It was a freezing February night; it was the night. Her mind was split between dreading this moment and being excited for it, but now it didn't matter what she felt, she had to do it, it was her trial by fire. She walks briskly, conscious of every step she takes, the echoes of crappy dive bars could be heard in the distance. While she walks, the city lights cloud her peripheral vision, from neon sights announcing the presence of 24 hour liquor stores and nightclubs where one goes to get stabbed, to those shitty new streetlamps with the cold, pale lights that replaced their warmer yellow counterparts somewhere around the turn of the century. She feels the cold wind blowing in her hair, and sees the condensation of her every breath. Five blocks to go, dogs can be heard barking in the distance. Four blocks away, she passes a homeless man who's picking through a large garbage can by the sidewalk. Only three blocks missing. Her own heartbeats hammer her ears. Two blocks. She nervously fiddles with the grip of her .38 revolver. One block. She sees the distant figure of a man standing on the corner where she was told her target would be. Even though her eyesight isn’t quite great, she’s able to discern the light of the man’s lit cigarette, and she knew for a fact that the man she was supposed to kill was a dedicated smoker. This is it, there is no backing out now, she pulls out her gun from her waistband, walks up to the man, a man she had never met nor would ever meet, a man with hopes and dreams, with a family and people who love him, whose only crime was slinging coke in the wrong place at the wrong time. She puts his head between the weathered iron sights of the shitty old revolver they had given her for this job, and squeezes the trigger. A bright flash lights the darkness that covered the whole block. The guy falls to the ground, dropping his cigarette on the asphalt, she gets a little closer and places a couple more rounds in him, “just to make sure”.
The movies always focus on the loud bang a gun makes when it’s fired, but there is something else, there is that sound, a sound she’ll never forget, the grotesque 'splat' of blood and bits of flesh splashing across the sidewalk. And it is usually followed soon afterwards by the slightly less disturbing sound of the person's body falling onto the pavement. She then also hears a sound like metal falling onto cement, and as she looks down she notices notices a gun falling out of the man’s spare hand. Her brain freezes for one second as she checks herself for any new holes she may have just acquired. Nothing, not a scratch. Beginners’ luck perhaps.
She stands there for what seem like the longest 10 seconds of her life, until a distant siren breaks the silence. The “easy” part is done, the guy she was told to kill is now dead, his brains paint this sidewalk, now all she has to do is get away with it. She starts running. Before, she was counting every block, hearing every sound, seeing every sight, now she's only running, leaving behind block after block of the lonely nighttime streets of the cold and uncaring city she had learned to call home.
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