Done and Dusted

The incessant patter of the rain outside muted out the powerful baritone of Luciano Pavarotti singing his scales at the National Opera House a few blocks away. The room was small – foggy and pungent. The man sitting in the room was just the opposite – neat and fresh. The cigar drew long shimmering lines adding weight to the already heavy atmosphere. A glass of whiskey stood on table in front of him beside the ash tray. His AMT Hardballer pistol lay on the side table beside him – two full magazines ready to empty themselves at whoever burst the rusted, creaky door in front of him.

The man sat straight in the chair – watching the smoke rise as he quietly sipped his drink, occasionally casting a glance at the black phone on the table. A fly buzzed around the room, finally settling on the brim of the whiskey glass – a brief flick of the knife and two parts of the fly fell beside the still glass. Death, the man thought – if only it came that easy. He was trained to kill and live. The contracts got easier by the year – except the last. Too long, he thought. Too long he had been at this – too much blood had flown. Experiences and encounters flashed before him. Better sensing capability, faster reflexes, newer ballistics – all paid for in lack of pain, fear and love. She was his only contact – the only voice he ever heard, accustomed to it over years. Now it was all empty – gone forever.

The singing continued in the background as with a chiming sound, he felt a hot searing pain down his side. A small hole burnt in his shirt slowly became red as blood flowed onto it. He looked back towards the window – a small hole where the bullet came through the thick of smoke and rain. He was betrayed – the agency had caught him at last. They must have guessed his intentions and found out his failure. He slumped back into his chair – gripping his pistols for the last time. The Agency had won – now no one would be safe. He had failed. His revenge unfulfilled – he had failed her, or her memory, it did not matter anymore.

The window gradually opened as someone entered the room – sagging shoes treading heavily on the carpeted floor. He sat still, panting and gasping for air – a pitiable sight. The entrant slowly rounded him – pistol coked and ready. The man gripped his own tightly – a shot rang out. The phone rang – it was the supervisor. ‘Confirm target eliminated’. A raspy voice answered the beeping phone – ‘Target eliminated. You’re next’.

The window was open when the landlord came in the next day – a person lay on the carpet – stiff and dead for hours. The landlord slowly crept to the body – was it his tenant? The room was too chilly and quiet – the rain splashing on the sill, wetting the carpet, the match on the television just about to start. A shot rang out – the game just started, the loud cheering hid the sound.

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