The Executioner

It has been a long time since I have written a story. This was another assignment for class. I wrote a new one instead of just submitting one I had already made. Enjoy!

Somehow I was able to drown out his screams. I tried to focus on her but he struggled so much against his restraints; his face twisted in grief as the life left his wife’s body. I wondered if he felt guilty for her early demise. It was easy for my knife to find its mark between her ribs, because she was so slender. She was scared. She had cried and pleaded. I nodded to her hoping she would understand, and she turned to him. It was his fault she was here, but it was a little late for blame. I had never met the man before and in a few days his face would turn into a blur like the rest.

I did not worry for retribution from what I had done. No one knew who I was. I did not appear as myself, anyway. I only remove my gloves after leaving the room, never my disguise. They were always covered in blood. I have yet to develop a perfectly clean technique. I would like to say this was due to lack of practice. If you need a contracted execution, you call my alias: John Smith. If you need a trust fund daughter of a scientist, you call me: Sylvia Gardner.

My father developed technology for the CIA to create disguises for their agents. This technology changed the actual genetic makeup of the agent to look, feel, and even smell like a different person. This is how I am able to be John Smith. The Feds think he is an estranged boyfriend. Every time he pays me a visit, my father wires me money to relocate. By my father, I really mean the Swiss account my clients deposit into. My relocation fee is included in my price. It is an elaborate cover, but it has kept my name clean this long.

From San Francisco I moved to Memphis. It was a small enough city that my money went really far, but big enough that I would not draw attention to myself. Here I could take some time off before taking another job; do some people watching. My favorite place to sit was inside the Peabody Hotel. I would grab a glass of wine and sit in the lobby. I liked to guess how people lived; what their routine days were like. I liked to guess if their travel companions were spouses or lovers. I would get lost in their story, but never pursue. It took more energy than I had to actually find out. If they spent enough time at the bar, I would get the satisfaction of knowing. Otherwise, I was happy with the fiction I created.

“Is this seat taken?” a voice startled me out of my day dream.

“No, but there is plenty of room in the lobby. Must you sit right next to someone?” I was annoyed with the young man. He was ruining my afternoon hobby. He looked familiar but he could have been anyone. He could frequent the hotel enough to see me sitting here on occasion. He sat.

“You look familiar.” He said sounding very rehearsed. I could tell he was holding his breath for my response.

“Come here often?” I replied rolling my eyes. I very pointedly finished my glass of wine and stood to leave. Men complicate things. I am not above having a fling now and then, but this young man seemed too interested and too familiar.

“Wait. Please. I wanted to ask you to dinner.” The desperation in his voice was unsettling.

“Tomorrow night. Seven PM. Meet me here.” Something inside of me screamed in protest. I knew something was not right. I needed to figure out where I had seen his face before. I did not really care to know his name. I was sure he would tell me in some boring conversation the next evening.

I wore a nice cocktail dress and showed up an hour early to ensure I was the first one there. That screaming voice inside of me prayed he would not show up. I had spent hours the night before trying to find out who this young man was to no avail. I should have caught his name.

I glanced at the clock above the bar. I sipped my wine and slowly spun my seat to face the entrance of the lobby. He still had five minutes, but I expect he was a gentleman and would not keep a lady waiting.

He was standing across the room leaning against a pillar. Not the young man I saw the day before, but a face I knew better than I knew my own. John Smith. I froze; color left my face. I wanted to run. I wanted to be sick. The only man I dreamt of at night. The only man I ever wanted but could have was staring at me across the room. He knew me. He was there for me.

He straightened up and walked casually over. I knew he was not real. He had to be the young man. I designed John Smith with my father’s technology. He was not a real person. But that meant he knew. The young man knew who I was. I did not run. It was the only chance I had to take him out first.

“Hello, John.” I said unimpressed. I fought my voice not to quiver.

“Sylvia.” He nodded like an old friend.

“So are you a thief? Breaking in and stealing a lady’s things?” I wish I had poison to slip into the Scotch he ordered.

“Good guess, but no. It took me years to duplicate the program. Even in that short time of our meeting I memorized your face. What I thought was your face.” A job. He was a job. How did he find me?

“So you’re an agent. I made a hit on an agent.” The young man’s face came back to me. San Francisco. The young man’s wife was the mark. I knew then I would not make it out of this lobby.

“Her name was Grace. I wanted you to know that before you died.” My glass. He had planted it before I even came in. I could feel my throat closing, my pulse slowing, and my head getting heavy. I touched his face and kissed the man I had loved for so long. I was the only one I ever loved.


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