PrologueMature

Their lives were miserable before the job. Their death sentences were unavoidable after the job. A group of individuals in desperate need are carefully selected by a mysterious man in white suit ("Blood Rose Assassin") in a cycle of four years to carry out a special job for him: kill someone and never reveal the name of the victim. It is an easy job, and most importantly, an easy way out of misery. However, these mercenaries have yet to face their worst nightmare.

August 10th, 1996

The scientific community and the world mourn the death of famous Marine Biologist, Dr. William Cleveland, who was murdered at his own summer house in Beverly Hills earlier this week during his yearly family summer break. He was found by his wife in the library in a pool of his own blood, stabbed in the heart from the back. The authorities and medical assistance were called immediately, but to no avail. Dr. Cleveland was long. The police quickly initiated an investigation for the murder of such an illustrious and charismatic leader for the protection of Ocean Life. They haven’t released anything yet, claiming they do not have enough evidence, no witnesses, and no suspects.

The community is outraged and demand for justice to be done. However, the authorities are having a hard time tracking the killer. Dr. Cleveland had a tight circle of family and friends who loved him very much. He was well-respected among his colleagues and students, and acclaimed worldwide for his dedication to marine life. He single-handedly created a movement that opposed petroleum from being extricated from ocean floors, thus, saving millions of marine animals. He did not have any enemies, or so it seemed until that sad day he was found dead. The Police reassured the family that they’ll catch this criminal. They assert they’re on the right track by associating Dr. Cleveland’s murder with other murders that occurred earlier this year and even up to four years ago. All unsolved murders with no witnesses, no probable cause for murder, and most importantly, no suspects. The police and forensics will continue their investigation and will release further information should they have any.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cleveland’s family, friends, students, and colleagues have published obituaries to remember this great man on the newspaper of the University of California: San Diego, his alma mater. The Los Angeles Times has offered to publish these obituaries on the Sunday paper…

 

August 10th, 2000

Breathing was becoming hard and laborious, no longer a pleasure and reassurance of life for the living, but a painful burden for the almost-dying. Of course, breathing would be one-hundred times better without an ice-pick puncturing a lung while helplessly watching blood oozing from your chest. These were the last moments of a man who was nobody, until the Man in White Suit came to him one bleak day four years ago with a job. A job that later on had become his death sentence and he had realized too late.

The man on the sidewalk wheezed and whimpered, coughing blood while clutching his stomach, willing bile mixed with blood to stay down there. It was pitiful enough to be seen crying during his final moments of life, unable to do anything, just lying there and waiting until his body was drained of blood. The pelting London rain washed his blood away and his tears too. There were no cars, only the lights from the far-off city shimmering on the English Channel. The rain was heavier, he felt the force of each raindrop on his skin, and was glad that he had this texture to concentrate on instead of the agonizing pain in his lungs.

Every intake of air sent sharp, painful, needle-like sensations to his lungs, forcing more blood to flow, and more coughs to erupt from his marred chest. He was going to die, why couldn’t his aggressor finish with his suffering already? He had flashbacks of the misery of his life and how just one job four years ago had changed everything for the better. He didn’t know much about killing other people; after all, he had only done it once. But he did remember that his killing was instantaneous and one of the reasons was that he wanted to spare his victim from the unbearable pain, like the one he was suffering.

With the little might he had left, he looked up at his murderer, the man who offered him the job. A young man dressed in white was standing there, white suit, white pants, white shoes, and the white gloves who just seconds ago had held the ice pick. He was impassive, with a little crooked smile plastered on his pale, pasty face. His eyes were unreadable, a slight hint of amusement in them. He had the face and demeanor of a heartless assassin and plenty of experience to back him up. He knew about killing and suffering and didn’t flinch when he had to deliver the fatal death blow to his victims. The Man in White Suit was the kind of man who enjoyed watching pain, sorrow, and confusion on other’s faces. It dawned on the dying man that he was giving the Man in White Suit a hell of a good show.

“Bartholomew, I did not have fun tracking this one down.” The velvety voice of the Man in White Suit made the dying man cringed with fear. “It was too easy. No thrill.”

A tall, dark, and broad-shouldered man standing next to the Man in White, holding an umbrella to protect his master from the rain just shrugged. “Maybe next time we’ll find someone with more sense, sir.”

The Man in White nodded absentmindedly. His gaze had become dreamy and was looking toward the bright city. “There is nothing else to watch here. I’m bored. Let’s go home.”

His servant nodded his obeisance. He knelt down and carefully slipped an envelope sealed in a bag in the dying man’s pant pocket. The Man in White reached inside his vest and pulled a beautiful white rose and tossed it on the man’s bleeding chest. Then, both of them walked past the dying man without giving him a final glance.

The dying man turned his head and watched them go, unable to reach into his pants’ pocket or swept off the rose. There was something stirring inside of him. He had never felt this feeling before. It was Anger. He only had one dying thought: that the Man in White Suit should die in the most miserable and painful way. Then darkness.

The next day he was found by the police who were patrolling their morning shift. Forensics was called in and the man declared dead. Reporters were soon swarming around the crime scene like flies, eager to take a snapshot of the corpse. However, before that could happen, forensics took the note and the blood-soaked rose and bagged them both for evidence. The blood rose was sent to the United States to compare it with recent murders in that country. The note was kept under British control, later to be released to the pertinent international authorities. The note had a single line, written in beautiful penmanship:

“I killed Dr. William Cleveland four years ago on this same day.”

There was no doubt; the Blood Rose Assassin was back again. 

The End

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