missed mark

I’ve decided to resurrect an old character for this week’s 500 Club. The prompt I’ve chosen is: “Write a scene that seems to send us in one direction, but switches up in a surprising way. Don’t go for the cheap joke, though. Again, subtlety is key.” If you have not read my previous short fiction stories about the unnamed gay assassin (killing simonblind date, red sweater and the message), you might want to read them first. Hope you enjoy.

mark missed

One cannot afford to make mistakes in my line of work. There is a good chance you won’t be afforded the opportunity to correct them. That fact, combined with the reality that I am a proud perfectionist, means I should have known better.

The mark was simple. Disturbingly so.

A woman. Many in my line of work won’t take an assignment if the mark is a woman. My handler knows I have no sensibilities about the issue. The assumption, I believe, is that because I am gay I lack a tenderness toward femininity. This is not the case. Rather, I will take any mark. Man, woman, child–killing is killing.

If this sounds cold, you do well to check yourself. I’m an assassin. I’m not meant to be gentle.

She lived in a nicer part of town. I’d been tailing her for days, learning her routines. She was painfully predictable, and I felt the time had come for me to make a move. Each evening, after a quiet dinner alone, she read for a while in the bath and then went to bed. Her bath time presented me with a prime opportunity to manufacture the illusion of suicide.

I broke in quietly and crept upstairs. Though I had been watching her, I had never employed video surveillance in the bathroom itself. It hardly seemed necessary.

Assassination is often a simple act, the tried and true producing the most consistent successful results. I was planning to walk in, use her surprise to my advantage and simply hold her head beneath the water until she expired.

Easy.

I open the door and heard her yelp in surprise. I approached, walking quickly across tile and bath rug, and placed my hand on her head, driving it beneath the water. She kicked and pushed, but was easy enough to hold her down.

I watched her hair, a tangled wet mop of brown thrashing in the water, and allowed my eyes to move down her body toward her feet. But I never made it that far. At her pelvis, I saw something that shocked me. Shocked me so much, in fact, that I recoiled and stepped back.

A penis. She was, in fact, a biological he.

The alarmingly passable transexual before me rolled forward coughing up water and suds. I stared at her chest, surgically augmented. At her face, pretty if simple. And at her crotch, starkly utilitarian by contrast.

“What the fucked?” she exclaimed.

I was still in shock, having been taken quite off guard. I shook my own head and said, “Sorry. Didn’t expect that.”

Then I casually withdrew my pistol and, with her watching, took aim and fired. There was a lot of blood, but she was in the bath so it was almost entirely contained.

I left in a hurry, fairy displeased at the messiness.

But, my God. Who would have expected that?

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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