Author's Note: So this is a writing contest entry for a forum called Labyrinth. Prompt: Get away with murder...It had to be under 3000 words.
Whoever Brings the Night
She was just fifteen when she realized a truly awful fact. She was going to die. It wasn't the normal kind of dying of old age, sickness, or of some noble cause. No, it was the kind of dying that involved her being struck down by some unknown assassin of the night.
She really had no idea why an assassin would dare to strike her. Okay, maybe, she did know why one would come after her. She had made a few enemies over the years both in the natural and supernatural form. However, what most didn't know was that she was actually so young and a girl.
Whenever most people thought about a creature of the night, they always seemed to think, well, male. Male was dark and female was light. A female was suppose to sit at home and wait for some man to come into her life to save her. That was very nice and all, but it just wasn't Ryanon.
As she pushed her way through the crowd of both humans and nonhumans, she made sure to keep her eyes and ears open as well as her hand on the blade inside her cloak. Better to make yourself invisible than to draw unwanted attention to yourself.
The thick and foul smells of the city hid any detection of poison from the common person. The human body was the perfect disguise murder. Again, it all came down to the sexes. Murder was male.
Ryanon ducked into a tavern that was well known for its bar fights between the humans and the nonhumans. She sat in the back, concealed from view as she watched the drunken stumble around. Right now, everyone seemed to be getting along, but it was only a matter of time. Living beings were hardwired to fight.
A bar maiden approached Ryanon. "What can I get you?"
"Ale," Ryanon said, her voice cold. "It's about time I get some attention. I've been here forever."
The bar maiden nodded. "I'm sorry, milady. The vampires have been eyeing me all night and they give me the creeps."
Ryanon waved her hand at the other girl. "I don't want to hear your excuses."
The bar maiden stared darkly at Ryanon before disappearing through the thick crowd.
Ryanon stared out at the crowd. Now, death was a funny thing. No one really knew what it was like to death, so for the vampires, but she wasn't about to get that close to something that foul. The undead simply should not be allowed to roam the earth. Others shared those feelings and had offered her employment to take out these creatures.
She really didn't think that it would a vampire to take her out. They tended to go after the very weak.
"Do you mind if I join you?" a male voice asked.
Ryanon jerked her dark head up and found herself staring into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. "Knock yourself out."
The male sat down next to her. She watched him out of the corner of her eye. He wasn't a man, he was probably sixteen or so. Tall, medium built, hands calloused in the right places to hold a sword...Yeah, he was someone to keep an eye on. "Dak."
Ryanon nodded. She watched as a werewolf approached another werewolf as they started to scream at each other. Right on cue, the first werewolf slammed his glass down on top of the second wolf's head. The second wolf pulled a knife out of his cloak and slashed at the first wolf.
"Take it outside!" the bartender screamed at the fighting wolves, who paid no attention to him.
Dak eyed Ryanon. "Do you like this?"
Ryanon glared at him. "I like it well enough."
Dak just grunted.
The bar maiden returned with Ryanon's ale. "And for you?" she asked Dak, her eyes scanning his beautiful body.
"I'll have whatever she's having."
Ryanon sniffed the ale before taking a long drink.
Dak watched her. "You're not from here, are you?"
"What makes you say that?" His throat was wide open for her to stab. One flick of her dagger and his life would bleed out onto the floor or better yet, cut him, leave, and let the vampires finish him. There was enough in here that they could take him without any difficulty.
"Your accent," he said as the bar maiden quickly returned with his ale. He didn't bother to sniff it as he took a drink. Fool-the pint could have been laced with poison for all he knew.
Ryanon scowled at Dak. "What about you?"
"I'm here for work and I decided that I needed to get out." He smirked at her. "It's a good thing I did too or else I wouldn't have gotten to see your beautiful face."
She deepened her scowl.
"You can tell me your name. It wouldn't kill you."
If only he knew that death really wasn't all that far away. The rules of murder were very simple. You had to lower your victim away from the crowd if necessary, if it wasn't, you needed to make sure that the blame could plausibly be placed on either someone or something else. You needed a murder weapon, one that could easily be hidden or ditched. You couldn't have any ties to your victim and you mustn't kill in your homeland. The most important thing was not to make contact with anyone and this was proving to be rather difficult tonight.
Dak smiled at her. "What are you thinking about?"
"Murder," Ryanon said. Hey, she might as well be honest since she was going to kill him.
