Chapter 1 - ♫
The silence deafens me. I don't think people really understand what that means when they say it. But for me, it's a complete truth. My ears strain so hard, trying to break through the mist of the lack of sound, and finally, they are rewarded. I hear the distant chink of breastplates, five of them, and I can tell that they are heading this way. My body tenses in anticipation. This moment has been too long in the coming, I have spent too much time preparing for it to make a mistake now. But at the same time, I am completely calm, my heartbeat never hurrying, my breathing constant, and not a bead of sweat on my brow. I am completely confident that he won't see me where I am. Something I learned early in life is that people rarely look up.
They are still one half mile away, and the castle corridors are not straight, so to pass the time and to keep myself calm, I let my mind wander back to when I discovered my first ability. I was six at the time, and I was running from a shopkeeper. I don't know why he was so angry with me, all I had stolen was a loaf of bread. He chased me down all the way down to the catacombs underneath the city, and it didn't take me long to get myself hopelessly lost in the dark. I spent hours just screaming, hoping someone would hear me. I would even have gone with the angry shopkeeper.
After a time, I gave up and started to cry. My sobs were not loud, but I realized after a few moments that I could hear them bouncing back to me. And the sobs I heard formed a picture in my mind. I stopped crying, interested in this new discovery, and I started to walk, this time listening carefully to my footsteps. I could hear the sound hitting the walls and coming back to my ears, and by doing so, I was somehow seeing where the walls were. I was so happy that I gave a shout, only to cringe in pain as the waves echoed back to me, dozens upon dozens of times. I tried to shut it out and discovered, to my immense relief, that the sounds were dulled. I tried to open my ears again and found that I could control this also. It took me a few more hours full of hunger and some slight panic, but I eventually found a way out of the tunnel.
I had no idea what was happening to me at the time, but I eventually figured out the fact that I was not as special as I had at first thought. What I considered super powers were actually normal occurrences in my day and age. Most people had one or more "powers", though everyone was unique in the type of power given to them.
I am jolted from my reverie by the footsteps of the five men. They are closer, close enough that I can hear their heartbeats now. I pull myself into a ready position on the roof. 30 more seconds and they will open the door. I know their procedure, I have studied it for hours on end. Now, it's time for me to make the studying worth it.
The men arrive at the door to the room and it opens. Two of the four guards step through, making sure the room is safe. But they have done this so many times that they are careless. They take one glance around the room and turn around. A tiny dart hits each of them on the neck, sinking into their flesh. The poison on the darts works instantly, killing them before they hit the ground. I slip my small blowgun into my sleeve and swing down from my perch on the ceiling crossbar, flipping backwards once as I do. I hit the ground silently and flatten myself to the wall before the door. The guards outside are looking down the hall, assuming that the two that have entered will raise the alarm if anything is wrong. I mimic one of the guards voices, another one of my talents, and give the all clear signal. The other two walk into the room behind the target, and freeze when they see the bodies on the ground. But it's too late for them too. Their throats are slit before they know what is happening, and the door is closed. I stand in front of the General, my target, and let myself enjoy the moment. The General doesn't
move. He impresses me, his face betraying not the slightest hint of fear, his body remaining completely still. Although his heart has sped up, his breathing remains steady and he looks me in the face with an air of arrogance that I have never seen before. I raise an eyebrow. This is not how my targets normally act. But no matter. A job is a job. Or at least, that's what my employers tell me.
"General, you are charged by the Fourth Column with crimes against the interests of the people of Luberra. These crimes include robbery, treachery, and murder. You have been tried and found guilty, and I am here to fulfill this verdict. Do you have anything to say in your defense?"
The General still remains calm. I have never seen a man like this before. "Not to a killer like you," he says, his voice soft. "I don't think it would make a difference either way, now, would it?"
I smile at his useless courage and draw back my hood to reveal my mask. His eyebrow lifts, but apart from this, he remains a statue.
I lean forward and whisper in his ear. "I don't care if you are guilty or not. This time you aren't just another job for me, another tally on my list. This is more...personal than that."
He merely stares forward and whispers back, "Whatever I have done to you, I am sorry. I know it makes no difference to you, but everything I have done has been for the good of the Council. And their mission is to protect the people. Is that not enough for you?"
I draw back and pull out my knife. I enjoy the sound it makes as it rasps against the sheath, enjoy the slight quickening of breath I hear from my target. "The Council will catch you, you know," he says as I press my blade into his neck. "No matter who you are, they will find you."
"The Council will never catch me." I say quietly. "Do you know why?"
I jerk the knife across his neck and the blood pools into his throat, choking him. He will live only for another few seconds.
"The Council won't catch me because I am the Whistler." I whisper as I carve the music notes into his neck. I whistle my soft tune to myself, the one that has become legend across Luberra, and I watch as the light fades from the General's eyes.