Killer's Judgment

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Gothic literature short story where a group of assassins are given a mission to assassinate a target, but something goes wrong... very wrong.

Submitted: April 14, 2015

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Submitted: April 14, 2015

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Killer’s Judgment

 

Chapter 1

 

Within strangling trees, through treacherous topography, past deformed creatures of the darkened day and night lies a sharp cliff face. The rock contrasts between rough and smooth through which the wind had disintegrated. Dark overlying shadows cast a sinister cover over the guild’s base. No light penetrates past the confining claustrophobic walls of stone of the natural crude surfaces. Even though this secretive sanctuary is concealed within darkness, a lone raven like some vulture swooping in for its dead prey, flies into the obscured cavern.

 

The raven, a majestic nightmare of despair, drops a parchment from its gnarled claws, rippling out a sploosh sound into the dark abyss that was the cavern as paper hits water. The beast arches its wings back for a second and then with a burst of force propels itself into the air. It flees the scene faster than before, as if frightened from what was to come, leaving behind the object it had previously obtained.

 

The cave remains silent, the only sound sourcing from the occasional drip drip of a drop of water upon the moist, slippery ground. Suddenly, bats frantically escape out of the medium-size crevice in unison from a disturbance within the cave. An indistinct moan fills the broken silent. Tap… Tap… a small noise emits from a light pressed footstep. Tap… Tap… the noise begins to grow stronger. Tap… Ughhhh… a loud noise resonates through the cave.

 

The form of a woman in the darkness walks toward the wet paper parchment on the floor of the cavern. She picks up the parchment, held together with a hastily placed seal. She, without a thought, rips apart the seal with one quick swipe of her somewhat sharp fingernails. She then proceeds to violently shake off the excess water to no avail. She attempts to ignore the nasty wetness of the liquid upon paper, squinting her eyes to read the oddly unblemished bolded words. She reads it over a second time before straightening herself and going back into the depths of the cavern.

 

Deep within the cavern, the passage enters into a more lit area full of the putrid smell of stinking wax candles. Smoke covers every breathable inch. It’s hard to believe any sane person would even be in such a horrible place, but there sat 8 figures in arched chairs, all facing a woman in the center. The woman from before. Candles light up each of the individuals’ faces as well as the one standing up.

 

Thalia stands before her comrades with a paper in her hand, her feet spread apart evenly, and her posture composed in confidence. Without further delay, she announces what is written on the letter word for word:

Heavens Arrow,

It has come to our attention that a certain bestial atrocity has proved to be gruesomely terrorizing his subjects, even experimenting on the ones who oppose him. But this isn’t the only danger. The people who serve the feudal lord are terrifying monsters like himself. The monstrosity and his henchmen could easily put a stop to everything the Revolutionary Army has worked towards. We need the help of the assassination guild to dispose of this inhumane aristocrat, and peace shall be a step closer than before.

 

Commander of the Revolution Army

 

She sets down the paper on a nearby table close to her. The other members look at Thalia as if expecting an order.

 

A man, Shintaro, stands up and gives an order instead, “As the other times, we will leave in the cover of darkness. Since this mission requires killing a feudal lord within his own chambers, we will need all of you, and I do mean all of you to be ready when the time calls.”

 

He nods to Thalia, who then speaks, “Here are the details of the mission. According to the intel, the guards are going to be as strong or even stronger than us, so we must meet up as a group to take them down first. We don’t know what’s lying in wait for us, so all of you need to be on your best guard. We will split up into 3 groups of 3: Ren and Kaito with Shintaro, Kuro and Lala with Jin, and Minami and Shina with me. Shintaro’s group will go through the west entrance, Jin’s group will go through the south entrance, and my group will go through the east entrance. We will meet up in the central point.  Any questions?”

 

A boy stands up. He gives off an arrogant attitude. “Why do I have to team up with this idiot?”

Ren pipes up, pointing at Kaito with an accusing finger. Kaito gets up and looks down at Ren, a head shorter than him.

 

“Who are you calling idiot, midget? If you have a problem deal with it yourself. This is a world of death around every corner. No one here has time for your trivial problems.”


Ren opens his mouth to retaliate, to deny that it wasn’t trivial, but before he can utter a single word, a hand, rather a fist, knocks him on the head, sending him cringing in pain instead. “Ow! What was that f-…”

 

He suddenly stops his complaint midsentence after seeing Shintaro’s cold, merciless face in a deadlock stare of a ‘I will kill you if you get anymore on my nerves’ look.

