Mia sunk slowly into the warm water and washed any trace of the past few hours from her body. It still amazed her that she had never even been close to being caught and nobody ever suspected her. To anyone that was lucky enough to know the other side of Mia she worked for a huge corporate company that redeveloped large areas for commercial use. People always commented on how lucky she was to have such an amazing job that allowed her to travel all over the world. Mia didn't get too close to people and she kept herself very much to herself making sure she never gave anyone the chance to ask questions.
Her training had been disciplined and Mia knew what was at stake if she didn't follow the rules. It had been hard in the beginning and Catherine as she had been known then fought them every step of the way. "The Associates" as they were known had been clear from day one, follow the rules, do as we say and ask questions only when necessary. They had been responsible for all her facial changes and had nursed her back to health afterwards when she had been in the worst pain of her life. The Institute had been enormous and she had felt completely overwhelmed in the first few months of her induction there. She had been one of 20 to arrive on that cold and wet day, most of them were her age and all of them looked terrified to death.
The programme had been laid out in front of them on the second day. It was quite simple and involved a lecture by a stern looking woman called Elaine. They had all been chosen for their own safety and if they wanted to pull out of the programme they were on their own and no help would ever be offered again to them. Mia sat and listened as Elaine read out all of the kids stories. Some were drug related with no hope of ever getting clean on their own and some were that of abuse. After 40 minutes it was her turn ....."Catherine S" Elaine said "Yes Miss" Mia replied. "You are here for your own safety, you have been involved with one of the biggest drug cartel families in Europe. You are now in imminent danger as are those of your family. We can help you to gain a new identity and keep you and your family from harm. You will undergo surgery and completely forget the old Catherine, a new name will be allocated to you and your family will be forgotten." Elaine read from a piece of paper as if she was reciting an article in a magazine. Mia remembered attempting to put her hand up and defend herself at her lack of knowledge about Greg's family but was abruptly interrupted. "Your death will be faked and your family will grieve for the loss of Catherine but you..." she stared coldly into her eyes "Will be saved".
And that was how she had become Mia Campbell, as simple as that. Little did she know that The Institute would want much more in return for her silence and safety.
Mia jumped as the door buzzer sounded, she sat on the bed for a while trying to figure out who on earth could be at her door. It buzzed again and she swung her legs round ready to run into the hallway, suddenly a noise that she didn't recognise rang out through the apartment.....A key in her front door.....Yes...A key. What on earth was going on she thought? Mia leapt into action and grabbed her gun, she left no sound as she sprinted to the other side of the room. Her heart was beating so hard in her chest she could barely hear anything else, she had to regulate her breathing before she had a full on panic attack. Footsteps approached her bedroom and they were definitely men's footsteps. Mia crouched behind the curtains and waited. It seemed an eternity before the handle twisted slowly and the door opened. Mia squinted at the figure that appeared in the doorway, he was about six foot and dressed in black, black coat, black hat and gloves to match. A voice pierced into her quiet state "Mia, Mia I know you can see me, show yourself my child".
Mia slowly rose from her hiding place and stood firm staring back at the man all dressed in black, "what the hell are you doing in my apartment?" she asked. “You haven't been answering any of our calls young lady and as you well know in circumstances like that we have to check in personally." He replied.
Mia flushed a deep shade of red as she remembered turning her phone onto silent in the car park and forgetting to turn it back on once home. This was a cardinal sin and one that would not go unpunished. The man in black sat on the end of her crumpled bed and smiled a dark sinister smile before saying "you had us all worried you know. If it hadn't been for the news coverage we would have assumed you had been caught". Mia apologised and wrapped her robe around her already freezing body "I don't know what to say, there is no excuse for my lack of communication and I will understand if you want me to leave my post ". The man sneered ”There will be no need for that Mia, just make sure it never happens again, there will be no second chances. Do you understand me?" He said . "Yes Sir, I understand and I promise it will never happen again" she replied.
He left as quickly as he had appeared and Mia sat for what seemed like eternity thinking about what had just happened. She was left under no illusion that they could get to her whenever they wanted and wherever she was. Mia was well and truly a kept woman and they were in charge of her destiny.