What a waste, officer Ford thought as he let his eyes wonder yet again across the utterly devastated hotel room. Or what was left of it. Bullet holes riddled the walls to the extent that most of the dark green and yellow striped wallpaper had been ripped off. Pieces of original paintings littered the floor with the remains of several large armchairs, a conference table, and what had once been a black briefcase full of money. The hundred-dollar bills had now been shredded by gunfire, and most of their tiny pieces lay on top of seven mangled corpses. Two of them were leaning on the collapsed table, one was hanging halfway out of a shattered window, and four were strewn across the floor, dying the off-white carpet a sickening dark red. Officers Ford and Harris had identified those of the bodies that still had their facial features somewhat intact as high-ranking members of local gangs. Ford wasn't sure what in the room made him feel the most sick: the grizzly human remains, the thick smell of gunpowder, cigarettes, and blood, or the one living thing they had found in there.
On a small chair between the two police officers sat a young girl. Her dark brown hair and gray dress were covered in blood, which the officers deduced to be from the dead gangsters as the girl seemed physically unharmed. What had happened in her head, however, the two men thought to be another story. They hadn't gotten a single word out of her, and she had only given two answers of any kind so far: a shake of her small head when asked if she was hurt and if there had been anyone else in the room.
Officer Ford rubbed his eyes, trying to clear his head.
"How long 'till the reinforcements get here?" he asked his partner.
Officer Harris scratched his head and put his cap back on before looking at his watch. "At least twenty more minutes," he muttered.
"What's taking them so long?" Ford grunted, annoyed.
"The manager said he 'doesn't want to cause a scene' and asked the chief to take his time," Harris replied, looking at the notes he had taken.
"And the chief agreed," Ford sighed, gritting his teeth. "Damn this city."
"Eeeyup," Harris agreed. "I tried to insist, but the chief just told me the gangsters aren't in a hurry to leave."
Ford threw his arms in the air, cursed the chief of police, and looked down at the girl sitting silently in front of them, wrapped in Harris' uniform jacket.
"What d'you suppose we should do with this one?"
"Not much we can do until the medics get here," Harris said, chewing a toothpick.
Ford knelt down in front of the girl with a horrid grimace on his face. He had never been good at faking smiles or talking to kids, on or off duty.
"You okay there, sweetheart?"
The girl glanced quickly into Ford's gray eyes before her gaze sank back to the floor.
"Yeah, I wouldn't be either, honey," Ford sighed, tussling the girl's hair. He pulled back a blood-stained hand.
Ford got back up to his feet and turned to his partner who was now on the other side of the room eyeing the corpses.
"What kind of sick bastard brings his daughter to gang meeting?" Ford asked, his hand on the girl's shoulder.
"A sick one," Harris snapped back. He wasn't in the mood for rhetorical questions.
Ford walked over to Harris, minding his step as to not step on anything important or overtly squishy.
"You find something over here?"
"No, I'm just thinking... The girl's story if you can call it that doesn't make sense," Harris said, flicking his toothpick out of the window one of the gangsters had chosen to collapse on.
"If there was no one else in the room, these guys would've shot each other. But then they wouldn't be in pieces like this. Also, the assault rifle is way over there," he pointed across the room, "and all the mobsters have been shot from that direction."
Ford nodded in agreement.
"There was a ninth person in the room."
"Exactly," Harris muttered while scratching his nose, "so why did the girl say there was no one here?"
Ford grabbed his partner's shoulder.
"For god's sakes, man, the girl's in a shock!" he hissed into Harris' face. "And she might've not been in the room at all when this happened, she might've been in the bath-"
A suppressed gunshot interrupted Ford. A bullet entered his head through his right temple, making sure he never finished his sentence. Harris fell to his knees and grabbed his partner's body before it hit the ground. Fresh blood poured onto his shirt sleeves as Harris tried to comprehend what had happened to Ford. As Ford's eyes dimmed, Harris turned to the door with an incredulous expression on his face. The last thing he ever saw was the silhouette of a tall, thin man in a brightly-lit doorway. With another gunshot, Harris' world went black.
The small chair the girl had been sitting on fell over as she jumped up to her feet. Harris' jacket flew off her shoulders onto the floor, undoing the last kind gesture Harris did in his life. The man in the doorway – young, with a trendy haircut and a dark gray suit – turned his cold, almost completely white eyes on her. The girl felt as if his gaze was poking directly at her brain through the black thin-framed eyeglasses set on the man's nose. Tears swelled in the girl's eyes as the man dropped a black sports bag on the floor, dashed forward and grabbed her arm.
