The Assassin

January 31, 2008
By Jung Ha Lim, Wallingford, CT

Her long hair tumbled onto the crisp, bloodstained sheets like spilt black ink. Her deep brown eyes, so dark they were almost black, stared blankly into space, unknowing, unmoving. Her gossamer nightgown clung to her, sporting a crimson stain that stood out unabashedly. Her porcelain skin reflected the moonlight, and there seemed to be an aura of ethereal beauty about her. She was a beautiful girl, no doubt about it.

Killing her had been a strange experience for Skylar. It had felt startlingly bittersweet, like the first taste of coffee on the break of dawn. He had been working as a non-professional assassin for so many years; it had started with his brutal slaughter of small animals as a mere youth, and as he progressed in life, and his affinity for blood grew accordingly, he had moved on to something far more large-scale: pure murder. This gruesome hobby had effectively numbed his senses long ago, so that by now, every time he killed, he felt nothing, absolutely nothing – but today’s murder had brought him the memory of feeling, the shock of overwhelming emotion. It had rendered him human.

With a deep sigh, Skylar lit a cigarette. He reveled in the enchanting fumes, ignoring the tangled knot of emotion in his chest, so that the world existed of nothing but his rhythmic breathing.

Breathe in… She was just an exceptionally beautiful girl. That’s all it was.

Breathe out... You’re losing it. You’re losing your touch. You’re becoming emotionally attached to your victim…

Breathe in… Just this one girl. Just the one. It means nothing. Nothing.

Breathe out…Why her, though? Of all the people I’ve killed…why her?

With that question, Skylar delved deeper into his memories, back to when he first laid eyes upon her. Through her window, he could see her sitting at the piano, her hands moving gracefully along the keyboard. His eyes had darted quickly from her silky hair, cascading halfway down her back like a raven waterfall, to her pretty face, to the flowing white dress that covered her gentle curves, finally to her smooth and flawless skin. She had looked so elegant, so composed, so innocent – as he watched her in retrospect, a twinge of guilt simmered inside him, which he quickly brushed aside.

Her piano playing ceased, and her dark eyes gazed out the window. For a split second, her eyes met Skylar’s, and his heart stopped. That moment when their eyes interlocked, Skylar could swear, he could swear that he knew this girl all his life. Something about her stare, something more than mere superficial beauty, completely drew him in, mesmerized him completely. He almost forgot to breathe.

Following her became a sort of obsession for Skylar from then on. With every step she took, he always trekked silently behind. From the local grocery store to the mall to an evening out to a bar with friends, Skylar trailed behind her, following her every move, taking in her beauty with a sort of deranged hunger. It was almost absurd how little he knew about her, he didn’t even know her name – yet he felt a connection so strong that it was almost tangible. They had never shared a decent conversation, hell, they’d never even spoken at all – yet the mere thought of her rushed over him like a tidal wave, engulfing him completely.

He had carefully contrived thoughtful love letters, pouring his ever-growing affection into them day after day. He had admired her wonderful hair and eyes, complimented her musical talent, assured her that he was in love with her, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her – to his dismay, these letters went unnoticed. His tender love and care went entirely unreciprocated. This one-sided relationship had left him in tatters, and her startling apathy was just too terrible, too painful – so painful, in fact, that he decided to take one more chance and express his feelings one last time, by doing what he loved to do the most…

Skylar dropped what remained of his cigarette and crushed it under his foot. He glanced over at the bed, at the sanguine corpse, and at the blood, caked muddy brown on the once-clean sheets. The truth was, he had been feeling strangely disturbed by his lack of emotion for quite a long time until he met her. He had been longing to feel some spurt of anything that reminded him that he was capable of feeling, that he was human. Had he been so desperate that he forced himself to feel some strange facsimile of love toward another person that he hardly knew? Had it been simply a sudden infatuation, sheer lust resulting from her unusual beauty? Had it been love?
He shook his head, smiling absently. He must be going mad; this wretched yet exhilarating job was finally getting to his head. No more, Skylar thought. No more petty human flaws to distract him from his stoical pursuit of his recreational killing sprees. Emotion was a sign of weakness and lack of self-discipline, which was something that must be eliminated. He refused to sink so low as to be on the same level of discipline as the rest of humanity. He was so much better than that.
Skylar discreetly escaped from the house, and as usual, he didn’t care that another life was lost, or that he was at dangerous risk of blowing his cover. He was stranded on an island of morbid nonchalance, doomed to be forever oblivious to his evident insanity, and to the city lights bathing him in artificial radiance. The creations of humanity shone down upon him, cars whizzed by ostentatiously, and pedestrians brushed against him as they went their respective ways. It was almost as if the forces of nature were struggling together to remind him that he had limitations, that he was strapped down by the chains of his own kind, but Skylar hardly noticed, for he had already resolutely and permanently turned his back on the world.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!