Prompt Short Story: Touched – Cold

The assassin hooked their fingers around the windowsill, testing the strength of the treated synwood, their other fingers and bare toes pressed firmly into the smooth wall, attached by no more than a thin instaweld mesh.

Carefully they moved their weight up, calculations flying at light-speed through the tech in their head, transferring to their limbs faster than the speed of thought, as the second hand joined the first and shifted their body to the left of the window, balancing as they removed a toolkit from their belt.

They opened the kit with a quick tug of their teeth, letting it dangle from their mouth as their right hand reached in and removed a small, thin stick, topped by a chip barely visible to the naked eye.

The assassin pressed this against the window, on the exact spot where the magitech lock held the window closed on the inside.

Their visor began to flash code, their eyes moving in a blur as they took it in. Once the code stopped, a blank box popped up and began to populate with a similar, but crucially different code.

After a few minutes, the non-synthetic parts of their body beginning to tire, the assassin flicked the code across to the chipped stick, applied it back to the window, and forced the new code into the lock.

That done, a second tool, this a small disc with faint runes, was pressed against the same spot. With a small blue glow, the lock was released and the assassin bagged the tools, carefully returning the kit to their hip.

Next, they chose and removed a thin knife from a selection of them on a band around their wrist. Muttering a few command words, a line of silver fire streamed from their mouth to cling to the knife, giving it a faint silhouette in the darkness.

Easing the window open, the assassin dropped in a small sachet and muttered a short sentence. The bag opened and darkness began to spill out, creeping across the floor and rising to fill the room.

Once the darkness covered the space between the window and the bed, the assassin lowered themselves silently inside. In their visor’s HUD a sonic scan of the room appeared wherever they looked: a cabinet, a desk, a bed, smaller objects like the bin and the perch where their mark’s pet usually sat during the day (but never at night, when it preferred to roam the city).

Knowing their sonic system was checking a thousand times a second for any changes, they moved silently forwards, seeking the bed where the figure lay still, curled on its side, picked out in silver lines that moved gently with its breathing.

Reaching the bed, the assassin crouched, breathed deeply, and slid their knife into the heart of their mark.

Or…where the heart should have been.

The sonically picked out figure collapsed and vanished as the knife touched the space where it should have been, and the assassin whirled at the sound of a voice issuing from the corner behind them.

Before they could react, a stream of red, striped with ugly purple-black swirls, hit them in the chest and face. They spluttered as their sinuses swelled, their throat itched and tightened, and their entire body began to ache.

“What-?” they forced out through the soreness in their throat, their knees giving way as they fell to the floor.

The mark uttered another spell, clearing the darkness so they could both see. Fully dressed, fair hair pulled back from a dark face made darker by shadows, green eyes glinting in amusement, she smiled at them and lifted them up, easily pulling them onto the bed where they could lie across her knee.

She spoke a word and a guard opened the bedroom door, eyes widening at the sight.

“Ah, Alyssa, please call the police to take this gentleperson in – assassination attempt.”

Alyssa nodded, “Right away ma’am!”

“So. My name is Saliha. Do you have a name?”

“Killing me…” the assassin croaked, their hood falling back to reveal a bald head and a face of sharp lines, turned slightly green with nausea. Strong hands grabbed hold of her arms and held them tightly.

“Oh don’t be silly I wouldn’t do that, this is j-“

Saliha was interrupted by the chirp of an incoming call  and the assassin glared up at her through dark, hooded eyes as she spoke.

“Hello dear, yes, the information was correct, thank you so much. All is well. Yes I’m fine. Yes I’m sure,” Saliha rolled her eyes, “Sorry, my dear, but I have a clingy and feverish assassin on my lap. I’ll call you back when I’ve convinced them that a cold doesn’t mean they’re dying – and after the police have been. Oh don’t fuss so, you know very well I can take care of myself. Goodbye, my dear.”

She smiled at the assassin, “My apologies. I was just explaining to you that this is merely what used to be called ‘a cold’. Now, it has been some time since we eradicated the common cold – along with most other illnesses – but it’s not deadly to a young, healthy person like yourself. It is, however, quite unpleasant, and seeing as you’re unused to sickness, more than enough to render you unable to hurt me while we await the police.”

The assassin coughed pathetically, “Knew I shouldn’t have taken this job…”

“Oh I expect the price was far more than any reasonable assassin could possibly refuse – enough to retire in luxury, most likely. But don’t worry, there’ll be no luxury where you’re going.” Saliha’s smile was as sharp as her voice was soft.

The assassin let their head fall back as the police knocked at the door and entered.

Sahila smiled much more warmly at the officers, with their magitech uniforms, weapons and K9 units, all crowding into her bedroom, “Please let me know once the gentleperson is safely ensconced and all of their tech and magic removed or disabled, and I’ll remove the sickness immediately. I’m sure you’ll forgive me for wishing to ensure their inability to hurt anyone before doing so.”

The police officers nodded – from one of the spouses of Chief Officer Roomle, the polite request was as good as an order – and levitated the assassin, wrapping them in a magical stasis bubble and towing them along behind them as they left.

I hope you enjoyed the story! If you can share the link, I’d appreciate it. You can also leave a comment or drop me a message, I’d love to hear from you. And if you can, a donation via Paypal or a sub via Patreon would be a great help towards future, and better, endeavours!

Writing prompt used:

The Fake Redhead’s Writing Prompts. Number 441. “Sorry, I have a clingy and feverish assassin on my lap. I’ll call you back when I’ve convinced him that a cold doesn’t mean he’s dying.”


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