Goodbye

“You know you’re being followed right?”

I glance back nervously and see the two guys in black suits who have been on my trail for the past two blocks.

“What makes you sure they’re following me and not you?” I replied, “You’ve been by my side for two blocks as well.”

“Oh so you noticed?”

“Did you assume I wouldn’t, Jane?” I said tersely, never once taking my eyes off the road ahead.

“So you’ve heard of me?” she asked.

“As soon as they put the bounty on my head, I knew they would send their best and considering I’m the best they had to send the second best.” I shrugged.

She didn’t reply but I could tell my reply had hit home.

“I’ll give you a choice.” I said.

“What’s that?” She asked.

“You and your two goons back there forgot you ever saw me and tonight you’ll see your children when you get home,” I said, “Continue down this path and well James and Peter won’t have a mother in a few minutes.”

Taking a deep breath, I hated having to involve children in any threat, I continued,

“Neither will Johnny, Jamie and Susan.”

Jane faltered slightly and fell back. I could tell she hadn’t expected me to know this much about her and her two associates.

She got back into step with me.

“What makes you think any of the information you have is factual?”

“I don’t care if it is,” I replied, “Continue down this path if you’d like and we’ll see.”

I paused, then added:

“I’m not being followed anymore.”

Jane glanced back in surprise. The two man in black suits had disappeared.

“I warned you.” I said.

Then she saw the gun in my hand aimed at her.

“Goodbye.” I smiled.

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It’s A Funny Story

“I’m drained.”

The gun wavered ever so slightly.

“So fucking tired.”

The gun wavered ever so slightly again. If you weren’t watching it, then you wouldn’t even have noticed.

“I just want this to be over.”

Jack didn’t even know how to use the gun in his hand. He pointed it at Larissa. He was so mad. So furious.

“This was going to make everything okay!” Jack was struggling to keep his emotions in check, “Instead everything is beyond fucked!”

Intense, red hot boiling rage was pouring out of Jack. Almost like a volcano erupting. He was struggling to manage how he felt. Tears had begun to run down his cheeks. Hot, liquid and salty they blurred his vision.

The gun wavered again.

He was pretty sure the safety was off.

Everything had been so goddam perfect.

The sun had been shining, the skies had been blue, the birds had been singing.

An hour ago, he had been cruising down the road, high as a kite with loud music bursting from the speakers.

And then he had got home.

He had seen Larissa.

And everything had changed.

Her flawless face was tracked by tears. Her mascara had blackened her cheeks and her eyeliner had run off course.

“Why?” He demanded.

Her blue eyes filled with tears and her lips quivered.

Jack could not take any more.

Closing his eyes and bellowing with rage, he pulled the trigger. 

A Splash of Red

The once happy and blazing inferno had given way to a soft, halfhearted crackling from deep within the blaze. As it consumed the last of its meal, the fire seemed to slow, become lethargic, as though tired from the effort of burning. The light turned deep red as the leaping flames turned into smoldering embers. The last life of the fire still crawled across the blackened logs – Like a living beast trying to break free.

The fire was surrounded by litter, hanging around as if trying to gain the last bits of heat before it died. Cigarette stubs, empty bottles and crumpled cups. It looked like a scene from a Hollywood teen party. Hard to believe they had only been three people around.

Further back, a couple of camping chairs stood.

The tents just next to the chairs were abandoned and empty.

The scene looked abandoned, apart from two people lying on the hard ground. They looked like they had passed out after a long night.

One person was awake, however.

Red hair tied back in a messy bun.

Lesley was slumped in one of the chairs. Black shoes with white rubber soles, barely grazing the ground, brown pants, a white shirt and a green camouflage jacket completed her look.  A lit cigarette hung loosely from one hand, giving off tiny wisps of grey smoke. A bottle hung loosely from the other.

She was staring deep into the fire.

Almost as if seeing something in the dying embers.

Tear tracks and ruined mascara lines decorated her face.

Her eyes – Usually a light brown – were bloodshot from the crying and the amount of drugs she had ingested.

She took a sip from the bottle. It dribbled down her chin and onto her shirt. Her white shirt covered in red stains. Taking a long, deep puff from the cigarette she was holding, she tossed it.

