July 4, 2022

Lok Saakshya

Jan Jan Ki Awaj

अंग्रेजी कहानी, पूरा हुआ मिशन (Mission accomplished) का उठाएं आनंद

24 min read

Mission accomplished


Note to self: Never have Mexican right before going to kill someone.

My stomach grumbled angrily at me as I tried opening the first floor window of this huge house I was supposed to be breaking in, as stealthily as possible. It wasn’t an easy feat to achieve; especially, with all the spicy food burning in my stomach like hot lava just about ready to erupt.

I shouldn’t have stopped at Riccardo. I knew it, but I was just absolutely craving their spicy pumpkin soup and beef Fajitas. They had the creamiest soup in the town and I hadn’t had that in so long. It was worth upsetting my stomach sometimes.

Taking a quick glance at the watch, I realized that I had been working on this window for 45 minute, straights. Damn, Breaking & Entering was never my forte.

Not only was the subject boring, but the way Prof. Bartolo taught it it wasn’t my fault I nearly dozed off every time! I hardly passed his class. Not that he cared much. I mean, it was an introductory course, mandatory for freshers at The Academy. He was a lousy teacher who only kept talking about how he once pulled an epic heist. Pffft. Who cares?

Anyway, I was training to be a killer, not a robber.

It was 23:24, which gave me about 45 minutes to get inside, set up and find a hiding spot before the owner came back from work.

Back at The Academy, I had done practice simulations like these a gazillion times but nothing compared to your first actual assignment. The thrill is literally unreal. Though I was cool on the outside, I was a jittery mess on the inside. Even the six years of intensive training couldn’t prepare me for this.

Pausing, I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. I couldn’t afford to screw it up, else I’d be shunned to our kind’s purgatory in Siberia for life where you either become excellent at killing, or you get killed. There’s no in between.

When I tried again, the liver slipped all of a sudden, the lever slipped and knocked me on my forehead, abruptly stopping the Pink Panther music that had been playing in my head till now.

“Jesus Christ!” I cried, pressing the spot where it hit me. Oh, there was blood. “Oh, man!”

Mid groaning, my eyes landed on the elderly Asian-American grandpa dude, who paused amidst walking his dog to look up at me.

I mentally facepalmed myself. The only thing I wasn’t supposed to do.

Since I was dressed in all black, I could just shrink back and pretend I wasn’t there, but that would’ve been more suspicious.

So, against my better judgement, I smiled at him and waved. “Nothing to see here!” I called, “Just helping my friend fix the wind— okay he doesn’t care.”

My eyes followed the bald, wrinkly man till he walked away with his dog, leaving the poop of his dog just lying there in the driveway. That was just disgusting. Such a bad neighbor and even worse American citizen. Who does that?

Okay, back to the job! And, the Pink Panther music resumed in my head.

Sweeping my gaze around, I made sure no one else saw this exchange before getting back to the window. This time, I jammed the jimmy in the crease and pried harder at it. Meanwhile, my stomach complained in protest, burning with all the intensity, heat and vigor of a volcano. At the rate it was going, I was predicting a lava eruption soon and that thought only tensed me up.

Finally, the window gave up, making me sigh in relief.

“Deadly Kakapo is ah-soarin,” I mumbled, proud, attaching the digital Fly on the wall beside the window so it would easily disarm the security system, if any, before I slid the window open.

If there was one good thing that came out of the Breaking & Entering class, it was the gadgets!

Sliding the window open, I climbed into the dark room, all the way thinking about an awesome line to say when The Target would walk in. The plan was simple: shoot the target and leave. An unsuspecting victim wasn’t going to put up a lot of fight, I was taught at The Academy.

Albeit all that, an assassin’s first assignment has to be special. It’s his first! I couldn’t just do it and dash! I wanted it to be something special. You know, memorable.

