Thievery Absolves

Someone had left the window open, allowing all manner of things in. Wind, a bit of warm rain speckling the sill. Then an arched foot, followed shortly by the rest of the assassin.

From his hospital bed, he watched her silently twist under the dingy window pane. The nurses were off until morning, the doctors til noon. The camera in the corner had probably never worked. It, like the cheap door locks, were installed as an excuse to charge the room’s occupant for security without delivering.

Not that better locks, or a working camera, would have mattered. She was a professional and he was helpless. A disgusting contraption of pins and plaster set his bones and wired him to the musty bed. She’d timed this beautifully, approval curled cold in his stomach.

“So what will it be?” He rasped at the assassin standing before his bed. An air bubble injected syringe would have been his choice, a quick silent death into his veins or IV. More likely, a silenced pistol. It was a classic. Or perhaps, as they went back, she’d favor the intimate and smother him.

He frowned when she didn’t move. Theatrics were an embarrassing affectation in their industry. Having taught her better, he almost sighed in relief when the knife clicked open. If he was to die, he wanted to be killed properly.

The assassin moved forward, graceful and androgynous in a mask, hood, and gloves of the darkest grey. A smile twitched his mouth, he’d been the one to teach her that black always cut too harsh a silhouette.

His smile died again when she bent at his side and used the knife to pry open the locked drawer of the nightstand.

“What are you doing?” He demanded as she pocketed his phone and passports. The assassin ignored him, flipping through his wallet before pulling a leather bound ledger from the drawer. She stood, flicking through the documents within. He gaped as she took the bank notes, a few signed agreements, and the address of his lock box like a common thief.

“Get on with it.” He snapped at her, old frustrations blooming again.  The flat obstinate glance she turned to him was almost nostalgic. The assassin didn’t answer, but withdrew a plastic identification card from her pocket and placed it flat on the nightstand. He craned his neck. A birthdate, a name, and a picture.

He quieted, stomach churning. The picture was dated, taken decades ago. The information was also old, unused for a lifetime. “How did you find that?” He murmured gazing at the damning piece of thin plastic.

She cocked her head, considering his broken form and lined face.

The assassin-turned-thief left him staring helplessly at the nightstand.  From the window, under the patter of rain on leaves, a synthetic wailing began. The high-pitched sirens approached, tires screeching on the old roads leading to the dilapidated little hospital.


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