A little nightmare nugget from my college daze – I mean, days – when I had an overweening sense of my own talent. Okay, and I was obsessed with assassins. Go ahead and laugh at the geeky gothness of it all.
I’m going insane.
The assassin gritted his teeth and kneaded his forehead, inwardly snarling at the headache forming behind his left eye. He counseled himself to patience. He must wait here in the darkness beneath the oak tree, and not think about the splash of arterial blood on the sidewalk, the hot, metallic spray against his face as Kyle jerked like a rag doll when the bullets hit him—three in the chest and one nicking the carotid artery—the rising shrieks of the children in the playground…
“Enough,” he whispered, raking his fingers through the unruly mop of dark auburn hair. He had not bothered to dye it black this time, because this was supposed to be a clean sweep, a strike out of the darkness and retreat sort of operation. No flourishes. Just a kill like so many before. the assassin took pride in his efficiency; Kyle had been the artist in NEMESIS.
Kyle had also been careless.
The target is on the move.
The cold little voice he always listened to drove away thoughts of his late partner and encroaching madness, and the wiry young man stirred, uncoiling from his hiding place like a panther in one fluid motion. He wrapped his black duster tighter around him, embracing the darkness of the early autumn night. He could hear the susurration of a light breeze in the foliage, and the faint ree—ree of persistent crickets. Cautiously, he crept around the bole of the tree; luckily, the leaves had not yet fallen from the trees, so he wasn’t worried about making too much noise. Neither was he afraid that he’d be seen—on this far side of the residence hall, the gloom was deepest. There was a hedgerow lining a small path leading up to a dimly lit doorway—it was from there his target would exit the building.
The assassin cast a quick look behind him, then scanned the surrounding area. Good, still quiet as a tomb, he thought, sinking slowly into a crouch. He had grown familiar with the college campus, after all the time he spent here, watching her—seeing that bastard with her an arm slung around her like she’s his property she giggles nervously cringing away the diamond glinting on her finger—
Licking his lips, he thrust a gloved hand into a pocket in the lining of his coat and reverently withdrew his knife like a priest handling rosary beads. His eyes shone as if reflecting the starlight—in her deep blue eyes so far away I want to get closer—high above, and the blade glinted in sympathy. This was his special knife, a dagger forged by a blacksmith with revenge in mind. It was made for delivering swift justice, and if nothing else governed the assassin’s hardened heart, there would always be Justice
—and through the bedroom window the girl smiling smiling up at Neal always a ray of something pure like love splashed crimson blood on stained concrete the children screaming her eyes are the deep blue heavens—
The door swung open, creaking on old hinges, and the young man’s nostrils flared as he caught the odor of cigar smoke, sweet and musky. Peering through boughs of tight-cropped cedar, he saw the target step out on to the path, all alone this time. Last night and the night before the target had had at least one giggling girl draped over an arm, and never the same girl twice. The assassin’s hackles prickled with loathing; he knew what this target liked doing with—her no I won’t let him do that to her—young women friends.
It was one of the reasons he had looked forward to this assignment.
The target—bastard—strolled a few feet along the wall, kicked a stray stone, then leaned casually against the wall, puffing his fancy Cuban cigar with a smug look on his face. The target was a twenty-year-old man of average build, taller than the assassin by an inch or two, with dark hair and eyes, a tanned complexion, and moderately predictable habits. The assassin had catalogued this information religiously, as he always did, not allowing his emotions to drive away rationality. In his mind, he calculated the force he was going to need for the knife-thrust to penetrate the target’s skin.
Be cold…death has silent wings and arctic breath…Now was the time. the assassin scanned his surroundings once more, his ears opened for any stray sound of approach. There was nothing, only the heavy silence and the smell of his target’s cigar.
This is for her.
He parted sculpted cedar branches and flowed through the hedgerow, catlike in stealth and grace. His right hand gripped the knife–familiar in texture and weight as he closed in on his target—a blur of black motion against a starry sky and black bushes. The target’s mouth went slack with surprise, the cigar dangling, then falling, from limp fingers when he saw the assassin coming for him. Then the knife, a silver slash slitting the muscular neck from ear to ear—a bloody grin—and the assassin’s arctic blue eyes blank and glowing in the dim light as the head fell back and the body slumped to the ground.
A contemptuous snarl twisted the assassin’s thin lips as he glared down at his quarry, reduced to useless meat all too easily. Anger seized him then, and he slashed the target’s face, putting out his sightless, glazing eyes for good measure. “You can’t look at her with lust now,” he growled, wiping off his knife on the target’s sleeve. Replacing the dagger within his hidden pocket, the assassin melted back into the night, berating himself for succumbing to his rage. To emotion.
Once again, the thought crossed his mind: I’m going insane.