Although, I decided to become an assassin after having seen Keanu Reeves in John Wick, but after joining The Academy, I got super fascinated by this dude who was a legend there. Nobody had seen him, or known him personally, he goes by the name of Yellow Death, who silently kills his Targets with the help of a poison and leaves a yellow flower as his signature. He’s never been caught. Nobody ever even finds a suspect he’s so smooth! It’s like he doesn’t even exist. And, it’s so damn cool.

The first time I heard about him, I decided to be a legend like him. Hence, the alias: Deadly Kakapo. Yeah, I know. Not my best. But all the other cool ones were taken! Plus, now I’m kinda attached to it.

Anyway, I was assigned someone much too weak and of course, with much less action. I mean, if I got lucky she would try to run. But looking at the pictures I was given of her, she looked quite averse to doing any kind of physical exertion.

Here’s how I think things will go down.

The Target will enter the dark room and turn the lights on, where she will find me sitting in the corner on a chair, all sombre looking, and I’ll say, “Say hello to the Grim Reaper—”

The Grim Reaper! Damn it, that could’ve been my name!

Anyway, she’ll scream. I’ll shoot her, BAM! Mission accomplished.

With a loud groan my stomach heaved, pulling me back from my perfect fantasy. Yeah, I definitely had to empty it.

My glow in the dark, extra-smartwatch showed me that there was still time, so I decided to pay a quick visit to the loo. I looked around the dark room trying to figure out the way to the toilet, without having to turn the lights on or getting hurt in the process.

If it hadn’t been for the slightly ajar window, allowing the faint streetlight to enter, the room would’ve been pitch dark. Right now, I could at least make out the bed, nightstand and the dresser opposite to it. Beside the dresser, a sliver of light was emanating from the crevice formed between the door and the frame of what I assumed had to be the washroom.

Quickly throwing my gun on the bed, I darted into the washroom, not bothering to lock the door as I undid my pants in a hurry. Sitting on the seat before nearly shitting my pants was a heavenly feeling altogether.

As I looked around the tiny washroom, I realized that this girl lived like a pig. The towel was on the floor, which had my dirty shoe-print on it now —would have to get rid of that. A glob of toothpaste was on the floor near the wash basin. The mirror wasn’t clean, there were underwear everywhere and all the makeup and toiletries were haphazardly strewn around the countertop.

My face automatically scrunched up in disgust. Who lived like this?

Beside the seat, I found a magazine stack in the corner stuck under a blue bra. Swatting the bra aside, I picked one magazine up. Cosmo, sweet!

“The G-spot doesn’t exist?! Whaaaaaat?”

That information would’ve come really handy with my high-school girlfriend, who kept asking me to find it. If only I’d have known it four years ago, I’d have gone, “well, guess, what Suzan? It doesn’t exist!”

While I read, the contents of my stomach discharged, making weird squirting noises. Then came a loud fart, followed by a series of after-farts.

“Oooh, yeah.” The sweet release. “Man this feels ni-aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!” I screamed, startled when the door to the washroom flung open all of a sudden.

I was so engrossed in reading and doing what I was doing, that I couldn’t hear anyone walk up or even inside the house. I was usually a wolf at these things, I don’t know how I missed it.

In front of me stood the plump woman I was sent to kill, staring at me with eyes so wide that I was afraid they would pop out. But they didn’t. Instead, her gaze slipped down to my jewels —which I quickly covered with the cosmos— making her eyes grow even bigger.

And, she screamed.

“Occupado!” I shouted, throwing another magazine from the stack at her, “get out of here!”

She didn’t have to be told twice. Chanting Oh my God over and over again, she quickly shut the door.

Well, this wasn’t how the plan was supposed to go!

Wiping myself clean, I wondered how I could save the situation. I mean, it wasn’t all that bad, right? So she had seen me, she was gonna see me anyway! I mean, this way she saw a little more of me than was necessary but that’s beside the point. Dammit, how did this happen?!

“W-who are you?” she asked, freaking out. “And what are you doing in my home? How did you…how’d you even get in?”

Maybe, I could pretend to be a Spanish hobo, who broke in because he didn’t like public toilets…

“Why is there a gun on my bed?” she wondered.

Damn, I forgot about that. Quick, think up something.

