He paused for breath. He had been running for so long. He could only hear the slow almost non-existent wind in the barren wasteland.
“Why did he choose to run towards the wrong exit?”
Immediately the first shot was fired. He knew it had been a set up. There had been another sniper on the opposite rooftop. They had paid him all that money just to get him out in the open. He tried to lick his lips but his tongue felt like sandpaper on tanned leather. He checked for his side pistol. At least he had managed to scramble out with that.
This day was working towards rivaling his worst days on the job before. It had been off since early morning as he left the house. He almost forgot his silencer. And then his backpack strap came off just as he boarded the cab. The cling and clatter of the black metal had to be hurriedly explained to the cabbie as plumbing tools. His blue overall sold the story. But now standing under the scorching sun, he cursed his outfit of the day. (#OOTD) A sly smile cracked his already parched mouth as he remembered how he figured out the meaning by himself the first time he saw it on the cursed Instagram. The same app they had used to point out the target.
Some hungry looking birds flew overhead becoming one with the dimming horizon. Not even as much a Tweet but just observing how exhausted his Face Looked. They were flying lower and lower. And slowly they invaded His Space.
He had been working in this profession for 7 years now. He had started at 20. The first job was to clean up after another assassin and he almost got shot in the process. Two years later he had his longest assignment yet. He had to learn all about the target before the primary assassin was sent in. He studied her faithfully, followed every movement. He had his heart and soul all in only to find out at the end of the second year that he was the chosen one to shatter her heart into bits.
He had grown fond of the target. Two years of following her as she went by her daily activities had established a connection. It was no wonder the bullet went through her arm without causing any permanent damage. He had missed his first major target.
He ran away. He feared that his employers would come for his head. In spite of this, they still managed to get a hold of him via his contacts. He was relieved to find out that the target was too important and only he had the information on how to track her. He was safe to come out into the dark world again and continue with the job.
She had gone underground after the attempt on her life. It did not take long for him to find her though skilled as he was. Getting her out in the open was the hard feat to achieve. She was cautious and paranoid. She had learnt her lesson and no one was going to convince her otherwise. It was finally life in the shadows that gave him a helping hand. Bored of hiding and dropping her caution once, she brought her head out for some air and sun.He was ready this time. He was there with his scope aimed at her heart. As he pulled the trigger, a tear streamed down his cheek and landed on his feet just as she hit the ground.
He had become the man to his peers. He had brought down the most evasive target ever. He would however never be proud of this first kill. He had got too sucked into the assassin to target (ATT) relationship. He decided he would ask for information from others from now on and just be the trigger man.
One month later, he had his next assignment. He had all the information. He was ready. All his equipment was well packed. He had long suspected that the target had recognized him once at the bar. It seemed he had been sent to kill a retired fixer. So he decided to investigate. She was not so retired after all. She still had all her old files including his; and “protection” hidden in a compartment in her dresser. Now he was sure she knew who he was. With this new information update he decided he would hit her that night. He waited in the dark living room when it was time for her to come home. He could hear her keys jingling at the door. Just then, his pager beeped and he saw the luminous words: “OPERATION TERMINATED”. He felt a tinge of annoyance as he slunk back in the shadows and leaped off the fire exit. For once, a target he was ready for was the one who was cancelled.
Now here he was. After years of successful work. He was now at the top of the food, hood and loot chain. He had finally accepted another job that required him to do the full reconnaissance. This would be for a shorter period of only a year so he was prepared and he had experience before not to fall for the target. However, he had barely finished up with his recon when the order to off the target came in. That is how he ended up perched atop the tower like a gargoyle doing his walk of shame. Waiting for the target. The devil was in the air though. He could smell her, feel her, taste her. And just as her car pulled up, a moth flapped his wings by his right eye and as he moved his head to the left, a bullet whizzed past his right ear…
Soon-after the night became lit up by gunfire from about three submachine guns aimed at him. Oh dear Hell! There was more than one person sent to take him out. Maybe it was because of that old target of his. The one he missed then broke both of them with a single shot. This was no time for mind journeys though. He had no choice but to drop his belongings and run. By now they would have his prints. The Law was already after him. He was spent and thirsty. His career as well as his life would be done now.
He looked up, it was growing dark again. He heard the baying of dogs coming closer. He pulled out his hand gun. The night was serene and the moon was bright that night. He took in the divine scenery. He cocked his gun as he heard shouting getting closer. He looked down from the sand dune. They were too many. There was an army of about 20 men and 10 dogs looking for him.Whether it was the cops or his old mates turned foes he couldn’t tell. Was there ever really a difference though? He had had cops facilitate his data gathering on targets before.
He closed his eyes. He remembered how he had nonchalantly etched her name onto all his bullets out of boredom. She would be the last thing on his mind, he thought as he put the gun to his temple. As his finger tugged on what he already knew was a hair-trigger, he reminisced about what he had always known. He would die a bandit.