Nicolas crouched low in the corner of the roof. The sun was setting, the skies blushing reds and oranges. His sniper riffle was in his hands, hugged to his body, as he had his target in the cirlce of his scoop. He waited, around him an air of a hunter’s patience.
This career was not of his choosing. He grew up knowing only one thing; training to be what he was now. Then after being looked down at by his the superiors and decided that he was indeed ready, all should weight to nothing. He had skills to do almost anything he wanted, but the thing was that there was really no way off this route of career. It would always haunt. And there were times when doing what he did was a great comfort. Sometimes the soft hiss of the of the bullet as it burst through the barrel was the only sound he could define. Sometimes the weight of the gun in his hand, his finger positioned to pull the trigger was the one thing that made sense. And sometimes to spot, take out his targets was the only thing he knew how to do.
But that was not always the case. Even with numbed conscience, and hands that squeezed triggers without second thoughts, there was a small part of him that beat a different pulse. And in some nights, as his weary bones chased after an elusive sleep, his curious mind sent out questions to the void. What was it like to be someone else? what would it feel like to break the leash of this fear of being someone different?
Try as he might to give full concentration to the task at hand and push these silly wondering aside, he kept hearing an echo of them in his mind. Even in this beautiful sunset, now the heat of the sun was sharper on his face. The seasons were running their circle, emerging into summer and a single bead of sweat trickled down his temple. Frustrated, he exhaled sharply, taking his eyes for just a moment off of his target. He wiped off the sweat and fitted the scope close to his eye again. If the man would just quit being a total pain in the ass, and just settle in one place for so much as a split second… no of course, he had seen such a thing coming. For the week he had kept him under his surviellence the man was a restless bundle of nerves to say the least. But to act like a drunk bee, and keep going back and forth, back and forth in front of the window tauntingly before him with that damn phone pressed to his ear for an hour and a half was seriously wearing Nicolas’ patience thin. All he needed to do now was to turn around, face Nicolas and stick his tongue out.
Nicolas’ jaw moved, his teeth paying for the relief of agitation. Finally, when the man put down the phone and braced his hands against the window sill, Nicolas was so happy it almost felt like a high. Something in him told him that he was not being himself this time, but he hardly acknowledged it. He didn’t waste a moment. The bullet was drilled into the man’s skull just as he was letting out an exhale. Head snapping back forcefully, the man fell limb to the floor, blood rushing out to pool around his head.
Job well done, it was time to go. It was when he was reaching for the spyglass to put it back into his black bag along with the dismantled “tools” he heard a sound; the unmistakable sound of glass shattering.
He didn’t know why he did it, maybe it was on impulse, maybe it was his body acting on its own accord but the next thing he knew was him turning swiftly around on the balls of his feet, still in a crouch, and putting the spyglass to his eyes. Again, there was a part of asking why he cared if a glass shattered somewhere, but Nicolas was already searching. Just to make sure, he thought.
What he saw puzzled him. There was the upper body of a young woman bent over her window sill. almost all the way out in the appartment complex that was separated by a narrow alley from the one in which his late target lived. Down on the paviment he saw the shard of the shattered glass, some sharp edges absorbing the fire of sun set. A man, in his late twenties perhaps, was looking down at the broken mess and appeared to be laughing. Weird, he thought with a shrug, then he made to leave, but he caught the sight of her hair again, golden brown thick waves, different lengths framing the fringes. It undulated in the breeze, each move revealing bits and pieces of her profile, enough to hold him still. This time he himself wondered what was so special about that hair, as long and pretty as it was, it was just hair. He saw hair every where all the time. Yet for some reason he found himself incapable of looking away.
Did she drop the glass on purpose? was it an accident? who was that man and what was she saying to him? It was something that had never happened to him before. Ever since that day he walked out of the Organization to pave the road of a professional assassin, there had been little that caught his attention. The past seven years his life was about taking care of targets and getting paid handsomely for it, and between stalking these targets and setting the perfect crime scene there was little time to waste admiring… hair.
He felt ridiculous then. What the hell was he, a professional killing machine, doing there watching a woman’s hair from a roof top?
Still, the curiosity to see her face was almost too much.
“Just a glimpse, come on” he whispered. The young woman nodded and moved to get her hanging body inside, he followed her with his eyes, noting an unfamiliar hurrying irregularity in his heart. Her face came into view, the hair that attracted him so curved over one eye, but the other he could see. Wide and hazel, framed with lashes as thick as the hair only a shade darker. She lifted a slender hand and swept it out of her eye.
It was only when her face was clear in sight did he notice the broad wicked smile across her face. She had dropped it on purpose after all. Nicolas was amazed. Why would she a nice looking young woman do such a thing? Then she lefted both arms up to lower the window shut.
She stopped suddenly, frozen, her head turned in his direction. While watching her, he didn’t see the sun pouncing off the metal rim of the spyglass. The glare caught her eyes and, throwing the window back open, she was now looking right back at Nicolas, already leaning out of the window again and squinting those eyes as if to get a closer look at that strange reflective object. He knew she could not possibly see him. He was on top of 25-floor building, concealed in the corner, after all. But he ducked low all the same, getting himself and the cursed spyglass completely out of the sight of suspicion.
In less than a minute, Nicolas was hoisting his bag over his shoulder and striding toward the exit. After all, if she could throw a glass out a window, likely aiming for the head of a friend, who knew what she could do now? If he delayed another two minutes he might turn around to find her in his face.
Strangely, as he walked on the pavement across from her building, he looked up at where he knew her window was, a lurch in his heart wishing to catch a brief glimpse of her one more time before never seeing her again. He was a nomad who moved from one place to the other according to locations that changed every time. He could not settle in one place, there were even times when he visited a district only once, thus he never allowed himself to get attracted, interested… attached.
It was the first time he wished that had not been the way things were. For one foolish unguarded moment he wished he would see her again.