The Sniper

This is a work of fiction. A short story of 575 words.

It had taken over two hours to get into position, and to make it feel just right. Cover from the tree foliage enabled him to see the target, but not be seen himself. The old body board had been a touch of genius. It was easy to carry with the attached strap, and wedged between the upper branches it made a solid platform to support his torso. Painted a drab green, with black zig-zags, it also offered camouflage from below, to anyone looking up into the tree.

He guessed the range, and adjusted the telescopic sight. The end of the barrel was covered in some dirty old cloths that made it indistinguishable from the surrounding bark on the branches. He parted the beige gauze in front of his face, leaving just enough space for his right eye to make contact with the ‘scope. The thin covering extended over his head, and down to the back of his ankles. Covered in small twigs and leaves, it would appear to just be a part of the tree, to the casual observer. His face was also darkened; only a white flash from his teeth could give him away, but he wasn’t intending to smile.

He checked the time on his wristwatch. Still long enough to wait, so he could have something. Reaching inside his jacket, he slid out the small chocolate bar, and ate it in two bites. Just enough to give him energy, and keep him awake too. He resisted the urge to take a drink from his water bottle, as he didn’t want to give himself away by having to urinate. When it was almost time, he slid the bolt of the rifle into place, loading the first round into the breech. Looking at the scene only through the sight, he immersed himself in that tiny centre circle, intersected by a calibrated line.

After less than a minute, the head appeared in view. The tousled red hair, and the heavy make-up, exactly as he had expected. As she crossed the room behind the glass doors, he lost her for a moment. Not wanting to alter his perspective or to lose the steadiness of his perch, he kept his nerve and waited for the target to reappear. He could soon see the soft throat, circled by the distinctive large necklace. The smallest change in the incline of the barrel brought her head back into view once more. The circle in the sight was exactly between her eyes. The perfect kill shot.

She unexpectedly moved forward, hands reaching out to slide the glass doors apart. A perplexed look formed on her face, as he moved the rifle around to keep her in view. It was as if she sensed his presence, even that she was coming out to confront him. This wasn’t in the plan. She was already far too close, walking rapidly now. The sniper held his breath, and made his body appear lifeless in the tree above. She was immediately underneath him now, but he was sure that he couldn’t be spotted.

Suddenly, the target spoke. There was no doubt that she was addressing him directly.

“Lawrence, get down from that tree now. Look at the state of your face and clothes. And what do you think you have been doing with my net curtains? Go and get yourself cleaned up, tea will be ready in ten minutes. You could be doing something better than this in the school holidays, I’m sure!”

The sniper raised himself from the board. “Sorry Mum.”

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24 thoughts on “The Sniper

  1. Pete, after yet another day ruined at two car garages this story of yours has made my day so much better. Thanking you ever so much for your talented imagination and sharing with us here on Word Press..

    Take care, Laura 🙂

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  2. You got me on this one, Pete! Once you revealed the target was a woman, I thought, “The husband is going to extremes….” This is one of the best stories you’ve ever written. It’s a gem! I used to play “spy” when I was in elementary school, even sneaking into a neighbor’s basement one time. Had I been discovered, nothing would have happened (even though I didn’t know the people who lived there). These days, it would probably involve lawyers.

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    1. Thanks, David. That’s high praise indeed, and I am suitably grateful. I did have a toy sniper rifle as a child. It was a replica M40 Remington (non-military model), accurate in every way, but for size. It had a working bolt, and a genuine telescopic sight. I can’t deny that it was the inspiration for this story, although I never had a tree to hide in. Unfortunately, I received it quite late in life (almost 11 years old) so it didn’t last long, as I soon stopped playing with toys.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. Great reading,once again, Pete!! 🙂 In the beginning I was anticipating or hoping for a grey squirrel to be the target.:-) Did you play snipergames as a boy?
    I have had some severe trouble with my Mac forweeks and it’s now in the intensive care unit at the Apple store in Norwich. Such a nuisance. This is the reason why I haven’t visited you lately. I’m currently using Klausbernd’s high tech Samsung and that’s a pain too; the gesture board is programmed according to his fingers and strength..
    Wishing you all a great weekend,
    with a big pat for Olli,
    Dina

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