Mild Ruthlessness

February 25, 2011
Is there a God tonight?

Matt sat in the bus, crowded, uncomfortable. Muffled talking.

Up in the sky, or is it empty…

Outside the window, night had fallen. The airport lights twinkled.

Just like me?

A sickened feeling was clamped on Matt’s stomach.

A place where we can hide…

The corner. Dark, hidden.

Out from the night…

Cold. Shivering, Matt had fallen like an eagle, right on target, hand outstretched.

Where you are all I see…

Eyes widened, fear leapt. Scissors struck their target from behind.

So blow a kiss, goodbye…

Next moment. Scissors was lying on the ground. Motionless. A glistening pool formed around the head area.

And close your eyes…

Matt leaned back on the seat oozing yellow foam. The old woman to his left shifted.

Tell me what you see…

The dude had a knife. He was fast, too. Right on the neck.

A life that’s set inside…

Matt was destined to be the best assassin the world had ever seen. Scissors, maybe.

This dream of mine…

He was Number Six. Scissors was Seven. They were best buddies. What did numbers mean, anyways?

Where you are all I see…

The bus jolted and came to a stop. The loudspeaker crackled, “Terminal B.” Matt yanked the earphones out of his ears and got up, turning off his old music player. The people around him got up, too, shoving, talking. Taking their suitcases.
Matt only had a duffel bag. He was traveling alone now.


Step one was to get there. Step two was to kill. Step three was to report back.

Step one went fine.

Step two did not.

Matt did not take step three.


He was trained enough. Twelve years of hard work did not go unnoticed. The organization hiding behind a pizzeria was kept well-hidden and quiet. They trained ten of the best assassins in the world. Their mission was to seek and destroy. Who?

Whoever they didn’t like.

They were a corrupt assassin business.


Matt was hungry. Tired, too. But the stomach always comes first.

He went into the convenience store, pushing open the doors with a forceful carelessness. A bell jingled somewhere. The boy behind the counter woke up, rubbing his eyes. It was past midnight.

Matt went to the refrigerated section, taking out a Gatorade. Red one, small kind. He took a bag of chips on his way back to the door.

“Excuse me?” A high voice. The boy behind the counter hadn’t even hit puberty yet, it seemed.
Matt paused. He hadn’t paid. He wasn’t planning to, either.

He turned. The boy was watching him.

“Sir, you haven’t paid for those.”

Matt did not speak.

“I’ll have to get security, sir. You don’t want that.”

Matt nearly laughed. Foolish, brave, little kid. No one ever caught anyone working for the organization hiding behind the pizzeria.

Matt took a concealed gun from his belt, pointing it at the boy. No need to have police on his trail, though.
The boy behind the counter stood in sudden terror.
Matt was ruthless. He had to be. He was an assassin.
But what crossed the line?
Matt pulled the trigger, took out the two cameras, and left the store.


Matt and Scissors were legends. Police couldn’t find them. The military couldn’t catch them. The government could do nothing about them. They didn’t even know who they worked for. The organization could take out anyone they wanted to, any time.

Except for that one target. Bald man. Easy mission.

Matt had screwed that one up.

Matt couldn’t sleep.
Might have been the bench.


The leader of the organization lived in Chicago.

Matt hated the organization. It was corrupt, but he was bound to them—Assassin’s Honor. Now, he was free. Under a curse, but free.

And it was time for vengeance.

Matt traveled on foot. It took three weeks.


Number Five was in Denver. Johnny.

Matt and Scissors were the top of the food chain, even though they were Six and Seven. They were the best.

Johnny was walking the streets. Careless.

Matt took him out.


Number Two was the next best. Silent as a snake. Ruthless as a dragon.

But he had no chance.


Number One called himself Tigre. Three was the weakest, Four was mediocre at best. Warrior and Rising.

They all had nicknames for themselves. His buddy Skinner called himself Scissors.

Matt was the only one without a name. Just Number Six.


They found Scissors’ body. The media immediately was all over it. What would happen next? Was it the breakup of the secret organization that the government couldn’t even contain?

Matt chuckled at the newspaper headline.

It was, in a way, a breakup.

One, Three, and Four had banded together. Eight, Nine, and Ten disappeared from the face of the Earth. Chickened out upon hearing of Scissors’ death and the killings of Five and Two.

But Matt. Six.

Tigre led a hunt for him. Kill him. Revenge. Five and Two did not die for nothing.

Matt was especially evasive.


