The Only Way to Win the Game


This close he can hear the clock ticking. He checks his rifle, glances at the hotel below. The target will be outside soon, off to sell secrets. His Employer doesn’t want that.

Any minute now.

Behind him, he hears his name. His real name. He turns.

He didn’t expect to see the most wanted woman in the world, smoking an e-cig.

“Don’t bother calling it in,” she says. “None of your equipment will work.”

He aims the rifle. “This will.”

“You won’t fire.”

“Why not?”

“You want to know what I’ll say.”

“Either you’re here to save him, or to kill me.”

“I’m here to tell you it doesn’t matter.” She shrugs. “He lives, your Employer runs a story about corporate spies, the  need for vigilance. He dies, the Competition runs one on the ruthlessness of your Employer.” Her breath is a cloud against the blue sky. “You know the only way to be sure to win a game? Play both sides.”

She’s lying. He knows she’s lying. But if she isn’t–

The target exits the hotel.

He watches through the sights, finger on the trigger.

He might pull it. He might not.

It might make no difference at all.

Word Count: 200

This is for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: Week 30. Thanks to rogershipp for running the challenge!

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