 

“Fine, I’ll lay off.” Ren gives Kaito a glare before heading on his own out of the musty room. He slams the door behind him. Dust flies up into the air.


A girl gets up to follow Ren reaching out a hand as if to stop him from leaving. “Ren…”  Her hand falls back down to her side. The girl, Minami, goes out of the door as well in pursuit of the angry little boy. Kaito, reluctantly, asks himself why he should even be worried about the guy before convincing himself that Minami was all he cared about at the moment.

 

The other members act as if nothing happened. It was normal to them. This commotion, this turn of events, wasn’t surprising to them. Most of the group leaves the musty room after that, but two are still sitting in chairs across from one another. Lala, a friendly girl who enjoys the company of others, looks toward the other girl who is deeply intrigued with the book she is reading. This was Shina, a quite feminist girl who was generally the silent type. Lala waits until Shina decides to leave the room to get up and talk to her. The girl didn’t really pay attention to her, which was fine because this was normally how she acted toward most people. She had tried several times to get the quiet girl to have a conversation with her for longer than just question and answer, but to no success. Even rejected so many times, Lala thought positively. I got this this time. I know I can get her to talk. Lala thought to herself. Lala walks beside the bookworm Shina in an effort to get her to notice her. When that doesn’t work, she relies on conversation instead.

 

“Watcha reading?” Lala inquires. It takes a moment for Shina to answer.

 

When Shina does finally realize that she’s being talked to, she looks up at Lala before answering, “Just a mystery novel.” She put it so simply that it made the discussion pointless.

 

Lala unhappily sees how her question led to inevitable silence. Not wanting to be shunned by awkwardness, she persists by asking, “What’s it about?”

 

Almost as if Shina expected the question, the girl replies with great speed. “Five people in a group, four boys and one girl, have to solve a murder case in their town.” Shina suddenly stops in the middle of the hallway along with her answer to Lala’s question. Lala stops as well in confused reaction. She wonders why she stopped. Shina places an uneven, paper-thin bookmark within two pages, marking a place. She shuts the book.

 

Viewing the action as relating to her, she feels a bit guilty. “You’re not going to read it more?”

 

“I’ll finish it later.” Shina answers with as little words as possible.

 

“Oh okay,” Lala says somewhat completely thinking it was her fault.

 

The two remain silent after that until they reach their rooms.

 

“Well this is my room,” Shina says quietly before giving a wave of farewell to Lala.

 

“Oh uh, see you later,” Lala says awkwardly not realizing that they had reached their living quarter rooms.

 

“Ahhh, that was a waste,” Lala says as she enters her room, “I still couldn’t get her to talk much. She needs to open up more.” Lala looks to the bed stand for a certain item, a weapon. She spots her broadsword lying against the stone wall. “It’s been a while since I last sharpened you hasn’t it?” she says aloud to no one in particular.

 

“Who you talking to?” asks a voice coming from the ceiling.

 

Startled Lala stumbles backward, saved from falling by the wall. “W-W-Who’s there?” Seeing that it’s Kuro, she breathes a sigh of relief. “Phew, it’s only you.”

 

“Well of course it’s me,” Kuro says quizzically, “We are in the same group after all.”


“You’re not supposed to enter other people’s rooms and almost scaring them half to death!” scolds Lala.

 

“Haha sorry, my bad,” he says, jumping from where he was positioned on the corner of the ceiling and aligning wall, “So… what are you planning on doing while we wait for the sun to set?”

 

“I’m thinking of finally getting around to sharpen my sword. I haven’t really been keeping up with that, since I’ve been practicing my hand-to-hand combat skills with Thalia,” Lala admitted slightly embarrassed.

 

“She didn’t work you too hard?” Kuro said a little concerned.

 

“Yeah, yeah I’m fine.” Lala looks down in embarrassment. “You don’t have to worry so much about me. She looks back to Kuro, meeting his eyes. “I know we’re boyfriend and girlfriend now since you did confess to me, but still, it’s creepy that you care about me so much.” She looks away from Kuro and moves slightly farther from him.

“I know you don’t mean that, right?” Kuro said moving a bit closer his hands gesturing an act of innocence.

“Who knows?” Lala challenges.

 

“That’s cold of you.” Kuro says with a particularly saddened tone.

 

“Just kidding. Just kidding,” Lala says insistently in defense trying to assure Kuro that she really did love him. She rubs his arm in affection.

 

Minami finally catches up to Ren along with Kaito in the middle of the hallway.

 

“Why are you here?” Ren questions Kaito.

