An opulent bedroom, with its exquisite, well-loved, old-world furniture, was lit by candles in a frightening tableau. Near the grand, four-post bed stood 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 earbuds in her ears, with a thin, black wire trailing down to her MP3 player nestled in her hand.
Across the room, standing in the bedroom doorway was a man with a gun, aimed at the back of the girl’s head. He didn’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 was coldness in his eyes. It was these eyes and his intent that truly make him a Killer.
“My father warned me this night might come.” The girl said, 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 said, “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 replied. “You think they’re bad? I’m the worst.”
“You’ve killed many children?’
“I’ve killed pretty much anything that walks and talks.” His thumb pulled back on the hammer, making the definitive double-click with certain finality. “I think your talking is done.”
“Then tell me why.”
“What?” the Killer asked, tilting his gun slightly, as if to look at the girl. All he could see was her slender, young body in a rich dress. He smirked at the runners.
“Tell me why you came to kill me?” the girl asked again.
“That’s the only reason?”
“Tonight, that’s the only reason.”
“My father told me 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 echoed in the room.
Smoke trailed up from the Killer’s gun.
The girl fell forward, onto her dresser.
Her MP3 fell from her hand. Her earbuds pulled out of her ears.
“Jesus girl, you talk too much.” the Killer murmured, trying to clear her words from his mind as he walked over to ensure she was dead.
He spotted the MP3 and picked it up. He pulled the earbuds up and put them in his ears. He hit play and tucked the player into his pocket as he reached for the girl’s body.
Music started to play. Low at first, then growing slowly, like a breeze blowing through a stand of trees. The music swelled, filling his ears and head. He had heard classical music, and never cared much for it. But this was different. Soft, but powerful, ethereal. He paused, allowing himself to enjoy this moment of peace before returning to reality. A voice began to sing. It wasn’t in English, but the language didn’t matter. The voice transcended meaning or language. It soared to incredible heights, whispered of love, loss and other matters of the heart. All his life, he had never heard such music or singing. To him, it was angelic. It was beautiful. It was beyond words.
The Killer’s gun dropped from his hand as his chest swelled. He felt dizzy and grabbed the dresser for support, shaking it.
The girl slid off and fell backwards onto the floor.
The Killer saw her face, so young, so sweet and beautiful.
He also saw music sheets on her dresser.
He grabbed the MP3 and looked at the album cover of the music playing.
“It’s her.” the Killer whispered.
He turned back to the girl, tears welling up in his eyes, the swelling in his chest caught in his throat, his breathing became deeper, struggling. He fell to his knees beside her as the music rose, echoing in his ears and in his mind. He felt it in his heart and soul, two things he thought he had long given up on. He touched her face, so young and still, free of life’s hardness. She had only known love and happiness.
Now he had killed her.
Her eyes opened. She looked at him.
He thought he was dreaming, until she took his hand.
“Now you know the meaning.” the girl whispered.
The Killer tried to talk, to apologize for what he had done, what he had taken from her. But her eyes closed and her hand slipped from his.
He fell back against the bed, digging the heel of his hands into his eyes as tears streamed down his face. Her music, her voice, filled him with feelings he had tried so long to push down and ignore. Her words echoed within him as he tried to understand them, but he felt he never would. Her face filled his vision when his eyes were closed, and probably always would. Her innocent wisdom stabbed at all that he was and had ever known.
He scrambled to his feet, feeling as if he’d fly apart. He clumsily wiped the tears from his face and eyes as he rushed out of the bedroom.
He walked down halls, filled with well-maintained antiques, all of which were scarred by bullet holes and splattered blood. On the floor, the bodies of guards and household staff lay here and there, murdered by him. The girl’s music seemed to question his existence and plea for the lives of those he had already slain.
He descended a grand staircase as his comrades gathered the more priceless items. All were dressed in black, wearing masks. Only one wasn’t. A woman who barked orders to the others. When she saw Killer, she smiled.
“How’d it go? Mission accomplished?”
Killer didn’t answer, he just stopped near the bottom stairs, looking at her and the others with reddened, wet eyes.
“You ok?” the woman asked.
Killer took the earbuds out of his ears, tucked them into his pocket, and turned off the MP3 player.
As one of his comrades walked by, Killer grabbed his comrades’ gun from his holster and fired one shot at the woman. A red, bloody dot appeared on her forehead. She fell lifeless to the floor.
The others stopped and looked stunned.
The Killer glared at them from the corner of his eyes.
Outside the mansion, gunfire could be heard erupting, as well as the screams of men dying. Soon, all went silent.
The Killer walked out of the front door. He held his arms like he was carrying a body, but the only thing he held was the girl’s MP3 player.
“Tales from the Infinatum”, “Killer” 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.