Firing The Torpedo

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The stenches felt overwhelming, even to him, who smells blood almost each and every single day. It was his blood, though. Maybe that was the distinction needed to be made to feel revolted. Tied to a chair, hurt and bruised, his mind was wandering. A predicament not the best for his current position, especially as his target was in the same building as him. But how to get out? His tools nowhere to be seen, armed just with his own bare hands?…

He closed his eyes briefly as a drop of sweat fell from his forehead. The pain was great, but he’s been in worse. His feelings were the culprit here. The lack of power he felt over his current situation. The frustration and lack of immediate solution. He took a deep breath once again and did a brief analysis.

The room was small and quite empty. There were only a few barrels in the corner but they were of no use even if he managed to somehow make his way to them. The door handle was one of those annoying ball ones, meaning there was no good ways other than the intended one to open it. The walls were splattered with drops of dark blood and various bodily fluids, after his head was hit against them. His own white shirt was wet from those as well. It felt uncomfortably sticky in front, and very itchy in the back, after a knife quickly entered and exited the area right below one of his ribs.

Suddenly, he felt very ill. The adrenaline was slowly lifting from his body and all that was left was the burning pain of his back and the throbbing sensation of his forehead. His neck was sore in places where his tie was sitting. He was quite a skinny man for his age but his weight was still enough to slice the fabric into his skin once the aggressor grabbed the other end of the tie and lifted him.

There were also scratches and cuts on his wrists and hands. After a few failed attempts at escaping the plastic cable ties, he felt blood dripping and mixing with sweat. Pain and trauma caused a fever and over the course of barely a few minutes, he was exhausted. The feeling of powerlessness certainly didn’t help it, either.

And then, he heard a loud bang. And then another. Three bangs coming from the corridor neighboring the room he was in. The gap underneath the door revealed a spillage of dark red liquid as it crawled onto the tiled flooring. Then, the door sprung open and a man wearing an olive drab uniform appeared. In addition, there was a hat on his head and the shadows it was casting hid the man’s facial features. His heavy black military boots stood in a pool of blood which, from what could be seen, originated from someone’s skull. The man in the uniform took a couple of steps, his soles leaving bloody imprints on the floor. His hand, covered by a black leather glove, shut the door behind him.

A few more steps and he was now by the chair. The man tied to it tried to look up but his neck interrupted the movement with a sharp pain. Who was this mysterious man and why did he kill people who were guarding the interrogation room? Was he here to save him? Was he sent by the Agency? Who was he?

The man went around and then behind him. He unsheathed something that sounded like a blade and definitely didn’t instill hope. Thus, cold chills went through the hot and sore back of the one who was tied to a chair before he realized his hands were suddenly free.

They still hurt, they were bloody and scratched. But they were free. He waved them around a bit to regain the feelings. His mind was racing but he didn’t want to show it.

“Returning the favor,” a voice sounded. It felt familiar but not exactly clear. Realizing that he was weaponless and the other man had a blade, the decision ended up being to stay calm and silent.

“47,” he heard. “Buddy, are you okay?”

He turned his head so quickly, he felt a painful pinch. Looking from below, the hat’s shadows were no longer covering the man’s features, and the one called “47” could now make out a big nose, square-shaped face, and maybe a bit overgrown ginger hair coming from underneath the headgear.

“You?” he grunted, genuinely surprised.

“Didn’t expect me, eh?”

“Can’t say I did,” 47 agreed.

“Well, I’m getting you out of here. Whether you like it or not.”

The second sentence was added after a short period of silence, meaning it was triggered by 47’s behavior. This awkward, wordless demeanor was almost too still, if this could even be said in regards to this man.

47 also noticed something was off. He was extremely grateful for helping him in this predicament before it could get any worse but he couldn’t go through with saying it aloud. There was a barrier stopping him from expressing his feelings in such a way, but then again – maybe something should be said once a man saves you from what might have been a certain death? He cautiously stood up and the ginger-haired man jumped to shake his hand. It surprised 47 so much he was left dumbfounded as his bloodied wrist was going up and down repeatedly.

“It’s nice to see you, man! Really! So happy I could finally return the favor!”

“You did me a solid, Smith,” 47 muttered.

“Oh yes, I have,” the ginger-haired man replied with a wink.

“Is there anything I could do?”

“Start by pulling your pants down.”

A strange request for sure, and the confusion was now thick in the air. “What do you mean?” felt like a wrong type of a reply, after all the message was quite clear. Thankfully, Smith was the one to open his mouth before 47 even could.

“If it makes you feel better, I can drop mine first.”

He was still holding the blade in his hand, and 47 could now see that it was a short and very sharp kitchen knife. Its tip cut the belt of the olive drab uniform, and Smith’s pants dropped to the floor revealing his red and white boxers.

“I have a new pair of undergarments,” he announced. “I’m being loyal to my favorite sports team, you see.”

Upon closer inspection, the elastic band of the boxers was decorated with three letters which 47 couldn’t quite make out. He was staring at them long enough for Smith to notice it, however.

“Wanna see it up close?” he offered.

“I think I’ll pass…” 47 replied. He was hesitant to come into physical contact with this man anyways and yet their hands were still touching in a more and more intimate handshake. Not only that, his arm was suddenly pulled towards Smith and he found himself in his embrace. He froze in confusion.

For the first time in his entire life, he was so close to another man in a way very different from violence. He felt warmth coming from Smith’s body and the stench of sweat under the uniform.