“Uh…Self-preservation?”

It was then I realized, there was no getting out of this situation. Well, there was. I just had to kill her and then make up some really cool story to tell people.

First, I had to get out of here. This was it, my John Wick moment. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed the door knob and flung the door open—

— And, there she was standing, pointing my gun at me. My hands automatically went up. I could just fight her and take the gun, but she looked really uncomfortable and scared just holding it. Her forehead was sweating, hands trembling. She was even holding the gun wrong. Crossed thumbs? Rookie mistake!

“Who. Are. You?”

In a weird way she reminded me of Courage the cowardly dog. If he were plus-sized.

“I’ll tell you everything,” I said, as calmly as I could, “just put the gun down…okay? We can talk.”

“Tell me!” she demanded, but in a shaking voice, “or I’ll shoot you!”

“Come on,” I went, “if you do that you’ll only break your thumbs.”

That made her falter for a second, and look down at the gun. But then she shook her head and got back to it. “Don’t try to distract me. Answer my question or I’ll shoot you!”

With that she aimed at my foot and yelped as she shot a fire. The bullet made a quiet whizzing sound as it pierced through the air and advanced towards my foot.

In that moment there, the time slowed down. Instinctively, I jumped back in the nick of time, the bullet missing my foot by an inch. Staring at the bullet lodged in the hardwood floor, I realized that could’ve been my foot.

“Fuck!” the crazy woman groaned. “Fuck!”

“Are you crazy?” I yelled, frenzied. I could feel my heart beating in my throat. “You could’ve shot my foot!”

“I didn’t mean to!” she cried, cradling her right palm in the other. “But you wouldn’t tell me who you were and I just wanted to scare you! It happened on it’s own! Fuck!

“THAT IS EXACTLY WHY I WANTED YOU TO PUT THE GUN DOWN!”

“Why won’t you tell me who you are and what you’re doing here in my house with a gun!”

She was so damn stubborn it was so annoying. With a loud groan, I stomped a foot and yelled back, “I was sent to kill you! Okay?”

And, there was silence.

It was so quiet I could hear her refrigerator whirring downstairs.

Her stout form went rigid, as she blinked. I could see that my words weren’t exactly making sense to her. “W-what?”

Looking at her face all the frenzy, all my irritation began dissolving. I kinda felt bad for her. So, to answer her question, I gave her a nod.

“Huh.” Lowering the gun, she began backing away towards the bed and sat down on it, still trying to wrap her head around the situation.

The silence was so unnerving, I felt like I needed to say something. “Yeah,” I began, slowly taking steps forward, “it’s true. I’m a contract killer and I was sent to kill you.”

Her head bobbed up and down. “Well, that makes sense.”

I frowned. “It does?”

How does it make sense to anyone that someone would pay an assassin to off them?

“I need a drink.” Reluctantly, she eyed me. “Do you want one?”

Flummoxed, I did a double take. What kind of crazy woman was she? I just admitted to her that I was here to kill her, and she was offering me a drink?

She deadpanned me. “Don’t tell me you won’t even let me have a drink before you kill me.”

At the moment, I got the same feeling I got when I watched Donnie Darko for the first time. You know, that what-the-hell-just-happened kinda look. It was so hard to wrap my head around what was going on right now. I mean, where was the crying? The yelling? The fight?

The entire night was so disappointing, I felt like I needed a drink myself. So, I gave up and nodded.

“Fine, I’ll have a drink too.”

With that, she led the way, my gun still in her hand. She paused to unlock a tiny gate at the top of the staircase and began walking down. I followed her suit.

The wall along the staircase was painted yellow and was peppered with several frames of pictures. There were drawings of flowers mostly, and cats. I paused to look at a bunch of them, where it was her in her graduation gown, then one with her car, in one she seemed to be standing awkwardly next to a tall, very skinny guy against a red car. For some reason I wondered who that was.

