Man-Made

Prompt: “Don’t you know who I am?” “Yup. I just don’t care.”


The window explodes. Glass flies everywhere, and a moment later, a woman in a sleek uniform rolls dives through, and in a moment, she’s on her feet, a gun in each hand, both pointed directly at me. 

I look up from the TV, look her up and down, then turn my gaze back to the screen. 

“I just had my windows redone,” I say. 

“…. Don’t you know who I am?”

“Yup.” I glance back at her. “I just don’t care.”

She doesn’t respond right away. I’m sure she’s used to a struggle. Screaming, kicking, pleading, bribing, you name it. I know exactly who she is, of course. This isn’t the first assassin my ex-employer has sent. 

So, naturally, she must be wondering why no one else succeeded. 

I gesture vaguely at the TV. “Jeopardy’s on,” I comment. 

She points one pistol at the TV and fires three times. Bang, bang, bang. The screen splutters to a halt and more glass scatters across the hardwood floors. Ooh, she’s impulsive. I love the impulsive ones. 

I raise an eyebrow, then offer her a smile. “Can I get you anything to drink?”

Her eyes narrow. “Don’t try to distract me. I’m the most skilled assassin in my-”

I wave my hand impatiently. “Yes, yes, ‘most skilled assassin’, I know, I’ve heard it before.” I get to my feet and she stiffens, tightening her grip and reaiming. I gesture for her to follow me into the kitchen, and I swear, I’ve never seen a professional assassin contort her face so much. She must be terrible at poker. After a brief pause, she drifts through the kitchen’s other entrance, keeping her aim focused on me. 

I pull two glasses from the cupboard, and a nice vintage whiskey from the liquor cabinet. “You know, I’ve always admired the people they send after me,” I say lightly, pouring the two glasses. “An executioner is a career path that is uncommon for good reason.”

I slide the glass across the counter, where it comes to rest right at the edge, just within the woman’s reach. 

“It’s physically straining, emotionally straining, mentally straining… it puts pressure on every part of who you are.” I raise my own glass to my lips. “Wouldn’t you agree?”

No response. I take a sip. 

“And yet here you are. You take contract after contract, kill after kill, and according to you, you’re the most skilled assassin your company has to offer, which I’m sure is a title that is not won easily…”

I set the glass down, and fix her with a withering stare. 

“So why haven’t you taken the shot?”

She freezes, as if she’s just remembered why she’s here.

“Go on.” I gesture at my chest. “Or perhaps a headshot? Bullet between the eyes?” I flourish my hands around the sides of my face. “Take the shot.”

She doesn’t move. I let my face fall into a scowl, but internally, I’m delighted. I’m having fun with this one. I thought she was impulsive, but maybe she’s just inexperienced. 

“Do you want to know why every other hitman has failed? Why every merc they’ve sent after me has walked away unsuccessful?” I cross the kitchen, walking straight up to her until the barrel of her gun is pressed right up against my chest. 

“They let me talk too much,” I whisper. 

Her eyes are wide, staring into my face like every word I speak is gospel. 

“Take. The shot,” I breathe.

Bang.

A brief pain passes through my body, and blood trickles down my front. But just as quickly as it began the pain is replaced by a familiar chill as my body knits itself back together, and the unpleasant burn of lost blood replacing itself instantly.

The assassin takes a few steps back, expecting me to fall, and looks shaken when I don’t. This time, my smile is sad, but genuine. 

Bang. Bang. Bang. 

One hits me in the gut, the other just below my heart, and one hits right beside my eyes, temporary blinding me as the left side of my face explodes. The pain, at this point, after so long, is no more than a temporary itch, a distant soreness. The bones heal first, then the tissue and organs, and finally the skin, always smoother than before. Then the blood fills my veins and arteries. My vision clears slowly and I blink a few times to readjust to the light. 

“I’m sorry,” I say. “That was mean. But you have to understand, I like to check. Give you kids a chance. You won’t get your paycheck this time, will you?”

I walk back over to the kitchen counter and finish the rest of my drink in one swallow. I glance over my shoulder. She looks afraid. They don’t always this afraid. 

“When you go back, you can tell the other assassins that the rumours are true. They’ve been true all along.” 

I walk back into the living room, and sit down on the couch, leaning my head against the cushion. The woman’s gaze follows me and I give her with a final, heavy look. 

“And you can tell your employers,” I say slowly. “That if they wanted to be able to kill me, they shouldn’t have made me a monster.”

The woman leaves through the front door. What she’ll do next, I don’t know. 

But they’ll send someone else. They always send someone else. 

And they will fail. They… they always fail.

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