The darkness seemed oppressive and intimidating. Even for one such as this, who was accustomed shadows and dark dealings. His eyes darted quickly left and right, looking for the danger he felt in his bones. There was something wrong with this meeting. The man didn’t put much stock in general definitions of good or evil. He has seen too much, done too much to believe in those childish concepts. However, in this moment the air breathed evil and, it shook his practiced confidence to the core. He pulled on the weathered cloak around his shoulders, tightening it, looking for comfort. When that failed to settle his nerves, he fidgeted with a copper piece in his pants pocket, turning over and over in this palm. Anything to take his mind away from the sense of dread that threatened to compromise his fragile composure, leaving him a crippled sack of man-flesh. The darkness seemed to deepen unnaturally. Just as the man decided it was time to go, he heard a voice that gave him pause.
“The night is lovely.” Said a chipper voice, piercing the darkness. An echo of a walking cane reverberated through the alley as the voice grew closer. “Wouldn’t you say?” In the innocence of the statement, there was something about its tone that demanded a response and would not be denied.
The man searched for the origin of the voice but found nothing. The unnatural darkness prevented even the most experienced in underworld dealings from piercing its vale. He swallowed hard, trying to wet his dry throat before speaking. “I wouldn’t know.” The man responded, trying to steel his nerves. “It’s too dark to see much of anything.”
“Oh. Forgive me.” The voice said, seeming almost apologetic.
Without further explanation the man heard ripples of wind violently pass his ears, making it impossible to hear anything but gusts of wind. His other senses experienced sensations associated with gusts of wind as well. Even though his back was against the alleyway, the man felt wind rush over his shoulders and through his cloak. The man shivered as cold air passed through his body like it not exist. It was an unnerving feeling. His eyes picked up differences in the night. Streaks of unnatural darkness swirled together with the night as if in a whirlpool. Gradually, the unnatural darkness gave way to the night and, the man could see dark whirlpool was being sucked into the top of the walking cane belonging to the figure before him. As the last of the darkness entered the cane, the lions head that topped the cane snapped and latched shut.
“Much better.” The figure before the man said, pulling and twisting on his groomed mustache, interested in the man before him. “Interesting.” The figure said absently with a hint of malice.
With the night returned to normal, the man could feel his heart rate decrease. The desire to flee once more seemed juvenile. He was night. There was no need to fear the shadows. He was their master. Still, in the corner of his mind, there was something that bothered him about the figure that stood before him, playing with his mustache as he gazed upon on the man expectantly. “What?” The man asked, not understanding the figures interest.
The figure stopped playing with his mustache and waved his hand dismissively. “Oh, nothing.” He chuckled, setting his gaze upon the man.
The man clicked his tongue in annoyance and shook his head, confidence in his skill overriding the concern he felt in the presence of this figure with a styled mustache, top hat, and unusual walking cane. Stepping closer to the figure who he assumed was his client, the man tried to hold the figure’s gaze. He found that impossible. The figure’s eyes were shrouded in the same unnatural darkness that had enveloped the alleyway moments ago. In fact, the figure might of well been shadow save for a top hat, styled mustache, walking cane, and a figure resembling that of a man’s. “Let’s get on with this.” The man said once more feeling unsettled after trying to glimpse his client’s features. For all he knew, the figure may not even be human. “I want to be rid of this.”
The figure shifted his weight from one leg to another as he smoothly passed his cane from hand to the other. “Yes, lets.” The figure said, amused. Reaching into the shadow that outlined his figure, he produced a hand sized sack full of gold pieces. Grasping it by the twine that kept it closed, the figure tossed the sack at the mans feet. The man could hear the distinct sound of coins clashing together as the sack landed. It sounded full. Satisfied, the man produced his own sack. He didn’t want to think about what he had to do to obtain it’s contents. He tossed it near the feet of the figure. A sloshing sound could be heard as it landed. The man shivered. The figured chuckled as he picked up the paid for sack. Tipping his hat in thanks to the assassin, the figure tucked the sack into his shadowed form, turned, and walked away. No footfalls could be heard. Only the eerie tap tap tap of his cane.
The assassin tied the payment to his belt and began the journey back to his hideout, muttering to himself.
“Sometimes I hate this job.”