Stolen from the Hitman - Alexis Abbott

Prologue

I step out of the black sedan and into the midnight rain that’s drenching all of Paris tonight. The raindrops roll down my black leather jacket, trailing down my gloved hands to trickle in thin drops onto the dark cobblestone of the streets beneath my feet.

It’s past midnight, and most people are already either sleeping or shuffling out of the bars to get ready for the next day’s drudgery in the city of lights.

The apartment building in front of me is an upscale kind of place, not unusual for some of the city’s wealthier residents. The stone on the outside might have been white once, but it is now faded, the lion statues near the entrance having lost their bite long ago. As I step towards the door and swipe the cardkey, the glass doors open for me, and I make my way in swiftly, my weapon low at my side.

I pull my collar up and keep my gaze down as I make my way to the stairs leading below ground level. I have one stop to make before seeing to the main event for tonight. A short flight of stairs brings me to a door, and I can hear a television playing behind it. Raising a fist, I pound on the door.

“What?” comes the superintendent's surly French voice from within the room. I wait a moment before pounding on the door again, a little more demanding this time. I hear an angry groan from the other side before footsteps approach the door. “If the internet is out again, it can wait for the morning,” he says as he opens the door, but his eyes widen at the sight of me for only an instant before I’m upon him with a cloth to his mouth and nose, his whole body seizing up as he draws a sharp breath before slipping into unconsciousness.

Closing the door behind me, I carry the limp body back to the chair he’d been sitting in. There are reruns of old football matches playing on the television, giving me a backdrop while I shuffle through the man’s belongings, knowing I only have a small window of time to find what I’m after.

In another few seconds, I discover the apartment master key sitting under a soiled napkin, and I take it, leaving the room as swiftly and silently as a phantom.

My footsteps make little noise as I ascend the staircase, key clenched in my hand. The stairs go in a spiral up the side of the building, and a glass pane window gives me a full view of the world outside as I move.

As I near the top floor, my gaze glances out over the cityscape to my right, and the soft glow of the remaining city lights hover over the Parisian skyline like a corona. I slow my steps for just a moment, my cold gaze pausing to appreciate the tarnished jewel of Europe before I pick up my pace again.

The soft glow of the city lights have only an instant to shine on a glint of metal on the silenced-pistol I’m drawing from my jacket pocket.

I soften my steps to near-silence as I reach the top floor, a wide and polished foyer leading to a single ornate door with a large man posted outside it, his arms folded as he thumbs through a dirty magazine.

He has time only to raise his head while I raise my pistol. When he crumples to the ground a second later, I wonder if he even had time for fear to swell up in his heart. His is the only life I