 

“No reason,” Kaito says, “I’m only here for Minami’s sake.

“Then leave. I don’t need you here.”

 

“What? You honestly think I can trust you after what happened that other day? You punched Shintaro in the face while practicing punches while walking.”

 

“That was by accident! What about you? You’re one to talk when you almost killed someone with that cooking of yours.”

 

“That’s irrelevant! Plus, why does everyone think I did it? I didn’t even cook. I was in charge of only preparing the food.”

 

“Whatever you say,” Ren said mockingly.

“Are you trying to start a fight with me?”

 

“You two really don’t like each other, huh?” Minami stated interrupting the two’s bickering, “Couldn’t you two try to get along once in a while?”

 

“I’m not the one who has a problem. This insolent brat right here (he demonstrates who he’s referring to by patting Ren on the head hard much to Ren’s annoyance) won’t even try. He has a problem with me that I just don’t understand,” Kaito explains.

 

Ren angrily throws Kaito’s hand off. “Well I wouldn’t have a problem if you would stop being such a nuisance,” Ren punches Kaito in the midsection as he says this.

 

“Hey hey you two! Stop fighting! Is there really any point for males to fight over something so stupid?”


“Says you,” both say at the same time before going back to throwing insults at one another.

 

“These two,” Minami shakes her head in condescension, “They must both be idiots."

 

Chapter 2

 

Later that evening. The sun has already set. The moon is slightly above the horizon, sharing it’s brilliance with the world like a king does in raising his head to peasants. The night air is slightly cool, providing a nice breezy addition to the air that had previously been heated during the afternoon. So far, none of the nine assassins have been spotted by the looming castle now above each one’s head. It’s almost too suspicious that the castle guard that normally occupies the top of the walls is nowhere to be seen. It can only be justified by the fact that they arrived here on one of their night shift changes. Though the drawbridge on the north side of the castle was fully up and closed, there were always bare windows to jump through for assassins to climb into the castle. All three groups are set. All are prepared with their weapons of choice.

Shina is equipped with a lone pistol, Kuro equipped with his long staff, Kaito with his katana, Ren with his reinforcement tools, Minami with her fans, Thalia with her leather gloves, Lala with her broadsword, Jin with his crossbow, and Shintaro with his double large-clip pistols.

 

Shintaro gestures for Ren and Kaito to follow his lead. He begins climbing the wall. First he tests the first stone to make sure it was still intact. Satisfied, he begins his climb up the wall. Slow at first and then faster and faster until he reached the window’s sill. Without looking down, he used his leg power to muster the final force needed to flip forward through the open window. Kaito and Ren are still only halfway.

 

“How does he think we can follow him if he just leaves us behind? Assassins aren’t acrobats!” Ren complains. Kaito clearly ignores him, inching ahead of him up the wall as he moves up another step onto another jutted block of stone. “Are you listening to me?” Ren shouts above.

 

“With your moronic yapping, the enemy has already known since the beginning that we’re here.”


“There’s no one even up there. There’s no possible way they’d even hear us going up their fortress.” Ren argued.

 

“With your constant yelling, they can hear you from a mile away,” Kaito replies, not wanting to talk anymore to this guy.

 

Both get through the window. Shintaro turns around and instantly asks why they both took so long. Kaito blames Ren for slowing them down, while Ren tries to cover up the story saying Kaito was actually the one slowing both of them. Shintaro shakes his head. “Are you two even assassins anymore? It’s really pathetic to see such childish behavior.” Something catches Shintaro’s eye. “You two! Get back now!”
Without the need to argue with Shintaro’s order, both get back as told. Out of nowhere, knives line the inside castle wall each making a clang as they bounced off it. Ren’s eyes grow wide. Close. He almost got his neck pierced by metal. Something appears out of the darkness. All three dodge to the right as something flashes past all threes’ sight. A head, a human head, blood still seeping from its fresh slice between head and body comes past on a dagger.

 

The face seemed familiar. Kaito looks at it, and suddenly collapses to his knees. On that dagger, the head of Shina faced towards him, her eyes staring widely as if in shock. Drops of tears full of blood came from the head, and the head started slipping off the dagger, slowly bending the skin off until it was hanging off the last inside of the skin of the head of the left cheek.

 

“How…” Ren says in despair, “How did they know we were coming?” He falls to his knees in shock. He slowly rubs his fingers on the cold stone ground trying to convince himself that this wasn’t real. That all this was a dream. But Shintaro doesn’t allow the two to just fall into desperation.


