She had always been comfortable in the dark, had lived her life in the shadows. It was why they never saw her coming. Too bad her target didn’t believe in a low profile.

He moseyed down the street singing a silly pub song. He could have been a cause of fear; but he was slender and under six feet tall, and appeared to be a happy drunk. The few people he encountered at this late hour gave him plenty of room, but smiled at his grand gestures. All would remember him.

A strong gust of wind caught a lady’s scarf, blowing it down the street. He made a show of retrieving the scarf and handing it to the lady’s date. He tipped his cowboy hat in her direction, before continuing his journey. He never stopped singing.

Thyme ghosted behind him, and followed when he turned down an alley toward his target’s home. He had been hired to kill Damon Riton, a child murderer. Normally, she would not interfere with a just kill; but she would stop this hit man so Damon would be alive for the trial, ensuring his powerful family was exposed. The child murderer had not acted alone, and it was not his first kill. The news feeds had that wrong. The entire family – father, mother, and two brothers – had participated. They followed a centuries old sect that believed power and wealth was maintained by spilling innocent blood.

She pressed the button on her automatic Italian stiletto, which opened silently. She gripped the knife for a quick stab through the eye into the brain. She closed in on her target and caught a whiff of mint and rosemary. It had been five years since she last smelled that exact combination. She hesitated for a fraction of a second, remembering.

That hesitation cost her.

With a practiced move the cowboy tossed Thyme into one of the wrought iron security doors in the back alley. “You never could sneak up on me,” the cowboy hissed softly. Reverting to her normal voice she added, “Someone hire you to kill me, or are you still mad about Jared?”

“Nice disguise, Rosemary. You always knew how to make a statement.” Thyme groaned, rolled to one knee, retracted and pocketed her knife, all the time watching the only person she had ever called friend. “Jared? Oh yeah, I had forgotten his name. You poached him.”

“My bad. His looks were his crowning achievement so you missed nothing.” Rosemary held out her hand.

Thyme accepted the offer of assistance and stood up.  “I was hired to stop you from killing Damon. He needs to stand trial.”

“Why? If he’s dead justice is served and the taxpayers save some money.

“He didn’t act alone.”

Rosemary tilted her head. That wasn’t her understanding and her packet had come from a source that had been reliable in the past. “Proof?”

Thyme pulled up the report on her smart phone and handed it to Rosemary.

“The whole family,” Rosemary sighed as she returned the phone. “So the plan is to make sure he stands trial and hope the entire family is exposed?”

“Yep.”

“Think that will happen?”

“Depends, they’re pretty rich. Maybe a 50-50 chance.” Thyme shrugged. “A better option would be to kill them all and be done with it.”

“Damon’s brothers are paying me an obscene amount to kill him. We could take out the family and split the fee. They preloaded my off shore bank account, ‘cause they may be killers of children, but they don’t know squat about killing contracts.”

“Keep the money. I’ll do this one for free.”

“You were going to kill me for free, weren’t you? And I’ll bet that as soon as you found out the truth about the family you planned to take them all out.”

Thyme shrugged again.

“Come on,” Rosemary tapped Thyme on the shoulder and started walking. “Let’s go kill the evil family, and then you can tell me what you’ve been up to. I’ll bet you did that job in Buenos Aires last month. It was just your style.”

Thyme smiled and joined her friend.

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