couple and their two friends had taken me in but I can see the regret in Urge’s eyes when he does it.
“I asked you a fucking question!”
He’s in my face. Blood dripping. Angrily biting his lip as though his mouth was the only thing restraining him from ending me now.
“Urge please,” Desire states, “Let him talk.”
Desire was the only thing between me and Urge ripping me apart. I could see it in Urge’s eyes. He knew. He knew I was the cause of this. The entire team suspected perhaps. There were others who had escaped like Wrath who had gone to fight with the other runaways known as the Kintsugi. Urge, frightening and cold. Allure, the Russian assassin, cold and calculating. And then Love. Love was giving me the worst look out of all of them.
“He fucked up again, didn’t he?” Love asks.
“It was my idea for Desire and me to go out for a drink. And I wandered in front of a live news camera and…then they showed up…”
It was so fast. Those people who had kidnapped us were relentless. They were always looking for us as though we were their property. Perhaps we were.
“And you came right back here?” Love asks.
My voice is weak and full of uncertainty, “Yes…but it was because he was hurt.”
It didn’t occur to me until now why Love is saying that. It didn’t occur until Allure runs to the window and her face goes blank. I shouldn’t have brought Desire back here. I should have been smart. If Love was in my position he would have taken Desire somewhere else. He would have sown Desire back up there. He would have made sure it was safe before returning to the hideout.
“We were followed,” Allure tells everyone, “We’re surrounded.”
“He fucked up…again,” Love states, “I told you all about him. I told you he’ll be the end of us. We should have never brought him with us. He’s NOT one of us. Craving is dead. His boy toy wants us all to join him.”
The hatred in Love’s voice makes me feel so little. I sink away looking over at Desire hoping maybe he would at least say something to my defense. Even he turns away though. Even nice, kind Desire doesn’t even look me in my eyes. I’m useless. I always have been.
“We split up,” Allure states, “I’ll go on the rooftop. Hold them off. Urge get Desire away from here. Love, you are with Ardor.”
“You have to be kidding me…”
“We don’t have a choice. We don’t have a choice….”
We were assassins on the run. When we were younger we were taken by a man named Tom. Tom made us into his weapons. And his weapons escaped. All of them. Scattered all over the world. But Tom rebuilt the Assembly and now he wants us back.
And maybe that’s why we’re running. Our feet hitting the dirty water underneath a bridge. I’m with Love…the guy who hates me most in this world.
“I don’t get what Craving saw in you…” Love states between labored breathing from all the running, “I don’t fucking get it…”
Envy. That’s what Desire said it was earlier today when we hung out. He was convinced Love was only so angry with me because he was envious of my relationship with Craving. He’d experienced the same thing from Love with Urge. Love had been envious of their relationship as well. He’ll never let it go. The fact that someone he loved had an eye for me. A part of me wished I could take it back. Maybe he was right. I was worthless. I was the weakest assassin that came out of the Assembly and the fact Desire was shot and we had to run again was because of me. He was split up from his friends and stuck with a guy he hated.
“You’re fucking useless. Stop being sorry and start surviving,” he tells me, “It’s too late. Don’t you fucking see that? Look at the shadows. The assembly is here.”
I turn back. Ninjas in modern time were real and these were them.
I didn’t even have a gun. I forgot to bring one. What kind of assassin forgets to grab a weapon when escaping? Love doesn’t even mention it. He already knows I’m useless. He sighs a little bit irritated. He’s right. Shadows everywhere. Everywhere. My heart is racing. They were descending on us. We wouldn’t be able to outrun them.
“We need to slow them down,” I suggest.
“You finally have a good idea…” Love responds.
It felt good. How weak am I that something so small as someone saying I had a good idea would brighten up my eyes? I didn’t want to be the strongest assassin. I wasn’t even near that. I just wanted to fit in somewhere. I just wanted to be enough. And that’s why I smile at Love. That’s why him telling me that I had a good idea felt so good.
