The street lights were dim, or at least the pouring rain made them feeble entities. Darkness had always been more alluring to me in life. I liked the dark. Ever since childhood, I embraced darkness much unlike other kids. I liked the challenge of finding my way in the dark, I liked the uncertainty darkness threw at us unlike light, where everything was finite and tangible.
Yet I wanted to move close to reason today. I wanted to be rescued. I wanted…………
My name is Balthazar. You shall not get specific details about my existence. My survival depends upon it. I have faint memories of my child hood, my upbringing. I faintly remember my mother’s angelic face. I remember my vision from the cellar, of the men who sprayed bullets at her. I remember the agony and guilt in my father’s eyes. I still remember the one statement he made, “We shall live”. I remember the train journey along with Dad that looked like it would never end. I remember at least 12 different names against my photograph in Passports of various countries. I remember being taught “what was necessary to learn” by Dad, since I missed most of my schooling. I remember surviving alone as a teenager in alien environments, sometimes clueless about when I would meet my dad again. I remember watching children of my age playing from a distance. By the time I was 15, I realized I could understand and speak 9 languages. But I seldom spoke. I listened.
On a cold winter night, I saw father breaking through the door. He had been hurt. It was a bullet wound, I wasn’t surprised. I had figured out what he did for us to survive. Father recovered soon, and I expressed my wish to accompany him for his “trips” going further. I saw him controlling his emotions. He agreed. I shall remember the one thing he said then. “Be fast in your thoughts and actions, always. Your conscience will never be able to catch up with you.” I remember, hearing Father cry and scream that night. The loud monologues were a mixture of guilt, anger, intoxication and helplessness. The bloodline had caught up with the inevitable !!
I don’t think I was taught to handle weapons. I did it on my own, several times learning to do so after seeing father in action. What was more important was stealth. My childhood concept of the darkness applied here. I was the darkness nobody was supposed to see through. After my third outing, I was finally given the chance to complete a mission. The modified Remington sniper was cold and calm, almost inspiring me. The aim was ruthless, not bothered by stimuli.
The bullet wrote the history. I was born. I was the “Assassin”
I have often read about people fond of travelling, writing memoirs about their visits and anxiously looking forward to exploring new destinations. During my professional pursuits, I must have scourged the world, yet never quite enjoyed any locales. My work was to disappear, and not sightsee, much like the rabbit from the magician’s hat. Do you think it enjoys the experience ? My records stated myself having worked for nearly all the intelligence units, a few small governments and some ruthless corporate deals. Reputations never overwhelmed me, I had seen it all.
Fate has a tendency of going wrong when you are not looking. On that particular night. Now it all comes back to me. It was a set-up, a defection. Bad guy kills the bad guy and becomes the good guy. In this case we were the hunted at whose cost the CIA were looking to clear their name. They set us up on a goose chase, trailing behind to go for the actual kill. Escaping was the only option and we were good at it. At least I thought so. A bullet made it’s way to my father’s left thigh. He spoke amidst the pain. “Billy, I’d rather die in your hands than be left for the torture. Make it quick and make it painless.” I had never unheeded father’s advice, but this was near impossible. I looked around, they were closing in. No escape. “Be fast in your thoughts and actions, always. Your conscience will never be able to catch up with you.” The voice echoed. My father, my teacher, the only connection between me and my existence.
I embraced him. “Good bye father !!” My last words were deafened by the sound of the bullet.