Ubertines 07 -- Lucky ValentineSubmitted by Unabonger at 2007-01-26 22:41:32 EST
Rating: 1.91 on 12 ratings (12 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
The scope snapped into place on the high-powered weapon with a ‘click’ that resonated in the empty hotel room. The muffled dialog of a late-night television program from another room was the only other sound. David methodically assembled his rifle with the habitual ease an experienced painter uses when mixing colors. He did it without thinking, his hands steadily grabbing the right pieces of equipment and locking them into place to create the deadly tool.
David had been in this business for twenty years. Now nearing fifty, he was as deadly as any newcomer to the industry. He eyed the sights and set the range. He was nearly ready. He set the rifle down, picking up the binoculars that lay on the table next to him. For the hundredth time, he peered through them towards the building two blocks away. He found the right window, seeing his prey pacing steadily from one end of the large condo to the other, occasionally checking his watch. The target seemed unusually flustered and anxious but David paid it no mind. He reached down at his side and absently felt the tips of the .408 CheyTac cartridges pointing out from their box, unused. They patiently waited. Setting the binoculars down, he reached across the table and retrieved his cigarette from the ashtray. As his fingers gripped the Camel, his other hand found the lamp chord and yanked it, shrouding the room in darkness. As his eyes grew accustomed, he realized how bright Las Vegas was. The city shone with electricity below him, almost alive with excitement. He took a long draw on the cigarette and exhaled slowly, the smoke bouncing off of the glass in front of him. He snuffed it out in the ashtray then reached for the handle on the sliding door.
Suddenly a commotion from the hall jolted him. His hand went instinctively to the silenced pistol that lay on the table but then relaxed. It was another man and woman, laughing their way to their room, clearly drunk. It was late on Valentine’s Day but in Vegas, time means nothing, particularly over the holidays. Valentine’s was no exception. This couple was probably on vacation. He heard them close their hotel door and listened to their flirtations fade away.
He reached back over and opened the sliding glass door. The sounds from the city below complimented the bright lights. The honking and shouting below him sounded so distant. He fell back into his trance, looking through the binoculars one last time. Pacing…still. The entire side of the condo was glass, making any object in there an easy mark. David hoisted the sniping rifle up to his waist and grabbed a bullet. He opened the chamber of the weapon and slid the bullet in then slid the mechanism forward. It’s subservient ‘POP, click’ informed David that the bullet had found it’s way into the chamber and was ready to end a life. He checked the wind, holding his bare palm out over the balcony. Looking back at the inside of his room, he checked the bolt lock on the door to affirm it was engaged. He stepped out into the cool desert air and placed the tripod of the weapon upon the brick of the balcony ledge. He gazed though the scope, his target still pacing.
Will was a tall man, well built, who held himself with an air of confidence. He appeared to be in his late thirties and, by all means, attractive. There was a rugged look about him, contrasting with the expensive black slacks and button-up shirt he wore. Judging by the condo, this man was wealthy. That or he had spent money he shouldn’t have on such a luxurious room. As he paced, a slight flash of reflection came from his left hand. The small diamonds in his wedding band twinkled through the lens of the scope. His head snapped up and looked towards the door. He smiled widely and began towards it. He stood still for just a moment and David wrapped his right hand higher on the stock and clicked the safety off.
A beautiful woman, slightly shorter than the target, walked in smiling. The huge curls in her shining red hair fell to her mid-back and her face was dotted inch over inch with freckles. The freckles continued, cleverly placed on her shoulders and chest and disappeared beneath a sequin-encrusted evening gown. Her body was a river of curves that stole even David’s breath. Her thin arms wrapped around Will’s neck and they kissed deeply. He saw the same shimmer of light flash from her finger and, from the way they held each other in such a comfortable embrace, it was clearly obvious they were married and had been for quite some time. They kissed once again and he whispered something in her ear. She erupted in laughter, then cocked her head and gave him a sidelong stare. She handed him something quickly and then smiled, walking towards the other side of the room. He held the object, difficult for David to see, at his waist, staring at it for a moment. He then slipped it into his pocket. Will strode over to the wet bar as his wife made her way to the restroom in the far side of the condo. Now was the time.
David matched the crosshairs in the scope over the target’s head, following even the slightest move. His fingertip felt the ridged trigger of the weapon. He waiting for a second, listening to the city below. Time stood still, as it always did at this part of the kill. He pulled the primary trigger back and it snapped into place, pulling a hair trigger into its place. His finger wrapped around it.
Will looked towards the bathroom door as he brought the crystal tumblers onto the counter. His hand reached over for the ice that was half melted in the stainless steel bucket beside the glasses. He filled each glass to the rim with cubes. A small touch of bourbon splashed into the first glass and he brought it to his lips, drinking the whole of it in one swallow. He poured more of the expensive bourbon over the ice. Twisting a lime into the other tumbler, his hand went instinctively for the bottle of gin on the counter. He stopped himself. Will sighed heavily, looking at the gin, shook his head and smiled inwardly. He reached past the gin and drew a small bottle of tonic from the cupboard, then filled her glass to the top. He sighed once again and reached into his pocket, pulling out the object. His eyes told of fear and excitement but also great hints of joy as he brought the cigar up in front of him. It was a cheap thing, pre-cut with a small, baby blue band around one end.
Something happened to David that had never happened before. He thought about his target. The scene before him clearly pointed to one conclusion. His finger slipped off the trigger. He brought his own left hand up before his eyes and slowly spun the black obsidian ring he wore on his third finger with his thumb. A whirlwind of emotions taunted his thoughts. He shook his head, trying to clear the onslaught that rattled his conscience but it did little. He brought his eye back to the scope, taking aim again. Through the flood of emotions rushing his senses, he found he couldn’t keep his hand steady. He blinked several times and shook his hands. It didn’t help.
His finger went back to the trigger but, instead of making the final shot, his thumb reached up and pressed the safety into a locked position. He looked, once more, through the scope. Will was no longer at the bar but the sights didn’t scan the condo, searching for a victim. Instead, David stared at the untouched bottle of gin on the counter. He sat there, unmoving for what could have been an hour. Time didn’t matter in Vegas anyway.
He stood up, bringing the rifle with him, and walked back into his room. He asked himself an infinite number of questions, but his conscience had no answers for him. A swelling pain burned in his stomach as he disassembled his rifle. It was the best pain he had felt in years. A cleansing pain, washing the blood from his hands that had stained them for twenty years. It was time to retire.