It was a cold winters night in Chicago, with temperatures well below freezing. The streets were concealed by a thick white blanket of snow, and patches of glistening ice were covering the dark alleys where the earlier blizzards had been unable to dump the snow. In the centre of the city was a small park. The park played host to an arboretum of oak and evergreen trees that cast dark, evil shadows, which would have sent cold, creepy shivers up the spine of the average person. If one looked very carefully, one would have spotted a man standing in these shadows, holding a mobile phone. The man was wrapped up warm like any sensible person would in this weather.He gave his origins away when he spoke, using mainly Australian slang he had learnt while growing up with the aborigines he considered family. He had been given a nickname that had stuck, in English, his name was “The Assassin.” This was because in his childhood, he was the best, but most savage hunter in the tribe. Now he was contracted to kill humans.He was in his mid thirties, but many would have mistaken him for a younger man. He measured about six foot six, and under his thermals he hid a bronze, and muscular body. He had thick brown hair, hidden by his woolly hat. His eyes were blue, and stood out under his thin eyebrows. His face was well shaved, and at this moment in time looked relentless. He waited for the call to come on the mobile phone that had been earlier switched to the silent mode. Finally he felt a vibration in his hand. He answered the call but didn’t speak. The voice at the other end of the line gave him clear instructions.”The club opens at 21.00 hours. I want you to be there at this time. The weapon has been hidden in the restroom, in the second cubicle from the left. After the kill, come straight to the airport where I will meet you, and we will catch the first plane back to Australia. Be at the airport by 23.00 hours. The key I gave you is for the red lotus car, registration H8R 2.” The line went dead. The Assassin came slowly out of the shadows, into the bright light of a nearby park lamp. He cautiously scanned the park and surrounding street for a nearby person that could have heard him. Nobody. He began to make his way to the club. When he got out of the park, he dropped the phone down the drain, and carried on.At 22.00 hours, people making their way home past the club heard a series of loud gunshots, followed by the sound of petrified women screaming, from inside the club. The Assassin had killed the second most important man in the “Red Fire” gang, one of the leading gangs in Chicago. For him, that was the easy part, now he would have to get out of the club, and to the airport, without being spotted by the gang. He knew this would be impossible, but had prepared himself. He knew how to get out.He ran into the toilets and locked the entrance to give him more time. Yes, the fire exit was straight ahead. Everything had gone to plan, so far. He held his gun tightly. It was a single action semi automatic pistol with a Stainless Steel Slide ; Black Armory Kote Frame finish. In weight it was thirty ounces, and its length was eight and a half inches. It was his favourite gun.His finger was resting calmly on the trigger, ready to press it at the slightest hint of danger. He heard voices coming towards the toilet, so opened the fire exit and slipped into the dark alley. BANG! The shot narrowly missed his leg. He dived behind the bins that were opposite the exit. He quickly peered over the bins. BANG! The shot hit the metal bins. Again, the Assassin glanced over the side, this time taking aim with his gun. He fired once, twice and a third time. The body was lifeless even before it hit the ground. Making a soft thudding noise, like someone kicking a football. The Assassin ran out of the alley and sprinted across the now desolate streets, to the car that had been waiting patiently outside for the best part of the day. It was a red lotus, the perfect car for the job. It had been built for speed, and had been fitted with all the necessary gadgets for the job. He held the key in his hand and opened the car. He leaped inside and fumbled with the key to get the engine started. An ear-piercing screech, of a car skidding suddenly came from the alley. The gang was pursuing him. His engine begun to roar like a pride of hungry lions. A hail of bullets shattered the back window. By this time the Assassin had squeezed his foot on the accelerator and was racing off. The gang chased the Assassin as though the two cars were racing for the formula 1 title, the only difference being, that the gangsters would attempt to shoot at the lotus when given a clear shot.As agreed the lotus had been fitted with the gadgets that were needed to help the Assassin get rid of the pursuing car. Where the radio should have been, there was a row of ten buttons, each clearly labelled. The Assassin checked in the mirror to see how far away the chasing car was. It was just far enough. He pressed the button labelled nails. At the rear of the car, the number plate lifted up, and hundreds of small metal balls with spikes dropped all over the road. His pursuers were given no time. The nails effortlessly burst the tyres of their car, and the car was in no condition to chase.Back at the club, the raging boss had received identification of the killer of his successor, who was also a good friend. CCTV showed it was an Australian contract killer, known as “the Assassin,” From the report of the failed pursuers, it looked as though he was heading home, with his employer. The boss ordered one of his men to book him and his number three, Goldie, to Australia, where he would take care of the fools who had killed his number two.The weather in Cairns was scorching, the air was humid and felt tense as if it was holding its breath. The skies were clear, apart from a patch of clouds in the distance.In the arrivals lounge two locals were waiting, and seemed to focus onevery person as they entered the lounge. After about ten minutes, one of the locals nudged the other and discreetly pointed at two men that were hurrying through the lounge with just a bag each. They fitted the description that had been given to them by The Boss a few hours earlier. One of them followed the two men as they walked outside, while the other stayed and waited for the boss and his accomplice to arrive. They were due to land in ten minutes.The Assassin and his boss got into the car. They knew that the gang would try to follow them and take their revenge, but also knew of the hundreds of squares kilometres of uninhabited rainforest just outside of Cairns. They needed to get outside of town and into the rainforest as quickly as