The Flower Garden

A story about an assassin (who is a bit of an who has a weird experience which convinces him to change his ways.


1. The Flower Garden

D_____ got off the plane at Braga airport and liked it immediately.  It made him think of Paris airport, or was it Charles de Gaulle? Interesting and colourful and very French. He laughed. Of course it is very French, it’s in France you idiot.  He had been in Paris for a job about five years ago. The target lived on Rue______.  He had been watching him and his girlfriend for a week before he killed them.  He had found them in the kitchen drinking wine and laughing at the island in the middle.  The man was about fifty and in good shape for his age, handsome and strong.  You could tell he was a good man by the temper of the way he moved.  She was about ten years his junior, a very beautiful woman with hair that went down a little below her shoulders. They had Spem In Alium by Thomas Tallis playing. This kind of music had been an interest he had shared with Amelia.  He stood by the stereo and watched them for about ten seconds, the two happy lovers unaware of his presence, of the pitiful amount of time left they had left to live.  He wondered if they even had the remotest of ideas, some kind of feeling as they awoke this morning that it would be their last. The man was the first to see him.  His expression changed and he froze when he saw the silenced Makarov PM that D_____ raised and pointed at him. “Pardonnez –moi  Monsieur,” he tightened his grip slightly and curled his finger around the trigger. “Pour quoi?” What use would the answer have been to the man? D____ , keeping his eyes fixed on them both turned up the music on the small stereo close by him on his left.  So monastic and calming.  What was it about God’s music that could move an atheist so? 

He shot the man in the face as his employer had stipulated. 

There was that sound a silenced gun makes, the movies had it down pretty good, then just after the sound of the bullet and the skull connecting, his face re-arranged.  Then he fell, dead-heavy and sickening, onto the tiled floor. The music had not stopped. The face acquired that strange look of sudden sleep.

The woman did not scream but looked at the man and he could see she was thinking about running. She was babbling in French too fast for him to understand.  She looked at the open door.  A child outside, on the street below, began to cry. He just wanted to shut the bitch up; he felt bad about killing her. She fell heavily with a single pathetic moan onto the island, her neck bending and breaking. She knocked one of the glasses of wine onto the tiled floor where it smashed like bones.  The circle in her head where the bullet had entered was perfectly shaped.  It always fascinated him; the cleanliness of this gun, mess was for amateurs and psychopaths.

