He sighted the podium for the umpteenth time with the starlight scope attached to his rifle. He had been waiting for hours, doing the same thing, sighting: As the decorators completed their work. In an hour, his target would walk onto that platform and he would dispatch his gift.
Ade calmed his already frayed nerves as he raised his head away from the rifle: done right, this job would earn his freedom from the mob. He had worked as a hitman for more than a decade, rising through the ranks until he became the assassin that didn’t miss. At first it was an honour, now, he wanted to be rid of the demons that followed him everywhere.
He took a long swig from his canteen and wiped his lips with the back of his hand. This job, this job, done right would send ripples that would resonate for weeks, maybe months. He paced the floor of the room to clear his head of the encroaching demons, today is the day he thought. It all ends today.
He checked his wristwatch and smiled. Twenty more minutes, he had been pacing the room and doing drills to kill time. He dusted himself and stretched, his joints cackled, muscles became taut, he walked to the rifle and laid down beside it; he was ready.
The event started and people gathered. Soon, the target would arrive and make his way. A sweat broke down his face, he wiped it off immediately. He couldn’t afford any mistakes or distractions. He started hyperventilating as his eyes narrowed into deadly slits.
He watched as the target climbed the podium smiling and waving his hands at the crowd. Ade followed every movement with his rifle letting off imaginary shots ‘pow, pow, pow’ he followed the man until the man stopped at the centre of the podium and appealed for some quiet.
Ade’s movement were automatic, he calibrated the scope and locked in on his target. He became one with his rifle as he studied the man’s every move, nuance and gesture through his magnified scope. Soon, he could anticipate every gesture, determine every move.
His heartbeat was resonating with that of the man, and everything had become a sea of waves, and he had locked on to the man’s wavelength. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes for a fraction of a second and pulled the trigger.
Like in movies, everything froze for a split second, nothing moved. Then slowly, the flash from the gun’s nozzle suppressed by the powerful suppressor attached jerked everything back into order.
Ade counted to three as he watched through his scope the delivery of his gift to the man. It would be the final one the man ever received.
He watched as the man’s head erupted into a sea of red and his body jerked, falling backwards lifeless. The man’s body did not twitch as it hit the floor. A pool of red spreading from his head onto the thickly carpeted podium.
The crowd scattered as security personnel brandished their guns, ready to shoot at any strange sight. They were like sheep without a shepherd. Clueless.
Ade satisfied, scanned the entire area before dismantling his gear. He had packed his gun into his bag and was about moving out of the room when he had a nagging feeling tugging at him. He removed his scope from the bag and scanned the area one last time. He had wasted enough time already he thought.
He was about walking away when he noticed a disturbing sight. He held up the scope again and focused on a soldier who stood guarding four kids, he froze. Slowly, he scanned the children’s faces, the last one on his knees was his son.