A Simple Meeting
There is a city, filled with buildings, and far from here; and a simple alley way just like any other. It is made of plain bricks that are dusted with layers of filth and graffiti. Against the walls lie piles of trash and debris. Aside from the occasional stray cat, this alley is nearly devoid of life.
A middle-aged man stands at one end of the alley, a scowl on his face. His clothes are old, torn in places, and stained with who-knows-what in others. His arms and hands are scarred and calloused, telling a tale of brutal fights and bloody battles. His cold, brown eyes glare angrily at a small form curled up against a wall, while the form stares back with nearly the same intensity.
The form is that of a young woman, wearing what was once a crisp, white suit. Her long, scarlet hair frames her face, giving the man a perfect view of her expression. Instead of the frightened or resigned looks he was so often used to seeing on his targets' faces, there was a calm, almost curious air in her startlingly green eyes. It was almost as if it didn't matter to her that he was pointing a gun at her. Like she didn't care that he had been sent to end her life.
"Why are you doing this?" the woman asks coolly.
"What?" the man questions, puzzled. She wasn't going to beg for her life like most of the other lousy wretches he had been sent to kill?
"You heard me. Why do you want to kill me so badly? Are you doing it for a friend, for whatever sick sense of glory you get from hurting people? What?" The woman gazes up at the man, who scoffs at the woman's questions.
"Look, I'm just here because Boss told me to kill ya. Now shut up and let me do my job." The woman tilts her head to the side in confusion.
"Now why would your boss want me dead? As far as I know, I haven't done anything to deserve being killed." The man rolls his eyes. What was with this woman and asking all these stupid questions? It wasn't like it was going to prevent the inevitable.
"I thought I told ya to shut up! Grrrrrr..... Oh whatever, it doesn't matter. I can't say why the Boss wants ya dead, I'm just the guy the Boss sent to do the job. If I get my money, then I'm not gonna question it. Now shut up!" The man sighs, unused to his targets talking back and a bit jarred that anyone other than his colleagues would want to talk to him anyway. The gun is still steady in his grip as the woman gives him a quick look-over.
"No." She says coolly, before arching a brow. It was almost as if, having analyzed his existence, she had found him lacking in some trait or another. And that was not something the man liked to deal with. He had this woman at gun point, how on Earth was she so calm?! His hands tremble slightly as his irritation mounts. Just what made this woman so special that she could be calm under pressure, beautiful despite the rather grungy atmosphere around her, and rich? (Really, anyone with a pristine white suit like that had to have at least some money, right?). It wasn't fair that she got through life without a scratch while he had to hunt down liars and scum who owed money to the Boss. It wasn't fair that people had to get money from such unreliable means when the stupid banks wouldn't hand over loans, just because they didn't have nice suits or looked pretty. It wasn't fair that people like her could just stroll about anywhere, while he had to-
"Stop it. You are shaking, and if I am to die, I want it to be from a clean shot and not some bullet lodged in my stomach. Calm down." The woman's voice rings out like a bell, shaking him out of his thoughts. The man looks at the gun, and is surprised to find the sleek, silvery metal trembling in his fingers. Drat. Stupid lady just had to be right, huh? There was no way he could fire off a round like this. He lowers the gun to his side, taking a few deep breaths before quirking a sharp-looking grin at the woman. The message is clear.Your move, now what?The woman just smiles back, saying, "Good. Now, tell me what's on your mind. I am resigned to my fate, and if my last moments are to be spent with you, then I at least want a good chat out of it."
The man lets out a soft sigh before tucking his gun back into the holster on his belt. The woman blinks, probably stunned that he had put the gun back in his pocket, before nodding slowly. He didn't exactly like his current job, and although he couldn't say he quite liked this current target of his either, it was worth giving the possibility of some actual conversation a chance. It had been a while since he had a good conversation with anyone, as his coworkers weren't exactly known for their social skills, so if this woman wanted to spend the last few minutes of her life debating with him, he might as well take advantage of it. Plus, it might give him the time he needed to steady his hands once more before he completed the job.
The man smirks at the previously impassive woman's slightly shocked expression before saying,
"Oh, don't think I'm not gonna carry out the orders I was given; I'm still gonna do that. But if we're gonna be having a civil conversation before I kill ya, well... pointing a gun at ya the whole time isn't too civil, now is it? Don't ya forget though, if ya try to run, I won't hesitate to pump ya full of lead." The woman's face quickly adopts a series of expressions, before settling on one of mild amusement.
"No, I don't suppose that is too civil. Well, I might as well begin this pleasant conversation instead of spewing out desperate questions. Now, have a seat," she says, patting a patch of concrete next to her. The man shrugs, but nods all the same, and goes to sit down. Once he was at eye level with the woman, she begins speaking again. "If you don't mind me asking, what's a man like you working as a hit-man for?"
