Identities

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Photo by Harsh Jadav on Unsplash

I stood watching the cabin burn. I felt strangely empty. I’d been here for two months trying to figure out my next step and this morning the decision had rather been forced.

I had just arrived back from getting more supplies. The walk to the nearest town was not a short one but it was near impossible to get a car up here and that would only have attracted more attention. That was the one thing I did not want. Each time I went to town, I went to different petrol station or shop hoping I would be forgotten easily if only seen once. And yet someone had managed to track me down.

I noticed the car in the layby but it hadn’t been the first. It was a popular spot for dog walkers, but very few ever ventured far enough in to find the cabin. By the time I had walked another half an hour to get to my temporary home I had basically forgotten about it. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell you what colour it was.

Taking the things through to the kitchen, I noticed nothing. The door had been locked and nothing was out of place. I was putting things in the fridge when she had grabbed me from behind. Panic caught me off guard and for a few seconds I did nothing. Self-preservation returned and I bit into her forearm. She threw me down onto the floor. I rolled so I could see my attacker. We both paused for a second. It was like looking into a mirror. She was exactly the same build as me, hair the same, eyes the same.

She recovered first and dragged me up by the hair. I’m not a fighter and she was clearly much more practised at violence than I was. I pleaded with her to stop but she simply laughed. Again, she threw me, this time I collided with the oven. As I turned, I realised she was merely playing with me. A gun had appeared in her hand. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it. I tried to sidestep, my hands grasping at the counter behind me for support. She cocked her head and snorted, waving her gun at me to stop.

“How much is her paying you?” My voice was trembling as I tried to buy myself more time. My fingers glanced off something cold behind me.

“Enough.”

It seemed as if she would not be drawn into conversation. My fingers tugged at the object, bringing it in closer. I could see her muscles tense as she readied herself to take the shot.

I could see through to the other room, straight out of the window. The stupid crow was back. My mouth twitched as he launched at the glass as he usually did, smacking hard at it with his beak. My attacker jerked round in surprise at the noise giving me a precious second to move.

I don’t know how long I stood over her body, the knife sticking out of her torso. The crow had long since left. A faint smell of gas invaded my trance. Glancing round I saw the controls of the oven were out of place. I must have knocked them when she threw me against them. Gas was leaking into the cabin, giving me my next idea.

Once I was sure the cabin would hold no trace of my habitation, I started the long walk down to the layby. My pockets felt heavy, her car keys in one and the gun in the other. I only looked back once; rolling up through the trees was the column of twisting smoke. It wouldn’t be long before someone noticed and called the fire brigade. It stepped up my pace and reached the abandoned car.

Moving round to the boot, I checked what was lurking within. Inside was a red, leather holdall. Unzipping it, I found a pile of money inside. All in twenties and tens. I guess I knew how much I was worth now. Her phone and other personal effects were in there too. Including a set of different identity cards. She was definitely a professional. And now she was me, left to burn in the cabin. Anyone looking would think it was me lying charred in the remains of the cabin. Now it was my turn to become her.

I slid in behind the steering wheel and started up the car. It roared to life and waited for my commands. The phone bleeped on the seat beside. A text had come through. A new job, details to follow. I laid it back down on the seat and wondered; how hard would it be to be an assassin?

This was written in response to a Creative Writing Ink Prompt 22nd Nov 2018

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