And that’s when I feel it.
A gunshot in my leg.
It isn’t from the Assembly though. It’s from Love.
He’s shot me in my leg!
“FUCK!” The screeching pain disables my body and causes me to fall to the ground curdled in pain. He looks over me emotionless. I’d been nothing more than a thorn in his side and at that moment he almost looks finally pleased.
“Finally you are worth something to us,” he states, “You can slow them down.”
With that, he continues to flee as the darkness of the Assembly falls over me in shadows…
Part 2: The Rise of the new Lust
My name is Quix or it was. Now I’m Lust, or at least that’s what Tom promised he’d make me. And I love the name Lust. It fits me. Especially now while I’m having sex. I’m having sex with this guy. His ass is bigger than I remember.
“You ready for this dick?” I ask him.
I slap him in the face, “I told you what to call me.”
He’s handsome. He’s been around for three months now and he loves me. He’d do anything for me. He’s attractive. Some handsome model with brown skin like honey and curly hair like soft waves. His body is fitted and his ass is a big bubble that I’d like to bust. I grasp it, pulling it closer to me. It’s getting hot. Real hot as his head goes into the pillow and his ass sticks out. It gets so hot that I melt into him. The softness of his ass as I slide in cause him to shift and squirm.
He can’t take it. I don’t expect him too. I hold onto him and push hard. Real hard. He squirms deeply and pants. I’m sliding into that wet ass. I like to dominate. I like to punish. He’s telling me he loves me as he grabs onto the sheets. He doesn’t love me though. He loves the dick. He always has. The dick can turn people crazy. I see how his eyes roll to the back of his head. He’s only one of my many boys. One of at least a dozen. I’m trying to scratch an itch.
And itch that I can’t fix.
No one has been like him. No one has been like Desire yet. Desire is that itch I can’t scratch. No matter how hard I push him down. No matter how deep I go. I can’t reach it.
This wasn’t love.
This was something else…
The voice. Holy shit. Not him. He couldn’t be here now. I panic realizing who it is. I push the boy down. He tries to cry out but I put the pillow over his head and press down as hard as I can. I don’t want anyone to find me here with some random boy. I was hired help after all. It was unprofessional.
I couldn’t have that.
So when he walks into the room, the boy is pressed in the pillow and the comforters cover him up to the point that he couldn’t possibly know someone else was in the room with me.
He’s there in the room with me. To anyone, he looked like a regular man. Square framed glasses, dark skin, an ill-fitted shirt and he was balding at the top of his head. He’s the kind of guy you would look past a million times if you’d seen him in the streets. He looked like the neighbor next door. And that was what was so frightening.
“We’ve located Urge’s team.” Tom states.
“That is good news, Tom,” I tell him, “Did you capture Urge and Desire?”
“No. Unfortunately not. But we did capture someone of note.”
“Love. Running away. It isn’t what I wanted but he will serve…”
“Serve as what?”
Tom is short. Quick and almost angry, “I’m recreating the Assembly. Starting with my 7 deadly sins.”
According to Christian tradition, the seven deadly sins are envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath. Tom’s version of these sins were his top assassins. These 7 would be his generals. They would be the foot that Tom would use to STEP on the world. I knew why he was tracking down Urge and the other runaways. He wanted them. I didn’t know much about this person named Love who had run away as well. But I did know that he was dangerous. He was trained by the same woman who had trained me. We both had the same master when we were in training. The woman named Lust who was now dead. And that’s what concerns me.
All of a sudden I’m panicking, “You’re making LOVE the new Lust?”
“No. You are the new Lust…”
“And what will Love become.”
Interesting. I would have assumed that he would have Love adopt the codename of his preceptor. Love had always been Lust’s most popular protégé. I wasn’t complaining though. Tom gave me the codename of Lust meant that he trusted me.
Something he couldn’t possibly do with Love.
