Here’s the beginnings of a new short story series I’m toying with – let me know what you think.
I was freezing. My feet were numb and the only thing keeping my hands from going the same way were the chemical handwarmers I had tucked inside my mittens. My breath would have been billowing steam around me if not for the black balaclava I had wrapped around my head. Only my eyes were exposed, and even those were starting to freeze shut. The steady drizzle had long since made my black ski coat into a sodden, heavy mass of cold pinning me to the rooftop where I’d setup my surveillance. Finally the light in the bedroom I’d been watching for the past three hours clicked off, and the foyer lights on the house clicked on. A few seconds later, my target stepped out the front door, and it was showtime.
I set down the binoculars I’d been watching through and blinked a couple of times to clear the ice off my eyelashes. Cursing my thick dark eyelashes for not the first time in my life, I settled my cheek alongside the stock of my Remington 700 SPS tactical rifle and slipped my hands out of my mittens. I took careful aim as the target kissed his mistress, closed the door and turned to go down the steps to the Lexus sedan parked half a block away in a feeble attempt at discretion. He stopped, checked his watch, and looked up and down the sidewalk before taking his first step. I exhaled as he lifted his foot, and squeezed the trigger. The .223 Remington round spat out of the barrel, dropping slightly due to wind and the drizzle, and struck the target solidly just above his right eye. His head snapped back and his feet went out from under him, dropping him solidly on his butt on the porch. I slid to the edge of the roof and zoomed in on his corpse with my Canon T3i digital SLR camera. The 75-300mm zoom lens made it a snap to focus on his face from fifty yards away, and I took several pictures as he lay there in the porch light. The small round left a neat hole in his forehead, with no exit wound to leave a mess on his girlfriend’s door.
Evidence collected, I broke down the rifle into the soft-sided guitar case I used to carry my rifles, and put the camera into the extra space. I slung the whole mess onto my back and started for the stairs. I had just pulled the heavy door shut behind me when my cell buzzed in my pocket. “Crap,” I muttered as I pulled a mitten off with my teeth and dug around in my sopping jeans for my phone. I swiped a thumb across the screen and peered down at the text glowing up at me.
“Where u at, gurl?” My best friend Tina asked in her pseudo-streetwise lingo, even though she lives in Back Bay with her mom and stepdad. He’s some kind of neurologist or psychologist or some doctor that messes around in your head. Her mom’s pretty with big boobs. That’s her job, and she works hard at it. Pilates, yoga, tennis, manicures, pedicures, massages – if it tightens, stretches or tones, Tina’s mom is all over it. Tina kinda hates her mom, she thinks she’s a gold-digger. She’s right, but it’s not really that bad.
“Just getting off work, u?” I texted back. Tina thought I worked at a used bookstore in Jamaica Plain. Since she never read anything in her life that wasn’t in Cliff Notes format, that kept her from asking too many questions about my work. Which was a good thing, since bookstore clerks are seldom called upon to shoot state senators in the head from fifty yards away.
“Home. Bored. Duh. Wanna come over?” The last thing I wanted to do was go over to Tina’s and watch another chick flick movie while her mom drank red wine until she passed out. I was cold, wet and still had homework. But there was one thing I had to check on first.
“Where’s Jason?” Jason was Tina’s older brother. He was eighteen and on the swim team. He had dark, curly hair and pale blue eyes that made his tanned skin look even darker. In a word, yum.
“I wouldn’t have bothered asking if he wasn’t home. Now get yr ass over here! LOL”
“Be there soon.”
I slid my phone back in my jeans and continued down the stairs. At the third floor I pushed through the door and into the hallway, pausing long enough to remove the duct tape I’d used to hold the door open when I went up to the roof earlier. I passed under the security camera, wire dangling from where I’d cut the wire a week before and made my way down the hall to my apartment. There was nothing in there except an air mattress, a duffel bag, a backpack bulging with my schoolbooks and a roll of toilet paper. I quickly stripped off all my wet clothes and draped them over the moderately functional radiator. I dug a pair of panties, bra, towel and washcloth out of the duffel and stepped into the bathroom. I grabbed a travel size soap and shampoo from my bag and set them on the edge of the bathtub, then set a Walther P22 pistol on the back of the toilet. I had a 22Sparrow suppressor screwed onto the barrel of the Walther, so if anyone disturbed my shower there shouldn’t be any more noise than a loud handclap. I wasn’t expecting visitors, but it’s always better to be safe than dead.
I stood under the hot spray for a long time, washing the smell of gunfire out of my hair and the chill out of my bones. I personally thought that the tangy, slightly salty smoky smell of firearms was a little sexy, but I doubted Tina’s brother would think so. He’d probably think I burned dinner or something. I got out of the shower, dried off and padded into the apartment in my underwear. My clothes were still soaked, so I dug around in my duffel for the spare jeans, Harvard sweatshirt and socks I had with me. I finished dressing, pulled on tennis shoes and a light raincoat, and grabbed my camera out of the guitar bag. All my wet clothes went into the duffel, the backpack onto my shoulders, and the guitar case in one hand. I grabbed the duffel with the other hand and did a quick idiot check of the room before I left.
“Idiot, indeed.” I muttered at myself as I went back into the bathroom, grabbed my Walther and slipped it into the guitar case. The shampoo container and soap wrapper went into the duffel, and out the door I went. I left the door open a crack behind me, figuring it wouldn’t take long for one of the junkies on the floor to take me up on my unspoken offer of a place to crash. I still had three months paid up on the place, somebody might as well use it.
The street was awash with red and blue lights when I stepped out the front door, just another little redheaded girl in a city full of Irish. I stepped up to a cop working the yellow tape and asked “What happened?” in my best innocent little girl voice.
He looked down at me and smiled a little. “You shouldn’t see stuff like this kid, head on home.”
“Okay.” I said, and turned to walk away. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a big man in a suit eyeballing the crowd suspiciously. A detective, wondering if the killer had revisited the scene to check on the investigation. Yup, I had. And they had no idea. They just saw another skinny, clean and maybe cute someday little girl going home from a guitar lesson.
I walked a couple of blocks over, then tossed the duffel into an alley where I knew a homeless family with a daughter about my size had taken up residence. I’d cased the neighborhood well before I decided on my attack strategy. I knew every person that lived in a four-block radius of my strike zone, and knew that the cops in this neighborhood only had a 35% close rate on homicides. The precinct where the target lived, make that had lived, reported a 77% close rate on murders. Didn’t take a math whiz to figure out which neighborhood was better to shoot someone in. Of course, I am a math whiz. Come to think of it, I’m pretty bright in general. I’m Cindy Slaughter, teenage assassin. Pleased to meet you, too.