He was the night.
He was the darkness.
He was the hidden blade,
the deadly, silent assassin.
His will was of iron,
his nerves of steel.
His name was Hector.
He would not falter.
He was the great assassin,
the terrifying, the-
“Ow,” Hector muttered, rubbing his ankle where it had just slammed into a ventilation pipe sticking out of the rooftop. He straightened, and puffed out his chest. His trench coat disguise billowed in the wind, highlighting his tall, regal silhouette against the stars. He was Hector, the star assassin, the terrifying, the-
Hector doubled over in a coughing fit as the smoke from the nearest chimney drifted into his fresh air, encompassing his figure in a cloud of gray. Well, perhaps that was his cue to move on. After all, he had only thirty minutes in which to complete his job.
His job. His job. Finally, the Atlantic Academy of Assassination trusted Hector with his very own job. He had earned it, after all. He was top of his class in stealth, in knife throwing, in kung fu, and, most importantly, in murder. At least where the plastic dummy was concerned, anyway. But right now, he needed his skills in speed. Hector’s target lay sleeping on the fifth floor of this ten story building, and he was to sneak in, make it look like an accident, then flee without being caught. Well, the “without being caught” kind of went without saying at assassin school.
Hector crept to the edge of the rooftop where a service ladder poked over the side. He made the unfortunate mistake of looking down and gasped. Ten stories. If he fell now, he would die. Ten stories. That’s, like, a hundred feet. Ten stories. To concrete below. Hector couldn’t do this. He couldn’t. The academy taught him how to jump between buildings, but those “buildings” were really giant foam mats two feet off the ground! How was he supposed to do this without knowing that he would just bounce off if he fell?
Breathe, Hector. You’ve spent your entire life preparing for this moment, Hector’s mind said soothingly. He would have listened to it, if not for the voice on the other side of his brain shouting, RUN!!! SAVE YOURSELF!! You can’t do this, you can’t do this, you can’t do this. Have some self-preservation, you fool!
Hector stood frozen for several minutes, arguing mentally with himself. “I can do this,” he ground out, gripping the ladder with both hands. In a feat of braveness, he swung his legs over the edge and stood entirely on the ladder.
Hector made the mistake of looking down again. Crap. His grip on the ladder tightened, and he squeezed his eyes shut. “I can’t do this,” he whimpered.
But he had to. He had no choice. If he returned with his job incomplete, they would kill him. Literally kill him. What use was a failed assassin? Still, Hector couldn’t bring himself to pry his eyes open, even when the ladder slipped and he went plummeting down towards the concrete.
It was a really good thing that Hector’s stomach was in his throat, for if he had been able to scream, he would have, and that was the number one rule of the Academy. No screaming during a job. Or, at least, that’s what Hector had been told.
The ladder caught and came to a jerky stop about halfway down the building, but Hector’s heart didn’t even slow in its thunderous beating. No amount of emotion control preparation could have possibly prepared him for controlling these terrifying emotions running through him.
Think of puppies. Calm. Puppies. Tiny, fluffy puppies. Calm down. When Hector finally managed to regain control of his senses, he realized he was on the fifth floor. What luck. Still clutching the ladder so tightly that his left hand was beginning to cramp, Hector reached out with his right and slid the nearest window open. He put his foot onto the window sill, and grabbed the inside of the brick. He could do this.
The ladder lurched and Hector nearly jumped in fright. That would have been disastrous. Luckily, his foot was caught on the edge of the window, and he was able to pull himself in.
Phew. He was inside. With fifteen minutes to go, Hector’s job was now simple. All he had to do was find the right room, pick the lock, kill a guy, and get out of there. Easy-peasy.
Hector pulled the black ninja mask over his face and set off towards room 517. He found it with no problem, but when he pulled out his lock picks and got to work, his hands were shaking so badly that he dropped one of them. “Crap,” he hissed to himself, fingers scrabbling on the tile floor. Finally finding the thing, Hector stuck it back in the lock and tried to remember his lessons. He was good at this. He was. Really. That was why it took him five minutes. He was good. He was being precise. Efficient.
When at last the lock gave way, Hector grasped the door handle and turned it silently, stepping into the room. It was a studio apartment, and he immediately spotted the large canopy bed near the bookshelf-lined wall. This was it. Hector pulled the dagger out of his boot and advanced, silent as a whispered whisper.
There was a light blue veil of fabric drawn around the bed. Hector pulled it back with one hand and raised the dagger. The woman lay sleeping, her blonde hair splayed out in little curls around her face. Hector pulled his arm back, just like when he was practicing on the plastic dummies, but before he could strike like the cobra he was, she opened her eyes. Plastic dummies didn’t open their eyes.
The woman focused on him, then on the knife, and let out a bloodcurdling scream. Plastic dummies didn’t scream. Panicking, Hector let out a cry of his own, and for a minute their sounds of horror mixed together in mingled synchronization. Hector stumbled back, slamming directly into the base of the tall bookshelf behind him. It teetered and threatened to topple over. Lightning fast reflexes in action, Hector stared at it dumbfounded for a moment before he finally remembered to dive to the side, just as it crashed down upon the canopy of the bed. The heavy shelf splintered through the bars supporting the veil, and a spurt of blood told Hector that it impaled the woman underneath.
He almost puked. The blood was so red, and wet as it seeped through the fabric and onto the bed. And it smelled disgusting, like rare steak. Plastic dummies didn’t bleed. Hector felt dizzy just looking at it.
Whichever part of Hector’s mind remembered his training kicked into action. He had to get out of there. Hurrying to the door, he wrenched it open and then heard it slam behind him. Hector sprinted down the hall, then pushed the button for the elevator, shifting from foot to foot, waiting. When the doors finally opened, an elderly couple stood inside, staring at him in shock. The woman raised her hands, dropping her purse. “T-take it! Just don’t hurt me!”
Hector stepped into the elevator, but assured her, “Oh, I’m not here to rob you, don’t worry.” She still looked alarmed, and that was when he remembered. “Oh, right, the mask. Sorry. I’m going to a pre-halloween party.” Hector peeled off the piece of fabric, mentally applauding himself for thinking so fast.
“It’s March,” the old man pointed out hesitantly.
Hector froze, a smile plastered on his thin face. Uh. Uhhh. Uh…. “Yes, it is,” he said pleasantly. The door dinged and Hector turned. “Well, that’s my floor. Bye!” he slipped out on the ground floor, leaving the couple staring after him in confusion.
That was close. Hector headed out onto the street, where his getaway car was supposed to pick him up. That was when he heard the low growl behind him. Hector gulped. That was no puppy. That was a full grown dog. He took off.
Hector ran as the dog chased him, snapping at his heels. Hector yelped and turned a corner, cutting through a dark alley. He tried to circle around to where he was supposed to meet the car, but the dog was on his heels. Hector turned a few more times, before he realized that he’d somehow lost the ferocious animal.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Hector panted to catch his breath. When he recovered, he looked around at where he was. It didn’t look familiar. And how had he gotten there again? It was a mess of adrenaline and panic in his memory. Well. Hector’s getaway driver was going to be so mad. But at least Hector had done just that - gotten away. Hector grinned for a brief second before he remembered what he’d done.
He was Hector, the assassin.
He was the night.
He was the darkness.
And he was definitely going to be sick.
Note: This story was originally planned to be co-authored with Rodrigo the Swishyfish, and he wrote the begining "He is the night..." part. He and I also came up with the idea, but seeing as he left before we could actually get anywhere, I'm continuing on my own. But credit where credit is due, "Hector the Wimpish Assassin" is in part his creative material.