I was unsure of my position in the crowd. There were too many people. All I needed to do was get past it all to get to the other end of the street. From there, a car would be waiting to take me to a building I didn’t know the location of. I would be briefed, given credentials. Bundled away from the meeting to a flight, which would take me to another car, where I would drive or be driven to my final destination. The end goal. Where I would be introduced to a nice young man, whom I would then introduce to the sweet poison of my lips.
It should have been a very simple, though slightly convoluted, undertaking. Planned for months. Every little detail, plotted out, every potential roadblock and speedbump accounted for. There was so much knowledge behind the mission, that I was aware of his undergarment preferences. I knew what shade of lipstick to have the chemist blend the death into to make it more appealing. We thought of everything.
Except, of course, a rally thrown by a presidential candidate. A rally without a formal announcement proceeding it. A candidate who had shown a fondness for these pop-up events, disregarding the typical safety measures and formality of campaign trail speeches. And the constituents loved it. The fact that the candidate was not a party-backed favorite, and had come out of nowhere, left everybody wondering when and where the next would be. There had been no way for anybody to plan for it, even the scores of geniuses behind the missions couldn’t react fast enough.
Me, in a crowd. An unexpected, packed street, bodies upon bodies clamoring to see. To be at the front. Pushing me along the stream, forcing my movement. They edged me away from the car I couldn’t actually see. I knew the direction I needed to be pointed, and knew that I was not. Try as I might, I couldn’t break free, and the fighting was taking its toll. I stopped struggling eventually. Went with them. Maybe, I thought, just maybe, I could duck into an alley, or veer off at a side street. In my head, opportunities for freedom presented themselves readily. In reality, escape was elusive.
With the crowd packed as tightly as they were, the sheer number of bodies in the mass, the air became stagnant, too hot. My dress became suddenly too tight, mummy’s wrappings constricting around my limbs. The collar of my jacket suddenly choked me, one long hand cutting off my airway. I could feel my face lose color at the same time my field of vision narrowed to a black hallway.
Hands grasped me, pulling my arm around a pair of broad shoulders, gripping my middle to hold me up. I wanted to fight; the body produced too much heat, I didn’t want to be hauled deeper into the seething numbers, I was strong enough to move on my own – a countless number of irrational arguments sprang up in my thoughts. But then the air cooled dramatically, and my internal struggling ceased. The sound of the crowd died down, so did the ruckus in my mind. I felt cool plastic pressed into my hand, urging. Then pressed to my lips when I didn’t act on my own fast enough. Refreshing liquid bliss followed, quenching the desert of my tongue.
Steadily, my vision cleared. I could finally see my savior as the tunnel opened up to reveal the world. So stupid. Needing to be rescued like that. I felt my lips start to curl into a bashful, thankful smile. It froze faster than if I’d been coated in liquid nitrogen when my eyes found his face fully.
Him. My quarry. Here.
Reflexes and muscle memory. That’s all the explanation I can give. HE was there, making sure I was okay, and then he wasn’t. Only a body laying in a pool of blood…