The Price of Fame

CobblestonesIn the end, it was not about the money, he decided, though truth be told, it was a ridiculous sum that would support him well into old age.

It was not about the thrill, either, though that certainly played a part: the rush of exhilaration when the knife slides in, the desperate knowledge in the other man’s eyes, the slow leaching of life onto the cobblestones.

More than anything, he realized, it was about the notoriety one achieves on accomplishing such a task, the implicit admission that one is worth such a sum. Henceforth he would be known, in those circles where such things were known, as the man who killed the Blackthorne’s son.

He mused on this as he made his way to the place where he was to meet his employer. He composed speeches in his mind: casual, with a hint dropped here, a mysterious smile playing there about his lips and eyes; or perhaps prideful, with a touch of malice. He liked to be thought of as dangerous.

But the lady had not stayed to listen, had not even cared enough to ask his name. She paid him and left, disappearing into the shadows a bare moment before her manservant cut his throat.

No, it was not about the money, in the end.  That would have been easier to bear, he thought wistfully, as he watched his own nameless blood spilling out on the pavement in a wretched alley in the lowest quarter of the city, a purse full of gold at his hip.

This post was written in response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge  prompt, with a nod to last week’s Write On Edge prompt (violence).

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

wretched  adjective  \ˈre-chəd\

1: deeply afflicted, dejected, or distressed in body or mind

2: extremely or deplorably bad or distressing <was in wretched health> <a wretched accident>

More in the Sable Mark series can be found in previous posts.

10 thoughts on “The Price of Fame

  1. Nicole Leigh Shaw (@NinjaMomBlog) says:

    Just, great as usual. I’m quickly becoming a creepy Internet fangirl. Ah, no worries, I’m harmless.

    Everything in this piece distills down to the response of his employer. All those sentences dedicated to his inflated sense of greatness, a Ghengis Khan of hired killers, and really, this piece is about her response, to my mind.

    I especially liked this week how most of the wretchedness in everyine’s contributions leeched into the corners of their writing. I’d argue our boastful killer is much, much less wretched than his employer who needs to go to extreme lengths—twice.



  2. Trifecta (@trifectawriting) says:

    Thanks for linking up again this week. I like this piece a lot. I like how we started with the pride, the smugness, the conceit, only for it all to be shattered in an instant. I hadn’t seen that coming. Hopefully you can join us for the weekend challenge as well.


  3. Scriptor Obscura says:

    Wow, this is a really great story! I love the imagery here, it is all so clear in my mind when I think about it as I read through the story. Great writing here. You really keep the reader wondering and interested in the events of the story. Thanks for sharing this here with all of us! 😀


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