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Alex stared down at the woman lying at his feet, smiling. He squatted beside her, reached into her pocket and pulled out a peppermint. He popped into her mouth, patted her cheek, then rose.

“Goodbye, Mrs. Jones.”

He continued through the building to his next destination. He knew he was expected. Security had raised the alarm before fleeing, desperate to get out of the way, despite being fully trained agents.

Alex was almost twenty-four now, and he hated his job no less than when he had started. It was time to hand in his resignation.

He didn’t bother knocking. Opening the office door, he stepped inside. Alan Blunt sat behind his desk, acting as though this was just another briefing.

“Hello, Alex.”

“Don’t,” Alex said quietly, raising his gun. Blunt barely blinked.

Alex glared. He shook with anger and frustration. Why wasn’t Blunt afraid? He had to have known this was coming. Yet, here he was, hands folded on the desk and waiting patiently for Alex to speak. The lack of reaction annoyed Alex even more.

“Would you like to sit down, Alex?” Blunt gestured to the chair in front of his desk.


Blunt didn’t respond. He shuffled some papers and slid them into a drawer, then adjusted a pen that had rolled out of its place.

Alex huffed impatiently.

“Mrs. Jones is dead.”

Blunt nodded. “I thought as much.”

“Everyone else is gone, too. Some ran. Some stayed behind. I killed them, too.” Alex watched carefully for any sign of distress on his former boss’s face. Nothing. The man had always been infuriatingly calm.

“Why aren’t you scared?” Alex demanded.

“Because, Alex, I have spent almost half my life expecting to die at any moment. And now, here you are, with a gun and ten years’ worth of rage, and hate, and pain. What am I to be afraid of?”

“You should be afraid of me!” Alex shouted. “I’m going to kill you, and no one is going to stop me. No one is coming to save you.”

“Do you know why I stayed, Alex? When they tried to force me out for hiring a child and training him to kill?”

Alex hesitated. He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the rest of this story.

“I wanted to protect you. I fought to keep my position here, so that I could keep an eye on you. I knew that if you were not properly monitored, that you could end up, well, here.” He gestured towards Alex. “I suppose it didn’t work out the way I’d hoped.”

“No, I suppose it didn’t,” Alex sneered.

Blunt stared at him thoughtfully. “Smithers?”

Alex felt a pang of regret. He’d liked the gadget master more than anyone else at MI6.

Alex shook his head. “I didn’t want to. But he tried to stop me. He wanted to talk me out of coming up here. So, I had to. He was always nice to me. He cared about me more than the rest of you ever did.”

“That’s not true, Alex. We all cared about you.”

“You sent me to a warzone!” Alex snarled. “I was fourteen! A child! ” Tears began to slip down his cheeks, his fury no longer controllable.

“I’m sorry, Alex.”

“Shut up! You don’t get to apologise after what you put me through.”

He lowered the gun and ran a hand through his hair.

“Do you remember the first mission you sent me on?”

“Yes, I do,” Blunt nodded.

“Do you know how many times I almost died?”

Blunt closed his eyes and shook his head.

“I almost drowned. Twice.” He held up two fingers for emphasis. “I’ve lost count of how many times I was shot at. Do you know what it’s like to be fourteen, and have machine guns aimed at you, or a pistol held to the back of your head? The nightmares… you can’t even imagine.”

“Alex…” Blunt tried to interject.

“Shut up!” Alex aimed the gun again. “This is all your fault. No more apologies.” He took a few steps forward, until he was sure he wouldn’t miss.

“Goodbye, Alan.” He clenched his teeth, gripped the pistol tightly, and fired.