“I was waiting for this moment,” Smith said. “And I want to make it last as long as I possibly can.”

His hands quickly untied 47’s tie and wrapped it around his own wrist. Then, his fingers started unbuttoning the bloodied shirt. 47 wasn’t sure how to react and it took him a few seconds to regain his composure.

“Stop that,” he ordered. But Smith didn’t comply, going further and further down his shirt. “Stop it.”

“Maybe freeing you wasn’t such a good idea after all…”

He pushed him away. The movement was so sudden, 47 stumbled and fell back on the chair. Smith approached him once again and grabbed him by the arms. 47 was shocked by this series of events. Soon enough, he was bound to this position once more as his hands were tied by his own red and gold tie. The ginger-haired man circled around him letting out an upbeat humming sound. He was more than happy to have tamed the world’s best assassin now entirely left to his disposal.

47 could now very clearly see the letters on Smith’s boxers. FCK standing for FC Kopenhagen. Considering how patriotic towards his home country the man usually was, this was a peculiar change.

“What do you plan on doing?” the assassin asked cautiously. He wasn’t sure anymore if Smith was really here to help him. Maybe he double crossed him? Maybe 47 let his guard down too quickly?

“Something I wanted to do for a long time now,” Smith replied. “You know how Diana always tells you to keep it clean? I’ll try to keep this in mind.”

His fingers returned to the task of unbuttoning 47’s shirt. Once that was done, he was also freed from his belt and the buttons and the zipper of his black pants. They slid down his legs. Now, both men were in their boxers, albeit still fairly clothed otherwise. But the movements did not stop there as Smith’s fingers went down under his boxers and removed them, revealing a long erect penis and a bush of fiery ginger-colored pubic hair.

47 gasped.

There was nobody to help him now. No Agency, no Diana. In his head, he was begging for this to be just a terrible nightmare. One sprung to his mind by the fever as he was still sitting in this very chair, hurt and bleeding. But it wasn’t meant to be…

“I was waiting for this moment,” Smith repeated in a hushed voice. “I love you.”

Their bodies met once again, yet this time it was with their lips. Smith slightly gaped open his and tried to force his tongue into 47’s mouth but the reaction wasn’t what he was expecting. The assassin’s knee knocked him away. The ginger-haired man tried again, rushing at 47, embracing his bald head and joining him in a passionate kiss. His persistence was staggering and that’s why 47 dropped his guard.

A slimy hunk of meat found his way into his mouth, paired with Smith’s hums. The initial grossness turned into a warm and quite intriguing experience. A one 47 never had before and he had to admit, he was starting to get more and more into this.

The kiss stopped. The saliva of both men mixed together and its last drops were now stuck to 47’s lips.

“That was just our first step,” he heard. “Relax. We’re gonna get there. Slowly but steady. Now, let’s get you off this chair at last.”

Still tied with his own tie, 47 was pulled from the chair and dropped down the cold floor. He was now kneeling. Suddenly, a hand was rested on his sore back. He pressed it, getting the assassin into a proper position before removing his underwear.

“Fuck, I guess I’m not really that creative,” he muttered. “Okay, deep breaths now. It’s not gonna be long.”

47’s buttocks spread but before learning what was the thing not lasting long, they both heard a loud noise coming from the outside of the room. The adrenaline hit both men and the long, snake-like penis of the ginger-haired man approached 47’s anus. The noises were getting louder and louder, drowning out what’s been happening in the room. But as they were getting closer and the movements got faster, the men both realized what the noises were and the realization shocked them.

Smith pulled out and began to get dressed in panic. 47 was left on the floor. This time, they needed weapons to battle what was coming.

The noises were gunshots. They were distracted by pistols.

 

And if you couldn’t tell, yes, this was an April Fools joke.

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A Classic Hit

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He looked at them. Bodies drenched in pools of blood. The red liquid was so thick, it looked almost as if they were floating on top.

Lifeless faces. Such an odd sight when you’re looking at your own. An eerie, cold feeling.

Clean, sterile environment pillaged with mutilated bodies. The odor of chemicals turned into an even fouler stench of corpses.

What a sight to behold.

He remained quiet. Not calm, mind you, but he wasn’t eager to exhibit his inner self. He stood silent as the last of the gurgling and yelping slowly faded and finally stopped. Only then, he put down the gun.

What was that feeling again? Anger? Hatred? Indifference? Coldness? Alienation? Woe?

For now it was confusion. Then it was dismay. Stepping through the blood pools, his feet crossing his own corpses’. Not one. Not two. But dozens. All with only a single detail to differentiate. And at the end there was Him. The self-proclaimed God Himself. Begging for his mercy.

47 was woken up by a soft voice whispering into his ear. Her distinct British accent brought a new feeling to the mixture. Comfort. Or, at least, some minuscule form of it.

“It’s time. He’ll be approaching from the west.”

He said nothing and yet she trusted he heard her loud and clear. She knew he’s not a talkative type. And she was okay with that. Nothing more infuriating than an agent babbling all the time. Waste of precious minutes. Too big of a risk. Their long term success was tied to their mutual trust. Both of them were aware of that fact.

He wasn’t happy about napping for so long but it was better to be rested than to sit here the whole night doing nothing. His sleep was shallow to begin with. Even the softest of sounds could wake him. Both a curse and a blessing, given his profession.

