Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z is for... Zero



Blogging From A to Z is a blog challenge where participants post a new item every day (except Sundays), where every item relates to the appropriate letter of the alphabet.  You can find out more over at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com



Story: Ground Zero
Rating: PG
Word Count: 737

His enhanced reflexes let him dodge the first flurry of fists. Shame it didn’t work on the second. Zero grunted and staggered back, instinctively wiping at his nose with the back of his hand. Blood. Of course. Considering what a pain it’d been just to find this one, it hardly came as a surprise.





  His enhanced reflexes let him dodge the first flurry of fists. Shame it didn’t work on the second. Zero grunted and staggered back, instinctively wiping at his nose with the back of his hand. Blood. Of course. Considering what a pain it’d been just to find this one, it hardly came as a surprise.

‘This one’ in question seemed just as staggered his blow landed as Zero had when it connected. He stared, clutching a hand that now sported scuffed, bleeding knuckles and clearly found himself wondering if this had been a monumentally bad idea.

It wasn’t, at least as far as his demise would go. Zero had already worked that out, and he couldn’t help respecting the ones who went down fighting. It beat the surrender he usually got. He could respect rebellion, the desperate, clawing urge not to die.

He’d be a hypocrite otherwise.

“Is—is there no kind of deal we could make?” The man tried to back away but only found a wall behind him. Points off for lack of spacial awareness. “I’m well off—“

“I know,” Zero said, flashing his best kind of smile, the one that usually turned people pale. “And so are your enemies.”

To be fair, he was never entirely sure if it was the smile that paled them, or the knowledge someone had more power than they did—and that it wasn’t the big redhead in front of them who held it, but someone far removed who they’d not only never meet, but never even find out the identity of. Whichever it was, it had the desired effect on his target: his face turned ashen, his shoulders slumped. “Who—I mean—“

“Come on, Mr. Frost,” Zero said, deliberately flexing his hands. “You know I can’t disclose that kind of confidential information.”

“I’ll give you anything, I swear!” He was grasping at straws now, his eyes darting across Zero’s body like he could find a weak spot. “If you work for me, you tell me who paid you, I’ll pay you double! Triple!”

“That’s very tempting, Mr. Frost.” Any second now. “But I’m really not interested in working for the likes of you.”

Frost’s eyes narrowed; there was the mean, ferrety expression so prevalent in his intel images. “You’re making a grave mistake.”

“The only grave, Mr. Frost,” Zero said cheerily, leaning back against one of the hall’s pillars with his arms folded across his broad chest, “is the one you’re heading for. I’m not sure being hired by you would have any long-term career prospects.”

The man stiffened. “What’re you talking about? You’re not even armed—“

There it was. Took longer than Zero’d have liked too. Frost swayed for a moment, then his eyes crossed and he was down, sprawling with a thump across the tiled floor.

“And anyway,” Zero muttered, the fake smile sliding from his face, “why would I want to be hired by someone who uses child labour to build spaceships?” The idiot. Did he really think that wouldn’t catch up with him eventually?

Evidently not, or his home security would have been significantly better. Pathetic digital locks; he could have made an effort, given Zero something to really try his skills. Still, easy ones were better than living on rice and whatever he could scrounge from his friend’s market stall.

Being a hitman might pay well, but only when there was work. And yet it still managed to be a more palatable occupation than Frost’s had been.

Zero knew all about child labour.

Sliding his hands into his pockets, he nonchalantly made his way through the building. None of the security cameras would record him; none of the locks would register his passing. Frost died from a nasty case of food poisoning that would be corroborated by toxicology reports, and no one would mourn his passing.

Particularly not the workers in the three huge factories whose production was ceasing even as Zero left the mansion. They’d start up again in two weeks, under new management and with better rates of employment and pay, taken over by the consortium who’d hired him. A consortium who knew better than to renege on part of their terms.

After all, he knew all about their operations too, and he could easily extract revenge if his terms were broken, all without reprisal.


The cameras might not see Zero, but his victims definitely did.

1 comment:

  1. A truly cool post and a way cool hero in Zero! He might be a man for hire, but he's a man for hire with a purpose.
    ~ We made it!!! ~
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

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