||The Hitchhiker- 2||
**the night before**
My father led me down to our basement, a place he always kept locked and forbid me going into. He always said, "One day son, you'll be ready to see what I have in store for you down there."
That day was today, on my 19th birthday. (**NOT Harry's actual birthday**) We walked down the creaking stairs, making this unknown place feel more eerie than I had imagined. It was dark down here and the only light we had was from six windows that were placed high up on the walls. A pair of windows were set on each wall, excluding the wall the stairs were attached to. The beams of light showed the abundance of dust and dirt in the air, along with the gross amount of cob webs on the ceiling as well as all around the room. All along the walls of the basement was nothing but junk. There was some furniture such as chairs, desks, mirrors, and even a piano all covered in dust and cob webs. In the center was a table with a white linen cloth on top, folded up to keep something hidden from me.
"Whoa dad, I think it's time to do some spring cleaning. Why don’t you clean all this out?" I asked as we stopped in front of the table. So many questions were burning in the back of my mind about what could be under this cloth.
"There is a reason why son, and you will learn it very soon. When your grandfather gets here, he will explain everything to you." he said, staring at the cloth.
I looked at him puzzled, "I have a grandfather? How come I've never met him before, or heard of him for that matter?" I asked, looking at my dad for an answer. His face was blank, giving away nothing, but his eyes held a whole world of secrets. When he looked at the cloth, I could see the secrets unfolding within him. He knows something bad is coming, and whatever is under that cloth is going to cause it.
"Yes, you do and it will all be explained soon." he said, tearing his eyes away from the cloth to look at me.
"I have a feeling I'm not going to like this." I said.
My dad pressed his lips into a flat line and looked back down towards the table, "Whether you like it or not, you're stuck with this tradition. You can't run away from this son, and I hope you'll understand that," I nodded my head in agreement, not really sure what else to say. We stood there awkwardly until we heard the doorbell ring.
My dad let out a sigh, "That's probably your grandfather. Wait right here and do not touch the white cloth. Do you understand me?" he asked sternly. I nodded again, and he left to go answer the door.
I listened quietly as I heard the door open. I heard an exchange of hellos and the door shutting once more.
"Are you ready for this?" I heard an unfamiliar voice ask.
"No. To be quiet honest, I've always regretted this day." my father said.
"Now, now. This is tradition, and it may break your heart, but it will leave you with pride and honor. Besides my dear boy, it's my time anyway."
I knitted my eyebrows together in confusion, "His time?" I asked myself. I shook the thought away and continued to listen to them talk.
"Where is the young lad anyway?" the man asked.
"Well, lets get this over with then shall we?" I heard the man say. There was a small period of silence before he spoke again, "What's wrong James?"
"I love you, dad. You've taught me so much and I just wanted to let you know that I'm proud of you." my dad said.
"Oh my dearest boy, I love you too, and I'm so proud of you as well. I know this will be hard, but everything will be okay. I promise. Now let's go teach this young lad all about our history."
I heard footsteps along with the door opening. I pulled out my phone to pretend that I wasn’t paying any attention to their conversation. I watched as my dad and my grandfather walked down the stairs a towards me. One of them cleared their throats, and I looked up and slid my phone back into my pocket.
"Harry, this is your grandfather." my dad said. I was expecting him to hold out his hand for me to shake because that’s normally what people do when they first meet. My grandfather didn’t hold his hand out for me to shake, he just gave me a warm smile.
"So Harry, it is now time for you to learn about where you came from. Are you ready?" my grandfather asked and I nodded. My dad pulled out and dusted off three chairs for us to sit down and listen.
"Your great, great grandfather started this legacy, and it is now your turn to take it over." my grandfather said.
"What exactly will I be taking over?" I asked.
My grandfather smiled, "You will be taking over the roll of a hitman." my grandfather said, and my mouth dropped to the floor.
"Your great, great grandfather was one of the world's greatest hitmen. He taught his son, and his son taught the next son, and so on. Now it is your turn to learn how to be a hitman." my grandfather said.
"Wait, so you're telling me I'm going to be hired to kill innocent people?" I asked. My dad and grandfather both looked at each other then back to me.
"Yes and no." my grandfather said.
"No! I don't know if I can do that! I said, mentally freaking out.
"Look Harry, you have to understand that the people you will be killing are not good people. They have done wrong and they need to face the consequences of their actions. You don't have to worry about being ready either. We'll put you to the test later, but for right now, we need to teach you the rules." my father said.
"Tests and rules? Jesus Christ, this sounds more like school than a job," I said sarcastically, but neither my dad nor grandfather found it funny. I sighed and changed the subject, "What kind of test?"
"Don't worry about the test yet. Let's discuss the rules first." my dad said.
I sighed and slouched down in my chair a little, "Okay, how many rules are there?" I asked.
"Ten. All ten rules are very important, but the number 1 rule is the most important and must be followed at all times." my dad said.
