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  • Slow and deep.
    Each breath must be silent.
    And continuous.
    I need to keep the maximum amount of oxygen in me without making a sound.
    Thank goodness for the training.
    It was hard at first.
    Really hard.
    It was hard until I stopped fighting it.
    Of course, they had broken me.
    They had dismantled me and then rebuilt me to what I am now.
    If they hadn't, I would be dead by now.

    I had been standing in the doorway since midnight.
    Waiting.
    Thankfully a moonless, cloudy night.
    It was time for me to move on.
    I was about to continue when I heard him.
    He was slowly approaching me.
    Almost silently.
    Almost.
    I could tell by his movements that he hadn't seen me.
    As he was about to pass, he stopped.
    Just two feet from me.

    I heard the click of the lighter and the smell of the strong cigarette smoke.
    If he had been facing me when he lit up, then the flash of the spark would have revealed my position.
    He would have seen me.
    And he would be dead by now.
    I could feel the handle of my knife held hard into my palm.
    No room for errors.
    Firm.
    But luckily for him, and luckily for me he was facing the other way.
    The smoke caught at the back of my throat.
    I nearly coughed. Involuntarily.
    Nearly.
    Training.
    I stopped it - suppressed it.
    One cough would mean one death.

    He finished his cigarette and moved on.
    Almost silently.
    I could track him by the faint noise he was making.
    My orders had kept me alive tonight.
    My orders had kept him alive tonight.
    No contact.
    Just observation unless absolutely necessary.
    I waited another ten minutes before I moved on.
    Silently.
    Training.
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