47 stood up, dusted off his jacket and fixed his red silk tie. Black leather gloves gave nice warmth to his hands in an otherwise chilly environment. An attic of an olden church wasn’t the coziest of bedrooms but it was a safe one. A wooden wobbly chair was his bedding this time. To his right, a small inconspicuous briefcase stood firmly on the stained floor. To his left a faint light was bouncing off a polished silver handgun. The appropriately nicknamed Silverballer gave 47 a sense of reassurance, staying awake whilst his owner was sleeping.

A quick glance at his wristwatch reaffirmed that it was, indeed, the time to strike. 47 put the weapon back into the holster and instead, grabbed the handle of the briefcase. Given its contents – it was fairly light and the briefcase itself didn’t add much weight due to the materials it was made out of. Costly little thing but useful. And he could afford hundreds if not thousands of them.

He looked out of the window, stared at the Marian column in front of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. His female companion pointed out that the target will be arriving from the west – meaning from the back of the building he was in. This meant he had to travel further up to get a more convenient view on the situation. He had to climb the bell tower.

47 knew the basilica’s blueprints by heart. He just had to put this knowledge to the test. Entering the church last evening was easy. Perhaps too easy, even by his standards. Sneaking in and traversing the restricted areas during a highly populated mass was always a risk but he was skilled enough to judge how attentive people around him really are. He spent the night here. Falling in and out of sleep. Always looking behind his back even when his eyes were closed. And the Silverballer was there to aid in need. Churches felt more safe somehow. Even though, in reality, there was no difference.

He crossed the tiny and dirty attic, reached for the wobbly handle, still somehow staying inside of the rotting wooden door, and exited to a short corridor with a ladder leading up to the bell tower.

“You there, 47?” sounded a voice in his ear. She seemed uneasy. He looked around and whispered:

“What’s happening?”

Despite lowering his voice, it still echoed down the empty corridor.

“He arrived much earlier than we’ve anticipated. His car just left the Palazzo. He’ll be there in twenty three minutes. Can you make it?”

He had no choice but to make it and the situation looked likely as his feet were starting to climb the ladder. He wished he could just nod but alas, his female companion would not see the gesture. Thus, he let out a slight hum in return.

Getting up to the bell tower was a task simplified by how light his luggage was. A cold wind hit his bald head and he shivered as he lifted himself to the final steps of the ladder. The morning was chill. The sun still hasn’t given any proper warmth even though it was already making its way through the thick white clouds. The wind was a concern. But 47 knew how to work with it. Years of experience, childhood spent on intense training.

Anger. Indifference. Woe.

Went through his mind once again and immediately left, leaving only traces of confusion.

He closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath calming himself down and feeling for the weather. He kneeled to put down the briefcase. His fingers swiftly entered a three-digit code and the locks burst open. Another of his deadly friends embraced in red velvet. 47 began to assemble it.

After a while, his black leather entwined hands were holding an almost meter-long rifle with a wooden frame and stock. A telescopic sight and a silencer were a must in bright daylight. 47 stood up. A cold wind blew in his face once again, his tie swirling in the breeze. A tower like this could be used in various ways. They were perfect for snipers but 47 also had experienced a couple of “accidental” falls. It was never a pretty sight. A human being turning into a twisting set of limbs once it hits the ground. A panicked face. It was better when they didn’t fall head first. A cracked skull couldn’t hold the bloodied mush anymore.

His mind was full of images like these. Not shocking. Not anymore and not to him. Unless the body was his own. The face was his…

Not much time left. None for contemplating the past. He still had to figure out the best spot to take the shot.

As if reading his mind, his female companion spoke up:

“I’m following him on the map, 47. You have approximately seven minutes left.”

Then the GPS proved handy after all…

The streets of Rome were lively. The sight helped him see paper cups of coffee in hands of many people heading to work on foot and bouncing heads of those spending their time behind the wheel listening to music. A large crowd was moving towards Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore. Easily distinguished due to their bright yellow caps. Most of the group was short. Meaning children. Maybe a school field trip. He noticed a few hands raising to point out the face of the clock on the bell tower he was currently inside of. Could they see him though? They were hundreds of meters away…

Another thought came through his mind instead and accompanying it was a set of conflicting emotions.

A group of children. Looking just alike from this distance and a handful of adults giving directions. An ironic familiarity. There was no way they won’t see the events unfolding in the next five minutes. 47 knew exactly what those will be. A red Audi will enter the area. Park next to the Marian column. A brown-haired tall man with a scar across his brow will slowly exit the vehicle. He will be limping. An aftermath of a failed assassination years ago. A slip. The attacker was killed during the mission. The target left with a bullet in his thigh.

This piece of lead didn’t encumber his driving skills. And a vivid-colored car just appeared in the corner of 47’s view. Yellow caps, a light gray column, a bright red car. Soon met with a dark, almost brown shade of blood. A color so deep it looked black in the moonlight. 47 saw the image in his mind already. The children were about to see it. There was nothing he could do to avoid it.

Indifference. Alienation. Regret?

“He’s approaching the Piazza.”

He set up the rifle.

“I see him.”

The tour guide was carrying a leaflet. He stopped to make sure they were heading the correct way. They were. 47 knew it. And he wasn’t happy knowing there are going to be witnesses.

