Her eyes were incredulous, shattered glass. Trembling lips searched the lone face before her in her drab, eastern bloc apartment. To find one's self so helpless, so vulnerable to a careening world, a leaf who suffers whims of the wind. Where is justice and order in that?
"I'm sorry." He hung his square head downward, struggling to face her firing squad of piercing questions. But it had come to him like a flash, as real as the burning sun, that he must do this to stay alive. In the nick of time it was, living on life support. Best just to spit it out.
"They were killed...I killed them...because they were going to reveal the truth of our operations. If it ever became known what we had done to betray your people...to betray the democracy we claim to stand for...we'd lose our moral standing in the world."
The assassin was finding the words as he spoke them, groping his way blindly home, only seeing the way ahead as words of truth shown forth like headlights in the dark. The more he struggled to get home, the more he realized how lost he was. The man shivered in explanation.
She's right. They told me lies - lies I wanted to believe. What price will I pay? In no man's land I am.
"Your parents were - are - heroes. It may be only you and who I know this. But I have to feel in time..."
The emptiness finally swallowed him up.
"You people. You let yourself be used. You do things without feelings. And for what? What is it that justify that? What is "interest" that need take human lives? Monsters!"
Yes, vampires do exist
Sobriety had come to the assassin but his pushers wanted him back - dead. When he'd made his contract with the men of power they were all smiles and handshakes but having broken it their true faces revealed themselves like lighted masks in warped funhouse mirrors. Out of the grave a hand rises, the memory of his first steps into the graveyard: he'd been running. Running from himself and into the grip of grateful bastards.
Part of him wanted to let them catch him and duly shoot him down. After learning to destroy life, for what does an assassin live? The girl was right. Does a monster settle down to a home and family? He was on a different journey now, far different than his trips to the killing fields. This time, the bullet seeks him out.
The Slavic girl with black filled eyes and glossless blonde hair clenched her stomach in pain. She didn't want revenge - maybe that would come later. Or maybe her revenge was as simple as what she most wanted at this moment in time, more than anything in her life: for him to understand the damage he'd done. In this time of silence, boulders of dread assaulted the former assassin.
Listen, and understand
"Do you know who my father was?" Her accented English had calmed into stable clarity. Here it comes, he thought. "He was friend. Not freedom fighter, not bad man, not even political. You kill my mother and my father and part of me die, left in dark hole no one think about. I not understand that, do you?"
The mute assassin knew to say anything in reply was lethal. Part of him still clung to the idea he understood the why of his actions - or had pretended to - or...
"I understand killing to preserve life. This I thought much of. You see, if I kill you that night that would preserve life. But these men who give orders, their lives mean nothing without dogs like you, dogs who come running to the whistle. Of course, they tell you it for good cause, no?"
She baited the trap, waiting for him to fall into insincerity. His rejection of the past must be total and absolute. He ran away from who he was, letting souls without hope define him in their own image. His eyes looked up to hers accepting what judgement may come of his wasted time. No, there had been no good cause.
"Good! Now you live with it, assassin man. Man who tear apart families. How long it take me to make this right? But this of you I ask: today you tell me truth. You stand with mother and father. This you continue to do?"
At last, the assassin wept. How could she forgive him? To say he stood with her murdered parents to the man who staged a ghastly murder-suicide of "corrupt" Easterners. Yes, this was healing - but for what? Had he any future left? Or had he only the future he'd left his victims? He must find who he is.
"I don't know..." whispered the lost voice.
Wiping his eyes he saw her smiling face. Was she mocking him? Mocking the anguish she surely wanted him to endure? No, it was genuine. She was her parent's child.
In training they'd removed from his heart the fear of death. But what he'd once believed liberated him shackled him to his present chair. Fear. Questions. Confusion. Demons of self-loathing shouting him down. Dare he stand now? Dare he do the most courageous act of his life? Dare he do what he wanted for himself?
Ready to fall if not supported, the man stood up, reaching his arms out to her in supplication. He'd understand if his hope went unanswered. But she rushed to him in equal desire, hate so obviously pointless. Holding on for dear life, the two embraced in a hug more passionate than most kisses. Life! Let there be life!
And this is how governments fall and people stand tall.