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:
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.