How had everything gotten so messed up?

Behind her chair one of the passed out bodies lay.

A closer inspection would reveal Jason was not passed out and had in fact been shot. Part of his neck blown away. His eyes were wide with terror. Clearly he had known what was coming.

A gun lay carelessly tossed at his side.

Later, when the police arrived they would find Lesley’s fingerprints all over the handle.

No honor amongst thieves. A bank heist should’ve made them all rich. Only Lesley was alive to enjoy the money now.

Wiping her tears and part of the mascara. Lesley glanced at Hannah. She had clearly been trying to run, when she was shot in the back. A bag lay at her side, it had opened up when she had fallen and money was spilling out.

Lesley couldn’t believe her brother and sister would do this to her.

Maybe she’d just never been part of the family. They were step siblings after all.

“We lied to you…we never cared.”

She couldn’t believe the only reason they had finally been nice to her was because they wanted to exploit her skills as a robber. For the briefest amount of time, Lesley had a family. And she had to kill both of them.

Alone, terrified and mentally reeling.

She was a tiny, insignificant child trying to make sense of a world that refused to accept her – yet again.

Bending down, she scooped it up and placed it in her mouth.

Staring at the barrel, she said:

“Please forgive me, God.”

She closed her eyes and her fingers tightened on the trigger.

And then a growl stopped her.

Across the fire, something with silver eyes stared at her, probing her soul and asking questions she didn’t want to answer.

It looked like a dog. But she’d never seen a dog so big. Her fur was white – grey, fur glossy and thick. Her paws caressed the earth with a precision and stillness. She had upright ears and they twitched every few moments.

The wolf stared at Lesley. Staring deep into her soul.

Time slowed won, Lesley dared not move, afraid that the wolf would attack her or take flight.

Staring at the wolf, she felt like transfixed.

Maybe she could one day be as free as the wolf, living out in the nature, with her family.

Lesley blinked.

And the wolf was gone. Had it ever been there? Tossing the gun to the side, Lesley stumbled on to her feet.

Pulling the bag away from Hannah’s dead weight, she zipped it up, slung it over her shoulder and disappeared into the night.

I don’t believe in violence.

I don’t believe in violence.

But it solves the problem.

I don’t believe in violence.

But you have to admit there’s a certain style to it.

A certain gore.

A certain rush.

A shot of adrenaline.

I don’t believe in violence.

I barely believe the statement anymore.

I’m staring through a scope.

At the other end of a scope is a war.

Well not yet.

But my bullet might ignite it.

The Countdown

The house on the cliff seemed to shiver as a slight drizzle began to fall, and the sprays of ocean lightly caressed its walls as the a frenzy of waves pounded the cliff below. It had once stood tall and proud, built like a lighthouse. However, it looked a lot worse for wear now; White paint peeling, shattered windows and general disregard echoed all around the house. It seemed to moan eerily with every gust of wind. An abandoned, lonely house that appeared haunted.

 

Mark took a deep breath as he stared at it. Standing at the brown door, his fingers tightened on his gun. The cold steel reassured him and made him believe he could stop this attack. How cliché this entire ordeal had become. More “James Bond” and less “in and out without anyone knowing”. Pulling his jacket tight around his shoulders, he could not believe he was here. Lily was up there and he could not let her die.

 

He felt pretty sure the door would be open.

 

Lighting a cigarette, he looked around. The smoke warmed him as he looked at the raging sea. The grey water was furious and beat the cliff up for the unknown offence it had caused.

 

The grass around his feet was wet now as the drizzle threatened to become a full blown rainstorm. The thick grey clouds hinted at it.

 

Taking in a deep breath of fresh air, he pushed the door. The hinges creaked loudly as the brown, wooden and probably termite infested door swung open. Peering inside the dim he couldn’t make out anything. Taking a final drag from the cigarette he tossed the butt to the side and stepped across the threshold into a new world.

 

The room smelled old and musky, vapors of gas seemed to float around mixing with the smell of salt already in the air. It was not a pleasant mix and Mark doubted whether anyone with any sense would ever come here. In one corner was a stairs leading all the way up. In another corner stood broken chairs and tables.

 

Broken lights, paper and empty tins of canned food littered the floor. A trend seemed to be emerging. Every other object was broken or scattered on the floor.