“He’s run with the others. He’ll never help us.”
“He will. We’ll recreate him.”
Tom pauses and smiles, “The way we created him in the first place. We are going to start training. A more grueling training than we’d ever had our agents go through before. That’s why I’m here. To tell you that you will be training as well. All of my choices for the 7 deadly sins. Rebuilding the Assembly From scratch…”
I smile. Urge was Tom’s son. He was the reason the legions of assassins had been destroyed and Tom’s precious property had scattered to the wind. This was payback. Yes. I’d be strong enough to kill Urge. I’d be powerful enough to steal Desire. I’d be able to scratch this itch that I had—-once and for all.
“Good. Get dressed. A car will be waiting to take you to the training center. And oh, Lust?”
He called me Lust. He called me by my new codename.
“Make sure you clean up your mess under there.”
My mess? I had almost forgotten. Somehow Tom knows there is someone under my sheets. That’s when I take the pillow off. And the guy with the nice ass isn’t moving.
He isn’t breathing.
Damn, who knew just trying to keep someone quiet would strangle them?
Part 3: The Rise of the new Greed
“I don’t care what your family says, Juliet. I choose you. And I ‘ll choose you… over and over and over. Without doubt, without pause, in a heartbeat, I’ll keep choosing you.”
She was an heiress. He was the man of her dreams. They were the perfect couple and this was the perfect night. Or so he thought. Unfortunately, however, that wasn’t the case.
“Is that why you’ve been fucking your accountant?” she asks.
“What? Juliet, where’d you get that from?”
“Don’t lie to me, Aaron.”
“Baby….I would NEVER do that to you.”
He was good. Real good. She would have believed him. If it wasn’t for the footsteps walking into the dinner top rooftop. My footsteps. They didn’t see me coming. My skin tight dress and my tall lean heels. I wasn’t beautiful in a classical way, no flowing golden curls or ivory skin; no piercing eyes of green. I was shorter than average and certainly smaller than a catwalk model, but in my ordinariness somehow I was stunning. Something radiated from within that rendered me irresistible to both genders. Men desired me and women courted my friendship. Ever since I was younger. I was one thing above all others.
I was desired. I was a desired woman.
“Good morning Aaron.”
I was his accountant. Sweat drops are at his forehead when he sees me standing there. When I drop some still photos of the two of us in compromising positions he looks horrified.
“Surprised?” the heiress asks, “Layla let me know you had her transfer all of my money into a secret offshore account behind my back.”
Aaron is in shock, “I love you…why would you do this?”
He’s not asking the heiress. She means nothing to him. He’s asking me. He looks me right in my eyes and he’s confused. Men liked to believe that women were weak in that way. He looked at me and he saw a woman who needed help. I didn’t have experience as a personal accountant and I begged him, so he gave me a job. One night while working I was so cold and needed warmth. So he put his arm over me. And it started from there.
Before long he was my knight in shining armor. Or so he thought. What he didn’t know was that I wasn’t the damsel in distress in the tall tower. I was the dragon.
“I’m already in love with someone else,” I tell him.
He doesn’t realize it when I kiss the heiress. He didn’t know I was bisexual until my tongue enters her mouth and he comes to the realization that the whole time he thought he was having an affair that his wife had been the one actually having the affair.
“You’re going to go home,” the heiress states, “You’re going to pack your shit and get the hell out of my house. I’m going to have our marriage annulled. I already spoke to the media. I told them I’d be breaking up with you. And you’re ruined, Aaron. This is my revenge. I should have known better than to trust you.”
The heiress has a smile on her face as he leaves, defeated. His face completely bruised. He’s swearing underneath his breath but I think at this point he wants nothing more than to escape and get away from us. He’d go home and doubt it. He’d ‘try’ to plot revenge. He’d fail. He didn’t quite understand the idea of being ruined. It was a simple concept. Aaron was once a big name but now he wouldn’t be. His acting days were over. The heiress would release the articles and ruin him completely.
