Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Entry #124

Guild of Daggers
by Deborah Smythe


I was a dead woman.

There was no aftertaste of flower or metal on my tongue, no pain twisting my gut, but it was done. I saw it in Philip's expression.

Eyes half-lidded, he watched as I set the wineglass back on the nightstand. His body was exquisite, limned in moonlight from the window, his face ethereal. He leaned over and kissed me, warm and lingering, but on the neck. A prudent man, my beloved.

"Sorry, Sian." His eyes were sad, but he shook his head and I knew what he was thinking. The fault was mine.

We all had affectations, those of us in the guild: a rose left upon a breathless chest, a faux-gold chain 'round the victim's neck. These were our calling cards, and often our weapon as well. Philip and I had been lovers for six months, I knew his method. I'd gotten careless.

"It was a no-name contract," he explained, hands warm on my body. "I didn't know you were the target when I accepted. You know I love you." His kiss, on the lips this time and deep, told me all trace of poison had left my mouth.

I kissed him back and we both enjoyed it, up until the finish. His eyes popped open, wide and startled. I smiled bittersweet. "I love you too, Philip."

His calling card was poison in a glass of red wine. Mine was a stiletto in the back. I slept with one under the pillow. He knew that.

30 comments:

Hoodie said...

Ooh, some Mr. and Mrs. Smith action going on, but with more finesse.

I like this a lot. Very strong. And I love the word "limned." Extra vocab points.

Kimberly B. said...

Ooh, I like it! Definitely makes me want to know more!

Laurel said...

Cool! Great descriptions. I, too, dig the word "limned."

Beth Harar said...

Love the ending! Very clever.

JR's Thumbprints said...

The simplicity of your opening line--I was a dead woman--sets up the conflict brilliantly. The POV never falters as the reader learns just how dead the narrator really is. Two thumbs up!

Karen said...

Points for best first line! This one held me all the way.

laughingwolf said...

a real gem, thx deborah :)

wrath999 said...

Enjoyed this a lot

alex

The Preacherman said...

I thought the best was already entered and I was wrong.

This is brilliant and a great ending too.


Four Dinners

Katherine Napier said...

Careless? Maybe... but still very much prepared, isn't she?
Taking responsibility for the fault of her own death plays brilliantly against his need to do the same. Well done.

desiderata said...

Deborah: I was bedaggered -- oops, bedazzled right from de start! Well done, YL

Catvibe said...

Cool! I also loved 'limned'. I had to look it up and now I know a cool new word! I thought for a minute this was going to be yet another vampire story, and was thrilled to find it wasn't. Nice one.

Therese said...

What the hell? Why didn't she get mad? She accepted it so incredibly fast. And she still kisses him, and loves him as she dies? What kind of assassin is she? I wish she had had time to kill him, or set his death in motion or something.

I'm really pissed off for her.

You know, it's a well written piece, Deborah, that can elicit such a reaction.

Deb S said...

Thanks, everybody!

And Theresa, check out the ending again. She did kill him. Hoping that came through, otherwise mea culpa.

Terri said...

Excellent! She who laughs last and all that, eh? Great piece :-)

JG said...

Therese -

I think the very reason she accepted her own death so easily is BECAUSE she is an assassin. Death is a readily faced outcome and in that line of work a day-to-day reality!

Dottie said...

I also love this. Great job!

Laurel said...

Ditto JG. I felt that was very in character for her. They were both professionals and she understood what happened. Reference to "the Guild" and "calling cards" indicates how seriously they take their contracts.

It also tells us she would have done the same thing.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Oh, very neatly done! Brilliant bit of story telling which I very much enjoyed reading! Good stuff!

Krista said...

Beautiful writing and I really like the story. Could be my favorite.

pjd said...

Deb, for me the ending was clear, and the actions defined the characters. I love how you spun this around, where you got me enjoying their romantic kiss to end it, then also enjoying the stab in the back. Really well done. Also, tight, efficient prose.

BernardL said...

She wasn't the only careless one. :)

Nothingman said...

Maybe he wasn't a good lay :P and she was seeing someone else.

I like how they both knew shit about each other, but still they both let it happen. Great manipulation of situation.

N

Sarah Laurenson said...

Very well done, though I couldn't quite figure out how she stabbed him in the back when they were kissing from the front. Very strong arms on that one if she did it without being behind him.

Christina said...

Love is blind, eh? Very nice.

Aniket said...

Oh I have a thing for female assassins. :D

I totally loved her and the plot and the execution. So its most definitely is in the forties club. I have feeling it'll make it to my top 5 at the very least. :D

JaneyV said...

I had no trouble with it at all. I think you wrote clearly and that the story was tight and neatly executed (-sorry couldn't help it!).

Very enjoyable read.

September said...

Oh - this was wonderfully written. Excellent. I too thought of Mr. and Mrs. Smith - but oh, this was so much more interesting. I guess she wins. If you can call it that.
I loved it. Thanks for such a great little story - so beautifully done. Now I want to read the whole book - um...please say you are expanding this into a full story. :)

jason evans said...

Assassin lovers targeting each other. Her last act to take him down too. A deadly symmetry. Strong writing.

Welcome to The Forties Club!

Deb S said...

Thanks, Jason! This was fun and informative.

And thanks again to everyone who took the time to read and comment. I appreciate the encouraging words.