 

Slowly making his way around everything – careful to avoid stepping on anything that might bring him to attention – Mark pulled out his gun and clicked the safety off. He got to the stairs in the corner and looked up.

 

Long and twisty, they seemed to be ascending to the heavens. Unevenly and roughly cut, the stairs looked more like rough slabs of cement made into the shape of bricks and tossed there. They spun round till the top, where the door of a room was visible.

 

Mark was sure Lily was there.

 

Norris wouldn’t be.

 

Heading up the stairs slowly, his mind spun. He had an idea of where Norris would be and he had informed his superiors. If they had been up to the task, the “evil guy” and his reign of terrorism was done. But he was wary, Norris had never made anything easy. Mark felt certain there was a catch somewhere.

 

As he made his way up the stairs, his thoughts drifted towards her again.

 

Lily the bartender.

 

Another cliché.

 

Love was weird and blind though. It didn’t follow any rules or logic. He had seen her smile and he was done. It did not matter the bar was owned by Norris. And that his instant affection for her had immediately been picked up on.

 

She did not either though. He had told her. They would struggle. Spies did not live extremely lavish lifestyles or safe lives. She wanted him though. Their feelings were mutual and he had planned to disappear as soon as this mission had ended.

 

But he had to deal with Norris.

 

Another mad man replacing another mad man.

 

The rule of nature.

 

A crazy man. Norris was short, and it caused most to underestimate him. A fact which his intense cleverness allowed him to exploit. Getting his hands on enough nuclear material to level half the world had finally made people take notice. With his demand for six presidents to step down or watch the world burn, the world was on high alert.

 

And that is where Mark came in. A man who went in and came out with no proof he had ever been there.

 

The mission was almost over. Not quite for his agency, but it was over for Mark. He wasn’t headed back to mainland after he saved Lily.

 

He stopped. He had reached the top of the stairs. Peering into the room he saw Lily tied and unconscious in the middle of the room. Slumped over in a wooden chair, she stirred occasionally. But it was clear she had been heavily sedated.

 

No one else was in the room. Slowly putting his gun away he waked towards her and halted completely.

 

A ticking sound had made him glance to the side. Attached to the wall was a stick of dynamite. On the stick was a timer slowly counting down. One stick wouldn’t have been a problem. He had gadgets that were enough to protect them. Nothing would stop the entire wall behind which was painted in dynamite also linked to the timer.

 

30…

 

28…

 

29…

 

Three wires snaked out of the timer and were connected to the dynamite. Green, black and white. Slowly, he moved towards the timer glancing at the wires. He knew cutting one would stop the explosion. Which one was the right one though?

 

15…

 

14…

 

13…

 

Racking his memory he tried to remember which wire. Pulling a Swiss army knife out of his pocket. He selected one of the wires.

 

“Mark….?” Lilly had just woken up.

 

“Lil? I love you, and I’m sorry.” He replied, never taking his eyes off the bomb.

 

“Huh?” She was dazed and confused.

 

5…

 

4…

 

3…

 

Taking a deep breath, he chose one wire and cut it…

Be Careful What You Wish For.

Andrew stared around at the desolate landscape he called home. Once a wonderful city teeming with life, green pavements, blue skies, beautiful parks and happy people. It was now brown, barren and wasted. Buildings had been reduced to small stubs of what they once had been. Trees burned to ashes, the roads tattered and faded.  It had been so for the past ten years. An ancient city wasting to rubble after an apocalypse.

He closed his eyes and rubbed them. Slowly opening them, he stared at the destruction ahead of him. Sighing resignedly, he turned around and walked back into a tiny shed that served as his house. Every day for the past ten years he had woken up and walked out hoping this extended nightmare was over or his high had worn off.

He still remembered the last normal day before it happened…

 

The party was in full swing. Red, blue and green lights pulsed on the walls. Vibrations rattled the room as loud music throbbed around causing Andrew’s head to ache. He gritted his teeth and tried to ignore it, attempting to focus on the drink in his hand instead. He stood in a corner away from all the mingling souls swaying and jumping to the music.

This was strange, considering it was his house and his birthday party.

He actually hated parties.

Loud music.

Crowds.