“There is no time to grieve! The enemy is right there. The killer. If you want your revenge, you must take it with force. Don’t and you will live with that fact that you were a coward who could not fight for anyone else but yourself. Stand up and fight you two! This is no time for assassins like us to be crying for our dead comrade!”

 

Ren wipes the tears that had formed within his now red eyes. Kaito picks himself back up. Ren gets out the knives he has within his customized tool belt. Kaito pulls out the katana from its sheath and holds it out in front of him with two hands. Shintaro because he was experienced with being on the edge of death from countless missions and comrade deaths already had his pistols ready, pointing at the darkness ahead of them. The moon cast a light in front of them, making them easy to see, but the enemy harder to identify within the darkness. More daggers came from the darkness as if to taunt them into leaping ahead to attack the person hidden from sight. Shintaro moves forward, then right to get out of the moon’s disastrous light. The daggers suddenly stop just like they started. Cautiously to the new development, Shintaro moves a little bit at a time.

 

In half a second, Shintaro springs forward bringing his double pistols up and loaded, he shoots both simultaneously at a shadow. The shadow seeing as it’s been discovered moves out of the way, but Shintaro doesn’t allow it to escape. He aims the bullets to block any escape path to run away for the murderer in the shadows. In response, the shadow ghosts in between the bullets trajectory paths and runs right past Shintaro also delivering a knife blade to his chest. But killing Shintaro wasn’t it’s main objective. Ren noticed the shadow was moving towards him. Ren readies his new knives to brace for the attack, but Kaito suddenly steps in and blocks the strike of the knife aimed at Ren’s heart with the edge of his katana.

 

However brave that was, it was futile as the hooded shadow pulled out a second knife from within his cloak. Kaito had zero time to use his katana to counter the second knife. There was only one thing he could possibly do. Letting one hand hold the katana, he released his grip of his right hand on the hilt and grabbed the knife as it was in midair. Pain sprung up his arm as blood instantaneously spilled out of the open wound of his hand. He stopped the knife at the cost of his hand.

“Ren! Now!” Kaito screamed.

 

Ren in acknowledgement strikes the hooded killer with both knives to the heart. There was zero resistance to prevent the blades from puncturing its heart. The hold of the knife in Kaito’s hand goes slack, and Kaito drops the knife. The knife retreats away, hitting the ground at an angle that caused it to bounce in the opposite direction. Kaito quickly clasps his hand to stop the bleeding. As Kaito is doing this, Ren checks on Shintaro, opening up his tool belt for medical supplies.

 

“How bad did he cut you?” Ren asks concerned.

 

“I’m fine. He didn’t even go through my clothing.” Shintaro says, “Though why is this happening? Why did all of my planning lead to such a failure?” His eyes are bloodshot. He blames himself for the mission. He opens up a pouch that he pulled out from inside his clothing. “It didn’t say anything about them being this strong. Are we all going to die here?”

 

Beyond the wall, on the far side of the castle, in the darkness Kuro staggered with Lala’s arm wrapped around the back of his neck injured. An explosion blows up around the corner, lighting up the darkness with a brilliant orange. Kuro is heavily breathing in and out, trying desperately to keep from falling to the ground as he slowly moves forward.

 

“Kuro, just leave me. If you don’t we’ll both die,” Lala says teary-eyed, “I’ll only slow you down, so go witho-…”
 

“No! Don’t say another word! I won’t leave you. No matter what,” Kuro objects, “There’s still a chance for both of us to live.”

 

“No there’s not, and you know it,” Lala sobs. Hot tears drip onto Kuro’s arm.

 

Kuro turns his head to Lala. “I can’t. I can’t live with myself knowing that I ditched you in your time of need. If, if we do die, it will be together or none at all!”

 

“One of us needs to live,” she reasoned, “Don’t you remember what all of us are doing this for? We’re not murderers. We’re the people fighting for the justice in this cruel world!”

 

“I can’t bear the burden of just letting you die here alone, in this cold place. I will carry you to safety. This is what Jin wanted. We need to both survive. I don’t care what happens I will not just leave you here!”

 

Kuro pushes on with more effort than before. Even through the loud noises from the battle between Jin and one of the bodyguards of the feudal lord, Kuro continues to push forward with his legs in poor condition. Lala can’t feel any of her limbs at all. She can’t move no matter how badly she wants to make sure Kuro survives. Some light shines in front of them. Kuro is blinded by it, but with both hands being preoccupied, he had nothing to shield his eyes from the bright light.

A voice speaks, “Who’s there?”

“Lala and Kuro,” Kuro answers back.