"What do ya mean by that?" the man asks, his irritation spiking once more. Oh, so that's how she wanted to start off, huh? Why did he think thing was a good idea again?
"Well," she explains, "you must have at least some manners if you know how to be civil, and enjoy participating in polite conversation. And people who have enough sense to have manners don't usually work as killers-for-hire, correct?" The man nods in confirmation, trying to cool off at the reasoning behind it. Oh right, that's why he was bothering with this. A chance to talk to someone with a brain for once. The woman continues, "Now, that leads us to an important question: why would you want to kill people? There must be at least some reason, for in my experience, people don't do things without one. " The man gazes warily at the woman beside him, uncertain about just where she was going with all of this. "It could be any number of things that would make a decent man turn to a life of crime. Perhaps he enjoys the thrill of the hunt? Maybe he is doing it because he was forced? Or maybe," green eyes meet brown as the woman pierces the man with a sharp stare, "it's because he needs money?"
Okay, irritation gone. Now he is seriously. Not. Pleased. Yes he liked intelligent speech, but this was a little too personal for his tastes. With a quick motion, the woman is pinned to wall, bricks digging uncomfortably into her back, and the man's fingers wrapped around her throat. The man's eyes narrow as he says,
"How'd ya know?" The woman coughs as he tightens his grip, before gasping out a pained,
"I guessed! I'm sorry if I touched a nerve! I promise, I guessed!" The man releases her, but keeps his glare upon her face, as if she would run at any moment. For all he knew, she might. The woman drags her eyes back to the man's, and with great effort, heaves herself into a more comfortable position. Taking a few deep breaths, the woman whispers out, "I'm right, aren't I?" The man hesitates for a long moment, before nodding and looking down at his shoes in shame. He didn't exactly care for his shortcomings to be laid out before him, but it was a little late to prevent it now. The silence hangs heavily before the woman decides that she can't take the awkwardness anymore.
"How much?" The man looks up, startled, before stuttering out a,
"You heard me, how much do you need?" The woman asks impatiently as the man blinks, confused. After a few moments, he mutters out a number, causing the woman to inhale sharply. "That much?" she questions sympathetically, as the man simply nods. A few moments of deliberation pass, before the man whispers,
"It's my son."
"Huh?" the woman responds, tilting her head to the side in confusion.
"My son. That's why I need the money." the man repeats quietly, before turning away. He was already embarrassed, why not get it all out on the table? It wasn't like he going to give her a chance to tell anyone, right?
"What do you mean? Is it debt?" the woman inquires, growing nervous. In her experience, debts and poverty can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness, some of it rather similar to her fate at the moment. To her great relief, however, the man shakes his head.
"Nah, that's not it. Sick."
"Sick?" the woman repeats. The man simply nods, before continuing on.
"Yeah. My son has a weak heart, and I don't have enough money for a transplant for him right now. I've been saving up as much as I can, but it isn't enough, ya know? I just... this seemed like the only way..." The woman nods, before breaking out into an understanding smile. Gently, she lays a hand on his shoulder, making the man turn to face her once more.
"Tell you what," she begins, eyes glimmering in the shadowed alley like nightshade, "I shall make you an offer. Do you promise on the lives of you and your son that if I give you the money you need, it will not go to waste? And that from now on, for the rest of your days, you will never take another life again?"
The man stared up at her practically radiant smile, mouth agape and head full of confused thoughts. Was this really his big break? Enough money to save his son's life, and all for a measly promise to be good? It was too amazing to be true!
"Th- there's no catch?" He manages to stutter out before the woman shakes her head, scarlet hair curling around her angelically soft expression as she did so.
"No. No catch, I promise. Do you agree to the terms?"
The man pauses for a moment, preparing to respond, when the world seems to shatter before his eyes. A crash of piercing sound, a harsh, choking scream, and nothing. Echoes of agony, before silence, and red, and white, and green, like some horrible parody of Christmas. Blood. Lots, and lots of blood.
A woman jumps down from the neighboring roof-top, landing in a soft swirl of velvet and leather. The beautiful black tunic and silky leggings are at contrast with her heavy boots and the pistol she holds close to her side like some beloved toy.
"I noticed you were having some trouble, so I decided to step in. I hope you don't mind me stealing your kill. After all," she smiles, all cat eyes and hidden claws. "I know you were just about to complete the job. Right?" The man tries to tear his eyes away from the corpse before him, the crisp, white suit like new snow stained the same horrible crimson as the woman's hair. Her angelic face and dull green eyes, forever frozen into a look of horror, and, oddly enough, regret.
"Y-yeah..." He whispers out, slowly moving away from the body and towards his colleague. "I was just about to finish it."
And if the look of pained regret was mirrored by the man's expression as he stalked out of the alley and into the bright, bustling street ahead, who would ever know?