The Assassin's Daughter

I'm Emma. Well that's not my real name. My birth name is Shalott. I'm the Lady of Shalott like in that old poem about a girl locked in a tower. But we are very different. Or are we? I guess we're alike in one way. We are both cursed by dark power. But I'll get into that later. I'm 12 years old. Now I live in America with my Aunt Jackie. It's just the two of us in this small apartment in New York. She looks nothing like me. She looks very Japanese. I look like me. I'm sort of a cross between Japanese and English. Aunt Jackie says I get all of my looks from my father. My hair is dark black, silky, and the straightest straight you've ever seen. I'm constantly brushing my long side-bangs out of my dark blue eyes. Aunt Jackie says I should put it up but I hate it like that. I always wear my hair down. When I wear short sleeves and shorts people always comment that I have an extremely wiry body for a girl my age. I'm tall and have long fingers. I have 20/20 vision and no need for glasses. I have strong bones and a healthy diet. My grandmother on my dad's side says that I have the body of a perfect assassin. She's like that. So are my mother, father, and two older brothers. They tend to freak normal people out with their words and appearances. My whole family's skin (including mine) is abnormally pale. Our eyes are either too bright or depressingly dark and stand out. No gray. Just black or white. I haven't seen anyone in my family, except Aunt Jackie, in 10 years. Not even my parents. They only send letters 3 times a year. In their last letter, they said that I'm going to come to live with them in London. I don't really want to go to live with my family. We hold a dark secret that I don't want to get involved with. My brothers will probably boss me around all because I'm younger. Also in my family, girls aren't treated quite the same as men. If girls don't obey the men, we're in big trouble. My family lives in this ultra, mega, huge mansion. Some people say that some of our maids got lost and were never found again. But who believes in that kind of stuff? I've got another bit of gossip to tell you. Some say that our mansion is haunted. I don't blame them. It was built as a perfect home for an 18th century assassin. It is very dark on the inside and outside. No sound comes from it. No one comes in nor out. People walking by feel exposed and fearful. Young children sometimes start to cry when they get close. Everyone avoids it at night. But I'm not scared of it. I lived there until I was 2 and still have some memories of its long, dark hallways and unnervingly gloomy ball rooms. I remember my eldest brother's evil smile. His name is Devin. His hair is light brown. He is the most secretive and least talkative person in England. My other brother's name is Tom. I remember his fair blonde hair and wide eyes. They are a very light blue, the exact opposite of mine. We are both tall. He looks like Mom and is her favorite. Devin is Dad's favorite. I wander what they look like now that they've grown. My mom always wears smart clothes like everyone else in my family. Turtlenecks and long sleeves all year. Tight dresses and skirts for girls, long pants for boys. High heels for girls and shiny dress shoes for the boys. No one wears bright colors in that dreaded mansion. We all wear solid colors. I don't really remember my father. When I was young, he had nothing to do with me. So why does he want me back all of the sudden? I probably won't ever find out. Right now Aunt Jackie is telling me to hurry up. I grab my heavy suitcase full of all of my belongings and run to the door where she is waiting for me.

