Authors: Margaret McHeyzer
Tags: #General Fiction
Anna Brookes First Chapter
© 2013 Margaret McHeyzer
First published in 2013
All rights reserved. This book is copyright. Apart from the fair purpose of private study, research or review as permitted by the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced without written permission.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Images Copyright Sashkin and Wahoo, 2013. Used under license from
I would like to thank the following people for keeping me on track and sane in the process of writing this book.
My family for always supporting me, especially my dear husband who puts up with everything I throw at him.
Andrew, Grace and Olivia
My two best friends for reading the unedited version and telling me their favourite parts and the parts they insisted on changing.
Tina and Melissa.
Thank you to my lovely Editor for directing me to all the right paths where I needed to go.
Thank you to the poor graphic designer who I hounded and bugged and asked over 50 questions before she even did any work for me.
Sprowt Graphic Design
And last but not least, thank you to everyone who put up with my FB updates and my constant talking about how much this book rocks.
You know who you are.
Like us on FaceBook at HiT 149
For my Family
Table of Contents
In and out. Breathe.
All I need to do is concentrate. Breathe in and out. Henry always told me, that’s what I need to do. Breathe.
I’m standing here, on top of the building and I need to remind myself to breathe. It’s not like I haven’t done this 146 times before. It’s not like I’m NOT the best in the business. I am. I am the best at this because as sick as it sounds, I WANT to be in this business. I love doing what I do. Yes, it is very strange that a woman, who is 28 years old, would want to do what I do. Actually, what’s strange about it is that anyone would want to do what I do. This is an industry where men usually make up the players. Not women. I can tell you that I have been in this line of work for the last 13 years. I didn’t quite fall into it, I actually sought it out. And I am undoubtedly the best woman in the industry; I would even go as far as to say I am the best, full stop. Other women have tried to come and take my place, but that hadn’t lasted long. They have tried to eliminate me so that they could take my place, again that didn’t last long. I am respected amongst all the big players. I am the biggest player of them all. If a rookie tried to come along and show me up as an example of their capabilities, it didn’t take long for me to work out what they were about. Not long at all.
I remember when a certain young lady by the name of “
” decided that she wanted to muscle in on my work and take my clients. She tried sending a warning that she was the new up and coming super star and she would stop at nothing to get her hands on my clients. She thought she was doing me a favour by giving me a gentle warning that she was taking my place. That’s always their mistake. They try to warn me. Mistake number one. There is no warning in this business. There are no second chances. Which is why, I was at the top of my game.
There is no hesitation. No second thoughts. No doubts. No emotions. No feelings.
That is why I am standing on top of the building. Getting my breathing under control. Because this is number 147.
I need to get this right. There is no room for error.
You see, my name is Anna Brookes and I am the most dangerous woman you will ever know. I
the best assassin in the world.
If I don’t take out the target, I become the target.
I am untraceable, I am unidentifiable, I am a ghost. I choose to have no friends; I choose to live a life of isolation and solitude. I do not want the distraction or the complication of any emotional connections with anyone.
I am an only child. My mother, Natalia left my father Henry the moment I was born. She was a 16 year old girl who became pregnant to her 19 year old boyfriend, my father Henry. He loved my mother so much that when she told him she was pregnant with me, he took responsibility and decided that he needed to give Natalia and I the best in life. He worked hard by going to the Police Academy and graduating at the top of his class. My mother Natalia, on the other hand, hated being tied down to one man. She hated being in St Cloud and she HATED me for ruining her life and her body. So the moment I was born, Mom left. Henry had been at work when Natalia went into labour with me, she didn’t call him. She had been collecting money slowly and sneakily to make her get away. Once I was born, the hospital called Henry and told him Natalia had given birth to a girl but she had gone somewhere and not told the staff. They had been frantically trying to search for her for close to an hour after they discovered me lying on the bed with Natalia nowhere to be seen. Henry came to the hospital straight away and searched high and low. I was born healthy, so Henry took me home when I was released from the hospital. The day Henry took me home, there was a letter in the mail box. It was from Natalia, it simply said, “I don’t want this”. And with that, Henry stopped looking for her and was resigned to the fact that Natalia left for her own selfish reasons.
I had the resources to find her and had kept updates on her whereabouts until 5 years ago when she dropped off the radar. She led a very self-abusive lifestyle up until then, involving herself in drugs and solicitation. I hadn’t bothered chasing her down once she disappeared because she really was of little interest to me and I assumed drugs had taken her life.