My entire body paused. No, this was wrong. The first rule of being a killer: don’t familiarize with your target. I learnt it in The Art of Killing, that when you get acquainted with your target, you start seeing them as a person, which kind of triggers your human instinct, thereby hindering your second instinct of killing them.

Shutting my eyes, I shook my head. No Siberia. No Siberia. No Siberia.

First thing I noticed when we got downstairs was the smell that hit my nose, a sweet, flowery smell. It wasn’t a very big house. It was cozy and it smelt nice. Unlike my apartment, which smelled of pizza, sweat and alcohol. Basically, because my roommate is unemployed at the moment and does nothing but eat pizza all day, drink alcohol and…I really don’t know how he sweats as much as to stink the entire apartment, but I’m not even sure I want to find out.

The kitchen, the dining area and the living area was compounded together in a single room downstairs. Right where the staircase ended, the sitting areas began. There was a TV on the wall, opposite to where I was standing, right above the fireplace. There was a bay window adjacent to the sitting area with the curtains closed. A sofa was set opposite to the fireplace, with two love chairs beside it all of them angled towards the TV.

On the way to the kitchen, she picked up the grocery bag that was on the floor, along with a bouquet of flowers. With the overflowing bag, my gun, and the flowers, I was afraid she was going to accidentally fire the gun again.

“Let me help you with that,” I offered and moved to take the grocery bag from her. I did notice the way she stiffened, like bracing for an attack or something on my part.

Taking the bag from her, I walked into the kitchen, and placed it on top of the counter near the fridge. It was then I noticed that the bag was full of junk food. Pringles, gummy bears, gummy worms, sour gummy worms, Doritos, Nutella…

“Wow, that is a lot of un—” I paused, having been interrupted by a furry little friend going around my feet. It was a black cat, kind of an unusual choice for a domestic cat. But hey, love one, love all.

“Meow…” the kitty looked up at me, rubbing it’s fuzzy coat against my leg. The electric green eyes were unlike anything I’d seen on a cat.

“Hey, buddy,” I went.

Sidling up beside me, the woman held out a small glass in front of me with a golden liquid. “Only have cheap scotch around. Sorry, if you’re fancy.”

I smiled awkwardly. “Thanks. Cheap scotch is the best.” That was the only scotch I knew.

We walked over to the dining table and took a seat. I noticed how she’d just left the bouquet on top of the table, not bothering to put it in water.

“Yeah, they’re gonna die anyway after I do,” she explained.

“Oh.”

She was not making it easy for me. I was starting to feel really bad for her. Siberia, Siberia. Almost didn’t want to kill her. Siberia, Siberia, Siberia, Siberia, Siberia.

I took a sip of the drink and almost gagged at the super bland, detergent taste. I was gonna spit it back, but gulped it down anyway. It burned my throat and the insides. How cheap was this cheap whiskey?

“I can’t believe I’m sitting here having a drink with someone who’s come to kill me.”

“Yep, suuuuuuuuper weird,” I smiled awkwardly. “I don’t think anyone’s done that before.”

Maybe, they wanted her dead because she was too nice. I mean, who offered their killer a drink? I mean, she could have just called 911 or something. She shot once, she could have shot again.

“Not sure everyone finds their killers taking a dump in their bathroom,” she said with a deadpan before taking a sip of her whiskey. I watched her and wondered, how was it that she wasn’t flinching. Just watching her drink it, kinda gave me that phantom taste in my mouth that made me want to gag.

Trying to ignore the rising feeling of wanting to throw up, I retorted, “I had a really bad fajita on the way here. Didn’t sit well with my stomach. Otherwise I had a great plan and a great welcome line prepared for you.”

“Oh. Did you now?”

I narrowed my eyes at her. “Uh-huh. I did too.”

“So, what was this devious plan of yours?”

I shrugged, looking down at the yucky golden liquid that was in the glass tumbler and said, “it wasn’t all that devious. I figured, when you got home and turned your lights on, I’d be already waiting for you in a chair in the corner or something. Then, I’d have gone, ‘say hello to your Grim Reaper,’ or something cool like that.”

She nodded. “That would have been cooler than me finding you on my toilet.”

