Fifty-two-year-old Michael Michaelis was never considered to be a normal person in the modernistic London society. By day, he was a simple factory worker making a decent living for himself, but by night, he was called upon by the nightlife to deliver his services around the Baytown District of Westminster, London. Michael’s latest job led him to an estate on in a well-known neighborhood on the north end of the Nuse River owned by bank teller Jarod Wayman.
Michael had received his task one evening, in the form of a black-enveloped letter, about a week ago. He had been pondering over whether he would take on the enclosed mission or not. The letter rested unopened on his kitchen table. Michael stared at it while a pot of coffee brewed on the stove. What am I going to do? He poured him a fresh cup and sat down. I was supposed to retire and get out of the business, but …Against his better judgement, he grabbed the envelope and ripped it open:
The Society had been given a mission that requires your skills and expertise. We have found a need and was compelled to summon you for this position. Should you choose …
Michael laughed, almost tipping over his coffee. “As if I ever had a choice,” he remarked and kept reading:
The instructions are outlined within this letter. You have twenty-four hours to complete this task and report back to the Council. May you work swift and under the cover of night. We have the utmost confidence in you, Agent Michaelis. Keep in mind why you’ve joined our community in the first place. Remember who you are.
Leave no mistakes. Silence all witnesses. Be the …
“… the Reaper in the Marsh.” Michael finished. He crumpled the letter in his fist. Well, he shook his head, I guess it can’t be helped. He stood up and placed his empty cup in the sink. “My fate has been sealed for me.” Michael went upstairs to prepare himself and wait for the sun to go down.
The sun hung low below the horizon and Michael was ready to carry out unavoidable assignment. Michael stood in front of his door and contemplated his decision-making. He didn’t want to kill anymore. He didn’t want to be a reaper anymore, but what other choice did he have? He was in too deep, and the only way to leave would lead to certain death to protect The Society’s secrets. Michael drew in a heavy sigh and stepped outside. He lit a cigarette and exhaled the swirling puffs of smoke into the chilly December air. It started to snow. Michael looked up at the pure white balls of fluff as he felt a tinge of guilt in his heart. He finished his smoke and stomped out the butt.
Just like every other night, Michael strolled down the dark sidewalk with the address already memorized in his mind. He clenched his fist and gritted his teeth as he thought about yet another gruesome fate he must deliver to an unsuspecting client. Year after year, Michael told himself that he would quit, but the payout had been too good to turn away. A few blocks down in a rather prestige neighborhood on top of a hill was the lone manor of Jarod Wayman. Michael lit another cigarette and pulled down his mask about halfway. After a few puffs, he threw away the lit tobacco and fully donned his coverup.
Outside of the manor, there were a few security cameras that lined the outer gate. One by one, he strategically shot out each eye of the systems and boldly crossed into the property. Trying not to let his ego and cockiness overinflate his head and become careless, Michael took heed and cautiously watched around him. He made his way to the door and scoped out his surroundings. A light was shining through an upstairs window. A nearby canopy hung overhead with a garden vine snaking its way up the side. Michael knew that it was just a fantasy, but he tried the impossible, climbing his way up the thick stalks. He threw himself over the edge and peered inside.
“Where are you?” He whispered as he pressed his face closer onto the glass. He tugged at the window, lifting it slightly enough to slip his body through it. I guess being this high up, it's no need to lock things. Michael snuck around the empty room. A noise came from the hallway that caught his attention as he slipped behind the door with gun cocked and drawn. “I must be losing my touch.” Michael said, wiping his brow with his sleeve and slowly moving around the corner.
Room by room, Michael barged into in hopes of finding Mr. Wayman and ending this madness soon. He made his way to the east corridor of the large estate and came upon the living room where he found Mr. Wayman having dinner with a little bit of television. Another layer of sweat formed on Michael’s brow as he took aim and pulled the trigger. BANG! He missed, barely grazing the tip of Mr. Wayman’s ear and planting the slug into the face of the TV box.
Startled, Mr. Wayman turned around and jumped up. At a loss for words, he ran out of the room through a second entryway with Michael following behind him. Feeling winded from the pursuit, Michael decided to put his training to use instead of relying on his brute force. He remembered where he had come from and went around a different way to set a trap. Michael lied in wait for Mr. Wayman to take the bait, and bingo, it worked. He stuck out his leg, tripping Mr. Wayman as he ran by. Michael impulsively sprang into action, jumping on top and subduing his victim. He stood up and placed his foot on his throat, allowing him only to gasp for his last breaths.
“Why are you doing this?” Mr. Wayman pleaded, holding up his hands to his face.
Michael had a heart, but his ulterior job wouldn’t allow him to keep it. “I’m sorry,” he said fighting back his conscience. His eyes were blank, and his actions were cold as ice. It takes a certain kind of monster to stare into the eyes of the person he was ordered to take care of, and Michael was bred to be that kind of person. He was still human, but just barely. Michael pulled off his mask, revealing his face to be the final thing that Mr. Wayman was going to see.
“Wh—who are you?” Mr. Wayman stuttered, staring down the barrel of Michael’s gun.
“I am the Reaper.” Michael squeezed the trigger.
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For a short story, you really captured your main character's one assignment. Very well written and I enjoyed reading it.