It was night when he arrived in Chicago. Matt walked into the first bank he saw, under the glowing neon red signs. 24 hours, it said. There was a humming ATM outside.

He walked up to a teller, who was shuffling some papers.

Matt wasted no time.
“I want some money. This is a stickup.”

Matt wasn’t holding his gun. Yet.

The teller looked at him. He had a good poker face, Matt thought. No emotion—scared? Not yet.

“Yessir. Don’t shoot.” The teller nodded slowly, then disappeared under his desk.

D***it. It wasn’t going to be nice and easy.
It was time to get his hands dirty.

The teller was protected by two layers of glass. Matt didn’t like taking hostages; it rarely worked out.

He smashed the glass with his fist, once, twice. Three blows and the shards were everywhere. Blood dripped onto the countertop.

Matt leapt nimbly over the broken glass, landing soft on the other side. He took out his gun, pointing at the now clearly-terrified teller hiding under his desk.

Alarms sounded, people screamed.

Get the h*** out.

Madman with a gun.


Matt took only a few hundred dollars. Just a wad, just something he could fit in his coat.

Matt didn’t need more than a few hundred.

Taking a more than that would be complete b****rdry.

Assassins weren’t completely immoral. Matt just needed some money.

He spent the night in a motel. Cheap. They didn’t even ask for identification or any crap. Room Number 26, sir. Thanks for choosing us.

No air conditioning. Moth eaten bed. Cracked television screen.

Matt was thankful for the running water.

Tomorrow would be hunting day.

Matt woke up to sirens. Stupid police.

He checked the clock. It wasn’t even four in the morning yet.

He dressed, picked up his duffel bag, and opened the window. He was on the second floor. Below, four cop cars screamed and wailed. Overhead, the thump-thump of two helicopters could wake everyone for miles around.

Black Tahoe SUV’s came racing in, squealing to a stop. They created roadblocks. SWAT vehicles made a perimeter around the motel.

Dozens of specially-trained SWAT soldiers walked in.

They were determined to get Matt this time.

Matt simply chuckled at it all.

He had a hand on the upper sill, crouching. Cold wind rushed past his face, tickling his moustache. Matt dropped his duffel bag first, aiming for a bush.

Stupid police hadn’t even seen him yet, hanging precariously out of a second-story window. Plain as day.

Matt jumped after the duffel bag, landing softly like a cat. He picked up his bag and started walking.


They noticed the open window, curtains fluttering in the cool night. Below, a homeless-looking guy with a black duffel bag walking in the bushes.

“Him! Over there!”

Matt began to run. Not that he was in danger—he just didn’t want to make a mess.

They began firing.

Stupid idiots.

Bullets buried themselves into the outside motel wall. Matt ran.

Tires squealed as a black SUV lurched around the corner, heading straight for Matt in the bushes. Blinding headlights tore at the early morning. Green leaves flattened under the tires.

Matt jumped. High into the air, landing on the roof of the SUV. He jumped again, rolling on the ground to stand back up again.

Behind him, the SUV drove out of the bushes, circling around again.

Matt stood and watched. The SUV had bought the police time to establish a perimeter around the bushes Matt stood in. SWAT members, too.

They all had guns trained on his head.

“Drop the bag. Hands in the air.”

A loudspeaker blared. Red and blue flashed on his face, on the walls, the windows.

Matt put the duffel bag under his armpit and leapt.

Using his left hand, he grasped the top sill of a first-story window. He used his legs to propel him upwards, onto a second story window.

Glass shattered. The put-put of gunfire broke the early morning once again.

Matt was on the roof. He ran towards the opposite side, hurtling over the edge with a double somersault. More SWAT members were there to greet him, albeit with surprise.

Matt drew a dagger from inside his coat at the same time, unsheathing the metal and striking.

Fire lit. Erratic bullets flew.

Matt jumped again, seeing the bullets wash under him.

Matt ran once again.

Seconds later, his periphery vision sensed it first.

A sniper, hidden somewhere up high, far away.

Matt stopped and turned. The sniper must have been surprised to see his target face him.

And it was the moment of pause, of uncertainty, of surprise, that did him in.

Matt took advantage of the pause to take out his gun, shooting the sniper three times through the head.

He was more accurate with a pistol from far away than most were with a sniper and a scope.

Matt found his house two hours later.

A simple house, not too big and fancy.

Matt knocked on the door.

A woman answered.

Matt shot her.

He walked in.

A man sitting on a couch watching television looked back, over his shoulder. Matt shot him.

He left the house, door open, blood streaming.

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