"Lydia, what... What is this?" he asked as he knelt down in front of her.
The girl was now fighting back sobs.
"I-I'm sorry, K. I s-screwed up..."
"No!" the man hissed loudly. "This isn't a screw-up! This is a disaster!"
The man turned over to quickly count the corpses.
"Two, four... Seven dead! And the cops. Lydia, you were supposed to poison one man! One man!" he shouted at the girl who was now crying outright.
"But they noticed, K! It was an accident! I-I had no choice, I had to shoot-"
"There's always choice!"
Faced with the man's fury, the girl sunk to the floor, sobbing to herself.
The man got up. He ran his fingers through his expensive haircut as he took in the brutal scene.
"Oh god, what a mess... What were you doing, being noticed in the first place? Unprofessional, Lydia."
"I'm so sorry, K," the girl managed to whisper between swallows of her own snot and tears.
The man paced around the room, not being too careful not to step on anything important or overtly squishy. Blood stuck to his patent leather shoes as he kicked corpses over to get a look at their bullet-ridden faces as he continued lecturing Lydia.
"Well you did get the target," he admitted, stomping on the head of one of the bodies, "but just look at this! Waste of bullets and time! I'm the one who has to sort this out, Lydia!"
The man took a look at his Rolex.
"And we're almost out of time too, the police will be here soon. I'm not going to have time to clean anything up!"
Lydia kept repeating, "I'm sorry, K!"
The man knelt down to turn Ford over and take a good look at him.
"And then these two. Goddammit, I don't like killing cops! This is going to take-"
He noticed the one corpse, a fat one, hanging out the window.
"Waaaaaait, is that Adlerhoff?"
Lydia suddenly stopped crying and snapped to attention, raising her face from her hands.
"The one in the window? I think so, did you know he was gonna be here?"
The man wrestled the body up and slammed it to the ground, making sure it didn't hit either Harris or Ford as it flopped over.
"It is Adlerhoff! Oh, never mind then. Good job, Lydia!" The man adjusted his glasses and flashed a bright grin at the girl.
A tentative smile crept on the girl's lips as she looked at K through her still tear-filled eyes. He seemed like a completely different man now, whistling happily as he kicked Adlerhoff's bloated corpse in the head.
"K, you... You mean you're not mad anymore?"
"Nah," the man shrugged while wiping his shoes on Adlerhoff's pants. "I mean, it's still a mess but you got this asshole. It's fine. I'm sure I'll be able to convince the client that this was for the best."
K glanced over to the assault rifle lying on the other side of the room.
"Pick that thing up though, can't leave it lying around. Oh, and you get no dessert tonight."
"Awww, not fair!" Lydia shouted as she skipped over to pick up the weapon and drop it in the sports bag K had brought. She turned to K with a pout.
"Yes fair, you gotta be punished somehow," K said, tussling Lydia's hair as he walked up to her. "Oh god, you're disgusting. We've got to get you cleaned up, you're taking a bath when we get home. And that dress needs to be burned."
A horrified expression rushed to Lydia's face.
"But I like it!"
"We'll buy you a new one, but you can't wear that... Thing again!"
Lydia beamed up at K.
"You're really not mad anymore?"
"I'm not," K said, picking up the gun bag. "You got Adlerhoff, that fucker ("You said a bad word!") was becoming a drag anyway. Also, he ruined that one dinner party. And my favorite table."
K rambled on with a furious glare in his eyes as he remembered the disgraceful night eight months back. Lydia giggled and hung onto the hem of K's jacket.
The two assassins stepped out into the hallway as sirens begun to wail in the streets below. K looked at his watch again.
"The cavalry is just on time. Also, remind me to try another brand of hair mousse, this stuff's terrible." He wiped a stray strand off his face and ran his hand through his hair again.
K shooed Lydia down the hallway and into a staff elevator.
"Thomas is waiting in the back, we got to go. Oh, and your parents are going to be visiting this weekend."
Lydia screamed in joy.
"Yes, they are, now stop squealing, you're being really loud!"
A black car carrying the deadly duo drove out of the hotel's back gate just as the first police cars pulled up in the front.