And it isn’t until he’s gone she melts over me.
“We did it,” she states, “My last FUCK you to him. Now all you have to do is transfer back the money and we can go live in Dubai like we said we would.”
We’re kissing. Our tongues pressed together. One moment embraced and the next moment something else.
I push her.
The heiress doesn’t see it coming. She doesn’t see herself falling over the edge of the building and collapsing to her death. Her body hits the sidewalk splattering in more ways than I can count. And I’m sitting at the top of the roof smiling.
You see, I wasn’t named Layla.
I wasn’t Layla or Martina or Rosie or any of the other names that they thought I was. I’d forgotten what my real name was.
But I knew exactly who I was. My name was Avarice.
I was an assassin. A very RICH assassin now that I had framed Aaron for killing an heiress after transferring her account into my personal bank.
That is until I hear a voice behind me.
“I figured a fire couldn’t kill one of the Assembly’s best,” the voice states, “Was quite hard to track you down, Avarice.”
I turn. No. Not again. Not again. I realize I’m surrounded. And I recognize the voice.
Fuck. Back to the Assembly, I guess. It was fun while it lasted.
Part 4: The Rise of the new Wrath
I wake up with a headache. The room was spinning. That’s when I look up and realize there is a swaying light. It flickers here and there. And it all seems so familiar.
My name is Love. The voice is stale and it’s attached to a woman who is just as stale. A woman who doesn’t have a personality. I’m sitting in a chair, tied up completely. And the scary part of all of this is that this is all familiar.
“Not again…not again…” I am screaming.
I was kidnapped when I was a kid. That seemed so long ago. Taken. And I thought I had escaped it all. I thought I had found myself out of the worst part of it. I was wrong. This was something completely different.
I’m in this small room again. And even before the woman really explains it I know who she is too. She’s what is called a moderator. Moderators were brainwashed operators that acted as Tom’s way of making sure his assassins kept in place. And this place was the Assembly. This was the hub. A place where children were stolen away from their parents and stolen away from their lives. Ever wonder where the kids on the milk cartons end up?
They end up here.
“What’s your name?”
The same question that I’d been asked before.
I didn’t use the name I was given at birth. Here that name didn’t matter. Here the only thing that mattered was your nickname. I was Love.
I don’t expect her to say that. I don’t expect her to open the door to two men who come in and beat me like a broken doll tossing my body around. I am beaten to a pulp. My face bruised up. My body aching so bad that I can barely stand. The worst of it all was that I was tied up. I couldn’t defend myself. All my training meant nothing here. As dangerous as I was—-I was no one to these people.
“What’s your name?”
“I don’t have one,” I respond.
“You have a new name,” she states approving of my ability to clear the slate, “Your name is Envy…”
I am taken into another room. It’s a holding room. I’m not talking. All I can feel is fear. Fear that my friends ended up in the same place that I did. I was worried about Desire and Allure. I was even worried about that asshole Urge. The one person who didn’t concern me though was him. Ardor. I’d warned them that Ardor was the reason we would get caught. He was dead weight. It wasn’t just how weak he was, which was laughable but it was the fact that he put us in danger. It was he who alerted the Assembly to our location.
And when they came he slowed me down.
I had no choice but to shoot him.
The only thing that sucks is that it only slowed them down for a bit. They probably realized it was useless Ardor and went right to chase after me.
Why did they want us back?
“You look like shit,” a voice states.
She looks familiar. A Latina girl is in the room. She is wearing grey scrubs but by the way, she sits with her back up and her eyes darted towards me you would think she was wearing a ballroom gown in one of the fanciest restaurants in any city in the world.
It was no point in asking her where we were. She didn’t know. I recognized her.
“Avarice,” I state, “I thought you were dead.”
