“I’m going to be frank,” Myrtle said, putting down her mug of hot chocolate, “I think I have a stalker.”
Aiden looked up from his bagel and turned around to examine the small 80s styled diner. Everything seemed normal. “Stalker? Who? Where?”
Myrtle pointed to a booth a few rows down and Aiden turned just in time to see a person duck down behind the chair. “The small one?” Myrtle nodded. “He can’t be any more than ten.”
“He’s been following me around for a few days now. I keep catching him trying to break in and digging through my trash." Myrtle said, taking another sip of cocoa.
“And this doesn’t bother you?”
“He’s not the brightest crayon in the box. He couldn’t hide to save his life, he’s easy to pick out in a crowd, he makes too much noise when he’s sneaking around, and he wears too much black, even in the daytime.”
The little stalker peeked over the booth’s chair at them again, and then ducked back down when he saw they were still looking. Aiden sighed and stood up, “Wait here.”
“Don’t hurt him,” Myrtle said, adding more sugar to her hot chocolate.
Aiden made his way through the crowded diner to where the kid was hiding, nestled against the wall between the chair and the table. The boy scowled when Aiden came into view and sat up straighter.
“What’s your name, squirt?” Aiden demanded.
“Ezekiel.” He said, calculating an escape plan with Aiden blocking the only exit.
“Well, Eze, my girlfriend says you’ve been stalking her. Have you?”
Aiden snagged the boy by his shirt collar just as Ezekiel dove under the table, trying to get past Aiden. He thrashes and clawed and Aiden’s arm, biting him and tearing at the flesh. A few people, hearing the commotion, turned and stared at them. Aiden pushed the kid back into his chair, threatening him with years of pain to shut up and stop making a scene. Ezekiel let go of Aiden’s arm and huddled back in his corner, “I’ll bite you again,” he warned.
“You do and I’ll break your neck.” Aiden made a step towards him. “Why’re you stalking Myrtle?”
“I have to. It’s part of my training,” Ezekiel said, flinching.
“Training,” Ezekiel repeated. He attempting to sidle away from Aiden, “I’m going to be a,” he paused, “What are those things called? Like ninjas, but they kill people?”
“Yeah! I’m going to be the best assassin ever. I can already sneak around at night and I wear lots of black and I’m really good with weapons and I can even ___ __ ___. I’m only in training right now, but they’re trusting me with this mission because they said even I couldn’t mess up killing a teenager. They said all teenagers that aren’t with the assassins are all clueless idiots and it will be easy.”
“Who are they?”
“The headmasters at the assassin school,” Ezekiel tried to get under the table again, but Aiden kicked him until he got back to his seat, “People from all over the world come to this school because all graduates grow up to be successful. Plus, there’s always someone in the world that needs to be cut down and we’re the people to do it. Usually, assassination is just a side job, we normally become politicians or army people.”
“There’s a hit on Myrtle?” Aiden asked, the full force of the words finally sinking in.
Ezekiel nodded, and then pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket, “I have the contract right here. I’m supposed to follow her around for a week and gather information so the assassin school has a file for future uses. Do you know her?”
“Yes, I know her!” It took all of Aiden’s self control not to shout at Ezekiel, “She’s my girlfriend!”
“Oh, good, then she trusts you.” Ezekiel grabbed a fork off the table and held it out to Aiden, “Do me a favor and stab her in the neck with this, ok?”
Aiden slapped the fork out of his hand and snatched the contract away. Ezekiel cried out as Aiden tore the paper to shreds, “You can’t do that!”
“Who put the hit on her?”
“I can’t tell you, that’s against the rules!”
“You tell me or I’ll – “
“I’ll scream!” Ezekiel shrunk back, “You’ll have everyone in the building after you as a kidnapper or something!”
“I’m not doing anything!”
“Who’re they going to believe?”
Aiden scowled, “Then call off the hit.”
“I can’t. The headmasters decide which contracts we take.”
“All contracts are void if the one who hired you dies, right?” Ezekiel nodded, “Tell you what, you kill whoever it was that did this, alright? A shot to the head, quick and simple. None of this following for a week thing. No messes, no trail, no file, nothing, just in and out in a second. You do that and I’ll,” he thought for a minute. “A toy. I’ll get you a toy.”
“Any toy you like.”
Ezekiel bit his lip. It was against the rules to accept contracts without informing the headmaster first, and even more forbidden was for a trainee to accept one. “A panda.”
“A stuffed panda, then,” Aiden said.
“A fuzzy one.”
“The fuzziest one they have.”
Ezekiel stood up and cautiously stepped past Aiden, staring him down like he expected him to lash out and strike him. “Ok, I’ll do it.”
I’m trading murder for a stuffed animal. Aiden thought as he moved aside for Ezekiel to get through, I think I’m insane. “Good boy.” Aiden let the child loose and headed back to Myrtle, who had just finished off her hot chocolate.
“That took a while,” she commented, “everything alright?”
Aiden nodded, “It was nothing. Just a childish dare.”
“Dare to what?”
Aiden shrugged nonchalantly, “Just to stalk.”
Myrtle smiled, “Ah, kids.”
“Yeah,” Aiden said, looking through the window and watching Ezekiel walk down the street with the barrel of a gun sticking slightly out of his pocket, “kids.”