The Hollow and The Saint

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 11 (v.1) - Happy Valentine

Submitted: June 23, 2017

Reads: 43

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Submitted: June 23, 2017

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I don't believe in holidays, especially Valentine's Day. You’re probably thinking, "Oh! Then you don't believe in love. How cruel of you!"

Well, let me explain. What I hate about these holidays is the concept of ‘pretending’ to feel such way for a person just because it's ‘Valentine’s Day’. It's like when you wear a mask for a play, and you get so immersed in the role and character, that when the play is over you don't recognize yourself anymore. You may even laugh at yourself later. These holidays tend to leave hearts broken rather than bring them together. For me, love is not a feeling, it's more of a need - a connection, like the missing puzzle piece of the soul. That is why I consider love to be a liability. For me, to realize my dream, I couldn’t afford to have any distractions.

***

It's the 14th of February.

“Oh, hey there, Logan.”

“Good morning, Ms. Anderson. Thanks for the bread by the way. It was delicious! Got to roll, see you tomorrow,”I replied.

"Hey, Logan! Don't forget to drop by at noon. You promised to take me shopping, remember?" Elizabeth asked.

Strange, why do I feel as if I was being followed by someone? Guess it’s just my imagination

"Of course I remember, don't worry! I will be on time. Take care!" I took off.

“Eli, don't you think that Logan is such a handsome young man? He seems to care for you. Why aren’t you two together yet?” said Ms. Anderson.

“What? No, I’ve known Logan since we were kids, we’re like brother and sister. Besides, I don’t think he looks at me like that,” said Elizabeth.

“Oh, you are such sweetheart… but a tad stupid.  He is madly in love with you. The way he looks at you, the way he holds your hand, the way he speaks to you - come on, you must know better!”

“There is no way… I mean, are you sure?”

“Of course I am sure. It's just that… he is an idiot, a lot like you. He doesn’t know how to express his feelings right now, but he seems to be satisfied as long you are close to him.”

“Oh, Ms. Anderson. You are imagining things! Even if what you said is true… look at me!  I am just some blind girl. I can't even go shopping alone,” said Elizabeth with a sarcastic voice.

"Well, his eyes tell otherwise. Trust me, nobody stays devoted to someone that long if they don’t care for them. That’s true love! However, if you keep being naïve like you are now, some other girl will trick that poor guy and snatch him away from you!”

“Hmmm…” Elizabeth sank deep into her thoughts.

***

“Logan, I have a favor to ask of you,” said The Baron with a nervous voice.

Strange, that’s the first time he’s ever spoken to me like that.

“I’m listening.”

“As you know, it’s my job to survey the assassins in this region. A new recruit, codename Zebra, is trying to present himself as the best assassin around. Instead of working on completing contracts to raise his rank, he took a different route. He chose to take out other assassins, especially those newly recruited.”

“I thought targeting other assassins was allowed?” I asked.

“Technically it is, but this guy is causing insecurity among the ranks, and that’s bad for business, he is causing chaos.” The Baron responded.

“Alright, so where do I fit in all of this?”

“You see, I can’t put a contract under his name because he hasn’t done anything wrong. But you, it’s another story. Right now you’re not bound by any contract. You can take care of him without any problem. However, I need it to be done today.”

“Today? Why?” I asked.

I promised Elizabeth I’d spend the day with her.

“Tomorrow he will be assigned a new contract, by then he will be untouchable. Plus, I want this to end as soon as possible,” said The Baron.

He needs me so badly, this is my chance!

“A favor won’t cut it for me, I want something more concrete,” I responded.

“Does that mean you’ll do it?” The Baron asked.

“Depends on the offer. I’ll make easier for you, I won’t accept money.”

“How about this, I will try to get you a special contract. The kind that would put you right in the spotlight. You’d go down in history. What do you say?”

This is exactly what I was hoping for.

“Fair enough, just give me all the information you have on this guy, and you can consider it done.”

***

It was noon, I came and took Elizabeth with me. I was determined to stick to my promise and complete the job at the same time.

“Why aren’t we going to the city market?” Elizabeth asked.

“I heard there are some interesting stores in the neighbourhood, so I thought, why not check them out?” I responded.

“If you say so, but my wallet is limited, just so you know.”

She was wearing black glasses, and held a cane in her left hand. I was holding her right one. However, I felt a hesitation in her touch, as if she was shying away from me.

What’s wrong with her today?

We arrived at the clothing store, I was always the one who chose what she would wear. Thanks to me, all of her clothes were white, I just like to see her wearing this color. So this time, I wanted to make a change.

"How about red? Come on, try this one out. Meanwhile, I have something I need to buy from the store nearby." I said.

“What is it? We can buy it together later.”

“No need, it’s something somewhat personal. Besides, the changing rooms are full, it will be a while until you get your turn,” I responded.

Just as I was going through the exit, a policeman stopped me.

“Sorry sir, but I think I need you to come with me,” he said.

“Why? What did I do wrong?” I asked.

“You will be told at the station.”

Then he searched my pockets, found my switchblade, and took it away.

“Let’s get you to the car,” he said, after handcuffing me.

He made me walk in front of him until we reached an alleyway. Suddenly, I felt cold metal touching the bottom of my neck.

“Hollow, what a pleasant surprise. I’ve heard great things about you. It’s Zebra, by the way,” he said, this time with a sinister voice.

