Short Story · Writing

The Woman

The night air here in New Orleans was sweltering. He’d remembered how humid it got in summer evenings but even he wasn’t prepared for this.

Sweat rolled down the sides of his face as he sat perched on top of the low roof, waiting for the “target” to come out. The street was deserted at this time of night, which is rare for the bustling city.


She had disappeared into the abandoned building hours ago, and he noticed no activity afterward, so he set himself up there on the roof and waited. HQ had briefed him, back in London, on what they knew of her and, but the information was so scant, he wasn’t even sure he’d recognize her from the grainy photo he held in his hands. He didn’t bother asking why she was wanted, as he knew they weren’t going to divulge that to him, but the more time he spent with her file, the more curious he became. “What the devil have you done?” he asked the woman in the photo.


Several hours later, she came out of the building, just as she had walked in, alone and unbothered. He watched as she sauntered to the low-slung black Jaguar, parked on the side of the building. As she began pulling on her leather driving gloves, something caught her attention. The assassin stepped out of the shadows.


A monster of a man came from behind her, his thick arms swinging wildly at her. He was trying to grab for her but caught nothing as she sidestepped his every move. Frustrated he launched himself into her, slamming her into the car.


The spy on the rooftop became very concerned, partly because she was his “target” and partly because of something else he couldn’t put his finger on. He rose to his feet, and turned towards to the stairwell, when he heard the loud crack of bones breaking and the squelch of flesh ripping in the steamy July night. He turned around and walked to the edge of the building. Squinting his eyes to refocus his sight on the chaos below; his brain couldn’t quite make sense of what he was seeing.


The big man was squirming under the grasp of the much smaller woman. Dark red blood bloomed around the collar of his shirt. Her hand around his throat, she threw back her head and cackled like a demon.


He watched as she gently pulled the man close to her and began whispering in his ear. Whimpers escaping his lips, he shook with fear at her simple touch.


She took her hand away from his neck and stepped back, disappearing into the darkness. He looked around, she was nowhere to be found.


Satisfied that she was gone, the man started walking away from the car, clutching his chest. Gasping for air, he looked down at his blood-soaked shirt, and cried out in pain. He slid along the wall, dizzy from the sudden blood loss. When something loomed behind. It was the woman.


Her red lips had spread into a wicked smile, contrasting with the kindness of her face “Where did you come from?” the spy whispered to himself as he crouched down to get a closer look.


She prowled behind her assailant, until he heard her. He turned around and screamed at the sight of her. “Diablo,” he crossed himself. “Leave me alone, please. He told me to do it. He told me to kill you.”


She smiled sweetly at him and caressed his cheek. “But see, mon cher, you came after me anyway, “she said in heavily accented French. “And that was your biggest mistake.”


She was a blur as she dragged him into the alley behind the building. The spy sat on top of the roof, frozen in place for 30 minutes.

Finally he descended from his perch and walked slowly across the street to where he had seen her drag the body. There was nothing there. No body, no woman, no one. He stood there in total disbelief when he heard her voice.


“Are you looking for me, mon coeur, because I have been looking for you.”

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