“Is there something interesting about Mr. Evans, Miss. McKain?” With a jolt, I turn my attention to the teacher at the front of the room. Mr. Gald is in the middle of explaining the correct way to draw the structural diagram of some sort of acid.
Mr. Gald looks at me expectantly. I glance around at my classmates to see them all looking in my direction. Coleman Evans’s ears are bright red under his blond curls as he avoids my gaze.
I shake my head at Mr. Gald. “No, sir,” I answer, feeling the heat prickle up my neck to my cheeks. Having so many pairs of eyes on me makes me uncomfortable.
I can't help it when my mind returns to Cole as Mr. Gald continues his lecture. Coleman is a new student, born in the United States, raised in various cities, moving when his father was transferred somewhere at work, and moved here only a few months ago. His face has been swimming in my mind since the first day I saw him here in our advanced chemistry class. His blue eyes, his red cheeks, his slight tan that has faded with our Alberta winter weather… All of it makes him the perfect target.
I know everything about him. He was born in Massachusetts and moved to Tennessee when he was five, then moved to Manitoba when he was eight. After that, he stayed in Florida from eleven to sixteen, then went to Utah until he was eighteen and then moved here to finish his last year of school.
He has gone to nine different schools throughout his life and was home-schooled for a year when he was fourteen. His first girlfriend was in Florida - she was a cheerleader for his football team. He suffered a concussion one year and his girlfriend broke up with him for spending too much time in the hospital. He broke his arm playing hockey in Manitoba, and sprained his ankle playing soccer in Utah.
He has had surgery three times; first his appendix, then his wisdom teeth, and a year ago he had his gall bladder removed due to an infection. Because of the surgeries, he has needed a lot of donated blood; type A-positive.
I know he walks to work at Tim Hortons immediately after school. He finishes work at seven o’clock and walks home to 5482 maple avenue. He never goes through the front door; only the door on the side into the garage.
But where would I meet him? He has to walk past a hardware store and the grocery store before he leaves the block where he works. After that, he takes an alley between the bank and the post office but there are cameras there… There’s a small, dark area just after the post office just before he gets into the residential area. No, the cameras from the bank watch at least two blocks down on either side.
Wait. Mrs. Port and her family are gone for the week. She has a huge backyard that won’t be lit by the porch light because she shuts the power off when she leaves (“They’ll drain your power while you’re gone, those companies. Turn on all the lights in the house and leave the water pump on ’till you’re over your bill. Owe them hundreds, they say. Ha, I’m never paying them for no power I don’t use!”).
There. Perfect. The sun goes down at four so by seven it’ll be nice and dark. The porch light won’t come on. The neighbors won’t see. It will be so fast he won’t make a sound.
The bell rings, signalling the end of class. Mr. Gald calls out a homework assignment as we leave and I jot it down in the corner of my notebook.
“Esmera,” my best friend, Genevieve calls, catching up to me as I exit the classroom. The girl loops her arm through mine and we make our way through the halls. “What are you doing after school?”
I feign a sigh and show her the chemistry homework assignment. “Plus I have Calculus, History, and Psychology on top of that.” This, of course, is a lie; the calculus homework was finished over my lunch period, I finished the History essay weeks ago even though it is due next week, and my Psychology homework was handed in this morning.
“Ez, you work way too hard,” Gen sighs, shaking her head at me. “When are we going to get a chance to hang out? You’ve been busy for the past two weeks.”
I shrug. “I’ll probably have the chance tomorrow or the day after,” I answer. In truth, stalking Coleman had taken up all my time. I’d had to lie to Gen to keep my family secret; if she knew, she’d become the next target.
My friend brightens slightly. “Tomorrow then. You promise?”
I loop my pinky with hers and smile. “Promise.”
My feet ache as I stand in the trees behind Mrs. Port’s house. Just as I thought, the light is off and there is no sign of movement inside the house, meaning she still is away. I glance at my watch and sigh. I have at least ten minutes before Coleman is scheduled to walk by. I shift my weight and slip into the shadows.
I only have to wait five minutes. Evidently, Coleman was let off work early. He walks slowly with his hands in his pockets, his head down. A black backpack swings off one shoulder. He looks deep in thought.
I slide my hood over my head and put my mask on. With this garb, no one can tell who I am. I snap the mask to the hood, aware that my target may hear the minute clicks and be alerted of my presence.
Just as I thought, at the sudden noise, Coleman stops. His head swivels in my direction. “Who’s there?” His voice shakes as though he expects a murderer to jump out.
Well, I think with the hint of a smile. He’s not too far off.
I pick up a rock in my gloved hand and toss it slightly to my left. Coleman's gaze follows the noise and he frowns. After three more rocks, he is curious enough about the movement that he moves toward me. I silently pull my weapon out of my belt loop. I raise the straw-like instrument to my lips and take aim. As Coleman turns toward the sudden flash of metal, shining slightly in the moonlight, I let loose a puff of air. The tiny, red, needle-like dart shoots from the end of the straw, hitting his chest and burying itself deep in his body. The dart pierces his heart and he is dead before he can muster a scream.
I watch the boy fall to the ground. His tanned cheeks are slack and blood dribbles across his lips. Those blue eyes stare blankly at the sky, no sign of life left in them.
As soon as his body settles on the ground, I feel a sharp pain in the middle of my back. Something, though I cannot think of what at the moment, is wrong.
Ignoring the burning pain, I press the butt of the dart gun against his chest, taking a pulse that I know is not there. I hear the click that means my target is dead and then retreat from the body, my work done. No trace of mine, nor the weapon shall be found here. Just like all of my other assassination missions, this murder will go unsolved.
My weapon is a 0.5 millimeter dart gun with an ice chamber to hold my tiny, needle-like bullets. These special bullets need to be kept at a frozen temperature because they are not made of a substance solid at room temperature; they are made of blood. Using a dial on the side of the ice chamber, I can choose the blood type of the bullet to match the victim's so that is is not traceable. The tiny hole left by the bullet will go unnoticed by a coroner because it is not the size of an actual bullet, and the blood dart will melt and pool with the rest of the blood in the heart before freezing once again in the frigid winter air. Using a temperature colder than any human can survive, the bullet is hard enough and sharp enough to go right through bone.
My mother’s words echo through my head as I make my way back to where I parked my motorcycle on the dirt road behind Mrs. Port’s house. We have sufficient evidence that he killed Gage. Your brother shall be avenged in Coleman’s death. Esmera, I trust you to do as you are supposed to. Remember: the trail is dead as soon as the victim is.
I start the engine and move off the road. My tires will be changed and my shoes burned when I get home to lose any evidence left at the scene. The tire tracks found will not match the tires on my motorcycle, nor will any evidence lead anywhere near my family’s company. Shoe prints will not match mine, nor anyone else’s. The trail is dead as soon as the victim is.