It wasn’t hard to see why Katrina had been likened to a cat; she had astonishingly emerald green eyes and long black hair that she wore loose so it flowed over her shoulders, it looked so sleek and smooth it made you want to run your hand down its length. Her gait was swift and purposeful and she never missed a step.
Her demeanour was cool, calm and confident, her physique was that of a well tuned athlete and her wardrobe was carefully chosen to match the combination of aloofness and subtle superiority she exuded wherever she went.
The other women gave her a wide berth, they had no wish to get to know her or find out if she would fit into their circle of confidantes and as she had made no attempt to inveigle herself into their favour, why should they bother?
In truth, they all suffered the same destructive emotion, they were jealous and as with all forms of jealousy, they treated their victim with derision, suspicion and spite. But only behind her back, for amongst their undisciplined resentment, there was also a feeling of unease and apprehension, there was an air of disquiet about her they couldn’t quite put their finger on.
And it wasn’t just the women who were wary; the men also treated her with something approaching a god-like reverence; a mixture of fear and respect for something that was not fully understood but was known to possess a restrained power that was best left undisturbed.
Katrina knew only too well what emotions she was engendering but it was not something she could, even if she wanted to, stop.
It had amused her to see the familiar looks of resentment; the faces were different, but it was the look in their eyes that was always the same. You can learn a great deal from a person’s eyes; look through them to reveal the soul, discover quickly the paranoia that lies within their shallow minds.
But she had a job to do and only one day left to execute it. It was a straight forward process of elimination to complete the task.
“I think the file reference is wrong.”
Katrina’s concentration was momentarily distracted; she looked up and for a split second felt an unfamiliar agitation rise within her. She looked down at the note, needing a moment to discretely compose herself.
This clerk was new; he hadn’t understood what she wanted. It was a simple request, why didn’t he understand? She showed the slip of blue paper to the clerk, he didn’t look up, why won’t he look up? Look up damn it!
Her thumb rested on the top of the blue slip as she passed it to him; he reached out with his open hand, ready to enclose the blue slip within his grasp. His thumb was now on top of the slip, and then it happened.
“Oops, sorry, this old nylon carpet is the worst thing for static.”
He was unphased by the shock that had leapt from his hand to her’s. The tiny electric jolt that had passed from his body to her had felt like a bolt of lightning striking her very core. She looked down at his hand that now held the slip of paper. The mark, there was the mark, no doubting it. So he was the target after all. Disappointingly unimportant in the real world, but elsewhere a significant danger to her kind.
Look up, why don’t you look up? Let me see your eyes.
In truth she didn’t need to, she knew he was the one; she just liked to look into their eyes.
The mark was now as familiar to her as her own reflection, not that she had seen that for many years.
“The file I need is on the top row, amongst the archives.”
She watched him climb the metal ladder; it was rarely used and had never been replaced even though it was worn and rusty.
Her eyes watched him climb each unsteady step until he had reached the top and pulled down the heavy crate. She watched as he turned to find a resting place.
“Yes,” she thought, “that will be your resting place”.
The heavy crate burst open as it hit the floor; a few loose sheets of paper flew up then floated down like autumn leaves caught in a sudden breeze, some of them resting on the broken rungs that now stuck out like jagged spears from the fallen ladder.
She folded the slip of blue paper having crossed off another name. Just two more to go.