Noise.

It served him no purpose. But to please Robin he had agreed. Not like that would mean much very soon. Another nasty fight and he was ready to move on with his life, and he sensed, as was she.

He saw her enter the room. A beautiful cake in her arms. Twenty two candles perched upon it. The flames swayed and flickered with her every step. The light from the candles glistened on her face and gave her wonderful smile a surreal quality.

Her eyes seemed to be dancing and she radiated positive energy. Gasps of wonder filled the air as she headed towards a tiny table in the far corner of the room. Whether the gasps were directed at her or at the cake was a question for another day.

While the bright lights and loud music irritated Andrew and made his head ache, it seemed to have no effect on the rest of the people celebrating his party. Free food, drinks and drugs probably did that for most people.

He would have honestly been better calling this a normal day and not thinking about getting older. He hated birthdays and the ideas of birthdays. Life got worse the older you got. He was disillusioned and depressed with his life, far too cynical for his age.

Robin was almost at the table.

Sliding a box of cigarettes out of his pocket, he slowly fumbled around in it until he found a neatly rolled paper with something inside. Pulling it out, he slowly lit it and took a drag. Feeling a tiny bit better, he looked up.

Robin was beckoning to him.

Slowly, he dragged himself out of his corner, and headed towards the table.

Dragging his seat, he stared at the candles.

“Make a wish…it might just come true.”

She winked and straightened up, then broke into a lively rendition of happy birthday. She was soon joined by the millions of other people who had attended.

Staring at the candles, he felt irritated by all the voices and cheer around him.

Twenty two.

Yet he felt older.

Nothing in his life had gone quite right for a while.

The cheer was beginning to irritate him. He wanted to be alone. Why couldn’t people just let him be?

“Fuck this shit.” He thought to himself.

Taking in a deep gulp of air. He blew out the candles.

“I wish I was the only one on earth.” He whispered to himself and closed his eyes.

 

 

An exhausted thirty two year old Andrew opened his eyes and glanced around at the desolate landscape again.

He was alone. Everyone and everything was gone. He was frightened, abandoned, all alone and beginning to accept all this might be real after all.

A Losing Battle

I feel the wind on my face. The cliff is ominously high. It’s almost inviting to jump over, not just yet .The salt and humidity whip my face, however it has a refreshing feel to it. It’s been years since I last came here with Charlie. I peer over the edge and see the unrelenting and unforgiving ocean pound the bottom of the cliff. I close my eyes and breathe it all in.

 

My white shirt is painted red. The knife I grip tightly slowly drips, creating a puddle of blood on the ground. The past twelve hours have been harrowing. The sun is setting and a beautiful golden glow lights up the ocean.

 

A short distance behind me, an enormous mansion rises from the ground. Three stories, it’s painted white and gleams in the golden sunset. The only glaring detail that seems to stand out is the bloodied water of the pool. And the body drifting in the middle. The mansion is beautiful despite paling in comparison to the nature around it.

 

Killing someone is hard. It’s even harder when you’ve known that person damn near your entire life. Being an assassin has had its moments – Different countries every night, Fast cars, loose morals and even loser mean and women. Did I mention the money? Let’s just say if you’re an assassin working for the corporation, you didn’t die poor.

 

There’s very few rules only. I don’t mind, without order there would be chaos.

 

You don’t ever turn down a job. It doesn’t matter who you’ve been ordered to kill. Charlie was testament to that.

 

Never keep personal connections, you never know when someone will target you or who your next target was.

 

If only Charlie has known how sorry I was, I’d never meant for this to happen, but you never said no.

 

I couldn’t think about him and his lifeless body drifting in the pool. Charlie has trusted me, he’d always kept me in touch with real life. Yet what did he get? Three quick thrusts of a sharpened blood. And I’d watched his last moments. As the realization dawned that his best friend, the one woman he’d loved, had just turned on him.

 

The breeze pushed back my curls. My eyes sting, the tears make this harder. I’d messed up. I could’ve run. I could’ve hidden. It didn’t often work, but I wouldn’t have had to pull the trigger and kill him.

 

Regret is a dangerous weapon folks. Wars have been won and lost on that basis. Slowly taking in a deep breath, I step forward.

 

I had lost.