I shot her a nasty glare while she silently snickered. “Okay. I get it. It’s funny. Ha ha ha. Can we drop it now, little miss I’m-so-perfect-at-everything-i-do?”

“Geez, relax, grandma,” she said, filling her tumbler with a little more of that disgusting liquid. “Your plan was good, but you suck at the execution part.”

Looking away, I mumbled, “yeah, yeah I know that. Heard it before.”

“The Grim Reaper,” she mused, staring up at the ceiling while scratching her chin with her glass. “Is that your cool alias? I mean, do hitmen even have an alias or is that just a secret spy kinda thing?”

“No, that’s not my cool alias. Although, I so wish it was.” I shrugged. “It’s more of a personal choice, actually. Some of us choose to go by the alias. Other’s like to let the world know who they are.”

“So, you chose which?”

I raised a brow at her. “What do you think?”

“What do they call you?”

“Deadly Kakapo.”

She stared at me, her face devoid of humor.

I stared right back.

And, the next moment she began laughing, making me throw my hands up I’m the air. Every time! Everytime, I’d tell someone my alias back at the academy, they’d laugh at me. Even the Professor of Disguising Identity laughed at me when I picked out this alias.

“You do know that Kakapo is the dumbest parrot on the planet right?” she laughed, her face had turned a very dark shade of red.

I did a double take. “WHAT?!”

Of course, I didn’t know that. I thought it was a Japanese weapon or something. In fact, I remember one of my course-mate telling me that it was a killer martial art move. That bastard!

Her face started getting purple and she couldn’t stop. I rolled my eyes at her. “It isn’t even that funny okay!”

She nodded. Barely able to speak, but she choked out, “it is. Dead-deadly kak-HAHAHAH!”

Banging the table, she nearly fell off the chair.

“Okay, okay. That’s nice. Laugh at the person who’s here to kill you.”

Taking deep breaths she tried to control her laughter, but I was still feeling miffed, hurt and betrayed. My own kind betrayed me. What was I gonna get mad at her for?

“I’m sorry,” she said, as her laughter tapered off.
“If it’s any consolation,” she went, “the name kinda suits you.”

I glared daggers at her.

“Sorry,” she went, immensely amused, “no offense, but you suck at your job.”

Throwing a pointed glance at her drink, I asked, “you done there?”

She nodded. “Almost.” She spoke again, “why don’t you change it? Use your real name…what’s it?”

In a very suave manner, I went, “if I told you, I’d have to kill you.”

“You’re gonna kill me anyway,” she deadpanned, “what’s your point?”

Turning to her, I crossed my arms on the table. “My point is, it won’t be that cool. I mean…okay! So, there’s this guy I really worship. Nobody knows what he looks like, who he is…” I loved talking about Yellow Death. He was to me, what BTS or One Direction is to a teenage girl. She looked sort of interested and I was already excited, so I continued, “but he’s a real legend.”

She nodded. “Like, John Wick.”

“Even better!” I went, feeling the exuberance just coursing through my veins. I couldn’t stop the smile from splitting across my entire face. “He is like a ghost! He exists, but he doesn’t at the same time. He’s asked to kill a guy. He goes in, does it and vanishes. And, I think that’s really cool.”

She nodded in accord, seeming hooked. “That’s very cool.”

“I know right?”

“So, this black death guy—”

“—Yellow Death,” I corrected.

“Yellow…Death,” she went, “he’s the reason why you have that name?”

“Uh-huh.” I nodded.

“Yeah, why Yellow? Black is so much more ominous.”

“That’s because his signature is leaving a yellow flower by his Target’s dead body. Kinda like those!”

She turned to look in the direction I was pointing in. The wall adjacent to the fireplace where painting of two three flowers hung. In the middle was a pink colored flower similar to the one Yellow Death used. Just in the color yellow.

“There are three,” she said, as a matter of factly.

“The middle one. Just yellow in color.”

“That flower?” she asked to confirm and I nodded. “That’s the most toxic flower in the world after Hemlock.”

