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December 31, 2013
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Probably the most commonly asked question when people find out what I do for a living is, "Is it hard to take someone's life?" The simple answer is no. Human beings are so fragile, there are a million ways to end them, some methods may be more difficult than others, but once you've learned as much about killing as I have you'd be shocked not to see someone die at the hands of a stiff breeze. No, killing someone is just about the easiest possible thing to do. I could give you a gun right now, point you to an alley where a group of thugs like to lurk on dark nights, and tell you to pull the trigger, and you'd do it. I could even pay you for it and you'd be an assassin like me, in a manner of speaking. The difference between you and I, dear reader, is what happens after the smoke clears, when you go home to your family and your warm bed. You would almost certainly feel remorse for your actions. Oh you'd hide it quite well, in this situation, telling yourself they were criminals, that by doing what you did you were saving some other poor soul from being robbed, raped, or murdered at their hands. But no matter how you justify it, somewhere in the back of your mind, the guilt would be there, just waiting for the right moment to come swelling up in your dreams or hit you unexpectedly when you wake up the next morning. I've seen people who aren't cut out for it try to live this life, and it is never a pleasant experience for them. I, on the other hand, could go to the same alley, execute every one of those men, discover they were in fact innocents who'd done nothing wrong and had no intention of ever doing wrong, and still sleep soundly the whole night through, which begs the next most common question: Do I enjoy killing? Not in of itself, not killing for the sake of killing--Though there are certainly some in this line of work who do--but I do take pride in my work. I've always thought it was important that whatever you decide to do in life, you should strive to be as proficient at it as you can. With that as my creed I've become very good at my job, and there is a certain pleasure in excellence.

I did feel some regret, when I first started. I followed a code of honor that would only allow me to take contracts on criminals, I never made a move if it would lead to the death of an innocent, but that naivete could not last. The first time I accepted a hit on a non-criminal, I altered my code, "only those who deserve it." It was an arbitrary distinction, one that I could make on a target-by-target basis, but it made me feel better. Soon, though, I lost all pretense of honor, but kept a count in my head of all the innocents I'd killed along the way. That was a mistake. As the number increased it weighed more and more heavily on my mind, until one day I had to make a choice: Move forward with no regrets, and thrive in the life I'd chosen for myself, or continue to cling to the delusion that I was a good man, until the weight of my conscious broke me. There are still times when I think I chose poorly, that it would've been better to let myself be destroyed, but those moments are brief. Regardless of whether I am a good man or a lost soul, regardless of whether the attempted good deeds of my career outweigh the bad, regardless of everything, I know that I've made at least one right choice in my life. I chose not to hate myself.
Just a short oneshot flashfiction I came up with. I wanted to get the second chapter of Intelligence Theft up, but that didn't happen, so I pulled this together instead. The basic idea of this, and most of the first paragraph, I've had in my head for a while, and was originally going to be an interview between a writer or journalist and an assassin, at one point I even considered writing it as a script and recruiting a couple friends to record it as a sort of radio play-type thing.
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:iconwrathlos:
WrathLOS Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
Assassins in a lot of fiction are almost always a part of some organization now, huh?  Didn't really pay that much attention to it.  Reminds me of the incredible movie "The Professional".  Now THAT'S an assassin.
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:iconwrathlos:
WrathLOS Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
Aaaaand of course I mess up the reply.
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:iconwrathlos:
WrathLOS Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
Ended really nicely with that final note.  Reminds me of how I've always had the thought that if I put an assassin in my story, he would consider himself virtuous and merciful by killing his victims only when they were genuinely happy and least expect it.  Like combating with an opponent and giving them the illusion of victory moments before killing them instantly.

A sane assassin is an uncommon trope that has immense potential.
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:iconb4k4-san:
b4k4-san Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
And when you do run into one, it's pretty common that they're sane now because they were more rampant in their past, like Than Krios from the Mass Effect games, or Durzo Blint as he is towards the end of the Night Angel Trilogy.  When I originally had this concept, I wanted it to be someone who had no delusions over what they did, like Ezio from Assassin's creed, but without some kind of righteous order backing them up and validating their career path.
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