Blood rushed in her ears, circulating through her frigid body as the sun barely peeked over the edge of the horizon. The sky was the color of a grapefruit, rich and red and giving off an almost melancholy taste, bitter at the back of her tongue with the anticipation of what the rising sun meant. An ordinary morning for her, a rather unfortunate morning for the man her hawk's eyes were trained on through the scope of her rifle.
The radio headset over her ears crackled and a voice came in on the other side through the scratchy reception, sounding too bright and cheerful for such a hideous occasion. She poised her finger on the trigger and took a deep breath, eyes unwavering.
"Elizabeth, what is your position?" Through her concentration, she mourned the youth in his voice. Kain Fuery was remarkably unscathed for all that he had been through in this one-sided war.
"Target in sight." Her words carried barely any sound as the chill of the air caught her nose and tensed fingers. She allowed her mind to go blank, thinking only on the simple actions. She didn't like her job; in fact, she loathed it. But she carried on because it was the only thing she was good at and her hopes for the future rode on her willingness to do whatever it took to make it down that narrow path.
Fuery's voice was farther away; he was speaking to someone else now. "She's all set; just waiting for time to catch up, now."
A shuffling, then a new voice. A rougher, older voice that was as relaxed and familiar to her as her own. She could almost smell the tobacco on his breath now and imagined his face as the smile would split across it. "How you doing, Lizzie?"
She cringed inwardly; having a codename was one thing, nicknaming it was another matter altogether. "This is hardly the time to be making social calls, Jackie."
He gave the pretense of pouting. "I was worried about you."
The air seemed to tense around her, eyes still trained on the man sitting obliviously at his office desk, back to her. It was sad that he would never see his end coming and she had to quickly push away the thoughts before they engulfed her, swallowed her, never let her escape.
"You can start worrying when you're dead," she said briskly. "Is Point 0 ready for me?"
Fuery's voice echoed faintly over the line, torn in some places by the static like papercuts in his throat. "All clear!"
"Excellent," she murmured.
"I'll have breakfast waiting for you when you get back," came the tobacco voice again and she almost smiled as the line clicked off in the headset.
The sun inched higher and she could feel the seconds ticking, pushing down the dread in her stomach as the time neared. It was automatic to her; she didn't have to think about it. There was merely the gun and the breath in her lungs, the crisp air. The world started to wake up around her and her hands were steady.
The bell rang. She fired a single round without hesitation and the sound of it was lost in the tolling that echoed through the sleepy streets. Glass shattered soundlessly and the unsuspecting victim slumped against his desk. She lowered the rifle and began to systematically pack up for her quick escape.
Her job was done for today.