My name is Marcus.
I was born the seventh of June.
This is the way that things are meant to be.
Frost dug into my fingertips, a slow, icy film creeping up around the corners of the glass. Hands were shaking, more from the cold than from the nerves, but I had to relax.
Judgment must be made.
A leather glove is resting on the trigger. An eye is pressed to the scope. Inhale, exhale. Snowflakes were falling, a terrible sign. Being presented with beauty on these days only reminded me that it was all so brief, so insignificant. A soft, white tuft perched itself at the end of my barrel. Distraction. Seconds were lost as it stole my attention. So white, so delicate, so very fragile that my very breath was enough to end its brief time in this world. Inhale, focus, eye to the scope.
My name is Marcus.
Reality comes back as a blur, and my vision only snaps into focus as my gaze settles on the next window. He’s made of knives. Eyes colder than the air beyond those panes. My hands stop shaking, my attention returns to the slowly weaving curtains on the far side. A light is lit there, a figure moves, my muscles tighten.
There is a spark somewhere in the back of my mind, I lose myself for three seconds, and then it’s done. The handle drops out of my hands, I’m ducking out of sight. Out in the hall, down the stairs. The box is right where he said it would be. I drop the goggles in. After rifling through the other contents, I walk away with a new backpack, a paper lunch sack, a warm hat, a thick woolen scarf that chafes. There’s a firm hand on my back as we leave the building. Showtime.
Ethan’s voice has changed. There’s concern there. It’s all fake. I can tell, but I’m the only one who’d ever be able to.
The girl is wild, she shakes her head, says that we should probably go inside. Maybe it’s gang activity. Ethan says something about getting out of harm’s way. Roughly, he takes my elbow, yanks me in the opposite direction. Gracelessly, he pulls open the passenger side door, shoves me in like I’m a prisoner. As he slams the door, I remember that I really am a prisoner.