The cool breeze played with my loose curls, causing them to tickle my face and neck. Soft notes from a guitar carried faintly to me. I smiled and closed my eyes while lifting my face to the warmth of the sun. Only a few whispy clouds were left in the sky. I found myself a quiet bench, rusted and deteriorated with age, but sturdy nonetheless. The garden spread itself before me, showing its delicate flowers that wafted their sweet scent to me while the leaves waved in the wind. I took in a deep breath, filling my lungs entirely. The air felt lighter here; in the city the pollution sat in my lungs like heavy syrup. While I exhaled I concentrated on feeling all the cells in my body, wiggling my toes within my dirtied shoes all the way up to the warmth of my scalp. My concentration broke when I swiped at my nose which was red with the cold. I heard the crunch of leaves behind me and tensed, though I didn’t turn around.
“You could run you know, I could just tell them I couldn’t catch you. You don’t have to do this,” she pleaded gently to me.
I sighed. “It will be okay, Melanie. I don’t love you any less for this, you’re just following orders.”
I listened to her suck in a ragged breath. “What if we run away together? Just the two of us, Grace. No one would have to know.”
I stood up quickly as anger and frustration flared up on my face. As I faced I grabbed her hand that weakly grasped a knife. “Don’t you think I’ve already thought of that? Of everything? There’s no way out. So just kill me,” I moved the blade up to a place between my ribs that would get the job done the fastest.
She swallowed hard and tried to look away, “I can’t look at you while doing this.” I grabbed her chin softly and turned her face to where my eyes looked deep into hers.
“I love you, Melanie.” And with that, the blade entered my ribcage swiftly. My legs crumpled beneath me as her arms caught me and she knelt with me in her arms. Her tears ran down her cheeks and dropped onto mine. My blood seeped into her clothes and stained her skin. She removed the knife and brushed a curl from my face, leaving a bloody smear.
“I love you, Grace.” She wiped her knife on the grass and sheathed it. She removed her jacket and shirt before washing her skin in the nearby stream. She pulled a separate bag from the bushes and put on fresh clothes. Her face was blank as she reached the gardenia bushes and stopped to look at them, reaching out casually to brush the soft white petals. She plucked it delicately and placed it on my wound before disappearing into the forest as an amber rain of leaves was shaken from the trees.
Your Sweet Assassin