The Jinx: Sample Page 12

The Assassin’s punishment was swift. The Spy, whom Adams had identified as a malevolent force among the Knights, had eagerly undertaken the execution of The Assassin as his personal project. The murder was made to appear accidental. There was no investigation. The Assassin had been long divorced, and his estranged family had not questioned that his death was anything but an alcohol-related mishap. All evidence of his involvement with The Royal Order had been erased. There were no male heirs who could have assumed The Assassin’s role upon his death. The Spy had assured the others that all loose ends had been tied.

Until Wednesday, Adams had no reason to doubt The Spy’s claims. After the initial shock had subsided, he had debated with himself whether to tell the other Knights about his contact with The Assassin. Concealing information from The Spy was dangerous, but it was worth the risk.

Perhaps he was not as dedicated to fulfilling his ancestors’ vengeful dream because he had learned of the plot later in life than his cousins. For whatever reason, the inspiration that had come to him on that fateful night with his father had faded. He hoped The Assassin might prove an ally who could offer a graceful exit from this insanity.

In a few minutes he would have the answer. If The Assassin was of like mind, together they would reveal the plot to all the world. If not, he was too cowardly to face his cousins’ wrath alone. The Presidency of the United States would fall. The nation would be plunged into civil war. The grand Final Vengeance for his ancestor’s death—the vanquishment of the Negro race in America—would become a hideous reality. It was in the hands of the gods. It was in the hands of this man who called himself The Assassin.

Adams strolled alongside Washington Square, lost in thought. He did not see the figure lurking in the shadows of the apartment building on the corner of Washington Place, across the street to his left. Marlboro, still a half block behind, near the entrance to the Square, saw the trenchcoat-clad wraith leap out from the darkness but too late to shout a warning.

Adams turned with a start at the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps. He felt the blood drain from his face as he recognized the attacker barreling towards him not ten feet away. He stood paralyzed, resigned to his fate, closing his eyes a moment before a long, thin blade plunged into his belly.

He gasped, and his eyes jerked open as the gut-wrenching pain cut through him. He looked into his executioner’s eyes. Had the message from The Assassin been only a ruse? The eyes of the devil yielded no answers as the knife was yanked upwards into his heart.

The assailant raced away, west on Washington Place, as Adams fell limp to the sidewalk. He felt the warm trickle flowing from his wound, knowing his would not be the last blood to spill. There would be war.

Then he heard more footsteps. With a Herculean effort to open his eyes, he saw Marlboro hovering over him, but his vision was already fading to gray. One last chance.

Summoning all his remaining strength, he gasped. “President. Assassination.”

Marlboro knelt by the dying man’s side. “Who?” he asked urgently.

“Knight,” Adams whispered.

“You can’t go to sleep on me yet, Pops,” Marlboro said. “Give me a name.”

Adams opened his mouth, but the words would not come. Then his world went blank.

Marlboro cursed, closed Adams’s eyes, then looked around. Seeing no other witnesses, he reached into the dead man’s slacks, prying out his wallet. He slipped it into his suede jacket, scanned the scene one more time, then walked briskly away, turning east on Washington Square North.

* * *

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 Copyright © 2000, 2011 by Larry Kahn

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