Death Doesn't Pay (2018 Version)

*Recording begins to play*

I’m not the best person to take advice from, but this much is true, death doesn’t pay.  Some of you may consider a statement like this from a professional hitman to be odd, as killing people is my livelihood, but it’s true.  Death has more costs than one would expect it would.  People pay me to provide the death of someone else out of hatred, fear, a sense of danger, or a feeling of spite.  Others will pay me in order to regain a sense of security or relief.  The true monsters that I cater to pay for someone to be killed out of pleasure or pride.  Death always comes at a price to someone.  But, there is a hidden price when dealing in the business of death.  Just because one does not pay to die does not mean that there are not any costs in experiencing our final dance alongside the grim reaper.  In a way, I suppose you could call me a “real-life” reaper.  What I say now about there being a cost involved with death is true.
            Normally, there are funeral expenses, death taxes, and expenses involved in traveling to watch someone be buried or witness their ashes spread over an insignificant plot of land or body of water.  There are also emotional and physical costs in terms of the trauma and sorrow that people experience when their loved ones pass.  We live such short lives, full of suffering, and leave this world with a sour taste in the mouths of those closest to us.  Life, specifically human life, is a finite but valuable resource that some value above all else and others would pay high dollar to extinguish.  Those who have lost all hope in escaping a horrible situation or have a deeply entrenched hatred for someone often seek death.  However, some believe that death does not exist and that it is merely a phase towards the end of a chapter we experience here on Earth and continues on in another world.  That claim has been thrown around as long as any of us here on this planet have been alive, but to someone like me, I never see a continuation of anything once someone has passed.  The eyes of those whose lives have been taken by my hand are like opaque glass marbles.  Any light that would have shown through them has long left them.  The life that once lived within them is gone, its light, extinguished. 
            For the victims of my profession, there is little hope of escape and less hope of survival.  My efficiency in my line of work is essential in ensuring not only my livelihood but my very existence.  Without my continuous acts of violence, what other existence would I have?  When you hold a dying person in your arms for their final moments on this god-forsaken world, you almost always see a glimpse of pure emotion; fear or dread.  Almost all of my targets experience this form of emotion when I take the life that they once held so dearly from them.  They tend to lay shocked in fear, while others laid stricken with dread so severe that it is difficult for even the most skilled mortician to contort their faces into appearing peaceful.  Indeed, I visit the funerals of my targets in secret.  I am one who quite enjoys seeing the fruit of their hard labor. Although, I must admit to you that it is a bit of a craving for me.  Killing, at least in my case, is almost like a drug, one that I often cannot get enough of.  I rarely have any emotions when I kill someone, only a dull hunger lingers within me, waiting to be satisfied.  This was the case until my last target.
            She was a prominent figure in the East Asian market, being the head of a high-profile transportation company in Singapore, and most requests to trade shipments through there would go to her company.  She was one of the leaders in her field.  Unfortunately for her, one of her associates hired me to dispose of her discretely.  I would have otherwise declined to take on such a high-profile job, but the payment being offered was simply too good to resist.  Jealousy can make someone do terrible things.  But, in the world of white-collar business, enemies are disposed of discretely and with little evidence pointing as to who had done the job.  When I am being paid this much, I aim to please.  The night that was scheduled by my employer was one where there would be no interference by anyone and no one to witness my work.  She had to travel to the states, where she was supposed to be greeting and working with new trade partners in person, but that would never happen.  I arrived in her hotel room, disguised as a member of the hotel’s housekeeping staff.  She greeted me at the door, adorned in a red, silken nightgown.  Her hair was long and jet black, the ends of it flowing from the tip of her head down to below her waist.  She had a gorgeous shade of blue that extended deep within her eyes, a color that is very rare for where she was from and was most likely a product of one of her parents having been a foreigner in her country.  Her body curved with the fabric and created angles and proportions that would rival the proportions of idealized Greek gods.  I felt a sense of shame and guilt for having to kill such a beautiful woman, but I refused to allow beauty to distract me from my work.  As thorough as I was of my job, she was just as thorough of ensuring her own safety.  She did a search of my body upon entry, giving me little time to react or prepare myself.  She may have been a beauty, but she did not achieve her status with pure beauty alone.  This woman was very smart, and would not be one to have her life taken so easily. I did my best to play off her actions and started with a bit of small talk to ease her out of her inspection.

 "Is there more of me you would like to see, miss?"

I received a half smile from her and followed her into her room. "Proceed in."
            I had already made several backup plans in the event that my prepared course of action went astray.  All of the food and drinks on the cart were poisoned, even the champagne bottle I had in the ice bucket that was sealed had been laced with poison.  I resealed it carefully to ensure that she would not detect any signs of tampering.  I provided her the typical request for the luxurious food and drinks in my cart.  “Is there anything on my cart that you would like?”
She was skeptical at first and looked over the entire cart, but eventually responded with, "Yes.  I am not quite hungry yet, but would like to have your bottle of champagne."

So far, so good.  I provided a typical response, "Would you like for me to place this bottle on your tab, miss?"

"No.  I would prefer to pay in cash...and that I open the bottle myself."  This seemed rather odd to me at first but made sense once I reconsidered how thorough she had been with me upon entry.

