Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Great Game 1 - Lavie Tidhar

"She had stepped out of the shadow, a young girl, glowing – so it seemed to him, then, romantic fool that he was – in the light of the moon. Her long white legs were bare and she wore a blue dress and a blue flower behind one ear. She smiled at him, flashing perfect white teeth, and killed the first of the would-be assassins with a knife throw that went deep into the man’s chest, a flower of blood blooming on his shirt as he fell. Together, they eliminated the others, the envoy oblivious the whole while to the covert assassination attempt, then disposed of the bodies together, dragging them into one of the canals and setting them adrift, Alice’s blue flower pinned to the leader’s chest. It had been the most romantic night of Smith’s life. Later, when the envoy was safely asleep in his bed, Smith and Alice shared a drink on the balcony of the small, dank hotel, and watched the moonlight play on the water of the canal… Now he listened for the smallest sounds, that soft patter on the roof, the drop of a body, then another. The fat man had warned him but somehow, Smith always knew the day would come, was always waiting for it, and now he was ready. He slid a knife from its scabbard, tied around his ankle. He had spent some of the afternoon, and a part of the evening, sharpening this knife, his favourite, and cleaning and oiling various other devices. Cleaning one’s weapons was a comforting act, an ingrained habit that felt almost domestic. It made him think of Alice, who preferred guns to knives, and disliked poisons. " 3.5 out of 5