Gladys Vandelay was once a rising recruit, trained to be one of the most dangerous snipers in an underground society of feminists. She has since defected, and now, she’s being recruited by another secret organization. The problem is, everyone still thinks she’s playing for the enemy. Elliot Chan’s determined to find out for himself whether Gladys is a friend or foe. The one thing they have in common is that both of them lost their fathers to the Swords of St. Catherine.
Elliot Chan: Domestication
All that talk about Gladys Vandelay… Jake had so much hope, so much faith in her. Jake’s not an idiot. Just a hopeless romantic. Who was she? What did she know? What if she knew nothing and all this drama was just a waste of time and stress. They did mention that she flunked her initiation. From my understanding, only full-fledged Swords knew the deepest innermost secrets of the Society’s infrastructure. So what could we possibly get out of this one girl? I had to see for myself.
After combing the enormous estate for most of the afternoon, I found her in the first place I should have checked. I heard she was crazy about guns but damn. By the time I arrived at the underground shooting range, she had already gone through fifty magazines, three sniper rifles had jammed and the gears of an antique machine gun had dislodged from its cogs.
A guy leaving told me that she didn’t talk to anyone and good luck. She just stayed in her lane and popped off rounds. When someone asked her a question, she pretended not to hear them. But still, I approached, pulling up a chair so as to signify that I wasn’t going anywhere.
She threw a glance out of the corner of her eye before unloading on a fresh target sheet 30 yards away. I heard she was twenty-two but she looked like she was still in middle school. Baby blue eyes. Long blonde hair with curls at the ends. From her skirt and stockings, I could tell she was athletically gifted by the bulge of her calves, the way she barely shook from the recoil. Her accuracy was also something else. She hit the X on eight out of the ten shots fired from a fully automatic.
“I’m glad to see your injury hadn’t affected your accuracy.” I said in the pause it took for her to reload.
She didn’t respond.
“You were wounded, weren’t you? I’m only assuming Col. Buchanan isn’t completely off his rocker in bringing you here.”
“Scared?” She asked.
“Terrified.” I grinned.
“You should be. I’m only barely resisting the urge to turn my muzzle your way. Now leave me alone.”
“Are you here to destroy us? Or do you really want to take down the Society?”
She slapped in a new magazine with an attitude that sent chills down my spine.
“If none of you believe me, then why the fuck…You should just get rid of me. It’s so simple it’s stupid.”
“You’re right!” I said, standing up. “It is stupid. However, Jake isn’t dumb and neither is the council. But unlike them, I know all about false hope. I know what it does to a man. They’ll sacrifice their entire lives for that which isn’t true, plunging headfirst in their graves blissfully at peace with the hope and faith that everything will work out. I learned that lesson long ago. Hope, faith, belief, these are like batteries for martyrs. I’m not a martyr.”
“You think I give a damn what you are? Couldn’t care less.” She snapped.
“I heard they killed your old man right in front of you.”
She finally aimed her gun at me but I didn’t back down.
“They killed my father in front of me too. Both of my fathers, actually. The biological and the one who adopted me. Honestly, you bitches make me sick. Initiated or not, you’re one of them. I can see it in your eyes. You all have it.”
“Selfishness. Everyone of you thinks you’re the center of the universe.”
“Please! Grow up! Every one’s selfish! You have to look out for yourself ‘cause no one else will. If all the Paramours are like you then y’all don’t stand a chance. The Swords will carve through you like cake.”
I nodded in disbelief as I walked away, kinda pissed.
“You’re selfish too, you little punk! You’re just too stupid to see it. That ‘correct the course’ philosophy is nonsense! It’s pointless. It won’t change anything. If you don’t kill them! If you don’t kill every last one of them they’ll only multiply and they won’t stop until they get their revenge! And on and on it will go! It’s insanity you fucking blockhead!”
I could still hear her shouting as I boarded the elevator. It’s not that I didn’t believe or understand where she was coming from. But I suppose that’s the difference between the Paramours and the Swords of St. Catherine. The women perpetuate the hate. The men are prepared to end it by laying down their lives. It begged the question, in the depths of my heart, am I really a Paramour? Continue Reading