 

“Ah! Finally! Allies!”

 

The light suddenly lessens considerably and two shapes come into Kuro’s focus. “Is that… Ren and Kaito,” he asks the two people.

 

“Yeah we are,” Ren beams, “But where are the others?”

“We don’t know either,” Lala says weakly. It’s clear that she’s on the brink of passing out.

“Ren do you still have medical supplies on you?” Kuro asks in a concerned tone.

 

“Yeah I do. Set Lala down gently over there.” Ren points to a wall.

 

Kuro goes over to the indicated wall and lays Lala  on her back. “Is here good?”

 

“Yeah yeah, that’s fine,” Ren assures him, waving him away as he gets out medical utensils and medicine. He quickly bandages the wounds on Lala. After patching her up, Ren says, “Shouldn’t you two be taking down that feudal lord? That’s what we came for right?”

“Yeah, of course,” Kaito says, “I was just waiting for Kuro. That’s all.”

“Sure. Sure. Now get going,” Ren urges.

 

“We’ll be back for you two,” Kuro says to both but mostly to Lala. Lala gives a weak smile to Kuro before both Kaito and Kuro leave.

 

Kaito and Kuro enter the lord’s chamber. The room is dark and eerily quiet, except for the moon that shines into the royal chamber from the window.  The moon so bright, seems to be mocking the deaths of their comrades. It shines a disturbing light into their faces. Suddenly, a pan comes flying from the side, but it’s slow. Kaito dodges it and draws his sword out and thrusts out the blade into whatever was standing behind the door. A clear audible Ough comes from behind the door as a man collapses in front of Kaito’s feet.


“The deed has been done, but we need to get out of here,” Kaito says.

 

Kuro goes over to the window, testing if it is unlocked. Luckily it is as it swings open letting in the wind from outside into the room. He hurries back to where Ren is treating Lala. But something is wrong. Ren looks away from Kuro. “What happened? You did heal her, right?” Kuro asked.

 

Ren remains silent, not saying anything to Kuro.

 

“I thought you were a doctor!” Kuro suddenly becomes angry.

 

“I couldn’t save her. Her wound was too deep. She had already lost too much blood.” Ren says defeated.

 

Kuro loses it. His drive for survival extinguishes. He sobs for the one he loved. Without anyone noticing, Shintaro joins the group with Thalia with him. He puts a hand on Kuro, “We need to get out of here. I know that the person most precious to you is dead, but you must live on without her. It’s what Lala would want.”

Tears continue to drop from Kuro’s already wet face. His eyes are bright red.

 

Thalia says quietly to Shintaro, “The other bodyguards are going to be here any second. We need to leave now.”
 

“We’ll just have to drag him against his will then.” Shintaro says back quietly making sure Kuro doesn’t hear what they’re saying. “We’re leaving. Come with us or die,” Shintaro says coldly to Kuro.

 

“I’d rather die,” Kuro says. His previous tears have dried against his skin.

 

Shintaro sighs. “Thought you would say that.” He grabs hold of the back of Kuro’s shirt and starts dragging him toward the window. “Kaito and Ren are already waiting for us at the bottom. You’re not going to die, and I will have you live no matter what you do or say.”

 

“Let me go! Let me go! Lala! Lala! No! I can’t leave her! I just can’t! Let me go!” Kuro screams.

 

Shintaro, ignoring everything that Kuro says, tosses him out the open window. Kuro goes into freefall for a second before being caught on his clothing by a rope that was suddenly connected to a handle on the side of his waist. Above him, Thalia held the rope that held him suspended in the air an inch from the castle wall. Shintaro also jumps out but on another rope fastened to the windowsill. Against Kuro’s constant pestering to go back and save Lala, all three make it to the ground.

 

“Nobody else will die today. Not on my watch,” Thalia says to the remaining group, “Let’s head back to base. We won’t forget what they did for us today.” Thalia goes on ahead. “I’ll meet all of you back at base.”  Shintaro follows close behind her. All who’s left is Kaito, Kuro, and Ren. The moonlight shines evilly on them. But the light seems rather like a cloak of darkness instead.

 

Nobody says a word, but Kuro pounds a hand on a nearby tree. “I couldn’t save her. I’m so weak.” His hand weakens against the now wet bark. It’s reddened slightly by the blood covering Kuro’s hand. “I’m so weak. I’m so weak,” Kuro repeats quietly.

 

Everyone watches Kuro in silence. Ren looks sheepishly to the forest afraid to look at Kuro. He couldn’t save Lala after all.

 


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