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from The Brightest Firefly by Dacia M Arnold

The Executioner

The Executioner






I am probably wrong to assume men don’t have feelings, but shutting them off helps me kill with a clear conscious.

“No, mister. Please don’t. Pluh-lee-hee-hee-heeez.”

Her hands are tied and unable to wipe the snot from pooling on her upper lip, or clean up the black smears of mascara running down her slapped-raw cheeks. Not by me. I’m not the rough ‘em up type. No. I’m the closer. The last face they see. I don’t see her, though. I see a job. A hefty deposit into an untraceable account. 

Her husband is the target, though. He’s the one with the bounty, tied to a chair behind her, face twisted in grief with swollen eyes. They make this too easy for me. Whatever his transgression was with my client, the cost was much more than broken bones and additional threats of violence. His price wasn’t his life, either. This was reserved for nobodies, witnesses, and cost way less than my going rate. I was paid to carve a piece of him out. Something irreplaceable. Her.

“Bay-bee.” He dribbled blood from his mouth. His jaw slack, undoubtedly broken.

This sparks a louder screech from his wife, and I am done being dramatic. She’s thin enough my tool, a long thin spike, only requires half its length to penetrate her heart. A small puncture is all that’s needed for her to bleed out in a little less than a minute. This is when the true hysterics begin. Torturous, yes, but I find slight comfort in thinking they have time to make peace with each other. Call me a romantic, but nothing brings a couple together like one of them dying while the other watches. Hallmark has nothing on the palpable regret exchanged between the two.

She chokes a little and I know I nicked the lung, too. Makes no difference in the grand scheme of my allotment, but I like to be precise. Shock from blood loss is a far more comfortable way to die than drowning in your own blood. This is the shred of sympathy I give my victims. I’m still human after all.

When the wife slumps over I wait an added fifteen seconds. This is usually when the target hurls threats. He’ll find me and kill everyone I love. I know the cycle of grief, so I let them vent, knowing it’s not personal. Besides, most people lose consciousness before they completely lose their pulse and I need the time to confirm the kill.

“I know you, John Smith. I’ll fucking find you.”

My disguise is quite famous, but he has no idea who I am. So, I look at him. Truly look at him for the first time. His haircut, suit pants, and torn dress shirt. The length of his finger nails, the brand of his shoe. He’s a government official. Even so, my real identity is ironclad.

If you need a discreet and untraceable contract kill, you contact my alias: John Smith. If you need a trust fund daughter of a Nobel Prize winning scientist, you called me: Sylvia Gardner.

No pulse. I turn to the target and deliver my one liner. I started doing this to solidify my alter ego as a genuine person and not just a disguise. No one would suspect a woman after hearing a man’s voice.

“Thank you. This is my retirement kill.” Means absolutely nothing and I say it to everyone. I’m only thirty-five. Granted, I have enough money to retire, but I like my job. Two kills a year on average provides a comfy living.

Fifteen years ago, Dr. Gerald Norman Gardner, my father, developed technology for the CIA. Among his many contributions was a tiny silicone device which could disguise an agent and remove all personal identifiable markers, allowing ...

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