PRINCELESS by Cam Jace Storykiller
Copyright©by Cameron Jace
January 15 2019
Marseille, France, 2019
Venus lay on her stomach with one eye shut, the other squinting through the gun’s digital lens.
She wore a black leather jacket, pants, and gloves. Cold slapped at her face and shook the electrical poles on the roof of the building.
People lived here. Normal people.
It was Sunday. Most had just returned from church. Supper was on the table. Family talk. Domestic happiness. An American dream in France.
But not in the building afront.
Unlike the four-story, piece-of-art of a building she lay atop, the one on the opposite side was a towering steel-and-glass modern-day fortress. Business at large. Heaps of money. Movie business. She aimed at a window and she could see caliber celebrities and politicians inside.
A party. Clinking glasses. Champagne. Expensive dresses. Tuxedos and caviar. No camps. No lonely lives without mothers or fathers. They were mostly men with expensive cars parked down in the underground garage. Fat bank accounts. The few beautiful women around them were souvenirs. Add-ons to their egos. Dessert and bon appetit for them, The Colonnade.
The Organization hadn't told her much about the Colonnade. They said it was too soon for her to know. Assassins who learned about the Colonnade were subject to termination by the Princeless, if they leak information, fail at their assignments, or oppose their methods.
Venus had accepted The Princeless cruelty. They were the good guys, but they colder at hear than the bad ones. The Colonnade was the enemy, and if Venus wasn't mistaken, the List was always Colonnade members.
Venus squinted. Her target moved. A man with a glass of red wine in his hands. Salt and pepper hair. Rolex. A diamond ring–they called it Ice, over-expensive jewelry. A ring from Cartier the price of what someone in another part of the world would spend for the run of their miserable lives.
Venus focused. The man owned a crooked nose and slitting eyes. Famous. A movie director by the name of Etienne Bissot.
He looked cool. Nice. Inviting. A husband. Father of two. He paid taxes and helped charity. Steal people's money and offer them charity back. Cool plan. The Organization's words.
“Target in sight,” Venus spoke in her earpiece.
“A prince charming, isn’t he?” Sailor burped, probably drinking Gaseosas la Cigarra, a French soda he had admired earlier.
“Are you sure this is the man I’m executing?” Venus said.
“Looks are an exterior, Venus. They don’t show who you really are.”
She hated that he read her mind. “Affirmative,” she said, her forefinger nervously tapping the trigger.
“It’s not who you kill. It’s who you save.” Sailor added his philosophical touch as always.
“Who am I saving?”
“Etienne hurts children?”
“He doesn't call it that though.’”
“What does he do?”
“Once an unknown director. A camera. Adopted children from African and Asian countries.”
“Is this a puzzle?”
“Look at the fat politician talking to Etienne.”
“I don’t like him.”
“No one does. Surprise, surprise he’s been elected.”
“What does he have to do with what Etienne does?”
“He finances Etienne’s work.”
“And he watches.”
Venus swallowed hard. Sailor needn’t say more.
“Shocked?” Sailor said.
“I can understand men killing one another, but I don’t understand this.”
“To Etienne, it’s art.”
“To the politician it’s business—and pleasure.”
“No trial? The police must know something.” she felt like they could have had this conversation earlier, but she was too scared asking about too much details in her first mission.
“When politicians control the paycheck, eyes turn blind, ears are deaf, and the heart is only a clockwork.”
“I’m ready to shoot.”
“Are you ready for what happens after the shot?”
“We talked this over,” she said.
“I pack my stuff and escape, jumping roofs until La Canebiere Street where I take the fire stairs down to room 501. I have the keys but enter through the window. The window will not be open. I will have to open it with my small device. Inside, I change clothes. Dismantle the rifle and pack it into the bottom of my hard case. Dress casually. Slug down whiskey to calm down. Go out. Take elevator. An Uber to my actual hotel where I'm booked under Valarie White. Report my first official mission and have fun in the bar.”
The Pillar took his time to listen. He stopped burping, “I meant mentally and emotionally?”
“I’m trained to do this.”
“Training is a cooking class. Assassination is the slaughterhouse.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“Remember the day you saved my life?”
“I’m not going to miss my first shot, Pillar. Etienne goes down with one shot.”
“I mean the shock on your face after you killed a man.”
“Etienne is evil. I'm mature now.”
“Killing is junk food. Tastes good. Leaves you bloated later.”
She tensed. “Why would I regret killing such a man?”
“Because killing makes no sense. It doesn’t really solve the problem. The children won't get better when you kill your target. Their ptsd and past will live with them.”
“Then why do we do it?”
“A dirty job and someone has to do it. Call it punishment. Revenge. Flawed human logic to make sense of flawed human behavior. A weak endeavor, trying to make sense of the world, instead of doing nothing.”
“Why are you telling me this now?” Venus fidgeted.
“Why am I telling you this now, Venus?”
Venus didn’t quite understand him answering a question with the same question. Etienne was still in her shot. She could take him down right now. She realized what Sailor was doing.
He was testing her. Fucking with her mind. Seeing if she hesitated.
“I know what you’re doing,” she said. “I’m taking the shot.”
But Sailor was gone already. His goodbye was one last burp. No reply came from the other side. She couldn’t hear him breathe. There was a deafening silence in her earpiece. A terrible loneliness she wasn't used to. Her only friend was a bullet and was about to let it go.
“Etienne Bissot,” she whispered, finger on the trigger. “See you in hell.”
A few blocks away, Sailor sat smoking his hookah in a Morrocann bar. He watched a soccer game. Marseille vs Paris Saint-Germain. A boring game. He pretended to like it and stood up and hailed, making noise.
He did it the almost the same moment Venus took the shot. He had been training her for ten years. He knew just about when she would shoot her gun.
With his hands in the air, looking like a fool, every other French person in the cafe was annoyed by his ignorance of the game. No goal had been scored yet.
Sailor smiled sheepishly, secretly celebrating Venus’ first kill, then raised eyebrows and patted his chest, facing the French, “Pardon,” he apologized. “I’m such a tourist.”
Sitting down, he glanced at the earpiece in his hand. He wasn't going to pick it up. In no way did he doubts Venus' ability to take the shot. He only doubted she could survive the consequence.