He wiped the sweat on his forehead with his leather – enclosed hand and placed it back on the trigger. His eyes flickered. Thoughts running faster than his heartbeats.
“Anything?” he asked dryly.
“No,” answered the man next to him. Max, was his name. Maximilian actually, Maximilian Hurst. Everybody called him Max, not because they liked it, but because he despised Maximilian. For some reason he never spoke of. He was the eyes, squatting by the guy with the sniper rifle, his right eye squinting into the scope, occasionally monitoring the wind speed and direction.
The man on the gun took a swig of water from a bottle to his right. A couple more sips and it would be empty, although they didn’t expect to stay much longer.
“Travis, what’s up with you?” Max inquired.
“Huh? Nothing. I’m fine.”
Max had noticed his ‘partner’ had been sweating much more than himself and had been having much more water too. Max’s bottle was still half full.
“Just make sure you’re in the game when it matters. We ain’t got much time here.” Max could see Travis was shifty and nervous, had been that way all morning. He looked at him once again and then quickly looked back into the scope.
Four minutes later, Max perked up. “He’s here,” he announced. Travis quickly positioned himself correctly, looked into the scope and placed his finger ever so lightly on the trigger. “Second bench from that big tree on the left,” Max directed. “Yeah, yeah I got him.” Travis assured.
“Be cool, now. Dude’s gonna be here for ten minutes at least,” Max tried to calm Travis’s nerves a bit.
The sweating intensified. “Wind?” he asked. “10 k’s towards the west,” Max informed. Travis adjusted his rifle accordingly.
Seen through the scope, a certain gentleman by the name Gerry Barton sat on a bench by the river. It was an early summer morning and nobody was in sight yet. The music of an ice-cream cart could be heard in the distance. The vendor had been bribed to stay away from this area for an hour. Suddenly a child came running from the other end, clearly running towards Gerry.
“Who the hell is that?” asked Max as the kid got closer to Gerry.
“Yeah, well, I can see that. Who the hell is he, Travis?” Max was clearly mad.
“Its his grandson. David. 8 years old.”
“He isn’t supposed to be here.”
“Yeah, no shit Max! Look, I went over everything, everybody. Trust me. I know he isn’t supposed to be here. I kept checking on everybody up until we left the room an hour back.”
“You know, if you’re lying, I could shoot you right here.”
The kid was now sitting in Gerry’s lap. The two were smiling and chatting away, oblivious to the two eyes looking at them through scopes that had seen lots of bad things. David was blocking almost all of Gerry’s torso from the view of the two men and aiming for the head was risky too.
“Take the shot, Travis. We can’t know how much longer he’s going to stay here,” Max said.
“There is no shot, Max!”
“You see his head? Because I sure as hell do.”
“There’s an 8 year old kid in his lap that’s moving about too much. I can’t do it!”
“Take the goddamn shot Travis, while you still have one, or I’m gonna have to take it for you. And you don’t want it to get to that.”
Travis swore under his breath and adjusted something in his left pant pocket, before looking back into the scope. He switched off the safety with shaking fingers. His hands shook relentlessly. “What are you waiting for?!” Max said.
Travis moved his rifle ever so slightly to the right, steadied himself and pressed the trigger. The bullet whizzed by David, scraped some t-shirt and skin off Gerry’s left shoulder and went right through the bench behind. Travis turned the safety back on. David and Gerry were both very understandably dazed and the ice-cream guy could be seen running towards them, worried, but the two of them got to their feet quickly and started running.
“What the…,” before Max could complete his sentence, Travis had let go of the rifle, pulled out a knife from his left side and swung it in Max’s direction. It landed in his right arm and rendered it unusable.
“You fucking asshole!” Max exclaimed as he scrambled to his feet and punched out at Travis with his weaker left arm. Travis easily dodged it and then took another swing of his knife at Max, which was aimed at his chest but could only tear a piece out of his t-shirt. Max reached for the holster on his right but before he could take the gun out, Travis kicked his hand away and snatched the gun from its holster and in one swift motion, put the knife back, turned off the safety on the smaller gun and pointed it at Max.
“Why the fuck are you doing this Travis? You really want to go down this road?”
“Yeah, I don’t care.” Travis was sweating profusely.
“You look nervous, Travis,” Max taunted him.
“You know I’m going to have to kill you now, Max.”
“Either way, you’re dead too. Our people will find you. One way or another. Today or tomorrow. And off you pop,” Max had a weird concoction of anger, passion and loyalty in his eyes.
“You don’t know anything about me, Max. You never have.” Travis put on a camo-coloured cap on his head, with the initials, T.B. printed on one side.
“Yeah, you know what, it doesn’t matter because our people do. They know what you look like, they know your name, they know you, Travis. Speaking of, what does that ‘B’ stand for? ‘Travis .B.’?”
“Barton,” Travis replied grimly. Max’s eyes widened.
A bullet shot resounded in the area and Maximilian Hurst’s body fell to the floor with a soft thud. Travis Barton looked around, gathered his equipment, put the shell of the bullet he had just fired in his bag, looked around again and walked away.