Today’s contribution from the Blurb File (sorry, not a continuation of Wanderlust–I haven’t written any more of it yet since it’s not my current active WIP), is the opening to a piece loosely titled Confessions of a Hit Man. All work is copyrighted, is first draft and subject to change, so be kind and don’t borrow or steal.
A hand shot out from under the covers and brutally silenced the shrill scream of the alarm clock. It was four in the morning, and he’d had all of two hours’ sleep. Still, he forced himself out of bed, dragging a hand through what had been a tangled mass of black curls. Cut to a short fuzz bordering on military, three months had passed and he still couldn’t get used to the fact that it was gone. At least now it was long enough to fall over his brow and cover the thin white scar that lay like jagged lightning a half an inch down from his left temple.
He stumbled into the kitchen of his latest temporary housing and turned on the coffee pot. At least the sadists he worked for had given him that amenity. The orange light of the switch blurred in his vision, his eyes still heavy from the sleep that had eluded him yet again. He had a headache. A hangover, he corrected himself surveying the Spartan living room which boasted one sagging couch, a low coffee table, circa sometime in the early 70s, and a tiny television set perched atop what some inventive soul had once used as a plant stand. Littering the coffee table was an empty fifth of Jack Daniels and a couple of beer bottles in the same condition. The ashtray overflowed.
At this early hour even the city that never slept was dozing. The hardy partiers had finally given up for the night or passed out somewhere to sleep off the effects of the booze or drugs or other vices that were readily available in this part of town with no questions asked. And no wonder. It was too damn early for any sane human being to be out of bed.
Yet here he was.
He cleared away the remains of his evening of self-pity, acknowledging that his personal demons had won. Again. Then he pushed the coffee table into the couch to clear what little floor space was available in this closet supposed to be an apartment. With a few deep, cleansing breaths he willed his muzzy brain to focus, to clear away the shimmer of pain, and he began the series of katas that he ran through every morning—no matter how much like dog shit he felt.
Not that anyone was around to see, but he was an impressive sight. Just a hair under six feet, he had the chest to butt ratio that most men only dreamed about. Trim. Muscular. Graceful in his movements. Sweat broke out on his forehead, back and chest as he performed the slow, tight movements. Control. Control was what maintained his tenuous grasp on sanity.
Muscles rippled like silk. The red dragon tattoo on his right shoulder blade seemed to writhe and twist with a life of its own. A remnant of another life.
By the time he had finished, the coffee was long since ready and his mind was clearer, more focused. Controlled.
He settled down with his coffee. Black.
The brief for his latest assignment was spread out on a flimsy card table. Instructions. A photograph of the target. Location. The target’s schedule. He reviewed them all, though he knew every detail of the file. He was very good at what he did.
But that fact hadn’t stopped him from questioning why he did it.
He was a machine. Smooth. Efficient. Cold.
On the surface he appeared as stoic and enigmatic as pharaoh’s statue. His dark green eyes were glacial.
But he was burning inside.
Within his mind scores of demons threatened daily to pull him into the fiery depths of his own personal hell. He treaded perilously on the narrow precipice above that screaming, roiling darkness.
One day he would fall.
He was never certain.
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