“Really?”

She nodded. “It’s said that after the attack on Hiroshima in 1945, this was the first plant to grow in the thick of all the toxicity. It’s actually a ray of hope.” Then, as afterthought she added, “and a sign of death.”

And, here I thought it was just his favorite flower so he made it his signature. This was way tight and so deep.

Dazzled, moved and amazed, the only words that came out of my mouth were, “wow, really?”

She nodded. “I guess, his mission is to give people hope by eradicating all the bad apples, huh?”

Wow, I never thought of it that way. Man! I wish to be like him someday! Even I should get a deep signature style. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t that deep. Else, I’d have known this about my idol. But I didn’t want her to know that.

So I did the only thing a man could do. I played it cool.

“Pfft. I knew that!” Rolling my eyes, I added, “it’s like duh..”

She looked at me from the corner of her eye, and went, “no, you didn’t.”

“You’re right, I didn’t.” Then, I gulped the drink left in my tumbler without even thinking it through. I gagged when the entire liquid probably charred my insides. “Gah, I forgot how bad this was.”

“It tastes better with coke.”

“I highly doubt that,” I said, watching her have a little trouble getting up. But when she finally did, she took my tumbler with her to the counter behind me where the fridge was. “You need better whiskey in your life.”

She gave me a humorless look, when she returned with my tumbler full of the black, bubbling goodness this time.

“Yeah, just like you need a better occupation,” she shot back. Then, she finished her drink in one go. My mouth was full of distaste just by watching her. “Okay, that’s it. Let’s get it over with.”

My entire face fell when she slid the gun towards me, taking me by complete surprise. I absolutely forgot about that.

“Guess, you’ll be needing this to kill me, huh?”

Pulling the gun closer to me, I stared at her dumbfounded. Was she ready for it? She wanted me to kill her now?

She stood up, so did I. She was bouncing back and forth on her feet, like athletes did to loosen up their bodies. “Just shoot between the eyes,” she said, “straight between.”

I stared back for a moment, dumbfounded and highly uncomfortable. God, this has to be the weirdest kill in the history of kills. But I couldn’t back away now. This was the life I chose for myself. This was what I was going to do.

With a new resolve, I picked up the glass tumbler full of come and gulped it down in one go. I was right, doesn’t taste better. But I didn’t care. Next, I was about to pick up the gun, when her black cat pounced on the table, right on top of the gun, making me retract my hand with a shriek.

“Arsenic!” the Target went, authoritatively giving the cat a very stern look, “get down from there you bad kitty.”

“Arsenic?” I gave her a questioning look. “That’s an unusual name for a cat.”

“Yeah, well that’s an unusual kitty,” she admitted, holding out her hands for the kitty. Registering the gesture, the kitty moved towards her and jumped into her arms. Then she began nuzzling her head in the crook of woman’s neck. As The target pet her, the cat purred. It was the most wholesome thing I’d seen that day. “She was dying of poison when I found her. And, since I know a little about poison and all, I cured her.”

That was the most beautiful story I had heard. I bet if Disney found out about this, they’d make an excellent movie out of it. I sobbed a little accidentally, so I just covered it up with a manly cough.

“Wait, what do you mean you know a little about poison?”

She shrugged. “I have a degree in Poison and Toxins.”

I snorted out a laugh. “Poison and Toxins. Sounds like something they would teach at The Academy. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought you went to the same academy as me.”

She raised a brow. “Who’s to say I haven’t?”

“Hah. Good one.”

For some reason she got slightly miffed. “What’s that supposed to mean? I’m not good enough to be an assassin? What, because I’m fat?”

Stupefied, I stared at her, my mouth yapping like that of a fish. “I didn- that’s not—”

“I have a condition but thatt doesn’t restrict me from doing anything. I can do anything I want to, bitch. Who’s to say I’m not this”— she made quotes in the air—“Black Death guy you so love, huh?”

