The Cloaked Stranger

A writing warm-up

Choose a word: banana
Choose a setting: in a space station
Choose a starting phrase: If I could stop

If I could stop for just a few minutes at any space station in the galaxy, I think that I might actually come to appreciate them. 

As it is, they’re just places that I pass through, and quickly, at that. They’re clamorous, crowded, and convoluted—not somewhere I can stay for long. I wear a cloak that covers my face, but I can never be too careful. There’s always a chance I could be recognised. And the moment I’m recognised, it’s all over. 

“How’s about a banana?” 

The salesperson shoving the yellow fruit in my face halts me in my tracks. Normally I wouldn’t hesitate, but memories of home push to the forefront of my mind. Bananas from Earth being sold galaxies away, like a tiny piece of home following me wherever I go. If I ever take the time to appreciate that, I might start feeling sentimental. 

 “No,” I say forcefully, pulling myself together. The voice manipulator makes my voice sound an octave lower than it really is. Usually, I just have to say one word to someone and they clear off. 

But the grinning man in front of me isn’t deterred. “Just one credit,” he insists. “One! You won’t be able to find a cheaper snack here.” 

“I’m not hungry,” I persist, shoving past him and continuing through the market. I wonder what people would do or say if I told them that I don’t have to eat, that I don’t get hungry. They’d probably either run away terrified or bow down and worship me. 

I almost laugh at that. Me, some kind of god? 

As I reach the terminal area, I tap an earbud in my right ear and an automated voice relays my mission once again. Of course, I already have the monologue memorised, but I always double check, just in case. You don’t get paid if you end up on the wrong planet. 

I slip my hand into an inside pocket of my cloak. It’s seemingly endless—dimensionally engineered so that it never gets full—and even better, undetectable. Only I can reach my hand inside; to anyone else, it’s just an empty pocket. 

It’s the best prize I’ve ever picked up from one of my targets. 

I wrap my hand around my blaster, making sure that it’s accessible. I feel safer gripping it in my hand, knowing I’m in control and ready for anything. 

After all, what’s an assassin without her weapon? 

Follow my other writing warm-ups on my Ko-fi!

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