Submitted into Contest #134 in response to: End your story with a character looking out on a new horizon.... view prompt


Mystery Suspense

I’ve known for a few years now, that my life was only as good as someone’s imagination. It was made up and I had to live it by following a script or face possible death. I was surviving by playing my role in my new life like a seasoned actor. At least that’s the way it was until my world was turned upside down starting with a note that was slipped under my apartment door.

 It said two things, “I will kill you at 6am a week from now” and that he or she would finish their steak first and then shoot me in the head if all went as planned. Even with all my history I still thought that somebody was being a jokester I had a few friends now and I could name at least two that would do something like this. Either way it wasn’t ever going to stop me from going to my favorite restaurant for my daily breakfast, steak, and eggs. I didn’t worry about it, but I did worry about the new guy in the kitchen and whether he was going to get my eggs right.

The existence of a jokester was possible, but I was a man with a past and that meant thoughts were always running in the back of my head about that very past catching up to me. Either way I laughed and thought to myself, that I had a week to readdress this.

  When a week passed to the day, I of course naturally found myself at my favorite morning spot with an empty plate in front of me , a couple of minutes before 6am. I paid my bill, looked around after remembering the joke note that nobody would admit to writing. Then I heard the cuckoo clock strike 6am after sounding off six chirps after which time I found that I was still alive and able to walk out and head home. For a couple of seconds I thought about the fool that had left the note and the fool that was entertaining it.

I was on my way home, and I can’t tell you why I stopped. I don’t know why or what made me stop in front of the electronics store that had three TV’s showing current events from three different locations in the world, in three different time zones. I was staring at the pictures that had captured my attention when suddenly like a brick hitting me in the face, a crazy wild ass thought went through my head.

What if the there was a real stupid hunter killer out there and his time was off, one way or the other by an hour because of time zone carelessness. It would be preposterous but possible. Maybe thats why my mind suddenly reminded me that there were shows like Believe It or Not, The Unexplained, Haunted and Real Housewives on TV. A lot of people believed that there was a chance that some things really happened or was happening, so why not this.

Then it occurred to me that an hour behind would make it now five fifteen for him or her and if the note was real the attempt on my life would have supposed to be happening in 45 minutes, seven my time…. six for the killer.

The killer said that he would finish his steak just before 6am and shoot me in the head if all went as planned. The situation at this time could have been labeled under the category of Not As Planned , so I could have just continued home but I knew it would mean that the killer might be there at the restaurant, right now waiting and most likely wondering where his target, who was a creature of habit could be. He would be sitting there eating his steak.

I looked down at my watch, it was 6:35am aka 5:35am and time seemed to be passing quickly. It would take me about 15 minutes to get back, so I started on my way because now I had to know even as crazy as it all sounded, I had to know… to be sure. I had learned the hard way about possibilities and now I go by the fact that what can happen, can happen it just doesn’t mean it will happen.

My heart was rushing due to the pace of my walk and when I got there, I stood outside and just looked through the window. This gave me time to catch my breath before I made my way through the door. I made more noise than I should have instead of calmly walking through it. I was on a mission, and it felt as if I was back to my old life as I went into surveil mode.

I checked out everyone around me, it was going to be 7am aka 6am in about two minutes. It wasn’t crowded in there, just a few people here and there with most of them being regulars the people I knew were usually coming in when I was leaving. The man sitting in the last booth by the bathroom is who caught my attention. He looked straight at me and then back down at his watch with what my mind deemed as, a demented smile.

I started walking towards him. Could all of this be real and not just an over working imagination fueled by guilt and an expectation that was always around in waiting. I had to be careful because once I got close to him, he would surely have been able to see the sweat coming off my face, the panic, and the shaking of my body. My demeaner alerted me that I was no longer the stone-cold man I used to be.

I was almost right up on his table when I looked down at my watch as he started to get up from his seat. At this same second, that small stupid cuckoo clock behind the counter began its hourly chirp again. I had always loved that clock but now I hated it and its sound. As the man raised his arm with bill in hand towards his bifocaled eyes I could clearly see his watch with its nice big clock face and I could also see that I was right, he was going to see 6am .

 He suddenly dropped the bill and shouted in Spanish the words “ Hijo de puta americano” as his hand went to his inside jacket and I could clearly see the shape of a silver gun , a 38 as he began to pull it out at the same time that I hit him hard with a right cross. I then reached over to the counter about a foot away with my left hand and grabbed the bottle that had been left by the guy that had suddenly decided to jump up and scatter when the commotion started.

I knew instantly with my fluent Spanish that the translation running through my head meant “American Motherfucker”. I also knew right then and there without being a genius or a detective, that it had to have been my government work in Panama during the Noriega dictatorship that had caught up with me. I had always feared that happening, but I had learned to live with it. I knew I was a wanted man. I had done bad things. I had caused death in the name of country and duty. Now I had to cause one more in the name of self-preservation.

I broke the bottle over the counter edge and slit his throat with the precision of a true professional. It’s a shame that during this taking of a life, I really didn’t think much about doing it, but I did think about the fact that the government was going to have to somehow get me out of this because it owed me. It was going to have to start me all over again somewhere because I was exposed, and that man, agent, hitman or whatever, was going to be dead.

  All of this had left me dazed, which was another indication that I wasn’t the man I used to be. I just walked out the door and sat down on the curb. I had been worn down by the many minutes that came and went over the last couple of hours. I had to squint my eyes because of the light from the rising sun that was confirmation that it was a new day, and that I was still alive. I just sat there waiting and wondering about what this new horizon was going to mean for me.

February 25, 2022 07:50

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Cade Galvan
19:26 Mar 03, 2022

ok how dose this story git 1 comment. this is short story GOLD. i love how this is a high suspense. o feel like jhon wick reading this grate job darrell


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James Grasham
21:50 Mar 02, 2022

Hi Darrell, a tense read - really enjoyed this. One point I wanted to make about the story. If a killer had planned the assassination at least a week in advance, he would surely have done his homework on the target? So he would know his background and skills from his government work. Would he really have tipped him off about time and place? Surely it would have been better to silently go about his mission, and try and catch him unaware?


Darrell Grant
22:21 Mar 02, 2022

He should have but he wanted him to know as in any cat and mouse game and since no crime or plan is perfect he missed what seemed to be the obvious when it was time to act


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