For some reason, I was feeling uncomfortably hot with the heat of embarrassment. I bet my face was even all red like a tomato right then. I wasn’t saying that she couldn’t be anything she wanted to, she could. She was very much capable. But Yellow Death was a guy; he had to be. Also, I thought he wasn’t plump like her. But if I said that to her, I was afraid it was gonna offend her even more and make her think that I was some racist, sexist, body-shaming assassin. Which I wasn’t. Seriously, I loved people of all shape and sizes, and sexual preferences.

Even her cat began growling at me, which was weird. Ignoring that, I went, “first of all, it’s Yellow Death,” I shot. My heart began palpitating more as I went on, “secondly, I think you’re amazing and you can do anything you want; but if you were him, I would’nt be standing here. Although, your odd knowledge of the flower and poisons makes it sound kinda plausible. However, I still believe he’s a guy!” I was weirdly out of breath by the end. Putting one hand on my waist, I fanned my face with the other as I felt a streak of sweat trickle down the side of my face. “Is it just me or had it suddenly got hot in here?”

She shrugged. “Nope. That’s the coke you just drank.”

My heart was pounding so loud, I didn’t exactly register what she said. “What?”

Caressing her cat, she walked ahead and sank back in the chair in front of me. “That coke was laced with a mixture of hemlock and oleander toxins with a touch of arsenic. My favorite personal blend.”

My eyes went wide, watching her lips curl up in a condescending smirk. “What?”

“You’re not very attentive, Kakapo,” she began, “and too gullible. Hasn’t anyone taught you to always be on your toes and to not trust anyone so openly?”

I blinked my eyes, as my vision started blurring. “Wh-what do you mean? What’s hap-happenin?”

“I spiked your drink,” she informed so nonchalantly, as if I wasn’t dying in front of her. “The poison is now coursing through your veins, slowly degrading all your bodily functions.” Clicking her tongue, she actually looked very apologetic. “I’m sorry I had to do that. I mean, I didn’t want to. I was kinda starting to like you.”

That was when my throat started closing up. My hands went to my neck where it was feeling like someone was choking me with their hands. “I-I……can’…..t brea…..the,” I wheezed.

“Good, that means the Elixir is working.” She sounded almost proud. “It’s fine. Another four minutes and it’ll be over.”

My hands struggled to grapple the gun on the table, which was nothing but a black blob to me now among other blobs. My hands were shaking immensely and my legs barely held me up. Somehow I managed to pick the gun up and pointed it at her, unsteadily

She hissed, while I tried focusing my eyes. “Ooh. I wouldn’t do that. You don’t wanna shoot your idol now, do you.” I could see her figure move as she stood up and walked over to somewhere away from me. But as her figure diminished, it was harder to spot her. “You know, I’m kinda offended everyone thinks I’m a man. That’s so sexist, to be honest.”

I heard her open a drawer and pick something out. Seconds later, I heard an unmistakable snip. I tried to spot where she was and kept pointing the gun in every direction wherever I heard a noise from, which was getting harder and harder with the ringing in my ears and the thudding of my heart.

“I’m glad to meet a fan though,” she went, “rarely do I meet those.”

Soon, my knees buckled and I fell on the ground with a thud. My body began jerking involuntarily. I tried to stop it but couldn’t. I couldn’t get stable. I couldn’t find control. I could see nothing but fuzzy whiteness. Everything else sounded like I was under water.

A black blob appeared in my peripheral vision. And, I turned to it, flopping around like a fish out of water. It was gradual, but the flopping slowed down, I could feel bitter froth in my mouth as the contents of my stomach made their way out. The jerking stopped gradually as the froth slid out of the corner of my mouth.

I turned to my side feeling really tired all of a sudden. The sharp ringing in my ears subsided. It felt like I was drowning but my body had given up hope of getting out of the water. I was tired of flapping my hands in the water, and so I was sinking into the bottomless ocean.

Footsteps appeared in my line of vision. “Too bad you have to go,” came the voice underwater. “You were too good to be an assassin anyway. So long, Kakapo.”

Author introduction
Samridhi Bangwal, Age 24, Cabin Crew, New Delhi

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