Braga was an altogether different job.  A whole family.  Children too.  It was a step further than he had ever gone before, children, but this would pay him enough to give up for life.  Already he had done his research and knew that they would be on a family outing.  They would be at a flower garden by the monastery at 4 O’clock. He had a map. The attendant at the desk in their apartment building was very helpful given the incentive of a knife at his throat and hanging upside down in a wood on the edge of town. Afterwards it took ages for the blood to empty from him.  D____ had slit under his arms and the ankles as well as the throat to speed it up but it seemed to slow it down.  The spurting died down to a gentle throb, like piss did when you were finishing.  Before he killed him the guy had wept and told him he was just about to have a child and please, please don’t.  He could see the guy’s predicament, really he could, but witnesses were a pain. He felt like the guy in the Elmore Leonard novel who never let witnesses live. He had killed a pig once with a friend, to eat obviously, but bleeding a person was different, more exhilarating, but slower, or perhaps it was just how this guy had bled, he was sure he had read the instructions right on the internet.  There were some sick punks out there, with some weird fucked up websites.  He checked the time.  12:30 pm.  He just had to get out of the airport and get the car which had been left for him in the car park.  He arrived at the flower garden at 3:30pm. There was nobody around and he had the Makarov already prepared and a chord for garrotting, if it came to that, and a knife.  He didn’t really want to leave anyone bleeding or have to use more than the minimum number of bullets. It wasn’t the same gun. A different one from Paris and the jobs in-between. D_____ used a different gun each time and each time took them apart afterwards and dumped the parts in separate bodies of water not in the locality.  He sat on the bench and looked at the flower garden.   It had a great mess of red splashed in the middle. He sat opposite one of the monastery buildings and could see four Gothic arch frames.   He didn’t feel good about this one.  He had never killed a child before and had asked the employer twice why the children had to die too; he could deal with the wife but a girl and a boy, 8 and 9. “If you don’t want the job then I can give it to someone else.  I was informed you were the best.”  He was easily flattered, a fault of his, so he took the job and got on a plane to Portugal.  Now, in the garden, he was thinking of the money when the family entered.  He looked at the children first.  The girl had blond hair, a mass of loose curls; she had a serious little face and held her father’s hand.  The boy was not so serious and was laughing with his mother.  Parents were ordinary looking but there was something odd about the man.  He wasn’t now ordinary at all.  There was a quiet air about him, but something else, something D_____ could not decipher.  The boy was running around him, almost dancing, he clearly worshipped his father.  They walked along the hedgerows and the mess of red caught the girl’s eye and she said in a very matter of fact tone, in English, “Mother.  The flowers in the middle look like blood, like an explosion of blood.” “Darling,” said the father, “What a strange thing to see.” This was when the man looked straight at D____.  “Ask the man over there.  He is an assassin and has been sent to kill us.” “Silly daddy! I know that.” She let go of his hand and walked casually over to D____ who was now open mouthed on the bench.  She sat beside him, having to shuffle herself onto the bench which was a little too high for her feet to touch the ground.  She eyed him with what looked like pity on her face, “Five million dollars.  That’s over one million for each of us.” “Little girl.  I have no idea what you are talking about.” He could feel his eye beginning to twitch like it did when he was losing his cool. “Your left eye,” she said, “Remember in third grade when Sally Robertson rejected you.  That was the first time wasn’t it.  Then there was the time Amelia died.”  Her father was coming to join her on the bench.  “Mr M______.” “How do you know my name and things about me?”  He guessed they had got wind of his job and had done their homework too in order to spook him, “I’m not easily spooked you know and I have a job to do.” “Of course you do,” said the girl and smiled. There was a silence between them during which he did not get his answer.  The boy ran over and was huffing and puffing and laughing a little.  He straightened up, his long dark hair fell back on to his shoulders and he opened his mouth as if he were yawning.  D_____ was transfixed.  The mother joined them on the bench and held his hand. He couldn’t figure out who was sitting where.  Normally he would shake things like this off.  Since Amelia had died and then Charlotte two months afterwards he had not been good with touch, especially from a female.  He had to use prostitutes as he could not even imagine sex anything near love with anyone but Amelia. His actions disgusted him, using women like that was wrong, he knew it was, all that had made him ______.  The girl who sat next to him looked like a younger version of his dead wife and the mother reminded him of his dead daughter.  Something about the eyes and the lips.  The boy’s mouth was still open and the world appeared to slowly turn about him as if he were the centre of a great wheel, the greens and purples and the mess of red were swirling and breathing. “Have you drugged me?” he asked in a daze. “Pour quoi?” said the father. “What?” Suddenly he was back in the kitchen in Paris and then in the flower garden where the boy’s mouth was now stupidly wide open, contorted and stretched beyond normality and the sound of some music was coming from it, as if he had a choir in his throat. “I love Tallis,” said the girl, “Why the music of God should amuse an atheist like me I don’t know D______.” And then she giggled and ran, to the sound of Spem In Alium to the centre of the swirling flower garden, into the red mess, “Look mummy.  Look daddy.  The flowers have turned into blood.”  She started to splash about in it as if she were enjoying a day out by the sea and was frolicking.  Her clothes and face and hair were covered in the sticky red blood and the music was getting louder but was no longer emanating from the boy’s mouth but just from the air.  The boy was playing paper, scissors, rock with his father and his father kept winning. “Why don’t you just let the boy win?” he found himself saying, holing his head which was pounding, he had a notion that his speech was slurred. “Why didn’t you let the wife live in Paris, or the elderly mother in Naples or the drug dealer’s friend in London or the attendant here?  You could have scared them enough not to talk and if they had, the police would have had nothing on you.  You are so thorough.” “They were witnesses.” The father pulled a face that showed he was unimpressed by the answer and carried on playing the game with his son.  The girl was now nowhere to be seen.  “Where is your daughter?” “What daughter?” said the wife, “The one that you saw splashing in the red?” “Yes.” “She died.”

The sickening swirling and the music had stopped without his noticing. He was alone on the bench and in the garden.  The sun was out and there were birds whistling in the canopy of trees above him. He sat there until dusk and then went back to Braga airport dumping his tools on the way.

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