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Showcasing creative writing by university students around the world.


Illustration by Claudia Claros

Published Friday, March 14th, 2014

Words by

Fire In The Temple

Awake at 6 am. I always tune my alarm to some god-awful station whose name I don't know, despite them repeating it every five bloody seconds. I do this so I have to get out of bed as soon as it goes off. Kpap or dumbstep or some such is being spattered all over my bedroom and it has to stop. I take a shower and put my hair in a towel. I brush my teeth. I'm feeling human.

Awake at 6 am. I always tune my alarm to some god-awful station whose name I don’t know, despite them repeating it every five bloody seconds. I do this so I have to get out of bed as soon as it goes off. Kpap or dumbstep or some such is being spattered all over my bedroom and it has to stop. I take a shower and put my hair in a towel. I brush my teeth. I’m feeling human.

Today’s my test. Can I actually do this? A look in the mirror proves inconclusive.

A sharp suit waits for me in overthecounterviagra-best the bedroom. I root out my ‘secretary’ shoes from the back of the wardrobe. Blending in takes priority today; discretion is all. I can knock ’em dead later. A bit of makeup, nice and subtle. My short hair is already dry and good to go, no nonsense. I hide it completely with a well-made wig. I’ve been asked to engage with a client in broad daylight for my first job – the agency obviously wants to see if I’ve got the right stuff.

Now for the dance in the kitchen: how to feed the cat without either tripping up or getting hair all over my stockings as she weaves in and out, purring like mad. I feel bad for not fussing her as I usually do. She tucks in and I am dismissed. Her bell clinks against the dish, and I wonder if she gets annoyed by that. I’ve read that they learn to stalk and kill without making it sound. Clever girl. Resolving to give her extra attention when I get home, I wonder at the situation I find myself in. You wouldn’t expect someone with the job I do now to go home to a cat. It’s early days; that might change. This job can take you to some crazy places. I hope I don’t have to let her go too soon.

A final look in the mirror in the hallway. Deep breath. Yes, I can do it. I will do it. It’s just a job. I’m looking OK, if I do say so myself. I look smart; I will look as if I belong. I do not look like me. A moistened finger on an arched eyebrow and I make myself smile. Confidence is good. If I look nervous then the illusion will disappear. I reach for a large pair of dark sunglasses. Do not forget my bag.

I leave the house and head for the tube, grabbing a cup of coffee-scented milk and something with raisins and icing on the way. I’m not interested in them; it just has to be done.

My heels ring pleasantly on the pavement. They skip, without conscious effort, every seven steps or so, as if to lighten the monotonous load of walking. The tube is full of the herd. The morning rush is not quite over and I’m left with those who have the least motivation to get wherever it is they are going. The rump end of retail. The part-timers and job-sharers. The partially committed. The wet drunks, heading to their respective Wetherspoons. I could never be those people and so I chose this life. As far as my family is concerned, I am one of the herd. They couldn’t ever understand.

I come out near the hotel. It has a fabulous gothic front, all white marble and gilded ironwork. generic viagra canada It actually has a red carpet that goes the whole four feet from the front revolving door, across the pavement and to the curb. London makes me laugh sometimes.

A dapper, middle-aged gent in top hat and tails greets me cordially, tipping his hat. I’d put money on my backside being checked as I push through the slightly dated, revolving smoked glass. If anything, the inside is timeless and not dated at all. Crimson carpets run through with gold generic cialis canada hog the floor. Curtains that each must weigh as much as a car are everywhere, their sheer luxury beaten into permanent classical folds. Many of them don’t even have windows for excuses.

I approach the reception desk and announce myself, asking for my client. I don’t use my own name, of course. The receptionist is impeccable, inscrutable, and decides for himself instantly who I am and what I do. With a polite sneer I am informed that he is still having breakfast in the restaurant, but will be coming out shortly. The less I say to the likes of this guy the better, but I’d like to black his eye for him. He invites me to sit and wait over there at the side of the lobby. I take a seat and wait behind my sunglasses, thankful that this building is well-lit and that I can see; they are not coming off. I can feel the deep plush of the chaise longue beneath me, shifting against the arms of my suit jacket and the backs of my stockings.

I try not to fidget uncomfortably; it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. This place is the height of luxury: you could lose your shoes in this carpet. For now, remaining inconspicuous is all I have to do. It should be easy; I’m just waiting for someone, that’s all. Who’s to say that isn’t my husband, my mother, a prospective employer? An older man with an air of retired army is sitting to my right, huffing and puffing and wrestling with a broadsheet on a stick. I haven’t seen one of those for years. I’m surrounded by the smell of polished wood and it mingles with the faint tinkle of china and cutlery that I can hear in the restaurant beyond. Chamber music plays at a

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Suddenly, he comes into view. He’s stopping to thank the maître d’ as he gathers himself to go upstairs. I rise, straighten my skirt and start to walk soundlessly across the lobby towards him, reaching into my handbag as I go. The maître d’ sees me approach – I smile, but the waiter who has appeared with a coat can somehow sense the danger. It’s too late, and the waiter can sense that too, taking his employer’s elbow, moving them both to the side and exposing my target. He can’t be a good tipper.

Just as I draw near, I remove my hand from my bag, raise my arm and fire the gun twice into his temple.

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