Shot in the Dark

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Short story about an Assassin in a post-apocalyptic world.

Submitted: December 29, 2011

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Submitted: December 29, 2011





Apocalyptic Calling


“The sniper rifle is a semi-automatic rifle, designed primarily as a long-ranged weapon. Once modified with a suppressor, it becomes the perfect weapon for an assassin when hidden. Due to the decent rate of fire from the standard scavenged military rifles, any target that survives the first shot can be dispatched quickly with a second shot, before alerting any nearby enemies.”


Darkness had, at last, settled over the rolling deserts of Nabila. Although hot during the day, the temperature plummeted during the night. My hands were cold, but I kept them steady. The crumbling shell of a building that I had taken post in was of little protection from the chilling winds that danced over the sand. I huddled tighter into the corner, melding with the shadows to become near invisible. I longed to light a fire, and warm myself by its embers but I could afford no such risk. My target was close. I closed my eyes.


Seconds turned into minutes. Minutes turned into hours. My internal body clock told me it was around midnight, and there was no sound in the wastes that was once fertile land. My eyes gently opened, and I rubbed the sleep caked around the edges. I licked my lips, but quickly dried them so they would not become chapped and cracked. I could not be suffering any pain when it came to making the shot. No pain meant no distractions. I pulled myself up, holding onto a broken stone ledge above me. Once on my feet, I peered through a hole in the building, which was once a window, and scanned the desert. My eyes quickly spied the light of a fire, far into the distance however I could not quite tell how many people warmed themselves by it.


I turned back around towards the cold stone wall and picked up my rifle which was leaning against it. I rested it gently on the ledge of the hole, and looked through the scope, which was already adjusted. I quickly found myself staring at 3 figures near the fire, two sitting down towards the fire and the last standing up, facing towards me. I kept my eye trained on the third, making sure I had not been detected. Luckily, the figure made no noticeable movement which would indicate that he was aware of my presence. I then inspected the two other figures. My target was a rich noble. I did not know why he deserved to die, or even if he actually deserved his death. Society had collapsed, and civilisation had burned to the ground. All that now mattered was ones well-being, which required money. Money for food, for water and for weapons. Those who had enough money brought entry into a ‘safe-haven’, which promised safety, security, and society. However buying your way in wasn’t the only way to be granted access. It seems a sanctuary of any type cannot work with just rich men and women alone. They need the cockroaches, the vermin. The people who the rich would rather leave in the wastes to die. The people who had the skills, but didn’t have the paper. I was one of those people. I’ve spent much of my life pondering over my skills, and the lack of money in my pockets: the idea of living the golden age, a care-free time in history. Where the biggest worry was finding a wife and a job. If only it was that simple now.


There was no noticeable difference between the two men sitting down, nor was there any with the third. They were all dressed in desert gear, which covered most of their faces. No description of the man was given, only when and where I should be. Personally, I just viewed it as a way of making my job that little more exciting.

The contract held no bonuses, and no forfeits. Usually I would only take contracts with bonuses attached, bonuses being special ‘rules’ as I like to call them. Complete or follow the rules, and you receive an extra reward. However I found myself heading towards the only safe haven in Nabila, and this was along the way.


Again, minutes passed, and I still had not come to any decision of which man was the target. I was tempted to take them all out, however if one escaped it would make it harder for myself to gain access to the safe haven. Not many want a trained killer roaming their ‘safe’ streets. Then again, if I only killed one then the other two would report the killing anyway. My mind worked slowly this night, partly due to the coldness of the deserts but mainly down to the fact that I had had no sleep for the past two nights. This made my work dangerous and difficult, but not impossible. The third man was still standing, and still staring in my direction. It was like he was tempting me, even if I was unknown to him. Perhaps fate was tempting me to target him. I looked back at the two sitting down, they had moved barely an inch. They sat around five meters away from the man standing up, and would hear the fall of his body. There was no chance of a silent kill, nor the chance of separating the group to make the targets easier.


I had no choice, and took aim at the man standing up. I hoped to have enough time to retarget the men sitting down before they ran. The targeting markers of my scope were trained onto the head of the third man, and I slowed my breathing. My heart was racing, like it did before every kill I made. My hands were steady, and my finger rest gently on the trigger. It felt like time itself slowed down, and the silence became that little bit quieter. My finger clenched, pulling the trigger and releasing a bullet from the rifle which buried itself into the head of the third man. He fell to the ground, which instantly attracted the attention of the two men sitting down. They jumped to their feet, pulling out their side-arms. I quickly retargeted my rifle at the man on the right, and fired. The bullet found its way into his chest, which caused him to fall to the ground dead. The last man standing turned to his fallen companion, and then ran. Unfortunately for me, he ran into the other direction and into the darkness. I had one shot, and if I missed I would not get another chance. I took aim and pulled the trigger once again, however the bullet missed the area I was aiming for, and hit the fleeing mans leg causing him to fall over into the sand, and into the darkness. I could not see him, and I could not be sure that he hadn’t just pulled himself up and continued running.


“Shit,” I whispered under my breath, and hooked the Rifle’s strap over my shoulder. I jumped out of the second story hole which I had just fired from and landed on the sand, rolling on impact. I then started running towards the fire to either find the man having disappeared, or to find him near death. I was dreading both. It was easier when I made the kill from afar. It made it less personal, but I pushed the thoughts out of my head as I came across the fire. I looked quickly, and found the foot prints leading away from the camp. Following them for a matter of seconds, I came across the twitching body of the man who tried to run. He was breathing, causing me to curse again. I pulled out my silenced pistol, took aim at his head and pulled the trigger. Blood spurted out, spraying the ground. I stood back, turned around and walked away towards the building I had come from. I pushed all images of the dead outside of my head, and did not bother to check to see if I had killed the rich man I was contracted to kill. I knew he was dead, I just knew.

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