She sat on the roof, leaning to the chimney. She was checking the rifle once more. If it broke, well, so would she as well. All parts seemed to move as it should. The sight seemed well adjusted. Though she could just hope it was completely calibrated the right way. She wouldn’t get a second shot. She wasn’t counting on it, at least. People were gathering down below, it was expected. It also showed her that the time was getting closer. The boots were design to stick to the leaning roof, she corrected her seat. Leaned the rifle to her palm, her hand to her knee. Stability was important. Through the scope she could see the crowd standing tight by the port. Guards in bulletproof vests and helmets came out and pushed the crowd back. A black car with small flags moved up along the road. Men in black walked out. One of them was waving to the crowd, having a big faked grin. This is what she loved about her job, killing those selfish bastards. Egotistical and power-hungry. She always read up on the target before accepting the mission. This one was one of the worst.

    She took a deep breath, getting the body still before the final blow. Aim for the head, most likely having body-armour. Explosion and the head vanished from the torso. Her finger not on the trigger yet. She lowered the rifle. The rifle wouldn’t even be able to do that kind of damage. She took a quick look through the scope, no one except the target seemed hurt. Her eyes were well trained for the small details and noticed the big hole in the ground through the crowd checking the body. She knew the direction of which the bullet came. Standing up, the scope was removed in the same movement. A quick survey revealed a second perfect shooting place. Through the scope she could make out a man in a long black coat packing something into a briefcase. Blood red hair. As he closed the briefcase he took a quick glance down on the panicked crowd giving her a clear view of his face. Yellow sunglasses and a calm exterior. He then moved from the tiny area she could see.

    Folding the rifle together, she found herself rushing more than anticipated. The police were arriving to the scene. She shut the case with the rifle within it and left it behind. A small explosive device would erase any trace of it. She threw the rope down the wall, quickly propelled down. Once firm ground under her boots, she started running the opposite direction from where she were supposed to run. If the stories were right, she had been out gunned by a legend. A very odd series of stories at that. She ran through the alleys with great speed and with limber movements. A fence barely slowed her down.

    When she arrived the street where she thought she’d find him she stood still a moment, catching her breath. A car drove by, low and black. It’s ceiling slowly folding back into the trunk. A man by the steering wheel with blood red hair and yellow sunglasses. It turned a bit up the road. In a heartbeat, she found her feet moving again. Through more alleys, scaring cats as she used trash-cans to jump over another fence. Trying to find a short-cut. She wasn’t really certain why she tried to find the man that killed her target. Even less why she was trying to catch the man of legends. A man whose appearance had been described in books far to old for his face.

    On the other side she stepped out on the street, right in front of his car. The man reacted quickly to her arrival and the engine within his vehicle suddenly started to roar as he steered away from her. She threw herself for the machine as it accelerated by her. Her hand found its way in behind the front window and onto his coat but incapable to get a hold of him. She flew head first into the cars side.

    A day later she woke up in the hospital. The police came along quite quickly and questioned her about the murder. They were grasping at straws. Only connection admitted was the fact that her ‘car-accident’ happened at the same time as the shooting. Even in her subdued state she managed to convince them that they were wrong. In a way they were, in another they wasn’t. She had been planning on the shot, just hadn’t pulled the trigger.

    She had a pile of books stashed beside the bed, with a cup of tea next to it. She was laying on her stomach, thumbing through one of the older books. In Victorian age London there had been assassin style murders, by a man called “The Rifle”. The book contained descriptions from the different scenes. Most of them different to the man she had seen, but surprisingly she did find descriptions matching perfectly. There were no set routine to the killings. Each assassination made in the perfect way. Some that had been written as his account had been noticed a few days after the target had been killed. One thing was common through all the incidents, no other people had been killed except the target. Whenever she checked on the target she found that it was a bastard in their own way. He seemed to pick his targets the same way as her. Looking over towards the books she wondered if someone else ever figured this out. A man at least five hundred years old was killing baddies for money. If he lived that long, why did he do it. Or was it a copycat? Couldn’t be, in that case there would have been quite a few copycats. Did he take an apprentice in his late years and hand over the signum? That would just be weird, it’s not the Phantom she’s looking for. She felt that she had to find him. He showed such an amazing skill through out history. She wanted the truth. That he was incredibly handsome did motivate her some as well.

    A perk with having her line of work was the time off. She had a lot of it, since she earned rather well for each hit. At the moment it felt like a downside as well. She stood in the cold, studying the house in front of her. Her breath a white wisp in the air. The family were getting ready to go to bed, lights went out. The man inside was a perfect target, she knew this. He was in a power position with a lot of enemies. His ideals and goals only self serving. Other assassination attempts had been tried and failed. Only the best would get this kind of target. She would get it, as would he. That wasn’t enough, though. He might be laying low due to her appearance at the last site. He might not even get or take the target. All she knew for certain was that most of his targets had been englishmen or most often against the english favour. This man was both types. With the upcoming election a kill would be necessary soon. Before the power change. Thus she became his shadow in the dark. Neither malicious or protective. She knew she was mad. Trying to find the perfect assassin. Who would do that? He just fascinated her to much.

    The man won the election as expected and survived. She started following other people, studying their disgusting ways. Studying their lives through the glass of a binocular. Taking on the odd mission when the money was getting short. Usually a man she already had followed, it seemed. Though the man never showed up. After a while she gave up her hunt, but kept her hobby. For some reason they intrigued her, with their little games. She became the unasked guest at their garden parties, the ear listening outside the office doors. Her looks gained her access to a lot of places. Small and fragile, not very beautiful nor ugly. The perfect spy, collecting secrets for no other than herself. She got to talk to the people as if she had known their all life. At least they would think that. It wouldn’t be hard to start pulling the strings of the secrets she had unravelled and become insanely rich. That wasn’t the point, she didn’t need riches. It was for pleasure.

    Then the improbable happened. Late one night she sneaked into a state officials mansion. Planning on leaving a bug in his office and his bedroom. She was caught and taken in cuffs to the state official himself. In his office, in a bathrobe and a cigar in his mouth. He recognized her from a gown night. Apparently she hadn’t done a well enough job that day and made an impression on him. After that he had noticed her around in places she shouldn’t be. Now he understood why, finding bugs on her. She was a spy. He had the guard hold her to a chair, fetched a revolver to question her. He tried to find out who she worked for by hitting her, threatening her. No answer satisfied him. He put the barrel to her bloodied face, cocked the hammer. The window split and the man was hit in the chest twice, then once in the head before he fell to the ground. Another shot broke her cuffs, for a split second she was amazed for the precision. Then she made a quick movement away from the guard, got the revolver and killed the last witness. Escaping through the window was easier than opposing people in the corridor. She couldn’t see the one who shot but she had her hopes.

    As she reached the road a car, low and black, stood there waiting for her. Engines running. Without hesitation she got into the passenger seat. The man with red hair and yellow sunglasses sat in the drivers seat and pulled away the instant she sat down. He had remembered her from when she had tried to stop him and now he was curious as of why she had been at two of his victims. She told him her story. He told her that she was right. He told her that he had lived since the beginning of time and she didn’t think he lied. He recognized her skill and admitted that he had seen her at more places than the two targets. She was given an offer. Either take it or stop hunting people or die. She was to join a organisation that protect humanity. A very public organisation. If he needed her for something specific, he would find her. In exchange she would be financially liberated for the rest of her life. No matter what happened. She took the assignment, not for the money but for the prospect of meeting him again.

Story is © Peter A Svensson 2010
All characters are coyright respective owners.