“Take the shot as soon as you’ve got it,” I heard through my comms earpiece. If I wouldn’t lose my sights by rolling my eyes, that’s what I’d be doing. Take the shot as soon as I’ve got it? Who the fuck did this newbie think he was talking to?
I was one of the best snipers in Unit 23. Not one of—the best. I took the shot when I knew I’d take the assailant down.
“Shut the fuck up,” I seethed, pulling the trigger the very instant I knew I’d hit the bastard right between the eyes. There might be a little blood splatter on the woman he was attempting to use as a human shield, but she’d live. He wouldn’t.
A quick pfft was all he heard. It might not have even registered. No crack since I only used subsonic bullets. Once he was on the ground, the clean-up crew moved in. One for him. One to get the woman to safety.
“Wait!” I heard a female voice call out, but I kept going. I came in, got rid of the bad guy, and someone else handled the rest. I didn’t do victims.
I picked up my pace when I heard footfalls getting closer. Periscope, the handler, fucking better stop this woman before she got any closer to me, or there’d be bloody hell to pay later.
Her hand landed on my arm just as I reached for the vehicle’s door handle, and I froze.
“I wanted to thank you—wait, Asher?”
I stared into the eyes of the girl I took to a school dance a lifetime ago. Sullivan Rivers. It was a damn good thing I hadn’t known it was her the motherfucker held between himself and certain death. Not that it had worked. But if I’d known who she was then, things would’ve gone differently. I wouldn’t have risked taking the shot, but I would have ripped the man apart with my bare hands.
“Asher?” she repeated, her eyes boring into mine.
“Sorry, Sav—” Thankfully, Periscope caught herself before revealing my code name. At least she was one for two. Letting Sullivan get close to me would get her written up, maybe even removed from the unit.
I jerked my arm away. “Sorry, lady. Wrong guy.”
I got in the SUV as Periscope led her away. I didn’t risk removing my full-face ski mask even with the blacked-out windows until I was sure I was far enough away that Sullivan wouldn’t catch a glimpse of me.
Even if she had, I looked nothing like the scrawny boy she once knew. I’d grown taller, my body filled out, and my facial hair finally came in. The other thing that had happened between the last time she saw me and now—my heart had turned black as coal. That’s what happened to people in my line of work. It didn’t matter that I rid the world of another piece-of-shit criminal with every bullet I fired. I shot to kill. Period. I lost track of my kill count a long time ago. And yet, they called me Savior.