by hunter crawford

Barker watched from his car with morbid sense of curiosity as the mark crossed the dual carriageway and went into the greasy spoon café opposite. Barker had been on the trail of the mark for almost a month before finally catching up just outside of Glasgow. Dragging on the last of his cigarette, he flicked it out the car window and killed the engine. Leaning over to the passenger side, Barker picked up the Brown file and opened it, studying the photo once more. It was her alright. But something just didn’t feel right about all this. I mean, not the fact that he had been hired to kill someone, that was his chosen profession after all, but it was the mark in question that still had him biting his bottom lip and his stomach twitching with nervousness even after he had accepted the job. Though Barker was a cold-blooded killer and for the right price would kill just about anyone who he was asked to, he did have some moral fibre in his being and there were some rules that he lived by. He always saw a job through to the end and he didn’t kill animals or children unless he had no other choice. And from the brief flashes of skin he saw just below her parker coat and the side profile of her face from behind the hood she had up, she looked no more than a teenager of seventeen.

‘I have rules you see that I live by, not many but these I stick to with absolute clarity.’
‘How very admirable of you, considering your line of work.’ replied the figure from behind the large mahogany desk. Barker could hear the thick tone of sarcasm in her voice, but he didn’t let it rile him.
Clearing his throat, Barker stood before his latest employer in a vast library on a grand estate just outside Surrey. The
library was full of weird and strange artefacts; glass jars with mutated foetal pigs in them, jars of two-headed snakes and other reptiles, skeletal remains of animals he could not quite recognise and a wall of beheaded animals and books, hundreds of them.
‘I also request half of the money upfront and then half when the job is done.’
‘Naturally.’ the figure replied smiling thinly as she used one bony hand to slide a brown file across the desk to Barker as he picked it up and opened it as his eyes went wide and his face went pale.
‘I told you, I don’t kill “those” kinds of things.’ Barker said closing the file and turning away to leave.
‘Two hundred thousand pounds.’ the figure said as Barker looked over his shoulder at the figure behind the desk as his eyes met hers as he stared straight into her grey soul less eyes.
‘This person must really have done a number on you then missy?’ smiled Barker as he turned back to face her as she looked him over as a curious smile began to creep across her pale face.
‘More than you know Mr Barker, more than you know. Now, will you take the job or will I have to find someone else to do the deed?’
‘I will.’ Barker replied reluctantly as the figure’s smile grew longer as she held out one long bony hand to shake Barker’s.
‘Thank you Mr Barker,’ the figure said before sitting back down. ‘Oh there is just one more thing; I require proof that the job was done.’
‘Proof, as in photographic proof?’ replied Barker. ‘I can do that.’
‘That would help but more importantly, I want the head and a jar of blood. That won’t be a problem will it?’
‘No, it won’t’ replied Barker through his teeth.
‘Good. My man servant will sort out the final details, good night Mr Barker.’


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