The moon shone like a blade frozen in the blue ice. The unlucky intruder was sillhoutted in my doorway, clearly visible with each flicker of the celestial light. His shoddy attempt at picking the lock to my door was an indication of his inferior skill. When I heard the soft rattle and click of his tools I sprung silently from my bed and hid in the closet. I was not frightened, mind you; I was simply implementing one of the first rules I had learned in my own training.
Treat everything as a trap. If you are right, you will live. If you are wrong, no harm done.
It wouldn’t do to reveal my knowledge of the intruder by waiting for him in plain sight. Nor would it be a good idea to wait in bed, feigning sleep. An unorthodox method of killing could end my life before I suspected what was going on.
The intruder walked in, the pounding of his heart almost audible, the scent of his fear unmistakable. He prodded at my bed and, upon reassuring himself of my absence, went for the bathroom. I eased the closet door open and slipped through as soon as the gap was large enough. I drew my own weapons: a knife and handgun. I aimed the pistol at the man’s skull, and drew back the hammer with a distinctly audible click.
The man froze. He shook a little, giving away the fear that he was trying unsuccessfully to suppress.
“Please.” He whispered. “Don’t shoot.”
“I am not fond of trespassers.”
“PLEASE!” he whimpered his voice rising in volume and pitch. “I’ll do anyt-“
“I am even less fond of beggars. Who are you and why are you here?”
“I’m from The League. They sent me here to kill you. It’s my first mission.” This man disgusted me. He couldn’t even control the tremor in his voice.
“You mean to tell me that they sent a first-timer to take out some as skilled as mys-“
Before I finished he spun, catching my arm with his knife. I cursed and drew back, blood seeping through my nightshirt. I pulled the trigger and the gun coughed, most of its sound negated by the silencer. The intruder rolled to the left and charged me, bringing his knife up to slice my stomach.
Twisting, I brought my gun to bear and fired again, this time catching him on the shoulder. He jumped me and went for my gun. He got a good grip on my weapon and started to pull it away from me. I wrestled back and although I couldn’t retain my hold on my pistol I at least made it so my opponent couldn’t get a good hold on it either.
His foot snaked out and caught my heel. I went tumbling to the ground, instinctively bringing my knife up as I did so, and blocked the prowler’s thrust. From the way he held his knife it was obvious that what skill he lacked in breaking and entering he made up for in his skill with a blade. In order to win this fight I’d have to grab the gun.
My opponent realized it at the same time I did. This fight would be decided on who could get to the gun first. I think I surprised the target in the way I had handled myself in the fight, but he was wary of me now. I had to be cunning, fast, and in the zone.
The target tensed, getting ready to dive for his gun. I stepped in front of him, grabbed him, and rolled with his weight. He reached behind himself and grabbed my waist. He ducked and overbalanced me, throwing me over his shoulder. I hit the floor hard but there wasn’t time to groan and cry. I rolled onto my stomach and threw my knife at the target’s legs. He was struck on the left calf and he cried out in pain.
This was my chance.
I scrambled to my feet and ran for the gun. The target tried to grab for my legs but I jumped over his reaching hands. My shoulder was killing me, and my adrenaline was running low. I would have to fire with my left hand because I couldn’t move my right arm. I grabbed the gun with my left hand and lined the barrel up with target’s head. I squeezed the trigger.
The target had rolled at the last second and he pushed himself to his feet. He ducked my swing and grabbed my neck in a strangle-hold. My arms were pinned to my side so I couldn’t fire at the target. My vision began to go black and I was struggling to stand, but I was committed to my cause. I wasn’t going to accept defeat lightly. I made up my mind, closed my eyes, and fired.
The bullet passed through my waist just under my ribcage. The pain was excruciating, but I believed I would live. I couldn’t say the same for the target. The pressure on my neck lessened and I could breathe again. The thump of his body hitting the ground was like an immaculate choir sung of angels.
He was alive for the moment.
The next moment he wasn’t.
Of course the next found him with a bullet in his head.
I limped out of the room to the boxcar. I activated my com signal, opened the metal gate, and let myself fall off the train. It didn’t hurt.
I blacked out before my feet left the floor.