The Audi stopped by the column at exactly 9:42 AM. The radio stopped playing once the engine turned off. The driver took off his glasses, put them on the dashboard. Took a glance at his smartphone. Maybe curious of the time? His hand opened the door, and he exited the vehicle. A brown-haired man with a scar across his brow. Wearing a light blue shirt, gray pants and semi-formal shoes. He took a step. Limping slightly. Another step. Foot didn’t meet with the ground. He faltered. Then fell. A bloodied mush spilled on the window of the Audi. Red splattered on red. A lifeless body dropped next to the vehicle.

Soon enough, the shirt was drenched in thick blood. Yellow caps spread and began fleeing the area. The guide hopelessly trying to keep them close to each other. Panicked screams. Genuine fear. An eerie, cold feeling.

He remained quiet. Not calm, mind you. But what were those emotions again?…

A holy place desecrated by a disfigured dead man and his brains spilled next to the Marian column.

What a sight to behold.

Different From The Best

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– Originally written in Polish, in 2011, translated in 2017 –

Doctor Kovacs’ shoes were making a distinct sound as he was walking across the impressively big hall. The room seemed colder than usual. The wooden floor, polished fifteen minutes ago by one of Kovacs’ pupils, was so shiny that a small boy could see the reflection of his bald head when he looked down.

The doctor was nervous. He reached the wall, turned on his heel, stared briefly at the double entrance door and began walking towards it. He didn’t know what to expect. Even though he and his colleague were working together for a long time now, he never managed to guess what goes on inside of his head. A textbook example of a mad scientist. Nothing would surprise Kovacs anymore. The scientist could even kill him right here and now and make all of these children watch the act. Honestly, that would not even be that unlikely the more Kovacs was thinking about it.

Beside him, inside the hall were twenty kids. They all stood neatly in line, at a perfectly measured distance from each other. This painted a quite unnerving image not only because they were all standing up straight with their heads up. All of the kids looked the same.

Not even clothes were differentiating them. They were all six-year-old boys with bald heads and ice blue eyes. All had serial numbers tattoo’d on the back of the head – their only unique gift and the only way Kovacs could tell them apart. Thus, their order in line was determined by their order of “birth”.

Today, two groups were present. Kids numbered 2 to 12 and 37 to 47. One of them sneaked into a doctor’s office the night prior. Even though he used his skills and chances in the best of ways, the ever present cameras captured him in the act. Albeit, the quality of the recording wasn’t good enough to determine which of the boys was the culprit. The staff facility wouldn’t even know an incident like this happened if not for an unfortunate event. 18 heard a strange noise during his late night bathroom break and his curiosity was “rewarded” with a broken nose. Kovacs found him unconscious, lying on the corridor floor and that’s what led to this very situation.

Another man dressed in a white lab coat entered the hall. A pair of circle-shaped glasses was digging into his nose but it didn’t seem to bother him. Kovacs stopped, cleared his throat and suddenly, all of the boys bowed down. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer usually smiled at seeing his pupils so well-behaved but even this gesture didn’t make him lift the edges of his lips today.

“Enough!” he exclaimed. His voiced echoed through the hall. Kids returned to their original position. The scientist stood next to his colleague and, even though in English, spoke with a heavy German accent:

“You know exactly why you’re here. None of you will leave this hall until the culprit admits to his nighttime escapade.”

Twenty pairs of blue eyes turned in his direction. Nineteen of them only learned about the incident ten minutes ago. One felt his stomach twisting. As much as he didn’t want to come clean, he knew he will eventually be forced to. What kind of punishment will he have to endure? Swiping and licking the floors clean for months with no end? Will there be any corporal punishments? Maybe he will be this year’s cook for his “brothers”?

“One of you attempted to access doctor Ort-Meyer’s office at night”, Kovacs said in a calm manner trying to contrast the obvious anger of his colleague. “We do not care what was the reason behind it. And we will not question it. If one of you admits to his mistake, there will be no investigation and no punishment. We will only ask him to never do it ever again.”

Tears started filling one of the boys’ eyes so he blinked a few times to make them go away. Showing any emotions was unacceptable. They were a weakness, so the men taught them. The boy always felt as if hiding those weaknesses was much easier for his “brothers” than it was for him.

Many thoughts were crossing his mind at the moment. Was Kovacs telling the truth? Maybe there really aren’t going to be any questions or punishments if he confesses? He didn’t trust either of the men in white coats but Kovacs seemed to be somewhat reasonable at times. Maybe he should just swallow his pride and speak up?

“We all know who did this!” yelled one of the boys at the front of the line. 6 took a step forward and looked Ort-Meyer straight in the eyes. He already seemed triumphant with his chin held up.

The culprit felt even more ill. 6 had no idea who truly sneaked into Ort-Meyer’s office but since he spoke up already, there was no doubt whom he is going to blame.

“It was 47, of course!” he promptly stated. Ort-Meyer’s eyes looked at the boy at the end of the line.

“Come forward”, the scientist said. “Is that true?”

The boy gulped down his tears and broke the line. His small hands turned into fists thinking of 6. His heart was filled with hatred towards his “brother”. But now, he was assessing his options. If he denied the claim, 6 would definitely find a way to shift the blame. He was the best. The strongest. He knew how to fight. Ort-Meyer will stand by his side. And 47? 47 was small, slim and fragile. With tears in his eyes. The only thing he could count on was Kovacs’ good will.

“Yes”, he mumbled. All of his “brothers’” eyes turned towards him. It was uncommon for 47 to open his mouth. Some thought he was mute. This reaction made the boy feel even worse.

