They had given me tickets to Bermuda as a departing gift, after I had told them I was done. I read over them several time, to verify there was no falsity to the tickets, but they appeared real enough. When I walked out, the click of the door behind me was a reminder that this was all too good to be true. No hitman leaves the industry that easily.
As I walked through the hallway to the elevator, decorated lavishly with red furnishings, I had an eye out for the betrayal. None came. I pressed the down button, and took a step back. The doors swung open a moment later, and a small man walked by me. He was inattentive, and nearly walked right into me. When I turned to let him pass, I saw a body appear down the corridor to the left. A massive, titan of a man, nearly seven foot tall and four feet across, was pacing slowly toward me. His suit coat was loose, but the shirt underneath was tight to his chest, and made it look like he was made more of steel than flesh.
The doors to the elevator opened, and I thought, panic stricken, that he might not be able to make it to me before they closed, so I stepped through. Dead wrong. He broken into a sprint, and as the doors began to shut, he barreled through them. His shoulders smashed the edges of the elevator where I had been standing a moment before, and when he stepped away the support bar was indented. My shock had frozen me for a moment, and the ding of the doors woke me with the realization that I was probably going to die here.
Fortunately, my body was not so frozen. Acting on muscle memory, I stepped behind him, and kicked out his right knee. He toppled off balance and fell to his knees for a moment. The pause gave me the chance to get an arm around his brick of a neck, pressing my chest tight against him to give as little room for breath as possible. When I pulled tight, to squeeze the life out of him, it was like wrangling a beam to a building. It only took him a moment to regain his footing, and as he stood up I felt my feet leave the ground. His arms went to his neck, and dug into my arm as a lion digs into its prey. I thought he might break my arm with his grip alone.
Somehow, I held on. When he began getting desperate, he slammed me back into the elevator door. Or rather, through the door. I felt my whole back snap and crack as the steel doors bent. Our bodies came tumbling two floors before the bottom floor. In a heave of pain, I scrabbled to my feet. He was still bent over, coughing as he caught his breath. I scanned the room, and found the stairway, then bolted for it. I heard him stumble to his feet behind me, and then suddenly the whole building seemed to shake as he took up the chase. I swung the door open, taking the steps four at a time, using the handrail to balance myself and redirect my momentum around the turns.
Two flights of stairs later, I reached the bottom. I had gained a bit of distance between us. A man that size was unlikely to be able to move quickly through such tight quarters. When I stepped into the lobby, I tossed my black coat into the trash can beside me, and ripped a deep red one off the coat wrack, along with a pale black hat. I stepped out onto the street, and melted into the crowd just as he tore into the lobby. That was the last time I saw him.
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