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12+ Violence

A Simple Meeting

by chhlovebooks


     

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.

Nearly.

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,

"H-huh?"

"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?

*


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373 Reviews


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Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:37 pm
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Holysocks wrote a review...



Hello! Care for a review this lovely day?

Well that was TRAGIC! I like it, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't stab me in the heart a little. Like seriously, not only did the lady end up dying, but the guy's son probably has no chance or a lot smaller chance of surviving now too! I was not expecting that ending, to be perfectly honest- I thought it was going to end fairly happily, actually. Heh.

It's funny how simple things can change lives forever.


The beginning started out a little slow, and I noticed the wall between reader and narrator was broken- aka the narrator sort of almost addressed the fact that he/she/they were telling a story- sometimes I think that's okay, but mostly I think that works best for movies and humour, I don't think it really worked for your piece. I think it may have worked a bit better if you had gone back to it a bit more at the end (and it ended on a note that kinda implied the narrator, but it wasn't a lot, so I kind of only barely realized what was happening, after I finished reading.

My advice to you: start where the story starts- start in the alley. We're here for the story! I know I often am tempted to write long beginnings that start out as kind of a pondered thought- but sometimes starting off with those things doesn't really bring the reader into the story and hook them how we want them hooked.

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.


I liked these lines! It really kind of shows how brave this woman is, and how willing she is to look passed the gun and to the person- which is pretty admirable I guess! But also, a little concerning because... why isn't she freaking out? O>O

In a sudden movement, the woman is pinned to wall, bricks digging uncomfortably into her back, and the man's fingers wrapped around her throat.


I've never found sudden changes is peoples emotions- like SUPER sudden changes, to be very realistic. It takes a fair amount to build up to an emotion like anger- even fear... and then for the person to react to it? It takes even more time, and I find that most people, even people who are very prone to rash behaviour, don't flip on a dime. And then, even if someone does get super angry or scared - or both - they tend not to react in such a big way as we see on TV and stuff. But that's just my experiences.

"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.


So right before this paragraph, the lady smiles and puts her hand on the hit-man's shoulder... but that's it. She doesn't say "I'm going to pay for your son's surgery!" or "I have a spare heart that you can burrow!" or anything like that- and as far as I know she doesn't really imply anything except happiness with her smiling, and maybe reassurance. So I'm not sure what happened there, because suddenly the hit-man seems pretty convinced she's going to fix his son up. Maybe you accidentally erased a paragraph? In any case, there needs to be a bit more communication there that says that the woman is going to do something to help, otherwise it seems odd that we're only hearing half of the conversation when we were hearing both sides earlier! c:

Like I said, I thought the ending was pretty well done, in all honesty! I for sure thought it was going to end happily- and though I don't normally condone unpleasant endings for the sake of ending with a twist- I liked this ending because somehow it felt right for the story. Almost like "this is what you signed up for, Mr. Hit-man." if that makes sense.

I hope this was helpful! Keep it up, my friend! ^_^

-Socks




chhlovebooks says...


Thank you for the review, and I'll start fixing things right away. Have a nice day! ^v^



Holysocks says...


You're welcome! c: Have a lovely day yourself! ^_^



chhlovebooks says...


Hello, sorry to bother but I just polished this up a little and I was wondering if you would mind taking a look at it again? I don't mind if you don't do a full review, just please say if I fixed most of the errors you spoke of earlier, and if you like, tell me whether or not you like the slight changes I made? Thanks a ton and sorry for the trouble. ^v^



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Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:10 pm
rosette wrote a review...



Can I just drop in and say a few things, chhlove? Fun fact: I love books, too. ;P

First off, I don't know if you intended that huge, blank space interrupting the "In her experience, debts and poverty can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness..." but you should probably take that out. Its a little distracting, if you know what I mean.


1. To be quite honest with you, and please take no offense, I found this a little ordinary. Your average bad guy doing something for Bad Boss for money. Its extremely common but I like how you changed this around a bit and personalized it. Bad Guy isn't necessarily that bad, he's doing it all for his son. That's very touching and like I said, I loved it. But he was so desperate as to kill a woman? Wow. We have a very intense story on our hands here.
In a lot of stories I've read like this there's always some sassy woman (though in this instance I wouldn't describe her as "sassy") who demands what's going on, why is he doing this, what's she got to do with anything and so on and so on. Eventually, we figure, Bad Guy gets to liking her, warming up to her. And yes, this happens here. But I still don't understand how killing her helped them obtain money? Bad Guy didn't even know why he was killing her and I found that even more intriguing. I would think a person would want to know that when being sent to shoot someone. Unless you're just some stupid thug and this man was not.

2. Another thing here that interested me was Bad Guy's reactions to the woman. I just found it a little odd he put the gun away and stops to chat it up with her. Actually, he gets so comfortable as to sit down beside her and become slightly intimate. All in a very fast period of time. If he was a smart man, and he seems like he is, he would know its dangerous territory to talk with his victim like that, especially being so uncalloused as he was. That was another question that popped up in my mind. You don't say how many people this man has already killed yet he is still so seemingly civil and humane. After so many brutal killings, how? Apparently the more you kill, the easier it gets - not like I've tried it. ;P
3. This one section seriously confused me. Let me show you:

Gently, she lays a hand on his shoulder, making the man turn to face her once more.             
        
  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 good dto be true!


Is this just a mistake on your part? Because, what? We go from the woman beaming at Bad Guy to Bad Guy suddenly radiant with hope that he'll have enough money for his son. Did I miss something? I see nowhere where anything about woman offering him money his stated. Apparently, later on she says there are terms and does he agree? Yes, he does, but I, the reader, know nada about what just transpired. Please do fix this! Also: "dto" should be "to". XD

4. Concerning the woman... You describe her as red-headed with vibrant green eyes, which is just absolutely spectacular! I looove red hair, and green eyes - mmmm. However, the woman's personality didn't quite seen to fit the descriptions. A red-headed, green-eyed young lady brings a sassy, spunky and loud vision to my eyes not the nice and gentle schoolteacher-ish personality you've brought across. Maybe it would have been better to give her a name, this also would have helped with Bad Guy's feelings toward her. But right now, I'm just picturing a compassionate brown-eyed, brunette young woman interacting with the man. Sorry!

5. Now, one more thing to bring your attention to is the setting. An alley is very typical and a little obvious to me. Sure, it could be the bad side of town but you didn't say that... Also alleys tend to echo - surely anyone could have heard that gunshot. Why didn't they do their dirty work in a quieter, private place where they have 100% assurance no one will see them?

A few sentences to point out here:

  "What do you mean? Is he debt?"


Nothing major here. I don't think you meant "he" in that second question, though. Maybe "it" or "Is he in debt?" I don't know. Just thought I'd point it out.

Her angelic face and dull green eyes, forever frozen into a look of horror, betrayal(?), and regret(?).


Betrayal? Regret? Excuse me but did something happen here I didn't know about? Or were those adjectives unnecessary? I'm a little confused right now.

Weeeell, I think that's all I have to say for today, book lover. It certainly was a surprise ending - thanks for that, I liked it, and as for Bad Guy, well, I hope he learns his lesson that he can get his money from some other way than a life of crime. Anyway, keep up your writing, and good luck to all your future works! I hope you found this review helpful (I was not intending it to be this long, either!), in no way, manner or form offensive, and if you have any questions - you know who to ask.

cheers!

-TheKid




chhlovebooks says...


Thank you for the review and the honesty, and I'm sorry this wasn't exactly the best. I didn't realize this had so many issues, and I'll get to fixing them right away! Have a nice day. ^v^




Journeys end in lovers' meeting.
— William Shakespeare