“I should just dispose of you at instant. Kovacs turns a blind eye at you way too often. But trust me, my boy, your life is going to get much more difficult from now on.”

47 tried his best to justify.

“But… doctor Kovacs said no one will get punished if one of us confesses… I… I thought that–”

“What did you say?” Ort-Meyer interrupted him. The hall was suddenly silent. “Repeat what you just said.”

“I thought that…”

The scientist chuckled making Kovacs’ hair stand on end. Ort-Meyer took a few steps and stood in front of 47. Kovacs wasn’t sure if there’s anything he can do to protect the boy. He almost wanted to grab his colleague by the arm as he was passing him but ended up not even moving a finger.

“You ‘thought’”.

It was Ort-Meyer who lifted his hand instead. His palm hit 47’s cheek painting it bright pink and making the unsuspecting boy falter and fall to the floor.

“You know very well I don’t need you to ‘think’. Your purpose is to act on my order. And that’s to all of you. I allow you for too much freedom. Remember that you can lose your white fluffy friend just as quickly as you got it.”

47 tried getting up but was too scared to move a muscle. Ort-Meyer stared at him for the very last time and the boy was sure there was a certain sense of pride hidden behind the circle-shaped glasses.

“Kovacs, take him to his room and lock the door. Up his training sessions to at least twice what they are now. He won’t have time to ‘think’”, the scientist said angrily to the other man dressed in white before exiting the hall altogether.

His evil chuckling was still heard echoing the hall after he has left.

The One With The Needle

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– Originally written in Polish, in 2010, translated in 2017 –

The pungent scent of urine. The morbid atmosphere. The emptiness.

47 was sitting on a cold cement floor in a room he was sharing with two of his “brothers”. There was a sharp piece of hard wood in his hand. He found it a while back and was determined to keep it just in case. He didn’t know where the wooden piece came from but it was more than plausible that it was once a part of a chair, destroyed by one of the clones in mad fury.

A loud snore filled the space and 47 winced thinking 43 woke up. He didn’t want anyone seeing him with a sharp object. Guardians did not permit of such trinkets and he knew exactly why. Just a few days ago he himself was a witness of 7 tearing holes in 11’s belly using only a tiny screw. There were still no news as to whether or not the victim survived. Albeit it’s not like that information was hugely desired.

Listening to his brothers sleeping noises, 47 was pretending to draw on the light gray flooring. A symbol of some sorts. A one he felt as if he was connected to somehow. Maybe he’s seen it before? The back of his head was constantly stinging. Only a week has passed since a barcode was added to the numbers. A fresh tattoo, especially on a delicate piece of skin and a spot like this wasn’t healing as fast as he’d like. A sharp pain was clawing into not only his head but all of the clones’. Doctor Kovacs was claiming it will harden them. 47 didn’t believe him.

He believed none of the things guardians were telling them. He could not understand how other boys could trust and blindly follow each of their words. No. That’s not something he could ever do. He was proud of his individuality. He knew what he wanted. The only problem was actually achieving it. If not for 6…

47 hated 6. Always “the best”, “the strongest”. Full of self-confidence, everyone’s pupil. His brothers stood in lines to lick his very feet. How many times has 6 punched 47? How many bruises and broken bones he was responsible for? 47 wished everyone would finally see who 6 really is. Not some strong warrior who should be looked up to. He was a monster. A cold hearted monster.

47’s heart was filled with hatred for the boy. His fist hit the cement floor and he immediately felt cold sweat on his back realizing how much noise he’s just made. Especially since there was someone walking down the corridor. Three adult men, judging from the sounds of their footsteps. Yes, they always sent more than one. Predominantly to 47. He threw the piece of wood under the bed and hopped on top swiftly deciding he will attempt to fool them that he’s asleep.

The door opened with a creak. 47 heard guardians walking into the room but his back was turned towards them so there he could do nothing more than listen in. First they woke 43.

“Easy. It’s just a vaccine shot.” sounded Doctor Kovacs’ voice. 47 has heard it multiple times and could recognize it anywhere. 43 made no noise as the needle pierced his arm. He was calm, staring into Kovacs’ eyes with his own. Ice blue. The guardian forced a slight smile and patted the boy’s bald head. Now it was time for 47.

“Hmm…” Kovacs thought to himself. “Is he asleep? At least we won’t have to use much force.”

47 knew the men were coming closer. His heartbeat picked up. Thoughts were crossing his mind faster than he could catch them. In one unexpected motion, the boy jumped off the bed just as Kovacs tried to reach him.

43 was curiously observing the situation. His brother retreated to the corner of the room and he almost wanted to come up to comfort him but one of the guardians held his hand up to stop him. They knew what 47 is capable of. Kovacs still had no idea what the scientist sees in this boy. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer and his strange ideas. Sure, 47 was doing better at some of the exercises and classes but there were clones stronger than him. Less coy. Less emotional.

“Just look at 10! Or 26!” he pointed out to the scientist one day. “How can you get your hopes so high up for a boy who cried whilst burying a rabbit? May I remind you that 47 is the single one who shows signs of any emotional connections. Why did you even let him keep that rabbit? You should have just killed him!”

“You’ll see, my friend.” Ort-Meyer replied. “I am never wrong.”

Doctor Kovacs was now seeing a mixture of fear, anger and determination in 47’s eyes. What was he planning? The guardian was trying to reap into the boy’s mind. He could usually foresee clones’ behavior. 47 was difficult to predict, though. He was asocial. Shut in his own little world. Objecting to everything.

