“You’ve got five minutes.”
Ranen didn’t answer. He leaned a little to the right, adjusting the aim of his rifle. A dangerous criminal was holding up a bank; he couldn’t afford to miss…
And of course he wouldn’t miss. He trusted himself to do so.
“Careful, he’s got a girl!” The voice from the other end of the phone sounded agitated.
“Mm-hmm.” Ranen bit his lip, lowered his aim just a little bit…three, two, one…
A gunshot rang out, and the bank was saved. The criminal lay dead, bleeding out. Ranen let out a sigh of relief as the people gathered downstairs, and he wiped the sweat from his brow.
“Great work as always, Ranen,” said his supervisor through the phone. “Are you sure that long hair of yours doesn’t get in the way?”
Ranen shrugged, and waved goodbye before disconnecting the video call. Another day’s work done. He could speak again, if need be…
He headed downstairs, pulling his scarf up higher over his nose. The wind was brisk today, whipping his long black hair and coat around. But he didn’t mind. Yeah, teachers back at school told him it would be hard to find a job with his ability, but honestly it hadn’t been. The government was glad to have him.
He got into his truck that was parked at the curb, and was prepared to leave when his phone rang. He picked up, waiting for whoever it was to speak first.
“Ranen? It’s me, Luona.”
Luona? Yeah, he remembered him. They had taken the same self-defense class back in school, and with his job, he encountered Luona often. They’d worked together well on previous cases.
“I, uh, I got a new case, and I was wondering if you would like to help…are you busy right now?”
“Not really,” Ranen replied, glancing at the bank where several police cars and ambulances were parked around.
“Oh, great. Can we meet, then? Sometime today? Or this weekend?”
“All right. Usual spot?”
“Great. See you then.”
Ranen hung up first because he didn’t want to waste his minutes or his words. He was slightly annoyed that Luona had chosen to call him instead of text. He knew that he preferred texting over calling, especially with his ability, but…
He sighed, and started the engine. He should go back to base and check in…
As he walked down the hall, his long black hair swinging, heads turned. Ranen, professional sharpshooter, the one who never missed a shot and never said a word. “That’s an S-tier rifle he has on his back,” one of the new interns whispered. “And he’s only been working here for two years.”
He arrived at the weapons desk and placed the rifle in front of the secretary, then put the unused ammunition next to it.
“Not loaded?” she asked, inspecting the weapon.
He gave a single nod.
“Your weapons always looked unused, Mr. Ranen. Well, just sign here, and I’ll let you be off on your way…”
He signed with his left hand, as he was accustomed to doing. There weren’t that many left-handed sharpshooters in the force, but he considered that to be an advantage. It took a special level of skill to get where he was.
Or maybe it was just his ability. Yes, it was probably all just due to his ability. Whether or not the others knew that he was one of the gifted, he didn’t know, but they all considered him to be a good shot, so that was enough.
Ranen lived alone in an apartment at the top of a building. It was nice enough, nicer than what he had had before. He pulled open the heavy drapes and went out onto the small balcony, looking down at the city below him. Perhaps someone could climb in and kill him in his sleep, but he highly doubted that anyone would dare to. Besides, how many people in the city were gifted with the ability of flight?
The twilight air was brisk, and the lights down in the city seems like stars. Ranen let out a long sigh. He wished that he had some champagne with him, but he was all out and it was too expensive anyway. A useless commodity. He didn’t need it to survive.
Again he wondered what Luona needed his help for. He didn’t enjoy doing favors for “friends” very often; it usually sparked up bad rumors. No, Ranen preferred to stick to the assignments that the government gave him. It was risky otherwise, and he might even lose his job if he misfired.
The face of his ex-girlfriend swam up before him. What a harsh breakup. Why was he still thinking about her?Every single word that she said when she had left rang true. He didn’t need anybody, he didn’t need to rely on anyone, he never communicated, he was far too self-centered…
Then why was he still thinking about her? She had been right. He didn’t need her. He made for a bad boyfriend.
He sighed and swore, letting his hand dangle over the railing. He had done a good job today; he didn’t need to be so down right now.
His sharp eyes focused on the people below, as he was accustomed to doing. People had such weirdly colored hair these days; it made it easier for him to aim. White hair, purple hair, neon yellow…
As he adjusted his own, long black hair, he felt a slight rain begin to come down, so he quickly went back inside, closing the doors behind him. He should go take a shower anyway; he felt dirty.