Dak snorted. "That is something too dark for a lady to be thinking about."
"I'm not a lady."
"Well, no one should think those things."
Ryanon watched the two wolves threw each other across the tavern, bumping into other people, which only gave them more edge to jump into the fight.
Dak stared at her. "You really shouldn't be thinking those kinds of things."
"Tell me, Dak, are you afraid of death?" Ryanon asked, frowning as one of the vampires landed awful close to her new boots.
"That's a deep question. I don't think that you should be afraid of something that you don't understand. I think it is kind of like how things were before we were born. We didn't know life before birth and I think that death is like that." Dark took a long drink of ale.
"Do you believe in the afterlife?" Ryanon watched as the vampire got to his feet, hissing, and charged back into the fight.
"I don't know. I think that stuff was just made up to offer comfort to the living."
Ryanon smiled at him. "That is pretty deep stuff there."
Dak shrugged. "You are the one who brought it up."
Ryanon smiled a sweet smile at him. "Shall we take our conversation somewhere else?"
Dak got to his feet, throwing a couple of coins of the table. "I thought you would never ask."
Ryanon smiled as she followed Dak out of the tavern, maybe things were actually going to go easier than she first thought. It really was a shame that he had to die, but he knew too much about her. Plus, the roughness of his hands indicated that he probably would kill her if he got the chance. She always judged people for the worst.
Dak smiled and crossed his arms over his chest as he leaned against the darkened shop walls. "So, what about you?"
"What about me?" Ryanon asked, batting her eyelashes at him. It seemed to work for other girls, so why shouldn't it work for her?
"What is your theory on death?"
"Well, I feel like I'm going to die soon, but it won't be of illness or anything like that." She put her hand on her dagger. "I've always believed that I am going to die young and that I should just seize the moment."
Dak nodded. "That's not a bad mind set." He paused. "Expect you have one flaw in that theory."
Ryanon moved her head to the side. "And what is that?"
"That people can bite back too." His leg darted out so quickly that she was on her back before she could anything. He stared down at her, his blue eyes dark. "Don't you know better than to go into the street with a stranger?"
Ryanon spat in his face, swinging blindly at him.
He knelt down on top of her, his white teeth shining in the moonlight. "You said that death was coming for you and you were right, my little assassin. My master is fully aware of you and thinks that you should be slaughtered." Dak pulled a knife out of his cloak. Ryanon mentally cursed herself for not seeing it earlier. "Now, I will make this as quick as I can."
Ryanon spat at him again, which only made him laugh.
"Now, with all of the fighting in there, everywhere will think that you were just a sad victim of that, a little girl in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Now, he had done it. If there was anything that could set Ryanon off, it was being called a little girl. She spat in his eye, causing him to let a little up on his grip, but it was all she needed. Jerking as hard as she could, she pulled her arm out of his, quickly bringing it upwards, and colliding with his nose. She didn't stop until she heard the sounds of bone crunching.
Swearing as blood started gushing thickly out of his nose, Dak brought his fist down onto Ryanon's face. Tears formed in her eyes as they hit each other. She had to get him completely off of her.
He brought his blade down closer to her, just as she raised his head and head butted him, her head colliding with his chin in a deafening crunch. The force of the blow set Dak backwards, just enough for Ryanon to get free of him.
She got to her feet and turned to face the other assassin, pulling her dagger out of her cloak. Even though he was bleeding in several, he was still very beautiful. Even the most beautiful of living things, there was a great darkness.
Dak glared at her, banishing his own blade at her. "Do you really think this is going to stop me? I always complete my missions, no matter what the cost."
The two assassins circled each other, staring the other down, blades gripped tightly in their hands. Ryanon did have to admit that there were fairly equally matched.
"That's always good to know," Ryanon said, making sure that he didn't try to lunge forward. "You really are fool of yourself."
Dak smirked at her. "You are the one who said that you were going to die at a young age and I am more than happy to fulfill that wish."
Ryanon snorted. "It's not a wish. It's the truth." She had to keep him circling and if talking was the only way she could achieve this, then talking it was. "At least, I know how to get away with murder."
"Are you implying that I don't?" Dak pointed his rather extra sharp and extra pointy blade at her. "I think that my plan is pretty well thought out."
"I beg to differ." She shifted her grip on her own dagger. "You have many flaws in this plan."
