the hitman & the reaper
the shady file | short story #1
“There you are. Finally!” the hitman exclaimed, as he focused his binoculars on the bright red bird in the distance. He had been spending every evening of the last few months sitting completely still on the largest balcony of his mountain side mansion, hoping to catch a glimpse of this particularly rare species. He’d managed to find, and observe, every other type of bird his mountain home had to offer, and thus, this little red bird was the last one left on the checklist he had created for himself.
The hitman observed the bird for a few minutes, appreciating the rich hues of its feathers, admiring the bird’s curved beak and brightly colored feet, and the sharpness of its talons. He put away his binoculars, and grabbed his camera, and replaced its wide angle lens with the best parfocal lens he had. He took his time and focused on the bird, and managed to snap enough pictures to satisfy himself, and satiate his ego, before the bird flew off.
“Goodbye, little thing,” he said, smiling as he watched the bird head in the direction of the slum city that lay far below him, at the base of the mountain.
The hitman carefully put his binoculars and camera back into the round cabinet that came out of the floor, and sat down on one of the couches on his balcony.
“Pop it, Robson,” the hitman said, after pressing one of the intercom buttons on the intricately carved, red and green, hexagonal, crystal table that was placed in front of the couch.
A robotic butler soon appeared from within the mansion, hovering a few inches above the floor as it made its way to the hitman, carrying an ice bucket that contained a bottle of champagne in its left hand, and a long, slender, black, yet oddly transparent, crystal horn in the other.
“Is the temperature of the bottle to your satisfaction, Sir?” the machine asked, presenting the champagne bottle to the hitman, after it had carefully set the bucket and horn on the table. The horn began to levitate as soon as it was set on the table.
“Yes. It is fine, Robson. Now leave the bucket’s temperature controls alone. And go ahead. You have my permission,” the hitman replied, after giving the bottle a quick check.
The hitman watched as the robot flawlessly opened the champagne bottle and poured the liquid within into the horn, without disturbing it, and without spilling a single drop.
“Cheers, Robson!” the hitman said, as he downed the entire horn in one gulp.
“Cheers, Sir!” Robson replied. “And congratulations on finally sighting the bird you have been waiting for all these months!”
“Thank you, Robson,” the hitman replied, motioning the machine to pour him another horn of the dark gold liquid he so enjoyed consuming.
The hitman grabbed the bottle once he had finished his second horn of champagne. He motioned for his butler to leave him alone, and then walked back to the edge of the balcony, and leaned over its railing. He stood there for the next few hours, listening to the sounds the mountain made, watching its multicolored trees carefully. The sun soon began to set, and the hitman watched as the darkness brought fog with it.
Once the fog had settled, the hitman grabbed his binoculars again, and began tracking the trees that were higher up in the mountain. Soon enough, just as he had expected, a few parts of some of the trees began to glow. The hitman zoomed in on them, and focused his binoculars, until he could clearly see the birds that were responsible for the effect. They were much larger than the red bird he’d seen earlier, and much more hideous. However, their beaks, which were straight and long, glowed in the darkness, for some reason unknown to him. He didn’t know why it fascinated him so much, but looking at them every night never got old. In fact, it was rather calming.
A sudden blue flash of light caught the hitman by surprise. He didn’t notice it the first few times, his binoculars were focused elsewhere then, but eventually, the binocular’s viewfinders met the blue light, and startled the eyes that looked at the mountain through them.
“It can’t be…” the hitman muttered, as he began to look for the source of the blue light that was so familiar to him.
“So… it is you… old friend…” the hitman said, as he finally found the glowing wing tips that the light emanated from.