The Literary Assassin

Fiction, fashion, and hand-to-hand combat by Holly Messinger


by Holly Messinger

©December, 2013.

Her face caught his eye, pale ivory against the black December night, a still visage amidst the eddies of humanity that laughed and sang and fought and fornicated in the shadows around the Ten Bells public house. She had paused to lean against the lamp-post, eyes closed, face slack with drink and fatigue—a moment of repose that was unlikely to last long, since the patrolman would circle around in another four minutes and tell her to move along.

It was a younger face than Jack Nemo normally liked, but two things caught his attention: the stupid, intoxicated quality of her expression, and the exotic slant of her bone structure, especially around the eyes. It reminded him of early days when he had been a half-formed creature, surrounded by half-formed creatures, struggling through metamorphosis....

The predator in him was familiar with risk, and with opportunity. He left the shadows, leisurely, swinging his cane like the gentleman he affected to be, strolled across the street, and took the girl by the arm, shaking her gently alert.

She opened her eyes—less Oriental than he had supposed from the distance, but no matter—and smiled a drunken, welcoming smile. “Hallo chéri,” she said, in slurred Parisian gutter French. “’Oould you want to come ‘ome wit’ me, then?”

(Complete story now available at Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #135.)

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