“Fuck… I should have listened to Jimmy.” Django muttered to himself as he sat on the broken park bench. The lumpy wood pressing the package sitting awkwardly in his back pocket hard into his thigh. He shifted his weight. Almost subconsciously, his legs began to prepare to move, involuntarily hinting that he should leave now. Get out while he still can. “What kind of child wants to hire a hitman? How does she even know what a hitman does? Don’t you have a real mark, one which you’re being paid a huge sum of money for, that maybe you should be focusing on?” Curious voices continued to bounce around Django’s head. “Shut up. I’m not going to take the contract. I’m just here to give a child her pocket money back…” Probably the first time that sentence has ever been muttered. Django smirked at the sentiment for a second, but that smirk fast turned into a cold dead freeze as a young girl entered his view, casually crossing the dusty remnants of what used to be a school playground. Her eyes met Django’s only for an instant, but it was more than enough for them to burn into his mind. Those eyes were haunting, cold, mysterious, and yet somehow familiar to him. She didn’t break her pace as entered the run down play area, coming to rest on the only swing in a set of four that was still whole.
“Fuck…” Django wasn’t sure if that was vocalised, or just in his head, but at this point it really didn’t matter. Slowly he rose to his feet and removed the package from his back pocket. The sound of the coins crashing together was deafening. He was certain the girl heard it, but she didn’t react. She just kept swinging. He began to make his way over. While it couldn’t have been more than 15 metres, maybe 20 at a stretch, it felt like miles. Django began to sweat. His voice trembled as he called out to the girl “Katie?” The child didn’t look up as she spoke.
“I was worried you wouldn’t come.” Her voice was soft. Not broken. Not desperate. Unlike any voice he had heard over the years, but then again, he was more used to people crying and begging for their lives. He didn’t make it a habit to meet with people hiring him to kill. Just adds another witness.
“I’m hoping I won’t regret this.” These were the only words he could muster, but it didn’t seem like he was speaking those words to her.
“I can accept how irregular all this must have been for you. I sincerely apologise for any mental hardship you have suffered because of this request. Please understand contacting you wasn’t without a great deal of process on my behalf. Unfortunately you are my last hope.” Such eloquence for a child of her age. Her clothes and education betrayed that she wasn’t from around these parts, wasn’t cut from the same cloth as Django’s usual clientele. Gamblers, thieves, rapists, scum of the Earth. Django may have been a professional killer, but he still had standards.
“Before you start you have to know that I’m not taking this contract. I’m simply here to return your money, and give you some reassuring message about hoping whoever the person is whose name’s written inside this envelope leaves your life soon, and whatever reason you have for wanting them dead leaves with them.” Django was almost impressed with how much he managed to get out. The girl looked up at him, again only for a moment, but again more than enough for Django to see the rich blue oceans in her eyes. Again he found himself shook by the sense of familiarity in those eyes.
“I wish it were as simple as that. I’ve tried every alternative, please believe me I have, but this is the only option.” She lamented.
“Then you have to find yourself someone else to do this job. There are many heartless killers out there, I won’t pretend like I’m any better than them, but I’m certainly not going to ruin such a young life by laying this heavy burden of guilt upon them.” Django went to hand her the envelope, but she reached out, pushing it back towards him and staring deep into his eyes. Holding that gaze. In that instant, those eyes were known to him. This wasn’t some deja vu level familiarity. He knew those exact eyes. “Who… Who are you?”
The girl dropped her view to the ground. Reaching into her pocket she withdrew another envelope. Django didn’t need to take more than a second to recognise that one. It was one of his. Usually the only point of contact between him and a the person hiring him. A short letter of acceptance that the contract will be carried out as requested, and in that moment he knew. Not two weeks ago Django had been offered three times his usual amount of money by an anonymous source to kill a woman. For that kind of money Django wasn’t going to ask questions. His mark was beautiful too. It was the eyes. A set of the deepest blue eyes he had ever seen. It had taken him more time than usual to complete the contract as every time he came close, those eyes stopped him in his tracks.
“I’ve read all about you.” The girl stated. “ I have every book there is on you and I know what this is. Most people would have just shrugged it off as an older envelope, but I knew what it was the second I saw it. As I found this in my father’s office, I can only assume my mother is the target. She is a beautiful woman. She doesn’t deserve to die. She simply made a mistake. But my father doesn’t believe in mistakes.” The first sign of emotion, or perhaps it was lack thereof, came when she said the words “my father”, as if just the mere mention of his title in a spiteful way would bring him harm.
Django’s heart sunk. “Fuck…” That one was definitely vocalised. He paused for a moment, forgetting everything that was currently going on and realising he’s just sworn in front of a child. But she didn’t seem to care. “While in many ways this line of work is the most personal profession in the world… This is exactly why you don’t take a personal interest in it…”
The girl began to get slightly more desperate. “Please. You don’t understand. She was just trying to protect me. She took the blame for something I did and that was enough for him.” Her voice began to break. “Please Django. Please don’t make my mother pay for my mistakes.”
Django sighed. “Your father has hired me to do a job. If i flake on this, it has reverberations for the rest of my days. My reputation is blackened. I lose work. He hires me to kill your mother. I have to kill her. Once i read your father’s name written inside this envelope, i have to kill him, and then you’re left all alone. Is that really what you want kid?”
The girl paused for the longest time. Slowly lifting her chin and turning to show her eyes were now softly glazed with tears. She spoke very softly. “I didn’t write my father’s name…”
Django was lost for words. Still holding the envelope in his hands he began to slowly open it. Amongst a bunch of singles and a mess of coins was a small piece of paper, soft pink, folded neatly in half and then half again. His hand shook as he softly opened the crease to reveal a name. “Katie Hartman”. The eye dotted with a heart. Django’s eyes widened. He looked up to see her staring back at him. “Please…” She whispered.
The quiet night air flowed gently by on a breeze. Hank’s silenced pistol no more than a gust of wind to the uneducated ear. “At least she paid cash.”