The Rogue’s Good Day

Why does blood have to be so damn hard to get out?

It was a thought Airon had on a regular basis. This time it was a spreading stain on his new linen shirt that prompted the lament. But Airon wasn’t in a great mood, so he felt the irritation more than usual. It was a hot day,  and blood wasn’t a liquid that was effective at cooling a person, especially if splattered all over them. Not to mention, he really liked this shirt.

But the bulgy, bug-eyed ogre really had it coming, or so he’d been told, and Airon was an assassin by trade, so the blood was an occupational hazard. It wasn’t that Airon really cared what the ogre did to warrant death, Airon just knew he deserved it, and that was enough. Besides, it was an easy job, for the most part, that didn’t take up too much of his time. Except for today.

A quick glance at his watch proved that his timing was okay, if not a bit tight. He wouldn’t be able to go home and change his shirt, but he had his jacket with him. It would be overly warm, but he could fix that.

With his coat zipped all the way up, Airon made his way to his destination. A crisp, light breeze whipped up around him, pinkening his cheeks. A few passers-by shivered as they passed, some even examined the sky looking for the source of the sudden chill in June, but no one suspected the truth. And the truth was there were many kinds of strange, almost human beings living among the humans, and Airon was one of them. Most of his less than human features were subtle, and he was able to go undetected, unlike his ogre friend back there. Airon was an elemental being, a Genasi, and he could control the weather or at least, a small portion of it.  If he could control all of it, global warming wouldn’t be a thing, and he wouldn’t be sweating his balls off.

He passed a group of school children, eager to play in the park, but hesitating to venture out of the shade into the heavy heat of the noonday sun. In moments, a big fluffy cloud formed over the park and the temperature dropped. Airon could hear the gleeful laughter as the kids began their games. It was good, and he felt his mood lighten.

Airon approached his destination, a massive, high, featureless wall. With a quick and surreptitious glance around him, he made his way to a section blocked off from the view of the street by an adjacent windowless building. It would be depressing if it weren’t exactly what he needed. With skills honed over the decades, he scaled the wall quickly and launched himself over the other side. Experience told him he would land in another isolated area, one very close to his target.

With a snap of his jacket and a straightening of his spine, he approached his next target with the same calm confidence approached everything with. He just had to avoid the zookeepers until he maneuvered himself into the crowd of paying patrons wandering from the elephants to the polar bears.  It wasn’t that he couldn’t afford to pay the admission price, but he enjoyed outwitting “the system” and sneaking into the zoo made him feel invincible.  Besides, he was performing a service, albeit one they didn’t understand.

The zoo was a bit quieter than normal, but it was June, and it was solidly over ninety-five-degree Fahrenheit. Most people were hiding in air-conditioned buildings waiting until the sun set.

The huge bears languished. It was too hot for them, and it was cruel that they were kept in this way, south Texas was no place for polar bears. But here they were. These weren’t creatures of the sub-tropics, these were majestic beasts of the snow and ice. It made him angry that they weren’t able to be free, but he wasn’t in the business of rescuing enormous predators, but he could make things better for them.  Airon sat on the observation bench and began his work. Sometimes his work involved hurting people, but only the ones who really needed it, but this was what mattered to him. And in a blink of the eye, snow began to swirl in the polar bear enclosure. The bears perked up and began to play in the flurries, snow collecting on their giant heads and in their fur. Later, Airon imagined the zookeepers would be confused, but they never seemed to make a big deal about it.  He had been doing this for months, nearly every day, and there had never been mention of it anywhere. If there had, he would need to stop visiting the polar bears. Humans couldn’t know his kind existed, but as long as nobody commented on the unusual weather inside the Arctic enclosure, he would keep coming to make sure the bears were comfortable.

The air temperature dropped around him, and he noticed a few people lingering around, watching the playful bears, and enjoying the sanctuary of the cold he had created.  Soon a few had to move on, not being dressed for the freezing temperatures. Airon pulled his jacket closer, the chill was even more than he enjoyed, but the happiness the polar bears got from his special visits more than made up for his discomfort. It was a very good day, tomorrow was looking pretty good too.

This story was inspired by some silliness from www.steelstashwriting.com, check him out for more flash fiction stuff. (He seems to like it.)

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