aka The Auburn Assassin’s Tale
They passed out a sheet that outlined the rules:
No killing before eight AM or after eight PM.
No killing during classes.
You may only shoot between the neck and the hip bones.
You may kill in self-defense, but only if there are no witnesses and you strike your target first.
You may not share the name of your target or form alliances.
Once your hit is completed, you assume the target of your victim as your next assignment.
Winner is last man or woman standing.
Sounded simple enough but I wondered again how I’d let my friend, Darren, talk me into joining this stupid club with him. KAOS, they called it. Killing As An Organized Sport. What kind of sick person made this stuff up?
The leader of the club volleyed several questions with the group of interested participants who numbered at least thirty. I scanned the faces of the people in the room, trying to memorize them. Many would be my victims, if I played well. Others I’d never meet if they were taken out before our paths crossed. I always played to win.
A trio of sorority types sat on the first row. They snapped their gum, whispered and giggled for most of the meeting. One stole repeated glances at Darren who, as usual, was anything but oblivious. It’s like he had a female radar system that allowed him to pick up any blip of interest within a massive radius. I watched as her enthusiasm spread to the girl in the seat next to her. Darren grinned at both of them in turn. I punched him in the arm. He wasn’t my boyfriend but they didn’t know that and I found it really rude that they’d even think of poaching. I hoped I got one of those girls as my first hit assignment.
I tore my eyes away from the trio of Greeks and scanned the next row. Comic book geek, Dungeons and Dragons geek, Star Trek geek, Buffy geek, and whoa…hold the phone, what had we here? Adonis himself? The dark-haired, dark eyed man sat between two empty chairs, his head bowed as he perused the paper in his hands. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Darren punched me in the arm as he noticed the trajectory of my distraction. After shooting me a stern look, he whispered, “So Jules, want me to tie him up and save him for your wicked pleasure?”
I smirked and with a final look at Him said, “Hell, yeah, preferably with no shirt on for starters.”
Darren snickered as did I. We each took a sealed envelope from the box as it passed by. While the leader had been explaining the game and answering questions, his assistant had sealed each of our entry cards in an unmarked envelope then passed them back out to us. He also gave each of us a toy gun that shot suction cup darts.
“Anyone get their own name?” the leader asked after we’d all received and opened our envelopes. No one had, so we filed out and prepared for the game that began at eight AM the next morning.
Darren tried to steal a glimpse at my card, but I held it to my chest to preserve the confidentiality. “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours?” he wheedled.
“Nope, that’s a violation of the rules of the game. No can do. Remember, this was all your idea in the first place.” I tucked the name and address of my first hit inside my purse.
“Fine, be that way.”
The next morning, I knocked on Darren’s door. When he answered, I shot him in the gut with my toy gun.
“Quit kidding around, Jules.”
I flashed him my hit card that bore his name and address in his handwriting.
“Well shit. I should have known when you wouldn’t show me your card last night.” He shook his head then wandered to his desk to retrieve his hit card. With mournful eyes, he handed it to me.
“Sadie Rasmussen, Joyner dorm, room 212. I’m on it, dude.” I saluted him then left to scope out my next victim.
I dispatched Sadie by going door to door pretending to take a poll for a Poli-Sci class. I made sure she heard me rattle off my questions to a few of her neighbors first. When it was her turn, she invited me in. I shot her after she answered the first question.
The next six targets I took out with relative ease but the seventh one eluded me. His name was Justin O’Donohue and he was a slippery devil, never in his dorm room when I knocked. I’d managed to find his schedule, but locating a picture of him had stumped me. All this time, I too had kept a low profile–left my dorm room at seven each morning and never returned until after eight at night. I’d never even had a close call.
I had just been strategizing in my head while waiting in a long cafeteria line when I saw Him, my dark and handsome Adonis. He stood five people ahead of me. I practically bore holes in him with my laser-like stare. Damn, that man had cornered the market on attractive. As if he’d heard me, he looked over his shoulder and caught my eye. He gave me a crooked smile and tipped his head back in greeting. I flashed a coy smile and a raised eyebrow in response.
After I paid, I wandered around looking for a table, hoping I might find him again.
“Hey, need a place to sit?” He’d found me.
I did a silent “squee” to myself and nodded, taking the chair opposite him. “Thanks, it’s really crowded today.”
He extended his hand and said, “I’m Justin.”
“Julie,” I countered and shook.
We both grinned broadly at each other.
I scarcely remember eating, so enthralled was I by my companion. I was downright giddy when he asked for my number. He called that evening and we made a date for Friday night, seven o’clock. I floated on air for the rest of the week.
Friday at six, I dolled up in my most femme fatale duds. Justin wouldn’t know what hit him if I had anything to say about it. I had one last chore to do before seven so I scurried out of my dorm and hastened to discharge my task.
At fifteen minutes until seven, I slipped into the foyer of the men’s dorm and waited. Justin soon sauntered toward me, brows raised when he recognized me. Oh yeah, I looked really good and he’d noticed. All the more’s the pity because it gave me just the distraction I needed to withdraw my gun from my purse and shoot him in the chest.
He cried out and met my eyes, then reached down to pick up the dart at his feet.
“Ten kills. I had ten kills and was this close!” He rolled his eyes and held his fingers out in a pinching gesture.
“Hand it over, Justin,” I said, my palm extended, beckoning.
He reached in his hip pocket and withdrew his now battered hit card. I took it but didn’t need to read the name. I recognized the handwriting as my own.
“I never should have trusted a woman!” He shook his head and glanced down at his feet.
I ripped up the card and said, “Well, now that that’s out of the way, let’s go eat, shall we?”
He narrowed his eyes and cocked his head to the side. With a final rake of his eyes over my body, he winked, withdrew his toy gun and tossed it in the trash. “Sure. Nothing I like better than a bad girl. But another few seconds and the outcome would have been entirely different.”