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Song of Silence: A short story

This is my first attempt at writing fiction. I hope you enjoy it.

Madrigal Verizon stepped out on to the balcony overlooking the town square. Her long golden hair glinted in the evening sun and as she stood enjoying the last rays before sunset she was only too aware of the interest she was attracting in the square below. She was feeling very pleased with herself as she had just received a phone call from her editor to confirm they had agreed to publish her series of articles.

She had been working on these for quite some time, investigating the rumours of a hidden network of paid assassins within the government, and it was satisfying that at last her work would be recognised.

Suddenly the peace of the evening stillness was broken by the whine of a bullet as it whizzed within inches of her head. For a second she was frozen to the spot, before the realisation that someone was shooting at her dawned. She dropped to the floor and started crawling back into the room she had just vacated. Another bullet whizzed by, hitting an expensive vase. "Damn" she muttered under her breath "I paid a lot of money for that!" and it had taken her a long time to track down such an exquisite example of the glassmakers art. But now was not the time to worry about such matters!

Suddenly, just as another bullet smashed into the wall within inches of her head, the door of the apartment flew open and a stranger stood framed within it. She could only see his silhouette as the light from the hallway behind him streamed into the dark room.

"Stay down!", he commanded in a deep voice "and try and crawl towards me as quickly as possible. Keep your head down!". Stunned by the suddenness of events and terrified by the danger she found herself in, Madrigal did as she was told.

It took her another few seconds to reach the door and as she did so the man leant down and grabbed her hand, pulling her upright in one swift, easy movement. As he did so she became aware of his height and strength and two laughing blue eyes looking down at her.

"My name is Alex Rafferty" he told her, "and I'm here to save your life!".

Bundling her out through the door into the hall, he slammed the door behind him and, still holding her hand, pulled her unceremoniously towards the lift.

“Hold on a minute” Madrigal exclaimed “I can’t go with you, I don’t know who you are! You could be in league with whoever is trying to kill me!”

“I just told you who I am and why I’m here!” Alex replied, “just get in the lift”

As he said it, the lift doors opened and he shoved her through. By this time Madrigal was shaking with a mixture of fear and indignation.

“Where are we going?” she asked

“To a safe place” Alex replied “you may not have realised it, but you are in grave danger. You have been asking too many questions and certain people have been getting very nervous”.

In the bright light of the lift Madrigal took a closer look at this strange man who had burst so abruptly into her life, and who now seemed to be offering her the protection she very obviously was in need of.

He was dressed in what was obviously a very expensive suit and tie, his jet black hair immaculately groomed, but with just a touch of grey at the temples, lending him an air of gravitas. She found it difficult to pin an age on him.

He saw that she was taking him in and smiled, "Don't worry, we have been keeping an eye on you for some time now. We were just waiting for something to kick off to give us a reason to move in on these people."

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"There is a safe house not far from here, we will tuck you away safely there for a while", he replied. Suddenly the enormity of what had happened hit her, she felt her legs starting to shake and would have fallen if he had not sensed her distress and put his arm around her. "I'm sorry" she found herself apologising.

" Don't worry" he reassured her,"we will soon be down and I will take you to the safe house. But we had better go out the back way, just to be on the safe side." He had still not released her and she could feel his warm body against her. Somehow she found it very reassuring.

The lift stopped and they got out. There was no one in the lobby, but still Alex ushered her towards a service door at the rear. "Don't worry, everyone will be far too busy to notice us" he said as they walked quickly through the large kitchen. They went through another door and suddenly Madrigal found herself in a dark alley at the back of the hotel.

As they stepped out into the darkness and the door closed behind them Alex turned to her and bent down as if to kiss her. She felt her body respond and she stretched up towards him.

As their lips met a shot rang out and then a large red stain spread across her back as she slid slowly down to the floor, a surprised expression on her face.

Alex bent over her, pocketing the gun he had used. He briefly checked her pulse, and when he found no response he walked quickly away towards the long black limousine which had pulled into view at the end of the alley.

"Like shooting ducks on a pond" he said, chuckling quietly under his breath. As he got in to the waiting limo a shadowy figure asked "I take it everything went according to plan?" " Oh yes," Alex replied "it always does. My goons are already picking up the body!"

Your comments are welcome!