I have a job most people would find… unsavory. In this day and age, though, it’s also unsurprising. The stage is being set for World War III, even if people don’t see it. The wedge of humanity is driving itself apart. To be frank, the war’s already begun. For now the war is fought through proxies like me. Assassins like me.
I’m the best there is, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. I’ve killed so many people, and you don’t even realize they’re dead, I’m so good. Of course, my client helped with that, but then, they’re a good client. They realize my worth, despite my supposed disability. Many would consider me useless in war, but not these people. They don’t mind that I’m blind, because I’m just that good.
To anyone wondering how I’m so good: Mother raised me well.
Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean I don’t know what is around me. I know this town well. Morpheus, home to the Nightmare of the Righteous, or General Heller, as you probably know him. Before the rift developed, I practically lived here. Even the parts of the town I don’t know I can feel. Most people aren’t sensitive enough to feel the space around you. I am.
I know where I am. I can feel the benches on my left; the door to my back. I hear the echoes of fireworks as my distraction plays out on the other side of town. It’s day—mid-morning, I know—but the little light I see is like evening. I can feel the water in the air on my face and arms; the sulfurous smell that confirms the fog’s presence.
I suppose it’s funny that the Righteous, who pride themselves on their humanity would create such an inhumane city. I can feel its people scraping at the door like a cat. They want out, but they believe in the righteous. They’ll stick around until the going gets tough.
But back to the mission. Time is of the essence. The way to 8th street is clear. It’s only at that point that I encounter my first problem; three of the Righteous soldiers. I can hear their armor creaking as they shift uncomfortably. They’re whispering concerns to headquarters about a man with a battle vest and blindfold. They don’t know what to make of me. That’s fine, though. They won’t be wondering much longer.
In the moment it takes a man to blink, I draw my magnum and fire it into the center soldier’s head. I like to start with a bang. The others begin firing, but by then I’m already halfway to them. I’ve put away my magnum, and in one movement I summon and throw my edge blades into both soldiers. Their guns fall silent and they collapse.
The edge blades are my favorite weapon in my arsenal. They were specially designed for me; one of a kind. I summon them back into my hands and sheath them. They’ve earned the nickname of Schrödinger’s knives for a reason. They both exist and do not exist at the same time.
I can expect reinforcements soon, so I trigger my second distraction. The explosion rips through the Dreamland Bar like a bullet entering the skull. Now the town is on high-alert. Now the Nightmare is heading to the war room. Now the citizens are wide awake. Now things are interesting.
I continue on my way to the war room. The houses are lighting up, but no one comes outside when they see me, the mystery man. They have no reason to know who I am, of course. After all, I’ve never done anything quite so public before. Still, I’m not one of them, so they have a right to fear me. If I’m not Righteous, what else could I be but Sinner?
The barracks are awake, too. I know because patrols consist of three soldiers, not the dozen I now see before me. I knew they were there before I rounded the corner, of course, but my client wishes for me to make a show of it this time. General Heller must die, yes, but not before I make a laughing stock of the Righteous.
They’re firing at me, as is their job, but I’m just barely too fast for them. I can feel the wind of the bullets passing by me. My first priority is avoid the shots with my body; my arms and legs can move independently. As such, they twist around the paths of the bullets, entering into the slipstreams left behind. If they could see anything more than a blur, they would see an elaborate dance as I weaved myself to the throat of the first soldier. Then the second. The third. The fourth. Right on down the line.
To anyone wondering how I’m so good: Mother loves me.
Time for my third distraction. Remember when I was so certain World War III was right around the corner? The sound of gunfire begins its echoing journey across town. Bombers roar overhead and release their whistling bombs. My client is very particular about the placement of the bombs. Each one aims for their target. Heard of napalm? Meet its new big brother, inferno.
The Nightmare could either stay in his bunker or try to leave. Air travel would be too dangerous, but there were a few choices for getting out by road, despite the inferno. There was only one road that the Nightmare would choose, though, and that’s where I would be.
I kick open the door to a house that would get me to the opposite street. The residents had already gone running out the opposite door, which was a good choice, since an inferno bomb lands on the street I had come from as I close the door. Not to mention they would have encountered me. Never good to meet me.
I make my way to the top floor and step out a window onto the roof just in time to smell the fumes from the Nightmare’s personal vehicle and escort. The thundering of bombs and the rumbling of vehicles feel wholly different. I aim my magnum just so, and pop goes a tire.
I jump from the roof, sheath my magnum, and summon my blades in an instant. Popping the tire doesn’t actually do much more than tell them I’m here, but that’s fine. In the next instant, I attach a form of plastic explosive to the blades and throw them at either escort truck. The advantage of having Schrödinger’s knives? You can’t destroy that which does not exist.
The shockwave from the explosion does two things. First, it sends the trucks hurtling into the ground and turns the guards inside into soup, and second, it keeps me aloft long enough to resummons my blades and toss them into the Nightmare’s wheels like nails, locking him in place. Even if he had been able to drive around the trucks, inferno bombs fell, blocking either side of the street.
As I fell, I drew my magnum and shot the driver. This was between the Nightmare and me. I landed on his car and leaned back as he shot through the roof. He couldn’t hear through walls like me. I summoned one of my blades back to me and cut a hole in the roof in one quick motion. Another advantage of the blades; perfectly sharp at all times.
I wait for the Nightmare to run his clip dry and then grab him and throw him out into the road. If it was my choice I would just throw my blade into him, but that’s not what the client wants. I toss him one blade and summon the other behind my back. He catches it, but he’s confused. Skin creaks when it contorts.
I drop down and beckon him, falling into a fighting stance. Stupid, really, I don’t use fighting stances, but whatever will get him fighting. The customer’s always right and all that, right? He falls into his own fighting stance—the one I would expect from a Righteous soldier, which is rather disappointing. I would have liked something at least slightly interesting from someone called ‘the Nightmare.’
We dance. By dance I mean he tries to hit me and I dodge or parry every attack of his and occasionally make an attack that he deflects. Really quite boring stuff. After a few minutes of this dull drudge, I summon my blade out of his hand. Playtime’s over.
I swear, surprise has a sound all its own. Maybe it’s the way the skin creaks, or maybe it’s the eyelids popping open. Something about it is wholly unique. I know it well. The Nightmare isn’t feeling it.
There are few things that worry me in life. One of them is taxes, I let Mother handle that. Another is not striking fear in people’s hearts after I’ve demonstrated my power. That’s not to say that I’m scared by his lack of reaction, just concerned. What does he know that I don’t?
No need to dwell on it, however. Death comes to the terrified and tranquil alike. I stab into the Nightmare’s chest, and he collapses to the floor.
Job’s done, and now to get out. As usual, my client has that covered. A bomb falls into the road just beyond the Nightmare’s corpse, but of course, it’s not a bomb. It’s a rocket that will propel me into the air, and at the apex, one of the planes will catch me. My client and I work well together. We each work with a certain level of precision that just isn’t seen in many others.
I get in, and the rocket closes up. No rocket fires, though. Instead, a speaker in the bomb turns on, and my client explains to me that they can’t risk the ultimate mercenary existing in the war. They fear what they can’t control. My client says they will be terminating me now. The bomb is, indeed, a bomb.
But I won’t be dead long.
To anyone wondering how I’m so good: Mother will bring me back.
Mother will always have her Angel of Death.