“Little rebel.” Kovacs thought before saying aloud: “You don’t have to be scared. I won’t hurt you.”

47 could not be fooled. He knew these men too well for that. Most of all, Doctor Kovacs. He was sure he was going to remember him for the rest of his life.

“47, please. It’s just a quick shot. The faster we get to do this, the better.”

The boy shook his head. Did anyone ever heard him say something? Kovacs had no memory of even a single word spoken by this particular clone? And now, he was starting to get on his nerves.

Tired of playing nice, Kovacs made a discreet gesture with his hand. Two men accompanying him stepped closer and 47’s brain was now plowing through ideas. He took glimpse of something shiny. Kovacs was hiding a syringe behind his back. The boy felt twisting in his stomach. He hated needles.

Guardians came closer. Their plan was to grab him by his arms but 47 motions were quicker. Just as they leaned over to capture him, he ducked and crawled between their legs. In mere second he was over by the bed, reaching for the previously hidden piece of wood. The boy stood up, holding the sharp object in front by his chest in the same fashion he was taught to.

“Goddamn you! Can you not even keep an eye on one measly child?” Kovacs roared.

With all of the strength of his tiny body, 47 pushed the wooden piece into the guardian’s stomach. He was expecting it to pierce through the skin but was incorrect. Kovacs grabbed him by his clothes. The boy kicked him to no avail. Looking for a way out, he latched onto the doctor’s coat tearing one of the pockets. Empty syringes dropped on the floor with an array of sounds quickly echoing in the room.

“Get off!” Kovacs shrieked. 47 managed to seize one of the syringes. One still armed with a silver needle. Before anyone could react, the needle dug into Kovacs’ knee. The answer to that was a kick. 47 bent in half. Another guardian blocked the door. It would take ages to find the clone if he was to escape and hide somewhere.

With tears in his ice blue eyes, the boy slowly lifted his head and looked around. No… there’s no way… he can’t lose…

Kovacs took out the syringe out of his knee, grabbed the clone and applied, what he called, the vaccine. Just as he let him go, the boy jumped back on top of the bed and bundled up heads to toes under a dirty blanket. Doctor Kovacs felt as if anger was boiling inside of him. He left the room with both of the men accompanying him and door loudly closing behind him. A yell was heard in addition to the footsteps this time:

“Ort-Meyer, he’s done it again!”

Trouble in Russia

hitman2 2016-02-10 11-18-46-74

– Originally written in Polish, in 2010, translated per request in 2017 –

The underground metro was suspiciously silent that day.

A man dressed in an Italian black suit, perfectly fitted white shirt, silk red tie with gold decorations and polished black shoes let out a sigh. His hands were clothed in leather, fingers playing with a tiny silver key. There was a number engraved on it. 137. Locker 137. That’s where his equipment was stashed. Same area, same procedure.

47 remembered his last visit in St Petersburg quite well. This time he was alone. No Russians dressed in long heavy coats and furry hats, sleeping somewhere at the back of the compartment before rushing off to work. No company today. Diana explained his mission in detail. His target was expected to occupy the same office as before and the assassin already had a vast knowledge of the immediate area. To add to that, The Agency was to supply him with weaponry; thus, he himself only took his trusted fibre wire. It was his first murder weapon and the one he could not leave without. Besides, if he was to be frisked, no bodyguard would ever feel the thin piano wire underneath his clothing. Other than that, 47 was also carrying binoculars. To have a better view of the situation.

Whilst his body was in an unpleasantly cold Russian town, his mind was wandering sunny Sicilian grounds. That is until a female voice sounded from the speakers announcing the next station. Kirovsky Zavod. 47 fixed his tie. It was time to go to work. A few moments later, the vehicle stopped and the doors opened. The assassin instantly recognized the environment. In front there were wide stairs, leading to Varosnij streets. 47, however, headed towards a wall of lockers, situated to his right. Still playing with the silver key, his feet were bouncing off the floor tiles, arranged in a chessboard in various shades of brown.

137. The assassin had to crouch down to insert the key. He turned it cautiously inside the lock and opened the locker. A quick look at the state of affairs on the station. Can someone see what he was doing? There were two men wandering around. Both of them were currently near the stairs. The assassin was sure they could not notice him, especially since he was hidden behind one of the decorative pillars. He examined the contents of the locker. A Dragunov sniper rifle and one bullet. 47 frowned. Last time, the Agency supplied him with other weaponry in addition to the sniper rifle. A pistol, nightvision goggles and a stockpile of ammunition. The rifle was better than nothing but the assassin decided to leave it inside the locker. It was a bother to carry it through the Varosnij Square. He chose to trust his fibre wire instead. Besides, he had nothing more to lose…

He threw the key into his pocket after closing the metal doors of the locker. Still avoiding the looks of Russian men waiting for their train, the assassin headed up the stairs to the snow-filled streets of St Petersburg. The snow was falling onto his bald head. He felt cold when the wind started blowing and began to regret taking nothing more than his suit. There was a purpose to that choice, though. For him, it was the most comfortable of attires and he could not place comfort over the freedom of movement. Back in Japan, he was wearing a parka on top but quickly learned that it was too hindering and that’s not something he approved of.

