This story is by Alex Crenshaw and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
I pull the trigger.
The recoil from the high-powered rifle migrates through my muscles like being rear-ended.
The target stands at a podium delivering his speech uninterrupted.
My handler gave explicit instructions to miss the first engagement.
As anticipated, the sliver of lead I hurled at the target goes unnoticed by the thousands gathered in this city square.
I fix my scope on the target’s center mass. My finger slides gently onto the trigger and I send out another custom made .50 caliber round.
I see immediate impact.
A hole, the size of a compact-disc, opens up on the target’s suit jacket over his heart, bursting like a popped balloon.
The target slowly glances down at the bloody alteration I made on his jacket.
The audience scream in terror while trampling one another towards the exits.
Two secret service agents rapidly approach the target.
I release another round.
The target clutches his chest as the bullet perforates his right lung.
The two secret service agents grab the target and lead him down the ramp off the stage.
I fire again.
The bullet hits one of the secret service agents and removes their left arm. The arm drops to the ground and the rest of the agent’s body follows.
The remaining agent rushes the target to the exit.
I calm my breathing, readjust my sights and aim for the targets central nervous system.
Before my finger touches the trigger the target stops walking despite the entreaty of the remaining agent.
Slowly, the target raises his eyes in the direction of the building I occupy. His eyes stop directly on my position.
A smirk appears on his blood stained face.
I fire my last round.
The bullet explodes out of the rifle at 2,400 feet per second. It’s contact with the target results in the target’s head erupting in a shower of blood and brain matter.
I loosen my grip on the rifle. As I get to my feet I hear something that sends a chill through my spine.
The crowd’s cries of fear halt.
They aren’t fleeing or groping for a way out.
Thousands of people stand erect, completely still and quiet.
And then they begin to move.
All in unison; all towards the building I hold.
They steadily increase their pace. None of them collide into each other as they charge the building.
I flip the switch on my detonator. The 8 minute countdown begins.
I wired the bottom floor of the building with over 500 pounds of C4 prior to engaging the target. A little over-the-top for the CIA, but a staple of the insurgents in the country that will take the blame for this assassination.
I hear the Claymore explosives I planted at the entrances to the building detonate. Three all at once, then four more as the horde enters the building from the other side.
The entire building begins to vibrate under my feet.
I bank down two flights of stairs before I see the mob rising up the stairway like water pouring into a submerged automobile.
I bolt through the closest door.
The fire escape is to my left down a hallway. I take my pistol in hand and fire two rounds at the window.
The window granulates and I pick up speed to crash through it.
The glass fragments into larger pieces than I had anticipated. A hundred glass shards protrude from my left arm.
I begin my decent down the fire escape, but one flight down and I can feel the metal rails swaying and shivering.
The horde is flooding up the fire escape from each of the floors below me.
I dart back up the flight of stairs.
I see a swarm of people through the smashed window.
I continue my ascension.
The integrity of the metal is waning in creaks and moans.
In a minute I’m on the roof.
I step off the fire escape right before the metal staircase detaches from the side of the structure.
Hundreds crash to the ground in a mess of blood and twisted metal.
Some manage to cling to the building and re-enter through the windows.
The sound of a thousand feet pound up the stairs as they near the rooftop access in front of me.
The noise is deafening.
I expect to see the door burst open in a human stampede. Then that chill runs up my spine once more.
The rooftop door creaks open slowly and a single man walks through it.
The door closes behind him. My pistol is trained on his heart.
The man walks, hands clasped behind his back, and stops within 20 feet of me.
He looks directly into my eyes and his mouth tilts into a hellish grin.
The man’s facial features appear to melt. His eyes become covered in skin along with his nostrils and mouth. The man’s clothes take the appearance of naked flesh.
I fire two shots at it’s chest.
Two holes open up, but are immediately closed over by flesh.
The rooftop door bursts open and a thousand more of these skin covered creatures rush through, blanketing the rooftop.
I back up towards the edge of the building.
Their featureless faces begin taking shape. Nose, ears, eyes and a mouth form.
The skin on their bodies take the shape of clothing.
Now I stand staring at an army of people who all look exactly like the president I just assassinated.
I wander if I get paid extra for each of their corpses now
The deafening sound of high-explosives rumbles beneath our feet. I begin to feel weightless. The building leaves my feet for a second and I see the targets floating in mid-air. Plumes of smoke and ash cloud my vision.
Then I feel the ground.