snippet 8

He doesn’t talk with his hands. I notice that. His lips hardly move. He stands there with that look on his face with his hands at his sides and tells me that I am no longer needed. It looks like he is mumbling, but his words are crystal clear. His meaning is clear.
I’ve seen that look before, but never aimed my way. I’ve been standing next to him or behind him.

His eyes really are cold. Does he turn it on and off? Can he?

There’s a speck of blood on his cheek. My blood? It could be. I’ve lost enough.
All I can think of doing is trying to wipe it off. But if I make a move he will kill me. I’m drifting though, and I can feel my sanity sliding, like sweaty buttocks off a leather seat.
Why am I thinking about buttocks? At a time like this?

I try to open my mouth to say something witty and brave, but I just cough blood.
Was that a look of pity? From him?
We’ve been partners for so long, could this actually be difficult for him?
I’ve seen him kill children! I’ve seen him kill an elderly blind man! It must be disgust, not pity.
I manage to form words in the mangled mess that is my mouth. I ask him who he will find to watch his back when I am gone.

There! That was witty! That was brave! He looks down at me and I swear his eyes are getting teary.
He says my name. My real name. A tear slides down his cheek and the blood speck follows it down to his jaw. He is so beautiful.
I tell him this.
A sob makes his body shudder. I can’t believe it. He is actually crying. Over me. All these years and I thought it was all business. All the job. Nothing more.
I smile at him. As much as I can.

He sniffs loudly and raises the gun in his left hand. It is now pointing at my forehead.
He crinkles his eyes up and I know what’s coming.

I refuse to beg.

I’ve done some terrible things, but I refuse to beg.

“Forgive me.” he says and pulls the trigger.
“Forgive me.” I say.