“So you’re the psychopath who is responsible for taking out the other assassins. I have to say, I’ve heard a lot about you too. Never imagined you would go this far, disguised as a police officer, that is. But how did you find me?” I asked.

“Isn’t it obvious? You were the next target on my list, I have been following you for a while now, I was planning on taking you down later, but since you already came into my turf, well, let’s just say I couldn’t resist anymore,” Zebra responded.

Judging by his previous targets, The Baron and I noticed that he not only chose new recruits, but he was also aiming for younger assassins. And if our theory was correct, I should’ve been the next target as I was the youngest assassin alive in the region. I’d had a feeling for some time now that I was being followed. He had been watching me.

The Baron had also told me that he was the arrogant, confident type, the worst trait an assassin could have. That’s when I figured out how to lure him out of hiding. I was confident that if I went into his city, he would surely come for me.

Hearing his cocky voice, I broke into laughter, I couldn’t hold it inside anymore.

“Lost your mind already? Here I was hoping for a dramatic speech,” he responded.

First mistake, an assassin doesn’t talk too much.

“You know what, I just feel sorry for those who’ve fallen by your hands. If would ask me, they got what they deserved.”

“Well, you’ll be joining them soon. You’re the one with the gun to his head, remember?” he said, laughing.

Holding the gun too close to his target. Second mistake.

A second and a half, that’s all it took for me to take the gun from his hands and point it right at his forehead. Shocked, unable to understand what was going on, he simply raised his hands and dropped down to the floor. I could see the fear in his eyes, crawling backwards, the almighty lion turned into a lowly cat in an instant. Instead of fighting back, he surrendered. Without any hesitation, I pulled the trigger.

 

I approached his corpse, took the keys from his left pocket, and unlocked my handcuffs.

“See? That’s what you do when your target is right in your line of sight. Don’t speak, just pull the trigger,” I whispered in his ear before fleeing the scene.

***

It had been fifteen minutes since I left Elizabeth. Luckily, she was just out of the changing room. The moment I saw her with that dress on, I swear I felt my heart skip a beat. She was marvelous. The way her blonde hair rested on her shoulders on top of that red color was captivating. The way it wrapped her skinny arms, those amazing frills dancing on her chest. That skinny gold belt around her slender waist, the way the dress cascaded down to her ankles. It was like I was living in a painting, except she was more vivid and real than art, and I could feel and smell the scenery. It was perfect.

"So? How do I look?" she said with a doubtful voice.

"Eli… You look amazing!" I replied, astonished.

"Really? You think I’m pretty?... I mean, you like this dress on me? Well, at least I got to wear it. It's expensive as hell!" she said with a sad voice.

“Who said anything about money? I like it on you. I am buying it," I replied.

"No! I can't let you burden yourself like that! You know I don't like you paying for my stuff."

"Don't worry. My job pays really well. Besides, you and I are one, remember?" I said with a confident voice.

"Okay… Just don't tell me afterwards that I didn't warn you. You will go bankrupt! Let me change back so I won't wrinkle the dress."

"No, don't take it off! You must spend the whole day wearing it!"

"But-"

"No buts!  Come on, let's go."

Then we went to have lunch and spent the day walking aimlessly around the city, holding hands, with her head on my shoulder. It was so light, I barely felt it, yet, it made me feel so… peaceful.

***

We finally returned home. She asked me to spend some time with her that night. We bought a bottle of wine. Usually we don't drink, but today was an exception. We were sitting on the bed.

"Hey, I've been meaning to ask you this for a long time. How can you imagine things you don't know?" I asked.

"Well, it's simple. Just like when I walk alone. I tend to memorize the road, and each step. While with objects, if I know the shape, I imagine it in my mind. If it's something new, I use my hands to capture a  clear picture of it in my head," she replied.

"Okay, then how can you describe me?" I asked.

"Actually, I don't know."

"Really? We’ve known each other all these years, and you don't have a clear picture of me? I mean, when you talk to me, at least, you should imagine someone right?" I said.

"Yeah!? Of course, I have a picture of you.  It's just, you could say… it's outdated," she said sarcastically.

"Don't you wish to update that picture?" I asked.

She drank her glass of wine in one go. I could tell she was nervous. She approached me so that she was close enough that I could feel the warmth of her body. She laid her hands on my face, and started moving her tiny fingers around my features. It kind of tingled.

Then, when she reached my lips, she stopped there. She then brought her face in line with mine. It was like she was looking right through my eyes. It was the first time I noticed her lips. They were pale red, like a rose. The upper lip was thinner than the curvy, plump bottom lip, but not too thin. She was getting closer, and so was I. Maybe it was the wine. I felt my body being drawn by a strong, magnetic force, pulling me unmercifully to her side. She was getting closer too. In that moment, I felt my whole body being surrounded by a cold aura, my heart started racing… I was afraid of the unknown.

Suddenly, the glass in my hand slipped to the floor and broke into hundreds of pieces. We returned to our senses, and she immediately moved away from me. I could tell how tense she was by her heavy breathing.

"Oh sorry! Don't worry, I will clean it up," I said, somewhat relieved.

While collecting the broken pieces, I couldn't help but think that I was picking up the pieces of what used to be our relationship. After cleaning up the floor, I went to my apartment. She didn't say a word. Still, I couldn't help but wonder:

Did the glass slip from my hand on its own? Or did I drop it on purpose?

Back then, I didn't know the answer. But here was what I knew for sure - I hated Valentine's day more than ever.

 


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