Short Story: The Problem Solver

“No, please, don’t kill me!” the man begged as Pietro stood over him, aiming a pistol with a silencer attached at him.

Pietro only took a moment to watch the man squirm and then pulled the trigger.

Pietro took out his phone and snapped a picture of the man who now lay dead with a single bullet hole in his forehead. He would need proof to collect the second half of his payment.

Satisfied that he wasn’t seen or heard, he put away his pistol, walked to his car, avoiding any cameras that were in the area, and drove off.

His phone chimed as he sipped his tea in the café. His payment had been received.

He considered what he was going to do before he took another job. Maybe travel to Europe. Maybe binge watch some TV.

Killing took around the clock work to make sure it was done right. He found he actually had more difficulty thinking of what to do with the money he earned and the time between jobs, than he had actually doing the jobs.

‘There is no rush,’ he thought, taking another sip of his tea.
Three weeks passed before he received a notification about another job, and he was ready.

Italy was nice, but he never knew what to do with himself as he traveled. Relaxing didn’t come easy to him.

He clicked on the link that was texted to him and read the case file on his next target.

He frowned. It had been a while since he had been given a job to assassinate a woman.

It was his experience that females rarely did anything so horrible to require assassination. He never dug too deep to see why they may have been chosen, but he figured it was due to an affair gone wrong, whistleblowing, or them having dirt on a powerful politician.

He didn’t care. A job was a job.

When he read the section on how they would like her killed, he let out a light groan.

They wanted her death to look like an overdose, which wasn’t that bad, but they also wanted there to be signs that it happened after a night of drugs and orgies.

Disgusted, he almost turned the job down. The money was an outrages amount that would mean he never had to take another job if he didn’t want to, but it wasn’t the amount that made him click the ‘Accept’ button.

In his line of work, to decline offers often meant an end to future offers. There was a long line of assassins waiting to take his place and he had worked too hard to get to where he was now.

Not to mention, that often times, declining offers could often lead to a hit being put out on the hitman himself. Assassins of his caliber often knew too much to be left alive.

No longer able to enjoy his tea, he put it down along with a twenty, and walked out.

He quickly drove to the hotel he was staying at, and once in his room, he opened his laptop and followed the link to the same dossier on his new target.

It wasn’t long before a picture of a beautiful thirty-something woman showed up on his screen.

He quickly browsed through all the necessary information he needed to accomplish his job. Listed was her home address, work address, a list of known hangouts, and more. All the way down to her driver’s license number.

Considering the way he was supposed to eliminate her, he would have to follow her for a few days, to learn her patterns enough to anticipate a good place to abduct her. Once he had her, disposing of her and setting up the scene the way they wanted it would be easy.

“Shit!” he blurted out, and slammed the laptop shut.
He had now approached the closest he had ever come to turning down a job.

He brought his hand to his face and pinched the top of his nose.

‘Why did they have to put that in the comments,’ he thought.
After he had reviewed all the important information, he had made the mistake of looking at the additional comments.

This section was where they put the reason for the job. Most of the time, he gave it a passing glance and would have done the same for this one, but one word stuck out, and he was forced to read the entire entry.

“Pregnant,” he muttered.

She had gotten pregnant by the wrong person, and now it was going to cost her life.

He had never killed a pregnant woman before. There were already certain rules he had laid down when he had first begun his profession, but that was limited to not killing children. He assumed pregnancy would fall within this rule, but apparently his employer did not agree.

He considered writing his contact and explaining his reluctance, but already knew what the response would be.

‘Maybe she’s not far along,’ he thought. If she wasn’t, he hoped he would be able to justify following through.

He decided to see for himself before he put himself in a predicament where his own life would be in danger.

Sleep was restless that night, and when he woke up, he felt as if he hadn’t slept at all.

It took him a couple of days to travel back to the states and locate his new target.

To his dismay, though she wasn’t very far along, there was a small bump showing that she was indeed pregnant.

His first instinct was to make the call to refuse the job, even if it meant an end to his own life. He wasn’t a sadistic killer. He was a professional, and as such, he did have his limits.

The thought of another assassin taking the job entered his train of thought, and he now made another decision.

‘Maybe there’s a way I can save both our lives', he thought.

Once he had decided to spare the pregnant woman, his mind switched gears. He now began to formulate a plan to fake the woman's death.

He knew he wouldn’t’ be able to save her without her being onboard, but considering the alternative was death, he didn’t foresee a problem.

He started to track her, just as if he was going through with the assassination.

Unaware to him, he was also being tracked. Watching Pietro through a scope, another assassin watched him with eagle eyes.

His orders were clear. If Pietro failed to complete the assignment, he was to kill the target himself and then Pietro.

It was only a couple of days before Pietro had the women’s routines down.

After work on the third day, when she left work, Pietro followed her closely. He knew she would be coming up on an alley soon and he had decided that’s where he would take her.

As expected, she walked casually down the sidewalk towards the alley she passed almost daily.

In anticipation of taking her, he picked up his pace, closing the distance.

When they began to pass the alley, to any person that would have been there, he was merely passing her because she was walking too slow.

