An opulent bedroom, with its exquisite, well-loved, old-world furniture, is lit by candles in a frightening tableau. Near the grand, four-post bed stands a girl, facing a small dresser with a mirror. Her garb would have blended in well with polite society at the turn of last century, save for the sneakers on her feet and the ear buds attached to her Creative Arts Zen MP3 player nestled in her hand.

Across the room, standing in the bedroom doorway is a man with a gun, aimed at the back of the girl’s head. He doesn’t look like much, barely worthy of note on the street. His short, scruffy, unkept hair, his well tanned, almost leathery face and plain suit over an average, but muscular frame might garner a glance. But one look in his eyes would reveal something much more threatening. There is coldness in his eyes. It is these eyes and his intent that truly make him a Killer.

“My father warned me this night might come.” The girl says, her voice surprisingly calm. “His wealth and status has made him many enemies. But they are not my enemies.”

“If you call that begging.” the Killer says, “I’ve heard better.”

“I’m not begging. I’ve heard the others in the mansion. I know begging would be pointless for one such as you, or your comrades.”

“Especially me, girl.” The Killer replies. “You think they’re bad? I’m the worst.”

“You’ve killed many children?’

“I’ve killed pretty much anything that walks and talks. I think your talking is done.”

“Then tell me why.”

“What?” the Killer asks, tilting his gun slightly, as if to look at the girl. All he sees is her slender, young body in a rich dress. He smirks at the runners.

“Tell me why you came to kill me?” the girl asks again.

“Money.”

“That’s the only reason?”

“Tonight, that’s the only reason.”

“My father told me recently that to kill someone without reason, without knowing what that death would mean to the killer may tear his heart and soul apart. It would haunt him the rest of his days. You may be good at what you do, but have you thought–”

A single shot echos in the room.

Smokes trails up from the Killer’s gun.

The girl falls forward, onto her dresser.

Her Zen falls from her hand and the ear buds are pulled from her ears.

“Jesus girl, you talk too much.” the Killer murmurs, trying to clear her words from his mind as he walks over to ensure she’s dead.

He spots the Zen and picks it up. He pulls the ear buds up and puts them in his ears. He hits play and tucks the player into his pocket as he reaches for the girl’s body.

Music starts to play. Low at first, then growing slowly, like a breeze blowing through a stand of trees. The music swells, filling his ears and head. He has heard classical music, and never cared much for it. But this is different. Soft, but powerful, ethereal.

He pauses, allowing himself to enjoy this moment of peace before returning to reality.

Then a voice begins to sing. It isn’t in English, but the language doesn’t matter. The voice transcends meanings or language. It soars to incredible heights, whispers of love, loss and other matters of the heart.

All his life, he has never heard such music or singing. To him, it’s angelic. It is beautiful. It is beyond words.

The Killer gun drops from his hand as his chest swells. He feels dizzy and grabs the dresser for support, shaking it as he does.

The girl slides off and falls backwards onto the floor.

The Killer looks into her face, so young, so sweet and beautiful.

He sees music sheets on her dresser.

He grabs the Zen and looks at the album cover of the music playing.

“It’s her.” the Killer whispers.

He turns back to the girl, tears welling up in his eyes, the swelling in his chest catches in his throat, his breathing becomes deeper, struggling.

He falls to his knees beside her as the music rises, echoing in his ears and in his mind. He feels it in his heart and soul, two things he thought he’d long given up on.

He touches her face, so young and still, free of life’s hardness. She has only known love and happiness.

Now he’s killed her.

Her eyes open and she looks at him.

He thinks he’s dreaming, until she takes his hand.

“Now you know the meaning.” the girl whispers.

The Killer tries to talk, to apologize for what he’s done, what he’s taken from her.

But her eyes close and her hand slips from his.

He falls back against the bed, digging the heel of his hands into his eyes as tears stream down his face.

Her music, her voice fill him with feelings he’s tried so long to push down and ignore. Her words echo within him as he tries to understand them, but he feels he never will. Her face fills his vision when his eyes are closed, and probably always will. Her innocent wisdom stabs at all that he is and has ever known.

He scrambles to his feet, feeling as if he’ll fly apart. He clumsily wipes the tears from his face and eyes and he walks briskly out of the bedroom.

He walk down halls filled with well maintained antiques. The bodies of guards and household staff are here and there, murdered by him. The girl’s music seems to question his existence and plea for the lives of those he’s already slain.

He descends a grand staircase as his comrades gather the more priceless items. All are dressed in black, wearing masks. Only one isn’t. A woman who barks orders to the others. When she sees Killer, she smiles.

“How’d it go? Mission accomplished?”

Killer doesn’t answer, he just stops near the bottom, looking at her and the others with reddened, wet eyes.

“You ok?” the woman asks.

Killer takes the ear buds out of his ears, tucks them into his pocket, and turns off the Zen.

As one of his comrades walks by, Killer grabs the gun from his comrades’ holster and fires one shot at the woman. A red, bloody dot appears on her forehead. She falls lifeless to the floor.

The others stop and look stunned.

Outside the mansion, gunfire can be heard erupting, as well as the screams of men dying. Soon, all goes silent.

The Killer walks out of the front door. He holds his arms like he’s carrying a body, but the only thing he holds is the girl’s Zen.

He carries it off into the night.

Tales from the Infinatum Copyrighted © 2011 Mark James MacKinnon.

Any use of these characters, without permission, is strictly prohibited. Any similarities to individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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