1

I held my breath as I stepped. Careful; calculated; I placed my weight on the balls of my feet and slowly rotated back to the heel to hold my balance for the next step. My legs were weak underneath me. Like Jello. The soft blue wool carpet offered some assistance with my need for silent entry. My heart pounded heavily, surely they could hear it. I began to see better as my eyes adjusted to the dark. There he was, the old man, in bed with his wife. Sleeping so peacefully. They had no idea. Why was I doing this? I needed to do this, I reminded myself with a hardened heart.

I crept over to the bed, my breath bursting through my nostrils now. I had to breathe. But it was so loud. They didn't wake up. A knot rose up in my throat as my chest tightened with excitement and dread at the same time.

The revolver clicked lightly in my hand as I set the hammer back. It pointed towards heaven, towards God. The gun felt heavy in my hand. I let my arm extend naturally, gracefully, as I had been taught to do. I eyed the distance of the old man as I aimed. The human head contains the most vascular arteries in the body. Blood splatter on my clothing could ruin this for me. I took a couple of steps backward. My breath was steady now. I waited there in the darkness, peacefully waiting for my courage to come to me. One moment of impulsion was all I needed.

The woman stirred. My eyes shot frantically over to her. She rolled over, got out of bed, and walked to the bathroom. She didn't even see me. I sighed with relief as quietly as I could. My orders were for the man only. I didn't need an extra body on my conscience. My courage came to me. I squeezed the trigger, blowing blood and brains and hair all over the pillows and the headboard.

A split second later, I was out of the house again and running to my car. There was no time to linger. I gingerly found my keys and brought the car to life. The headlights remained off, and I drove sensibly. No screaming tires, no fancy U-turns. There was no need to draw attention to myself. I knew much better than that. My black Audi carried me away swiftly into the night, away from the eyes of prying neighbors or of the man's wife who would have heard the shot and would be just starting to figure out that she should call the police. I would be long gone.

Besides, as long as I did a clean job, I didn't need to fear the police. Professional courtesy. Technically, we were all working for the same people.