"I'm going to go through this very quickly so pay attention. Let's start with rule number 10, Be sneaky, but subtle. We don't want you to draw attention to yourself. When you draw attention to yourself, people will start to notice. When people start to notice, then you'll get caught. Rule number 9, always aim for the head or heart. This increases your chances of killing them and decreases your chances of them living and turning you in. Rule number 8, never rob your victim. If you rob your victim, you're giving police a trail to follow. If you get caught, and have your victims property on you, they can convict you and don't think that a jury wont find you guilty. Rule number 7, never leave anything behind. Don't leave your weapon, ID, nothing at the crime scene. If you leave any kind of DNA, they will find you and arrest you. Rule number 6, never kill in a crowded area. This one is self-explanatory, but if you kill in a crowded area it increases your chances of getting caught. Rule number 5, show no mercy. If you show mercy, people won't take you seriously in this business. Rule number 4, never use your real name. We will be giving you a alias. Your new name is Sam Henderson. Use this name always. Rule number 3, never travel with someone. Don’t travel with a girlfriend, dog, cat, nothing. There's nothing worse than trying to do your job and you have to drag around a partner in crime. Rule number 2, always wear gloves. Don't ever kill someone without gloves. It's very easy to leave a fingerprint behind. Rule number 1, probably the most important rule of all. Do not ever develop feelings for you victim. You will never be able to kill them if you develop feelings for them. Do you understand these rules, Harry?" my grandfather asked after he told me all the rules.
"Yes, but if I'm supposed to be quick, how could I develop feelings for my victim?" I asked.
My grandfather laughed a little, "You know, your great, great grandfather thought the same thing, but he met this woman. She was the wife of one of the men he killed. He was supposed to kill her along with him, but he never did because he fell for her."
"Well, what happened after that?" I asked.
"Your great grandfather came along," my grandfather laughed. "She also found out about what he did. She threatened to turn him in to the authorities. The smart thing would have been to kill her and leave with his son, but he couldn’t do that because he loved her. So, he took his son and fled completely out of the country."
"He never got caught?" I asked.
"No, never. Now as part of tradition, it is your father's turn to give you the family air loom." my grandfather said. I watched as my dad stood from his chair and walked over to the table. I stood as well and walked to the table. My dad unfolded the cloth to reveal a knife and pistol.
"Harry, these weapons have been passed down for four generations now, and it's time that you be the fifth." my dad said. I was shocked. So much information was being drilled into me at one time. I don’t know if I can handle all of this.
"Now Harry, it is time for you to become a true hitman," my grandfather said, standing from his chair and moving to the other side of the room. He turned to face towards me and stood very still. "You must choose your weapon, and kill me with one shot."
"What?!" I almost screamed.
"It's tradition Harry. You have to. If you don't you are showing shame on this family name." my grandfather said.
"Everyone before you Harry has done this. Even I have. This is why you never knew your grandfather. We didn’t want you having a connection with him before this. Now choose your weapon." my dad said.
"I can't do this." I said. I cant do this. I don’t want to kill my family. I don’t care if I know them or not, its my family. Family doesn’t do this to each other.
"Harry please, show me the pride and honor you have for your family in my last few minutes. Don’t show me shame for the rest of my days. Choose your weapon."
I looked towards my dad, who was giving me the sign to continue. I could see the pain he felt. He didn’t want this to happen, but he knew it had to be done, and so did I. I looked at the table and chose my weapon carefully. I chose the pistol to make things quick and easy. I checked the barrel to make sure it was loaded. Shutting it closed, I pointed it at my grandfather, tears threatening to spill over.
"Harry, what's rule number 9?" my dad asked.
"Always aim for the head or heart." I replied, pointing the gun towards his head.
"Good, now what's rule number 5 Harry?"
"Show no mercy to the victim."
"Good, lastly what's rule number 1?" my dad asked.
"Never develop feelings for your victim." I replied again, a tear making its way down my cheek.
"Pull the trigger Harry," my grandfather said. "Make me proud." he said. I dug up all the strength I had and wrapped my finger around the trigger. I squeezed the trigger and in the blink of an eye, my grandfather was lying on the ground, unresponsive. Tears streamed down my face as I looked at what I had done.
I felt as my dad stood beside me, "I always taught you to never shame your family. Your grandfather is proud of you, and you are ready to be a hitman." my dad said. He placed a hand on my shoulder, giving it a small squeeze and turned to go upstairs.
"Wait dad!" I said, wiping the tears from my cheeks.
"Yes son?" he said over his shoulder.
"W-what are we going to do with h-him ?" I asked, shakily.
My dad sighed, "I'll take care of it tomorrow while your out on your first mission."
My eyes widened, "What? First mission?"
"Good night my son. We'll talk about this in the morning." he said and disappeared upstairs.
"What am I going to do?" I said to myself. I sat down at the bottom of my stairs and put my head in my hands. I looked at my grandfather and sighed, "I have to keep pride and honor in my family. I can't let them down," I said and stood from the stairs. "Good night grandfather. Rest in peace." I said before disappearing upstairs into my room.
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