The Hollow and The Saint

In a world filled with agony and despair, Logan, a master assassin embark on a journey to change reality in order to create the perfect society for his beloved Elizabeth Rose, where they can live together. Struggling against his bleak destiny and haunted by the demons ravaging this world enslaving people hopes and minds, all while fighting with a rage that might strip him of his humanity, will he be able to succeed in creating this perfect world?

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9. Codename Hollow

     

   The Baron’s base of operations is actually an antique shop. It is a great façade. He can easily establish contact with potential clients without raising any suspicions. Unlike fictional stories, where assassinations orders are given by codes through newspapers or letters carried by flying pigeons, the process is much simpler than you might think.

   Assassination orders are first passed to The Baron, who creates a contract that will be assigned to the appropriate assassin available. Each contract has a difficulty level. ‘F,’ being the lowest, going up to ‘A,’ which is the highest difficulty - only ever given to professional assassins. The more difficult the contract is, the faster you can climb the ranks, increasing the reward fee.

  However, some fictional stereotypes exist for a reason. Money should not, under any circumstance, be stored in banks. Instead, The Baron can store the money you earn with him in a room, almost like the safe of a real bank. Constantly earning interest from The Baron’s lucrative business trading information with potential clients, you don’t have to worry about the government investigating or freezing your account.

   Assassins are also bound by what we call ‘The Golden Horns’:

   ‘No assassin shall interfere with another assassin’s contract.’

   ‘Members of the board shall not be harmed under any circumstances.’

   Members of the board include The Baron and higher ranks. This means that assassins are free to kill anyone else, even other assassins, as long as they are not tied to any contract.

   In the event that an assassin is suspected of breaching the rules, a group called The Overseers will emerge to investigate. Given the evidence, the assassin may be labeled rogue. In this case, an expert assassin shall be assigned to care of him. Or, in dire situations where a serious breach is made, the convicted member shall be excommunicated: a worldwide contract shall be made under his name. With nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and hunters at every corner, their life becomes a living hell.

***

   “Now, you should pick a code name for yourself," said The Baron.

   Our real names are not revealed to other assassins, or mentioned in a contract. It was hard for me to pick one. I never had thought that I would ever need such a thing. For me, names didn’t matter. But, if I had to pick one, I would have chosen something that reflected my personality.

   “Hollow. Let my codename be Hollow.” I replied.

   “Hollow it is then. And now for the final touch.”

   Under my armpit, he marked me with a serial number. Using a hot steel prong to sear each number into my skin, I felt like I was being purified. I welcomed the pain as if it was already part of me, making me even stronger. I was reborn, and my new birth date was: 1959X0047.

   “Trust nothing but your aim, believe no one but yourself. Be as silent as the dead, and let the dead speak of your accomplishments. With a vision as strong as iron, seek the one and only light. Hollow - for that is your name, let the Illuminati guide you on your way, ” said The Baron, with a big voice.

   “That’s it? No ceremonies? No blood rituals or dudes with black dresses chanting in a strange language? I have to say, I am kind of disappointed.”

   “Stop whining, what are you? Six years old?” said the Baron, sarcastically.

   Now, I was ready.

***

   One month later, I was called to The Baron’s shop. I was about to take my first official contract.

   “So, what do you have for me?” I asked.

   “Detective Arthur Bale, thirty five years old, married to Nicole Koger, two kids. Clean history so far, recently he was offered the position of captain, but refused in order to complete a case he was currently working on.” Said the Baron.

   “Let me guess, the client doesn’t want this case to be cracked,” I speculated.

   “Exactly, but be careful, killing a police detective in cold blood means that the whole country will have their eyes fixed on you, this needs to look like a suicide! The client had also requested that you destroy any evidence you find in his house. And one more thing, it should be taken care of on Christmas Eve,” The Baron explained.

   “Christmas Eve? Why?” I asked.

   “The client needs to tie up some loose ends before he dies, so that no one suspects him.”

   I had promised Elizabeth that we would spend Christmas together. Unlike Eli, I wasn’t very religious, and I didn’t believe in anything but myself. But leaving Eli alone that day was not an option for me. I was determined to complete the job in time to get back to her, which meant that I had to kill my target before 9:00 p.m. It was far from ideal, but I had to pull it off, somehow.

 

***

   The next morning, I was walking Eli to work, when she asked me,

   “Hey Logan, don’t forget to buy the stuff on the list I gave you.”

   “Okay, do you want anything special for Christmas this year?” I asked.

   “Well, fix my kitchen sink, and kill the new couple next door, and I will the happiest girl in the neighborhood! God they are so loud! Always fighting with each other, it’s like a cat married a mouse,” said Elizabeth.

   “I must admit, your life sucks. Well, at least I can help you with the sink. That should make you half happy I guess?”

   If only she knew I could help her with everything. Maybe I will, in my free time that is.

   “Oh right, before I forget - I’m going to invite Ms. Anderson to join us on Christmas. She always spends it alone, and I feel bad for her," she told me.

    Well, that might be my way out.

   "Alright then, so if anything came up and I couldn’t come, you would not be alone,” I said, starting to draw my way out, or so I thought.

   “No way, you’re not going to be with us? I won’t let you! Even if they called you to work, I would personally speak with your manager and talk him out of it!” she yelled, stopping in her tracks.

   Imagine Eli talking with The Baron! What a scene that would be.

   “Okay! Okay! Cool it a bit will you? One day you will pop a vein with that temper. I will try to be there on time, I promise.”

   I dropped her off and went to begin my surveillance on Arthur.

 

***

   Within a week, I had found out that my target was a slave to his routine, which made him pleasantly predictable. First, he would always get coffee at 7:50 a.m. from the same shop. Arriving 8:15 a.m. at work, he’d leave between 6:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m, returning home at 7:30 p.m.

   On the weekends, he spent most of his time with his family. He had a girl and a boy, and his wife was a kindergarten teacher. After some digging around, I found out that he was investigating the murder of a prostitute, Darlin Shmidt.

   Darlin was found dead in an alleyway, and her death had been declared a suicide. The report said that she had thrown herself from the roof of a building, but, Arthur didn’t believe it, as Darlin’s body was covered with wounds - as if she was tortured by someone. This someone was Brian Erickson, the son of the rich and powerful George Erickson. To the public, he was the owner and CEO of Erickson Restaurants, but behind closed doors, he trafficked women from foreign countries into prostitution. This ‘suicide’ victim was one of them.

   It was rumored that Arthur had found a key piece of evidence linking the Ericksons to Darlin’s murder, but this was consistently denied by lieutenant Harper, who was already in George's pocket. Nonetheless, Arthur didn’t give up - he wanted to publicly expose the Ericksons. That’s where I come in, shutting down Arthur - for good this time.

***

    It was 8:30 p.m on Christmas Eve. I was lying in wait in the bushes in Arthur’s garden, like a hunter waiting patiently for his prey. He was late.  

   Maybe he is buying presents for his kids. At this rate, I will be late for Elizabeth’s dinner.

   Only half an hour left. My patience was running out, not to mention that the evening police patrols would soon be all over the streets.

   Then, I heard a car stopping. It was Arthur, he was coming out of his car. I took a deep breath, tightened my grip, my eyes fixed on the target, I was ready to strike.

 

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