It wasn’t like she was a long time friend or anything like that. Not too long ago she was one of the people hunting us down. At the end of the day though she was an assassin. An assembly assassin. Sure she tried to kill my friends and I. Sure she had a reputation of a femme fatale, but at the end of the day, it didn’t matter. She was doing her job. I didn’t take it personally.
She shrugs off the idea, “You should know better. They always find us. Always. No matter how far we think we get. No matter how long we run. They find us. They drag us back to this shit hole. Nice that we were gone for that long, though.”
“Thanks to Urge and Desire,” I realize.
That was my team. Tom could change my name to Envy but at heart I was still Love. My team was still me, Desire, Urge and Allure. Sure I’d been kidnapped, trying to get away. It didn’t matter. i would never turn on them. Never.
First chance I get—I’d kill Tom.
The mention of my friends isn’t something that specifically warms her heart. When Urge killed Tom we all ran. We all got away. We all thought we were free. There were probably hundreds of us out there in the world, running hiding and hoping the Assembly would never track us down now that Tom was dead. The only issue was that Tom wasn’t dead.
He came back.
And he killed Craving—-the love of my life as his welcome back present. Now here I was, delivered to his door.
She smiles, “You prepared to help Tom track down Urge and Desire? You know that’s why we’re here…”
She was right. She had to be right.
“I’d rather die.”
“No, you wouldn’t. I know you.”
“You don’t know shit about me,” I state.
“Yes I do, Envy,” she states.
She nods, “You got promoted. So did I. I’m no longer Avarice. I’ve been promoted to Greed. Back when we were younger I used to think being Promoted to a Deadly sin was the best thing in the world. Then I escaped and stole a couple of thousand dollars and realized I preferred that a lot more.”
She smiles as though thinking about whatever good times she’d had during the big escape. Last time I’d seen her she was in a car being burnt alive but I should have known that an agent of the Assembly would be harder to kill than a fire. Avarice had built up her reputation quite a bit even when I was in training. People knew who she was. They respected her. I wasn’t surprised that Tom would have brought her back. I’m not surprised that he would have promoted her to Greed.
What I am surprised is how good she looks.
“You didn’t put up much a fight,” I realize out loud.
“No point in fighting. Not anymore. Tom always gets what he wants. Quixotic is the new Lust. And I also met the new Wrath.”
The old Wrath was still alive, leading a resistance against Tom. My team was supposed to rendezvous with Wrath and help him. Tom wasted no time in realizing that he needed a new Wrath, but that title was coveted even amongst the other 7 deadly sins. Perhaps it’s because of how frightening the old Wrath was.
Who was it that would be taking the place of Wrath?
“He’s over there…in the corner,” she states.
“Someone else is in here?”
“They must have really beat the hell out of you,” Avarice grunts, “You should have been able to pick up that we weren’t alone. Wrath. Hey Wrath, come on out—-show your face.”
We both look in the same corner of the room. A part of the room is dark and shadowed off to the rest of the area. This wasn’t the most welcoming place already and Avarice—-well she wasn’t the most welcoming girl that I’d ever known. If I hadn’t gone through all of this before I probably would have been pissing my pants.
“Come out,” I state.
I go into a defensive posture. If necessary I’d have to defend myself. If necessary I would have to fight. I knew Tom. If he was going to replace the horrible frightening Wrath who was legendary in the Assembly it would be with someone far worse.
Perhaps one of Wrath’s old proteges who had spent time in the shadows perfecting the art of murder.
Or perhaps someone worse. Some hidden gem in the Assembly that had been locked away in a jailhouse away from society because of his deadly homicidal tendencies.
Who was the new Wrath?
Who was this nightmare?
“Hello…” the voice whispers.
That’s when I see who it is and I’m beyond shocked. This was a joke! It had to be a joke! It had to be a mistake. The boy limps forward and clearly, one of those legs is the legs that I left a bullet in.
Ardor was standing there.
Ardor was the new Wrath.