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g h o s t

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It began like all tragic stories did; with the destruction of a family, with a betrayal, with a theft, with tears and screaming and blood.

It began in the middle of the night; it began a mere two days after the Romanovs welcomed their darling daughter; healthy and perfect in every way. Perfect – but, unlucky.

Unlucky enough to be selected from a random lottery that had selected families and gathered children from across the Soviet Union. Unlucky enough to be ripped away from her family before she even knew them.

Perhaps it was for the best.

There was, at least, nothing to miss – nothing to tie her to the outside world. She didn’t remember her childhood – or perhaps, adolescence was a more apt word, devoid of the warmth that the term ‘childhood’ inspired. She didn’t remember anything but pain.

Dramatic, and yet, accurate.

She used to be one of many; she knew that much. There used to be others with her, other children, before what made her destroyed them. Why she survived and the others did not was anyone’s guess – and yet, it was always made clear that they still held her life in the balance. A scare tactic, perhaps – though disobedience never crossed her mind – there was nothing but service. Nothing but the mission.

Nothing but the mission.

It was branded on her in every way except physically. In every language she knew, in the bruises she gained and the blood she spilt, in the shadows at night, in the shifting of her body, in every breath she took.

There was nothing but the mission – until he came.