"As you wish, miss!"
I began to take the bottle out of the bucket but stopped as she ripped the bottle from my hand, took the glass I was about to hand her off of the cart, and reached for the bottle opener to open the bottle of champagne.  As abnormal as her actions were, she took her time once she had opened the bottle and indicated for me to have a seat in a chair across from the one she had been sitting in.  I was a bit relieved to know that I would be able to witness her die, first hand like I usually do.  I always enjoy watching and making sure my work reaches its completion. 
"Please stay.  I would love to have someone to talk to and share this drink."  
I grew a bit nervous, as I didn’t want to drink from the same bottle my target was about to, so I attempted to convince her of my “low alcohol tolerance”.

"Oh no!  I'm afraid I don't drink, miss!  But I don't mind having a conversation if that is what you are truly interested in."  She didn’t seem convinced.

"Oh, is that so?  Are you a light drinker, mister..."

I provided her a fake name, "Jared, miss.  And yes, I'm afraid so."

"Oh, well that should not stop you from having a conversation with me.  I realize that our professions are different and normally would not permit such socialization, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a conversation."

I agreed with her and provided her an "As you wish" before I took the seat across from her.  We made small talk about our upbringings and childhood.  I did my best to create a convincing story and would divert back to her whenever possible.  She told me the story of how she came to be in her position as one of the highest business executives for the company she was employed under.  However, she began to grow sad after talking about how her life had changed and about the friends and coworkers she missed spending time within the past.  As this conversation passed, she continued to take sip after sip of the toxic wine.  She was upset about having not been able to live the dreams that she had when she was a child.  Her father was the CEO of the company and pushed her into taking a job at the company and hounded her into pursuing promotion after promotion.  She was treated harshly because of her being the youngest child out of three and her older siblings both having been born brothers.  With the pressure of achieving success in what was a male-dominated household, she had to prove to her father that she could be just as successful as a man.  He always spoke of how he felt disgraced for having a daughter be born into his family and how she ruined the chance of him achieving a perfect line of heirs.  He forced to start at the bottom, handling data transactions inside of a tiny cubicle while her brothers were given executive positions right after they graduated from college.  Part of me wanted to kill that son of a bitch myself, but I had to remind myself not to bear any sympathy while listening to her story.  She wanted to make her father proud and prove to her father that family honor was everything.  She had never been given the opportunity to go and fulfill her dreams because she was born a girl.  When she finally finished her story, so did her sips of the champagne.  As she began to refill her glass, she tried to ask me what brought me to Singapore before she began to cough violently and fell out of her chair, hitting the cart as she fell.  She began to cough up blood and stained the white cloth covering the food cart.  She lunged at me, desperately trying to reach for my neck, but fell short and only managed to grab at the end of my shirt.  She spoke meekly, tears of pain and betrayal growing behind those beautiful eyes.
"Who sent you?  Who wanted to do this to me?"
 I provided her the name as a parting gift since she would never survive this ordeal.  She turned and spat on the floor.  "My brother sent you.  Of course, he did.  He was afraid that father might actually want me to be his successor after all of these years and that terrified my brother.  He deserves to die.”  And with that, she fell to the floor, her eyes slowly closing shut.  Normally, I would have felt nothing but the hunger, but when I looked at her face, I saw a smile cross it and her whisper softly, "Thank you." And with that, she was gone.  A wave of disgust swept over me.    It wasn't the first time I killed someone who was innocent, but she was different.  She accepted her death.  This was something I had never seen before with my targets.  A sense of dread came over me, the same kind of dread I see in the eyes of my targets.  I quickly made my way out of the hotel and entered into the alleyway.  I stripped down out of the attire I had been wearing in the hotel and jumped into my car.  I didn’t look back.  I couldn’t bear to look at that hotel.  After that night, the feeling of dread and sickness only grew.  My hope is that it would eventually end, but it only grew worse.  I never drank from the same glass, but it almost felt like I had been poisoned too.  She filled my nightmares for weeks.  I couldn’t find sleep and had to cancel three jobs.  I was utterly incapacitated.  I couldn’t think about anything except that final smile she gave me that night I killed her.  I slowly began to lose my mind.  I wrote the conversation we had that night in journals, on random envelopes, and eventually began to write it on the walls.  I did everything I could to try and get the memory of her out of my head, but it was no use.  I found myself destroy things, hurting myself, and destroying everything I used to care about.  I broke anything that showed my reflection in it.  I could no longer bear to look at myself.  I devolved into cutting and beating myself when the sickness would come over me to make it go away.  I couldn’t keep living like this.  After weeks of this torture and having received no new jobs, I received another one and was prepared to decline it like the others but stopped myself from pressing the decline button when I saw the name.  It was the name of her brother, the same brother who paid me millions to kill his only sister.  I knew what I had to do, and made the preparations.  I tracked down her brother, knocked him out, taped his mouth, covered his head and brought him to an abandoned warehouse and set up everything.

And now, here we are!  I made sure to set up everything to ensure neither of us will make it out of this alive.  I cannot stand to live any longer.  This poison, this pain, it all must end!  These two executioners blades above me are ready to fall upon both mine and his head once I take my seat and press the remote attached to it.  This is the only way I can ensure that my deeds do not go unpunished.  I know now.  I know that life has a cost more than money.  Life costs those who take it, those like me.  It slowly eats away at us, until it turns us into monsters.  I thought that there was nothing after life, but I could see it, in her eyes before she was gone.  She was finally happy.  She was happy because of me because I killed her!  I can’t stand to live with myself.  I leave this recording to those who may find it.  May you learn from your mistakes before it’s too late and end up a monster like me, desperately hoping for it to all end.  And to those who may find this recording, I have only three words for you before I kill this bastard and myself, death doesn’t pay.

*Recording ends*


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