He took a few steps forward. He was now standing in front of a not too busy of a road which he immediately crossed. A bridge on the Neva river was somewhere on the horizon. A horizon which, as 47 realized, looked completely different when it was not full of Russian army men. Last time he was to eliminate a Russian general during a meeting inside the Pushkin Building. Next, the client wished for getting rid of other members of the board. 47 was chosen for every one of these contracts. Now, he was to complete his last mission in St Petersburg. Kill the person responsible for all of the previous assignments – Sergei Zavorotko – a terrorist taking part in illegal weapon deals and currently having his hands on a nuclear bomb. The Agency usually didn’t approve of eliminating their clients, but apparently the UN had offered a significant amount of money. The situation also opened some interesting opportunities for further cooperation, thus the organization could not say “no”. They tasked their best man. Besides, 47 already had knowledge of the terrain and his handler – Diana simply trusted him to finish the job. And for him, this is all it was. Just another job.

The Pushkin Building was situated in the center of Varosnij Square. The assassin could not rely on a long distance weapon this time around. He had to strike up close. Hence, the neighboring building, from which he took the shot last time was useless. There were more and more guards appearing as he approached the center. All of them, dressed in classy black suits, Desert Eagles in gun holsters. Eyes hidden behind sunglasses. They looked just like any other generic special agent but 47 knew he was dealing with no ordinary bodyguards. These were Russian mobsters. He had to be careful.

The assassin took cover behind a corner, took out the binoculars and examined the Pushkin Building through its lenses. Most of the windows were opened but the rooms appeared to be empty. “Something’s wrong.” he thought after realizing there is nobody inside. His instinct was usually right and he could not simply ignore it. 47 went around the building to look at it from a different angle. Again, he used his binoculars. First floor was empty. Slowly, he began examining every room on the second floor, every open window. Impossible. The Agency had no reason to set him up.

Then, he noticed something familiar in front of one of the windows on the second floor and quickly hid behind a wall. Didn’t even have to make sure. It was the barrel of his favorite sniper rifle. Walther WA2000. A weapon he’d always recognize. He knew its specification, he knew what it can do. But who was behind the barrel? Sergei Zavorotko himself? Did his target know the UN wants to get rid of him? 47 had no time to think about that possibility. There was too much to think about already and yet he had to keep his mind in complete focus during the time of the assignment. He had to assess the situation accordingly but how to accomplish that if the enemy is armed with such a powerful tool?

The feeling of uncertainty subsided after realizing that his knowledge of the Walther WA2000 is so great, he surely has an advantage over his enemy. The assassin suddenly knew exactly what to do. Throwing the binoculars back to the pocket, he ran to the back of the Pushkin Building, trying to spend as much time hidden behind the neighboring architecture. Just because his enemy had a long-ranged weapon did not mean 47 had no chances of getting in. Much more important than a .300 Winchester Magnum round was always a good, solid plan. The assassin had to surprise the shooter. Sneak into the Pushkin Building and fibre wire him from behind. A plan so simple yet so difficult to accomplish, once 47 began executing it. Sergei’s bodyguards were everywhere. One wrong move and all of their Desert Eagles turn toward him. He had no answer to that one. A thin piano wire will not help once the men draw their guns.

After circling around the building, he came much closer to the back entrance. Two of the mobsters were standing next to a nearby garbage container, having a conversation and a smoke. Pretty unlikely they will pay any attention to the assassin. Another enemy was on patrol, up North but it seemed easy enough to sneak past once he’s not around. There was one more man left to deal with. The one right in front of the doors. This called for a distraction. Nothing fancy. Usually the simplest solution brought the best results.

47 came closer. Still hidden behind the architecture so the men could not spot him. After searching through his pockets, he found a couple of coins. Guess the change still comes in handy. He chose a silver five Ruble. A double-headed eagle on the reverse looked at him curiously. 47 swung his arm. The coin flew in midair for a few seconds before hitting a wall. The bodyguard reacted immediately. Intrigued by a strange noise, left his postage to examine the sound. 47 used this moment of inattention to enter the building. He’s decided to worry about his way out once he’s done with the job.

Once the door closed behind him, 47 grabbed the fibre wire. Holding both of the handles, he tightened the wire. Grasping a weapon in his hands made him feel confident in his craft. The assassin knew there was a shooter in the building. Armed with a Walther WA2000. The enemy will hear the most silent of sounds, will notice the smallest of details, thus 47 took his steps lightly. Knees bent, he was sneaking towards the stairs leading onto the second floor. He was searching for the very room he saw earlier. The gun barrel was sticking out of the window on the opposite side of the building where a meeting was taking place last time he was here.

The overwhelming silence meant 47 could hear the beating of his own heart which sounded louder than usual. His instinct was never wrong. The assassin doubted the shooter is his original target. It was probably somebody sent by Sergei to eliminate the last person who knew about the previous contracts. But 47 has seen too much in his life to be this naive, instead presuming the worst of scenarios. He walked up the steps, crossed the corridor and looked through a keyhole of one of the doors. There were huge tables made of dark wood set by the wall. The windows were open and in front stood a tall man in a black suit. Walther WA2000 in his hands. The assassin slowly opened the door and crept inside. A huge fluffy carpet laying on the floor absorbed the sounds of footsteps. The shooter was dressed very similarly to the Russian mobsters, thus 47 thought he was one of them for a brief second. A second before he came close enough to see the barcode on the back of his head.