Henry was the best role model and father he could be. He had no idea what he was doing as a father, but he gave it his all. My father worked so hard and quickly rose through the ranks at St Cloud Police Department. He became the Chief when he was just 29 years old. It was not all done without sacrifice though. He had to endure long work hours and had no time for any other relationships to develop. In saying that, after the way Natalia treated him by leaving with no more than 4 words on a piece of paper, he did not want any more relationships. He loved me so much and taught me so much.
When I was 12 years old, Henry took me to the shooting range and taught me how to shoot. He didn’t have to teach me much. I was a natural. The moment he put in my hand a G17, was the moment I started to breathe for the first time in my short 12 years. It all made sense to me. Everything fell into place. In that one moment, I knew I wanted, no, I
to be never without a gun. I felt the steel against my palm and I smiled. This was home for me. There was a charge that started at my fingertips as I wrapped the gun in my hand that went all the way through to my core. My heart skipped a beat and my breathing became erratic. Not from fear but from pure elation. This is what I was born to do. This was home for me. This is where the sun rose in the morning and this is where the sun set in the evening. I had never felt more alive.
After that one day at the shooting range, I begged Henry to take me there every spare moment he was at home. He loved that I wanted to become a Police Officer the moment I was legally old enough to be accepted into the academy. But, life doesn’t always go the way you plan.
Most 12 year old girls were listening to music and swooning over celebrities. There was no way in this world I wanted any of that. I wanted to learn everything I could about artillery. It started out by finding out as much as I could about small hand guns. Then that research went on to discover other weapons that I could aim and shoot. The other girls at school had posters on their walls of Madonna and Nirvana, I had pictures of Glocks, Colts and Sigs. Henry was a bit worried that I was taking my liking of guns a little too far, he often remarked that maybe it was becoming an obsession. He was right of course, but I didn’t want him to limit my time at the range. So I did everything I could to deflect that idea. I threw myself into study and proved to be the best daughter he could have. I took my gun pictures down and replaced them with token celebrity posters. Henry of course fell for it. I destroyed any photos I had of the guns and learnt to hide the real me away. I put on that face of a loving 12 year old ‘normal’ daughter but I knew inside me that I loved the information I was acquiring of anything gun related. But I also learnt that I had to conform. I learnt very early on, how to hide. If my own father, Henry, Chief of St Cloud Police did not pick up on my overwhelming and pure devotion to the beautiful object known as a gun, then I was going to be able to control myself in any situation.
My façade started on the day I took those gun pictures down. It was the first time I truly cried about anything. I know now it sounds silly that taking down pictures of my beautiful Glocks would make me cry, but for me the gun was the only thing in the world that made sense . I never cried when Henry told me about Natalia, I never cried through films or songs or funerals or anything else that people find sad. I did not have the best introduction to life but I made up my mind the very day I touched a pistol that I was going to do everything in my power to feel the need and urgency and love I had for that cold, steel masterpiece I held.
Henry saw me devour books and education was becoming easier and easier. I learnt all I could so that Henry would reward me with shooting practice. We even made a compromise that if I got straight A’s and did extra curriculum activities that counted towards my education, he would take me to the shooting range for the entire day on either a Saturday or Sunday. That was all the encouragement I needed. I threw myself into education. By the end of the school year, I had studied so much and so hard that I had skipped ahead 2 grades. The teachers were literally shocked that I went from an average 6
grade middle school student, to dux scholar who finished middle school in 9 months. It was hard, but my thirst for knowledge about guns made my façade grow. I wanted Henry to take me to the range and I was rewarded with weekly trips. That was my haven. That was where I belonged. Henry was so shocked and happy and proud that I had skipped 2 entire years that our trips to the shooting range increased to twice a week.
Henry was very surprised that he really didn’t need to help me aim at the bullseye. I am and always have been a natural. The more I went to the range the better I got. Over the 2 years I was going from the age of 12 to the age of 14, I was unbeatable. There were tournaments at the range, and Dad encouraged me to enter in them. He was so proud of me. His words to me were always the same. “Breathe Anna, breathe. Let out that breath that is holding you back and let go.” I lived by the mantra of ‘breathe’. In the tournaments that I entered, all with the support of Henry, I drew attention to myself from all over, I was soon known as a gifted shooter. I, however, only ever saw it as target practice. It wasn’t about who won and lost for me, maybe because I never lost. But to me, it was about hitting that bullseye 100% of the time.
– the day of my 15
birthday, I had come home from school and Henry had taken me to the range as one of my birthday presents. Everyone knew me there and everyone knew Henry. Henry was also known because he was Police Chief of St Cloud. This particular day is the day that changed my life. It changed my life in so many ways. This is the day I killed the first two on my list. This is the day that I knew I was not going to be a police officer. This is the day that the lust and greed I had for weapons was to become the way of life for me.