Type of Short Story: Short Story
Summary: Some say the dead should stay dead. Not everyone agrees.
The priests purged one of their own with holy fire. Now they need the Assassin Without a Name to finish the job.
In this short tale, an assassin is hired to kill the already dead.
"I AM AUTHORIZED TO OFFER you double your normal rate because this job is a bit…abnormal."
I put my wine glass down, letting the smoothness of the '74 Crusus Sabeler slide down my throat and settle in my stomach before I responded. "Abnormal how?"
I'd been enjoying a bottle of the Shiraz when I saw the man poke his way through the wineshop's front door. That he was looking for me, I'd no doubt, for after a quick scan of the room's interior he headed straight for my table, asked my permission to sit, then did so. Right away, I saw that there was something different about this gent. He was middle-aged, with the thinning pate and speckled gray to prove it. The skin of his face was white from lack of sun and he had the smooth and uncalloused hands of a scrivener or scholar. Neither profession earned enough to cover my fee. I was about to tell him so when he introduced himself. He said his name was Father Kem, here as a representative of a church whose name I promptly forgot. A holy man, come to see me? Abnormal indeed.
He'd arrived incognito, dressed in a white tailored shirt, embroidered vest, and plain trousers. Despite the lack of a cassock, I wondered for a brief moment if he'd come to absolve me of my sins. No such luck. He was here to add to them.
"We wish you to dispatch a man…who is already dead."
I narrowed my gaze at that, taking another sip of my wine and hoping it would make the words replaying in my mind clearer. It did not. "You want me to do what?"
Kem's lips turned in a brief smile. "I understand you may think me cracked. But, I assure you, the request is genuine, as is the proposed fee. The man you are to, ah, kill, is—was—named Ashunde Roe. He was a bishop amongst our clergy before he met his end. That end, as you might imagine, is of considerable importance, for Bishop Roe was purged."
That was the clergy's way of saying he'd been burned alive. It was a fate experienced by only the worst of sinners: dark witches, demon-mongers, necromancers, and probably some others I didn't want to know about.
"Ashunde strayed from our ranks," Kem said. "He was caught delving into the debaucheries of necromancy."
Ah, necromancy. I spent my time sending people to their graves. Necromancers spent their time raising them. A vicious cycle by anyone's measure.
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