Another Rainy Day
rating: +3+x

The sound of heavy rain pattered on the roof of the small bar where Toby sat, finishing his drink alone. The bar was empty aside from Toby and a few old men sitting a bit ways down from him. They called the bartender by name, and spent most of their time telling stories of when they were younger while nursing their drinks. Toby had been listening for a while, with nothing better to do. He did have plans, but not for another hour or so. Besides, the bar was right next to where he needed to be. One story in particular did catch his attention, though.

"It was a dark and stormy night, much like tonight, when-"

"Hold on, wait a second." Said Toby. "Dark and stormy night? Doesn't that sound a bit… Redundant?" Toby picked up his glass, turning it so the small amount of liquid rotated around the bottom.

The old man scratched his beard. "Redundant? What are you talking about, it's part of the story I'm tryin' to tell here."

"Yeah, I know, but what you're basically saying there is that it was a dark night. What's your story about, running into Batman? Have you ever been outside at night and been like, 'Oh, well shit, it sure is dark out tonight'? Of course it's dark, the fucking sun is down, what do you expect?" Toby pushed his empty glass to the end of the table, nodding his head at the bartender.

The old man in question squinted his eyes, and planted one arm on the bar as if threatening to stand up. "Listen pal, I wasn't talking to you, so don't you get all uppity about a couple words I said. Look right over there." The old man said, pointing at a football game on one of the TV's. "There's a perfectly good game a football going on right now, why don't you just keep quiet and watch it."

Toby smiled as the bartender left a full glass of beer in front of him. "Hey now, I didn't mean anything by it. Just ignore me."

The old man stared at Toby for a minute, before sitting back down and clearing his throat. "Well, anyways, what I was going to say was…"

Toby didn't listen to the story. He didn't have all that much time left, and needed to start preparing. After finishing his drink, he paid his bill and went outside. The rain was heavy, but the weight of the water felt good against Toby's trench coat. There was something about the rain that always felt relaxing to him, even when he was a kid he loved rainy days.

Toby placed a cigarette in his mouth, covering it with one hand while he lit it with the other. He took one long drag before walking down the block. He wasn't too far away now.

What Toby was after was a man named Don Spiegler, a former researcher for the Foundation. After years of his career not going in the direction he wanted and failing to make any significant discoveries like he'd planned, he decided to sell information to another group. The dossier didn't specify which one. Not like it really mattered to Toby. He was a man who waited for the bottom line. He didn't really care why he was killing them, they must have done something to deserve it. If they didn't, though, he didn't really want to know. He liked his job, and wanted to keep it.

As Toby walked to where Spiegler was, he wondered why he liked his job. It wasn't like he grew up wanting to kill people for a living. He wanted to be a paleontologist when he was a kid. Growing up in the Midwest, he'd occasionally find some small fossils that looked like little sea shells, which he loved. Toby thought that one day, he'd lead a team of researchers to discover a giant, new dinosaur fossil. Then, he and his team would extract its somehow preserved DNA and make a cloned dinosaur, just like in Jurassic Park.

It didn't happen like that, though. Turns out, he wasn't that smart. Toby didn't think he was stupid, but he knew he didn't have the brain power for all of the studying and work required to do that. That's why he joined the military.

Toby stopped walking. His cigarette had gone out, completely soaked. He hadn't even noticed. The cigarette was almost finished, so it wasn't that big of a deal. Toby tossed it, and replaced it with another before continuing down the sidewalk. Why was he a hitman again?

Hitman wasn't a term that he particularly liked. Neither was assassin. So what was he? Toby never told anyone outside of the Foundation what his job was, though, so it wasn't something he put too much thought into. Not in his seven years working as one. He was picked up straight out of the military, only 22 years old. After a few months in training, he began his new life in killing.

Toby thought hard. He supposed that, if anything, the hours were the best part of his job. People like him tended to have a surprising amount of free time. He'd get to travel a decent bit, and aside from tracking and actually killing them, he had plenty of time to do whatever he wanted. Although, he'd usually just hit the closest bar until he was ready to go back to wherever he was staying.

As for the killing part, it never really bothered him. Toby wasn't sure why. It should. Maybe he was just a simple kind of person, and could rationalize it easily. Maybe it was because he just didn't think about it. Whatever the reason, killing affected him the same way that doing the laundry did, or cleaning the bathroom. It was just work. In this case, the positives outweighed the negatives.

Toby walked to the end of the sidewalk, and stopped by the corner. A bit ways down the other side, a man sat on the ground in a heavy coat. Beside him was a tent and a grocery cart full of various items. That was Spiegler. He'd been drifting for a few years, and must have thought that he'd shook the Foundation off his trail. He'd been in this town for a few months, hadn't even tried to leave. Looked like things hadn't gone his way.

It was pretty good weather to die in, Toby thought. The air felt cool, and the smell of the wet asphalt was strangely pleasant. The melodic sound of the rain hitting the concrete, with thunder occasionally interrupting it. It truly was nice. Toby took out his weapon from the underside of his trench coat. A pistol with a long silencer. He'd wait until he saw lighting, and shoot with the thunder.

As Toby approached his target, he noticed something. Spiegler was just staring into the clouds, fascinated by the storm. Toby could have just walked up and cut his throat, and the man probably wouldn't even pay him any mind. But he didn't. Toby stopped, because it reminded him of something. He would look at the storm clouds the same way, back when he was younger. His mother would take him out into the garage and set up lawn chairs, where they would sit and watch the storm from the inside. Toby loved sitting there, watching the storm, listening to it. Every once and a while, he'd run out into the rain for a moment. His mother would laugh and smile, before helping him to a towel to dry up in. Then he would look up into the clouds, with a pure smile on his face, just like the one on the face of the man he was about to kill.

The sky flashed briefly, and a moment later came the thunder. When it ended, a homeless man fell onto the sidewalk, blood washing into the drains by the heavy rain. As Toby walked away, for the first time, there was a pain in his chest. It hurt. For the first time since he started working as a hitman, he wondered about the man he'd killed. Why did he look at the clouds that way, the same way that he did? Why did he have to look at them the same way he did?

The rain stopped being something that Toby looked forward to after that. Whenever it did rain, he felt a strange pain in his chest that hadn't been there before. The rain was no longer something that brought him back to his childhood, but instead reminded him of what he'd taken.

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