He took a brief moment to look around, and seeing no one, he forcefully shoved her into the alley, and injected her with his own mix of drugs, knocking her out almost instantly.

As quickly as he could, he threw her limp body over his shoulder and continued deeper into the alley where he had previously parked his car.

The trunk was already open, so he was able to drop her into it and close it within seconds.

He took one more look around to ensure no one had noticed him.

Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, he casually got into his car and drove off.

The other assassin watched through his scope as Pietro captured the lady.

‘Looks like he may actually complete the job,’ he thought, disappointed.

He put the scope in his pocket and quickly ran down the stairs to the main road. Even though he had a tracker on Pietro’s car, he wanted to make sure he didn’t somehow lose him.

Pietro checked his mirrors every few seconds, looking for anyone that may be following him. Even though he knew it was highly unlikely that someone was tailing him, it was his nature to be focused at all times.

The woman woke up sluggishly, the drugs still in her system, but dissipating.

When she was able to gather her bearings, she saw Pietro sitting in the corner of a motel room, calmly watching her.
“What? What’s going on?” she groggily asked.

Calmly, Pietro replied by saying, “I’ve been hired to kill you.”
She still felt like she was in a dream.

He could tell that she wasn’t fully grasping the situation.
Not believing what she had heard, she tried to fathom what he was saying.

“What do you mean you were hired to kill me?” she asked.
“Someone paid me to murder you,” he replied, leaning slightly forward.

The use of the word murder seemed to bring her back to reality more quickly and she tensed up, starting to feel like a trapped animal.

Not knowing what to do, she could only ask, “Why would anyone want me dead?”

As if having a casual conversation with a friend, he said, “My guess would be because of the baby you’re carrying? Does it belong to someone ‘Important’?”

Her fear briefly changed to anger, and then remembering that she was the hostage, turned back to fear.

She didn’t want to ask the question but couldn’t help herself.
“Why am I still alive then?” she asked. “I think I would have preferred to have been killed while I was unconscious instead of whatever this is supposed to be.”

Pietro smiled at her courage and honesty.

Anger was replacing fear once more.

“Is this amusing to you?” she hissed.

Not wanting to provoke her any further, he simply answered, “No.”

He could see the confusion in her eyes.

“I’m hoping I don’t have to actually murder you,” he started. “But you must understand. If I don’t kill you, they will kill you, and then me.”

Defiantly, she said, “Then get it over with.”

Pietro took in a deep breath and tried to explain the best he could.

“I don’t want to kill you,” he said. “But if I don’t kill you, someone else will.”

He let that sink in a bit and then continued. “The only way for both of us to survive, is for us to fake your death.”

She honestly had no idea what all that entailed. The thought of living sounded great, but she couldn’t understand how that was supposed to work.

“I have a body in the bathroom,” he explained. “My plan is to use her body in place of yours, burn the place down, leaving just enough clues that would lead them to believe you died.”

She heard every word, though she could only stare at the bathroom door. Knowing there was a dead body in there kept her from being able to look away.

“You’ll have to leave and start a new life very far away for this to work,” he stated. There was no easy way to say it.

She whipped her head, looking dead in his eyes.

“What? No way!” she began to yell. “You can go to hell!”

Not wanting to drag it out, he pulled out his pistol and pointed it at her.

She immediately stopped talking.

“You only have two choices. You leave and live, or you die here and now. Your choice,” he said flatly.

After a few moments of thought, she slowly nodded, conceding.

Once the decision had been made, they spent the next hour setting the room the way it was supposed to be done.

A few times, she almost threw up, but held it in.

When the time came, he pulled some wires from the electrical outlet, and sparked a fire. With no accelerant, they had time to ensure the fire spread while slowly making their way out the door.

When Pietro opened the door, only his quick reflexes saved him from being killed by the other assassin’s knife.

The two assassins fought inside the room as the fire slowly started to spread and the room began to fill with smoke.

The woman was tempted to escape, but realized that even if she ran now, the moment someone saw she was still alive, someone else would be sent to murder her. Like it or not, Pietro was her only hope.

She couldn’t run, but she also couldn’t help. She had no idea how to fight, so all she could do was watch the fight unfold and hope that Pietro survived.

By the time Pietro finally defeated the other assassin, and shoved his own knife into his chest, the room was almost fully ablaze.

Seeing the other assassin dead, Pietro wasted no time. He grabbed the woman by the arm and half dragged her out the door.

“We have to go,” he said. “The police and fire department will be here soon.”

Not resisting, she allowed herself to be pulled in any direction he needed her to go.

Sirens whizzed by as they made their escape down the city streets.

Once they were free of the city, Pietro gave her some documents he had forged, plenty of cash, and instructions how to disappear for good.

Once the smoke had cleared from the fire and the woman confirmed in the fire was the woman he was meant to kill, Pietro feigned anger as he explained how the other assassin attempted to take his kill and kill him as well.

Not wanting to anger him further, the powers that be, decided to quickly get him working again and with more profitable jobs.

As Pietro walked away with his latest dossier of his next victim, he took a moment to think about the woman and her unborn baby.

A small smile appeared as he closed his car door and drove off.

Antonio Garcia
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Published on February 05, 2020 14:18
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