This cannot be…

Not thinking about it too much, 47 tied his neck with his trusted fibre wire. The rifle fell on the floor as the man began to choke. Sunglasses, previously hiding his cold blue eyes slid off his head and met with Walther on the carpet. The assassin grasped the handles tightly cutting through the skin on his victim’s neck. He didn’t even count the time it took until the shooter stopped fighting him and gave himself to Death, falling next to his weapon.

“Another ‘brother’,” 47 mumbled turning the body and staring at clone’s dead face. “Thought I killed all of you. But I wonder who’s behind this, trying to kill me with a lesser hitman…”

Then, he heard a familiar voice. Leaning by the shooter, he examined him and noticed a small earpiece which he quickly untied.

“17 – Do you have problem? Report back, 17! Did he take the bait…? What is it, 17? Are you there?”

The voice was harsh and there was a noticeable note of panic heard in man’s speech.

“Where are you?” 47 asked pushing the device into his own ear.

“Far away. Why? Why do you need to know?”

“Sergei, 17 is gone. This is 47.”

“47?” Sergei repeated surprised. “But I…”

“You had your chance, Sergei,” the assassin interrupted him. “Now get off my back or I’ll slit your through.”

“There must be some misunderstanding,” the Russian replied. “Both me and my friend Vittorio think so.”

47 felt as if something was grasping and twisting his heart.

“You got Vittorio?”

“Let’s say he’s here for… spritual guidance.”

There was no point in disputing with the terrorist, thus trying his best to keep his calm, 47 simply said “Sergei, you keep Vittorio out of this. Understand?” before tearing out the cable wire in disgust and throwing the device on the floor, right next to the dead clone.

“Staging his own assassination… double-crossing creep”, he thought. This was the proof that it was Sergei who was responsible for capturing padre Vittorio. And he himself, completely oblivious to this fact was hired to do the dirty job for him. If only he knew, he’d send a bullet into his head during the last visit in St Petersburg. Zavorotko will be waiting for him when he arrives back at Gontranno. The assassin was sure of it. But he will not let Vittorio get hurt. He owes him too much.

All of a sudden, 47 noticed the Russian mobsters moving towards the Pushkin Building. He dove behind the windowsill. He had to flee. And quick. The enemy most likely covered the underground metro entrances. But 47 had another idea. His knowledge of Varosnij will be of use.

Out of the room, the corridor and down the steps, the assassin ran out of the Pushkin Building. He was wearing a similar suit to the one of 17’s so there was a chance bodyguards will mistake him for their ally from a distance. How much time will it take them to find the dead clone, though? Sergei might have forgotten to mention that detail when he let them know something’s wrong. 47 had maybe three to five minutes to disappear. An art he could definitely manage if he plays his cards right.

Paying no attention to civilians who were now curiously observing the action happening at the Varosnij Square, the assassin ran towards the streets. The snow was cracking under his feet as they were falling into the white fluff. He remembered coming through the sewers last time he was here. Now, those same sewers might very well become his only escape route.

The assassin stopped to let a truck drive past him before he crossed the street. He was hoping there were none of Sergei’s men below the ground. 17 was armed only with a sniper rifle and as it was too big of a weapon to carry, 47 was still without a firearm. He approached a manhole and pried it open. Carefully putting his feet on the ladder, he descended into the sewers to meet with an everpresent darkness.

A sewer map drew inside the assassin’s mind. His memory was remarkable, he knew that he had to cross to the other side and then follow a long hallway right below Kirovskij Zavod. At least he won’t have to spend hours in this fetid place looking for the right exit.

Not even a minute later, 47 noticed an enemy. The man was standing a few meters away staring into the darkness. The assassin hugged a nearby wall. Hiding in the shadows, there is a good chance no-one will ever spot him. He began to control his breathing. Even the quietest of sounds may echo and thus, reveal his position. Sneaking towards a slimy footbridge, his thoughts were orbiting around padre Vittorio but he could not let them distract him. No, that was not the time. He had to escape St Petersburg, leave Russia and go back to Sicily.

God, don’t let anything happen to Vittorio…

After crossing the desired footbridge, 47 jumped back into the shadows right before detecting another of the Russian mobsters. Thankfully, before he had a chance to spot him. The assassin took a few steps back and hid behind a corner. There were only a couple of meters between the assassin and the final corridor. Silence was amplifying the tension. He could not stop thinking about what happened. He has never wished death to someone and now his heart was filled with genuine hatred towards Sergei Zavorotko.

This hatred almost cost him. Two of the Russian men were waiting for him by the exit. 47 stood still going through different possibilities in his mind. Maybe be could just slip past them. They were fairly far away from the corridor he was planning to take. There was no turning back now, who knows how many of them were now guarding every corner, every footbridge, every manhole. He had to rely on his skills and natural talent. Taking each step as slowly as he could, he began to creep. Ice cold blue eyes were fixed on the enemies and at one point the assassin could swear that he is right in their view. His heart stopped for a second. He took another step, went into the corridor and crossed it to get to a wooden door. He dug up a lockpick out of one of his pockets and pushed it into the keyhole. Even though the situation was tense, his hands kept steady. He forced open the lock, ran down the stairs and back onto Kirovskij Zavod. The train was right there, almost as if it was waiting for him. 47 hopped on board.

It did not matter where he was going. It did not matter what will happen at Varosnij. It did not matter what either Diana or the ICA will think. He had to go back to Sicily and end Sergei Zavorotko’s life. This was what mattered. To him.


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