Growling, Dak lunged forward, striking at her with the advanced skill. Ryanon kicked at his shins. He was stronger than her, but he was also bigger. His weight would slow him down, giving her an upper hand. She just had to make sure that she actually got that upper hand.
"For one." She grunted as he punched her in the jaw. "You didn't sniff your drink and that, my friend, was your biggest mistake, besides sitting down next tom me." She punched him hard enough in the stomach to make him cry out.
Dak returned the blow by slapping her ears, hard. Eyes watering and blinking quickly, Ryanon stabbed sloppily at him, missing him completely. Just a few more blows and she could have him.
He brought his knee up, sending it into her stomach. Groaning, she kicked at him between the legs, hoping to drop him. She did manage to make contact, but her blow wasn't as powerful as she thought it had been nor as quick.
He grabbed her foot and with one powerful jerk she found herself falling hard onto the filthy street.
Dak climbed on top of her before she could push herself upright. "You don't know anything about murder."
"I have killed, just like you and I must say that you are sloppy. It has all gotten to your head and made your careless," Ryanon taunted. "You need to go back to school and get an education."
He slapped her hard across the face. "You really do want me to kill you."
She yawned. "Do it, but I know you won't. You have had plenty of chances to do so, but you haven't. Tell me, Dak, have you gone soft?"
He answered the question, by bringing his knife down onto her throat and applied just enough pressure to draw the tiniest bit of blood. "I am not soft. I just wanted to see if you changed your feeling about death once you were face to face with it," he snarled. "You're attitude hasn't seemed to change."
"Are you going to kill me or just talk me to death?" she snarled back at him. "Your master must have some pretty bad assassins in his ranks if you are his best."
He applied more pressure, drawing more blood. "One slip of my hand and you will be gone."
Ryanon smiled. "Good, because I already let my hand slip."
Dak blinked. "Huh?"
"Right over you ale."
Dak's face paled. "You're lying."
Ryanon's smile widened. "We'll see about that. I reckon you have about thirty seconds before it kicks in, so you had better kill me know. Make that twenty seconds and counting."
Dak's face grew paler and his breaths shorter. He dropped his knife, putting his hands to his throat, gagging. He was slowly turning a blue colour. Ryanon got to her feet and crossed her arms over her chest in annoyance. This was why she hated poisoning people. Even the most beautiful of people, got all ugly looking and it took forever for the person to fall over dead.
Dak fell onto his side, his blue eyes starting up at her, as if he was begging her to end his suffering.
She knelt down next to him, smiling. "Now, I know that this is a very clichéd death, but it is the easiest way to get away with murder. Plus, it is very fitting that we are outside of a tavern and everyone saw you drinking. Alcohol poisoning is a pretty believable story."
The gagging grew louder, the life was leaving his eyes.
Ryanon reached out and gently patted his arm. "I didn't want to kill you, but you asked too many questions and I just had too."
He let out a thick gasp, his breath rattling in his chest.
"It will be all over soon and everything will be okay. You will be able to see what life is after death." She picked up his knife. "This really is a nice knife. I will put it too good use." She slide it and her own knife into her cloak.
A final gasp and rattle escaped from Dak as the life let him, his blue eyes stared blankly up at Ryanon.
Ryanon looked up and down the street as she got to her feet. No one had seen their little fight. She reached up and touched her bruised and bloody face, sighing. She was going to have to use a lot of herbs and makeup to fix this mess, but it did fit the act.
She opened her mouth and screamed laugh enough to wake the dead. "HE'S DEAD!"
The doors to the taverns opened up as humans and nonhumans rushed out of the bars.
She pointed at Dak's body. "I was just letting the cat out and these men came out of nowhere and jumped me. He...He...He...saved...me. He yelled at them and they left." Her voice started to shake as tears filled her eyes. Ah, she loved being dramatic. "I...I...I..."
A Fae rushed out of the crowd, putting her arms around the shaking Ryanon. "There, there, dear, there was nothing that you could have done for the poor lad's soul. He probably just had too much to drink and all that excitement just added to it. Come on, let's go get you something to help calm you down."
Ryanon allowed herself to be lead away. She kept peering at Dak's body out of the corner. She could see some of the werewolves and vampires sniffing him. She smiled briefly to herself. The poison that she had used was undetectable any living being.
Poison was supposed to be a woman's murder weapon. It was far better than using weapons or force, because poison just made like look the person had died. There was no marks or no pointing fingers.
It just simply was the best way to get away with murder.