Just the One of Us

June 14, 2011
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One head, two head, red-head, blue-head. There was always so much commotion on the crowded city streets. Ah, the juxtaposition of one little cozy rooftop to the hustle and bustle below. Things would soon be quite a bit -more- crazy.

How could the one, tiny dot in the center of my target cause so much misery? It's not my job to think, but rather do, and get paid ridiculously well for it. This one contract was particularly enticing because of the amazing bounty. It seemed too good to be true; the mission seemed like one quick shot with no complications.

I only brought one bullet, I don't need any more, it's not like I'm going to miss. I never miss. I always hit the target. Come to think of it, where is that target? He should have come out of his office by now; this is getting pretty boring.

I can’t stop my mind from wandering on these missions; it’s one little habit I can’t break. I –know- that it’s unprofessional and I –know- that I need to stop, but once I get set up there’s just so much waiting. I could become a philosopher with all the thinking I’ve done in the presence of nature: this concrete jungle. How did this happen? Why am I here?

The whys are something I try to forget. I try and I try but it doesn’t leave my brain. My father was a great military man. He always dreamed of me becoming an incredible soldier, one who would bring glory to our family and our nation. We often went down to the shooting range where he’d teach me to shoot pistols, shotguns, rifles, everything. He wanted me to be a hero, someone who could bring peace to the world as quickly as possible.

When he was shipped off to the war we knew that he would never come back. The body count was growing every day, and he was going to be commanding on the front lines. Our lives had never been difficult or distressing, but when the soldiers came to our door holding a flag, I cried out in sorrow for the first time in my life.

My mother was heartbroken; my sister and I were scared and lonely. Our mother took it the worst; she was a wreck. She lost her job soon after and started drinking. I always had to defend my beloved sister from her drunken rages. I still remember the worst of it. The door burst open, slamming against the wall with a resounding crack. Splinters of wood sprayed across the hallway as she staggered in the doorway. Her eyes stalked around the house unfocused as she stumbled through the hallways of our abode. I had already brought my sister into our room and locked the door. We huddled on the floor of our walk-in closet amidst the clothes hanging from the ceiling, a defensive canopy to protect us from the world.
She eventually found us; she banged on our door with primal fury, then kicking it so hard that it cracked off its hinges. I held my quivering palm over my sister’s mouth as she approached the closet, sweat beading up down my arms, slaloming down my arm hairs which were standing on end. Tears were streaming down my cheek as she let out the most defenseless, pathetic whimper I would ever hear in my life.
The closet door opened, and we held our breath; she towered over us like a giant, swinging her alcoholic weapon around in the air above our shaking heads. She collapsed in a heap at our feet. The bottle crashed down onto the wood floor and shattered into a million, glimmering pieces that rained down upon us like acid. It cut us up bad; our blood dribbled down to the floor as we remained clumped together in the corner. I vowed that after that day, I would never be as defenseless again, especially to protect my sister.
Alas, I’ve been dreaming for too long. I quickly scan the street for the target and he is nowhere to be found. I assume he’s still inside. I need to be more careful. This is important. This is important. I guess I’ll look around and see what’s going on.

I look through the scope, capturing the broad world in my deadly, little sights. I see someone stalking around in a huge trench-coat; he probably doesn't have any clothes on under there. Wow, the perverts in this city, God. It seems like some hooded thug just stole that chick's handbag. Good one there, kid, you're not going to get very many more of those. Ahaha, over there it looks like a small domestic dispute down on the sidewalk. That girl seems pretty mad over there, look at all the stuff she's throwing into the road from the apartment! Glad that's not me, poor sap.

Oh, how sweet. There's a couple kissing on the corner. 'Oh I love you soooooo much my wittle punkin bear!'. 'I wub you too kewtie, patootie honeybunch!'. Bam. Now your lips are gone. I wonder if they would die if I only shot their lips off like that. Eh, whatever. They probably believe their love could pull them through.

Love is pointless, worthless, nothing. It never did anything for my sister, and it will never do anything for me. When our parents died, I was the only one to take care of my little sister. She was always bringing home new boyfriends, getting weirder and crazier each one. She claimed it was all in the name of "love". She -loved- them. With all the despicable men in this city I had to make sure they never hurt her. I had to act as the mother she never had. We were just one family. A broken family.

Once I saw her come home with bruises and cuts on her arms and legs. She was trying to hide them, but her attempts were in vain, they were clearly showing despite her best efforts. I knew it was because of the latest "thug" she was associating with. Fawning over. Ugh. Next time she left the house to see him I tailed her. Brought along my rifle too, just in case. I was watching through a window from far away, and everything was going smoothly, until I noticed some argument break out. I was going to go inside to intervene, but I was too late, and he pulled out a gun. I immediately aimed and blew his head apart. My lungs were burning as I rushed inside to rescue her from this mangled madman. She was lying on the floor, so I knelt down gingerly beside her. I then noticed a crimson stream of death was pouring out of her chest. I recoiled in shock and clumsily rose to my feet. I picked up the pistol that had killed my sister and I held it against my temple, sweating. I could feel the warm, gleaming barrel against my temple and I quivered and shook in fear and agony. I pulled the trigger.

Click. I was alive. The gun was loaded with one bullet. I've been alone ever since, and I don't know how I've managed to cope, and frankly I don't care. Now I live for money, not for her. I live for myself, trying to get by, alone. Just me. And-

The man who was being berated on the street in the domestic dispute pulled out a gun. I could tell he was scared; he was shaking like mad, and holding the gun to her head. A huge crowd had formed around them, acting as a stage for their little, deadly play. I centered my sights between the man's eyes, and waited. This isn't my job, I can't use this shot, I can't.

The target, oblivious to the commotion on the street, came out of his office. He started walking down the steps from his building towards the street in a slow, taunting manner which screamed, 'Shoot me. I dare you. Shoot me!' I centered my sights on the target's head, and the domestic violence rested outside of my periphery. As if it were gone forever. That's not how it works.

I centered my eyes to the middle of the street; I could see both the armed brute and my target. I centered my crosshairs and pulled the trigger.

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