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STRIKER
CHAPTER ONE
THE HITMAN





The trigger felt cold against my gloved finger.  The trigger belonged to a gun, a BFG-50 sniper rifle to be exact.  The rifle was long, dark, and sleek.  In other words, it was perfect for the night’s job.  I pulled a long, chocolate colored scope from my camouflage cargo bag and screwed it onto the top of the gun.
Mr. James White is the target.  Mr. White is a weak, lumpy man of 43 whom (until recently) was a well-known politician for the Canadian government.  Several weeks ago he attacked me and my colleagues.  I felt a stab of pain as I remembered the conference room walls stained with blotched of blood.
I set the BFG-50 on a hill facing the northern side of Mr. White’s seven-bedroom mansion.  Every night a 9:15 PM he walks into his northern bathroom suite and refreshes himself in his Jacuzzi.  Although the house was beautiful, there was a design flaw.  The entire bathroom suite was in the open.  Windows lined the bathroom wall, and even though he always had security walking back and forth throughout the house they were never allowed to enter his lavatory.
The sky darkened.  A Hitman never wears a watch; the random bleeping could flush a mission down the drain.  Instead, they learn to read the sun’s patterns in order to keep time.  8:57, it’s almost time.  
From a little less than a mile I could hear a long and powerful whistle echo toward me in the darkness.  That meant it was almost time.  At 9:13 PM my partner would cut the lights and all electricity, including the phone lines and security cameras.  I rested the gun on a tripod and attached a silencer; we need just enough time to escape from Mr. White’s "stronghold" before anyone figures it out.
It’s time.  The lights went out.  Several screams could be heard from inside the house.  Next would be the phone lines.  By this time Mr. White was in his master lavatory preparing to take his bath by candlelight.
His bath is always preheated, so if he ever did lose power at least he could still live a life of luxury.
I looked through the scope and turned the pointer on.  Through the scope Mr. White could be seen brushing his teeth, every second counts.  My finger tightened around the trigger.  Sweat clouded my night-vision goggles with fog.  
A second before I pulled the trigger something unexpected happened.  From the corner of my eye, on the other end of the bathroom door, one of the heavily armored guards pulled out his walky-talky and spoke into it rapidly.  Normally this would be unnoticed, but the strange thing was, the man was looking right to the northern hill, right to where I was.  I pulled my attention--and my gun--to him.
It was scary.  I had never failed anything in my life before, and here I was about to fail the most important thing in my life, and I wasn’t about to let that happen.  Once again my finger tightened on the trigger.  Sweat rolled down my face.  Any second now the man would send Mr. White’s army of guards and the mission would be failed.
I had the shot, why didn’t I take it?  The man turned away from me and talked rapidly into his walky-talky once more, looked to me again, and stepped away from the window.  Had he seen me?  It was too late to find out, as the man had already stepped into another of the enormous rooms of the mansion, leaving the soldier without a shield.
I sighed deeply in relief; the man had not seen me.  Once again I turned my gun to the lavatory, where in the flickering candlelight Mr. White could be seen closing the window curtains.  This was my second chance, my last chance, and I had to take it.  Once again I turned the red pointer on the top of the gun on.  Suddenly, as if he were frozen, Mr. White stared at the light--at me.
A look of insane terror came across his face as he realized his fate.  I could imagine a scream rising to his throat, begging to get out.  But instead there was silence.  Silence was good, it meant precious bits of time would be spared for the escape.  Wasting no time, I checked the position of the scope once more and pulled the trigger.
The world seemed to run in slow-motion.  The bullet propelling itself from the barrel, heading for the target.  Mr. White just standing there, staring into nothingness.  I wiped another drop of sweat from my face.  
The bullet entered White’s forehead like a horse shooting through a flaming hoop.  The lead-weighted bullet seemed to linger in his head for several minutes before coming out the back, creating a sickening crunching sound.  For several seconds Mr. White just stood there, staring, before his body collapsed on the ground.  I sighed again and began disassembling the rifle.
Seconds later the alarm was raised.  They couldn’t have seen me, it wasn’t possible, it was too soon.  Yet the alarm was raised.  Hundreds of rooftop spotlights flickered on, assisting the blood red alarm lights.  The lights all pointed--to me!  
Somehow they had seen me, and there was only one word that lingered in my mind....RUN!  I ran, I didn’t even stop to pick up the valuable rifle, I simply ran.  Behind me, various doors in the mansion would open, spraying out tens of hundreds of guards at a time.  It seemed Mr. White’s army was larger than I had predicted....much larger.
Back doors.  Spies and Hitmen alike use them.  They come in handy in emergency situations, and this definitely counted.  On the edge of the dense forest that surrounded the multi-million dollar mansion is where my back door is....and time was running out to reach it.
All around me guards circled in, waiting to strike.  I slowly dropped my hand to my camouflage cargo bag, that was strapped around my waist, around me, guards tensed.  The light from the spotlights blinded me, hopefully I could blind them too.  I reached into the cargo bag and pulled out a small, silver disk.
Again the guards tensed, waiting for when I would strike, but I wasn’t aiming for them.  I pulled my arm back, aimed, and fired.  The silver disk flew into the bright spotlight and shattered the bulb, making it impossible to see anything.  I took advantage of the minor distraction and ran, my destination: back door.
I ran past the guards to the forest, running past ghostly shadows of trees and bushes.  Low hanging tree branches slapped me in the face, leaving small traces of sap on my black ski mask.  Once or twice I felt sharp bullets whiz past me, tearing sharp holes in my clothing.  All around me was bedlam.  People were screaming, guns were firing, and through it all I just ran.  
It seemed like forever until a small reddish-gold light poked through the trees.  Sunrise was near, but how long had I been running?  That doesn't matter, since the end of the forest is only a mile away.
I haven’t heard movement behind me for hours, perhaps the guards had given up and went back to the now un owned White mansion.  Whatever it is that they did, it doesn't matter anymore, because the end of the forest was in view.
I sprinted faster than I had in my entire life, I wanted more than anything to get out of the area, and I would do anything to succeed.  I pushed past the final row of dark green bushes and stumbled into a large clearing.  On the far side of the clearing was a small two-seater Hughes 500 helicopter.  This is my way out.
I bolted across the clearing to the waiting helicopter, barely able to contain a smile.  I pulled the weighted aluminum door open.  You know that feeling that you get when your being watched?  I hate that feeling, and at that moment I was getting it.
I shook off the feeling and stepped into the pilot’s seat, right now nothing could bother me.  I turned the key in the ignition,  started the rotors, and....froze.  I could feel a cold barrel of a gun pressed up against my neck.  "W....who are you?" I stammered.
A voice from the back seat answered, "Get out."  I nodded and obediently stepped out of the pilot’s seat.  Behind me I heard the back door open, soon after I heard a small thump as the man in the back seat landed on the ground.  Once again I felt the gun pressing up against my neck.
"What do you want with me?"  I asked.
"I don’t want you, I want you dead!"  The man answered with a yell.
I felt a knee jam into my back, and a sharp pain retch through my entire body.  I fell to the ground panting, trying to keep consciousness.  Two more pairs of hands grabbed me and pulled me back into the helicopter.  The last thing I remembered before  losing consciousness is rough hands tying my hands together, then everything went dark.


TO CHAPTER 2 >


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