I step off of the plane to see many crowds of

people walking around. They are all talking in English accents. We are at the airport in England. I see a man dressed in all black and assume he is here to pick me up and take me to my family. I say goodbye to Aunt Jackie. Her eyes are filled with tears. She hugs me and kisses me on the cheek. We bid goodbye and I walk over to the man in black. "Hello Miss Shalott. My name is Bryce. I shall be taking you to your home." he says. His voice is heavy with an accent. I look blankly at him and say "Hi". I hate anyone who calls me Shalott. He takes my bags and leads me to an old car. We get in. It is a long and silent ride to the mansion. As we get out Bryce says "I will be taking your things to your room, Miss Shalott." I already miss Aunt Jackie. I have a feeling that I'll never be called Emma again. The gates creek as Bryce opens them. I follow him solemnly to the door. He turns the doorknob and pushes the door open. Inside I see a dark hallway. It is going to swallow me up with darkness. I take a deep breath and follow Bryce inside. A woman that appears to be a maid walks up to us. She looks aged and has gray hair "Hello Miss Shalott. I am Helen. Welcome home. Shall I bring you to see your family?" she says. Bryce leaves to put my bags in my room. I hope my family will accept what I'm wearing. I'm wearing an Evanescence T-shirt and jeans with holes. My sandals are black though. That's a start. And Evanescence is a sort of dark band. But my family probably only listens to classical music if any at all. Oh well. I follow Helen down several long hallways. We end up in a humongous library. I bet Devin can be found here. I am right. A young man about the age of 20 stands up from a desk in the corner. He has light brown hair and a straight face. When he sees me, he smiles. I remember that smile all too well. "It's nice to see you again, my dear little sister. It's been so long. We've missed you." he says. I hate him. What he had just said was all lies. When he smiles, he is planning to do something to you. Normally the thing he does to you hurts you in at least one way. I smile a fake smile. "I'm glad to be with you again." I lie. I look at the book he is reading. I am not surprised to see that the book is titled "Poisons from Around the World" Devin sees me staring at the book and chuckles. I look away so he won't see the fear in my eyes. Devin specializes in poisoning people. My father is very proud of him. I fear he might poison my food one day. "Feel free to explore this library once you have the time." Devin says. I nod. "I suppose you'll be wanting to see the rest of the family." he says and goes back to reading. He is quite a bookworm. Helen and I go up some stairs and down some more hallways. How am I going to find my way around this place alone? I notice that there aren't a lot of windows in this gloomy mansion. People here must not get a lot of vitamin D and can't absorb calcium well. Poor them. The lack of sun light explains their depressed attitudes and pale skin. Maybe they take vitamins to stay healthy. I am so busy thinking about this that when Helen stops in front of a door, I almost run into her. She knocks and a woman's voice calls out "Come in" I think it is my mother's voice. I am correct. My mother turns around and sees me. Her eyes widen and she smiles. She embraces me and kisses my forehead like Aunt Jackie. She finally lets go and looks at me. She is wearing a ton of makeup. Her blonde hair is long and wavy. She is wearing a tight, black dress. It looks Japanese. She is from Japan. Her accent makes that obvious. "I've missed you so much, my darling baby girl." she says and hugs me again. "I missed you too." I half-way lie. I missed her, but not enough to really think about it. She looks into my eyes and smiles. "Well if you need anything just ask. Feel free to explore, but don't get lost. I'll see you later darling." she says and Helen and I leave the room. We go up some more stairs and go down more hallways. "I think Master Tom is in his room. Let's check." Helen says and knocks on a door. This time she doesn't wait for an answer. She opens the door. It is extremely dark inside the room. A single oil lamp lights the large room. The flame flickers even though there is no wind. "Master Tom, your sister has come." Helen says. I turn my attention to a blonde teenager with bright blue eyes lying on his bed. He is staring at the ceiling without blinking. He turns his head toward me. He doesn't smile. He just stares. I feel uncomfortable with his stare boring into me. He sighs. "So much for my nap." His nap? His nap?!? Is that all he cares about? Rude! He is dressed in black from head to toe. He is still wearing his shoes. Why wear your shoes if you're taking a nap? My younger brother has always been on the strange side. I get bored of him and let my eyes wander. The room is totally made of brick. The flame in the lantern still flickers. I see a window with closed, black curtains. Tom seems to keep his belongings elsewhere, for I cannot see any personal items. I think I see the outline of a door. I look closer. I can't see it. My eyes are playing tricks on me. I'm not used to such darkness. I jump and my heart climbs to my throat. I see that Devin has opened the door and come to stand next to me without making the slightest sound whatsoever. How did he do that? Usually no one and I mean no one can ever sneak up on me ever. I can hear people's footsteps 70 paces away. I know it's weird, but my whole family is that way. "Tom, may I borrow a knife of some kind?" Devin asks his brother. "No. But I'm curious why you would want one." he answers blankly, not even looking at him. "Wait, let me guess, you want to cut open some strange fruit and then put bane in sissy's food. I can read you like a book. And why couldn't you just get a knife from the kitchen." he continues. Devin smiles. He'll never give up. "Well you see I just wanted to use a knife covered in blood." he says and walks out the door. Have you guessed yet? Every person in my family is an assassin of some sort. Of course Devin poisons people. Tom welds all kinds of knives, kards, and daggers. My mother strangles people in certain ways. My father specializes in every art of assassination there is. I suppose I am here to master the art of murder. I don't think I'll be enjoying my stay at all, but I know better than to complain. It might cost me my head. I am ashamed of my heritage, but I can't help it. I've learned to live with my family's dark secret. My family hasn't been outside of this haunted mansion ever since Devin was born. Every child in this household goes through gruesome and painful training to become a full-fledged assassin by 18 at the most. Both of my brothers soared right through training and were assassins by the age of 12. I'm 12. I'm expected to become a savage killer within 3 years. I don't think I can do it. If the want me to be like them, then why did they send me to America to live with Aunt Jackie, who has left her horrid ways behind? I will never know the answer to many questions as long as I'm living with my father. As long as I'm living with my mother, I will always wear fancy clothes. As long as I live with Devin, I will always be on alert. As long as I live with Tom, I will be in a controlled environment. But I will make the best of it all. I will live with it. I might not ever laugh again, but I'll make it somehow. I've felt like this my whole life. Tom seems to be able to read me like a book too, for he says "Don't worry. You'll get used to it soon enough." I look at him. He seems to care. But things aren't always as they seem. Yet there is something about him. Something says he wants to be a good brother to me. He wants to care. He just can't. He was raised to be like this. He was taught to fight for himself and for no one else. But something about him screams that he wants to be my friend. Something… I can't help but to smile warmly at him. He looks surprised, but smiles back. It is a wonderful smile. He does care. I want to stay with him, but I must see my father. "See ya later." I say to Tom. He gets a look on his face that says "I've never heard anyone say 'ya' before." Helen takes me out into the hall and shuts Tom's door. "I'm afraid that your father cannot see you now. I'm sure you'll see him at dinner. Your room is to the right of Master Tom's. Feel free to explore the gardens or ball rooms or anywhere you like. If