possible to have the best chance of survival against the raging Red Fire gang.About three hundred yards behind, a car was trailing the Assassin. Inside the car, the man was speaking on his mobile phone,”Yes boss, I’m still following them, I am on the west side. They seem to be heading to the rainforest. Do you still want me to follow?””Yes. I will ring you in thirty minutes. I hope you know the rainforest well, for your sake.” The boss hung up.The Assassin looked in his mirror. He saw that a car that had been waiting at the airport was following him, but he carried on driving as normal.”I tell you what mate, I will kill all of them if you pay me double.””Why?””Because the Red Fire are coming after us, they have come into my territory. The rainforest is my home, if they come in after us, you can be sure that none of them will come back out.”The Assassin turned into a narrow dirt track. A kilometre up the road, thedirt rack reached the brink of the rainforest, onwards it ran parallel to therainforest. It was from this point that the Assassin and his boss would enter the rainforest.As the winds breathed harder and more briskly, the patch of dark, dense clouds decided to wonder towards the rainforests. Many of the tropical birds had stopped singing their blissful tunes, and were flying into the trees. The Assassin stopped the car at the opposite end of the road to the rainforest, and took the spare fuel out from the boot. He opened the back door of the car took out the bags and handed them to his boss who went and waited at the edge of the rainforest. The Assassin poured the dark liquid onto the seat of the car, and let it slowly treacle all over the seats. Then he took a lighter from his pocket, light it, and threw it into the car. He fearlessly watched the fire grow, from a small foetus, to the size of an adult human being in the space of a few seconds; he then walked calmly over to his boss, while the fire crackled behind him.”Come on mate, we will wait for them in here. We’ve got them now.”The rainforest was a whole new world. As they stepped inside the forest, the scenery of vast fields of tall sugar cane changed to dense foliage. There were tall thin trees that stretched tens of metres into the sky. There were bigger trees, with tree trunks as wide as a car, and there were small plants, only a couple of metres in height. Little light was let into the forest. The light that the trees allowed through was focused on the ground like a torch being shone on a particular object at night.All the leaves and shrubs were a different shade of green, from nearly yellow in colour, to greens that were so dark they could have been black. The plants left little room for people to walk. Trees were packed so close together in some places that not even the thinnest person could fit through the gaps. Finding a path through the rainforest would be long, and tiring. One would have to have lived in the forest for a number of years to be able to visit the same place twice, by remembering how to getthere.As the Assassin led his boss through the rainforest, sounds indicated that they were not alone. A python the length of two adult humans was coiled around a branch of a nearby tree like a rope, the difference being this python had so much bulk it was as wide a rugby ball. Large insects were crawling along the ground, and trees, being eaten by small rodents scurrying along the ground.”Look, drive over there. Doesn’t that look like a burnt out car?””Yes boss. I think it’s the Assassin’s car. Look Steve is there. It must be the Assassin’s.” The local, who had been following the Assassin, had appeared next to the burnt out car, which still had smoke rising into the air. The local was signalling for the approaching four by four vehicle to stop. As the boss stepped out of the car, he began to explain what he saw.”G’day boss. I saw then go into the rainforest about an hour ago, they can’t have got far though, it’s like trying to find your way through fog in there.””Ok. Good work. All three of us are going to go after them. I want them both dead. Steve, get the rucksack from the back, and Goldie, get three pistols from the car.”The dismal clouds were now towering above the canopy of the rainforest, they looked angry. The wind had picked up speed and was howling through the rainforest, like a wolf, rustling the leaves of the trees as it passed. The air was holding its breath and was dry, waiting for a drink.The boss of the Red Fire and his companions, were making their way through the forest. The gigantic python was slithering through the forest towards the gang.”Stop!” cried the local, Steve. He put his hand to block the boss’s way.”There, see that python. Don’t move.””I haven’t got time for this,” The boss said, in a tone of anger that would have frightened anybody. He took out his pistol aimed at the snake, and fired.”Hear that mate?” Asked the Assassin.”That is them. I have a plan. We need to catch one of them first. You will wait here. And I will go and track them. Hold this pistol and fire two shots if you are in trouble.” He handed his boss a revolver from his bag, swung it onto his back, and begun to jog, making his way around the trees, in the direction he heard the gunshot.As he neared the gang, he stopped jogging, and regained his breath. He could hear them talking now, although he couldn’t see them through the dense foliage. He had to think of a way to catch one of the leader’s companions, at a time when they wouldn’t notice, for his main plan to work. He knew how to hunt an animal in the rainforest, from his childhood. He climbed up a tree with such speed, he could have beaten a monkey, had it been a race. He began to make his way through the branches. He was getting closer to the gang every second. He was treating this as a hunt. He had to make himself blend in the background. He breathed, and moved every time the strengthening wind brushed the leaves.”Boss. I’ll catch up, I just need to relieve myself.””Hurry up, I can sense us getting nearer to that fool from the NB. Just because he hired one of the best killers in the business, it doesn’t mean he will get away from me!”The local stopped and waited for his boss and Goldie to get out of sight. Unaware of what he was doing with his hands, he pricked his finger on a thorn bush. At first droplets appeared, blood the blood then began to ooze out. Still, he unzipped his trousers. Ten metres above him, the Assassin was as silent as an owl flying through the night. He had picked up a small rock, the size of his hand and was holding it. He was going to pounce like a tiger. He was waiting for the right moment. He would knock this idiot out cold and take him back to where his employer was waiting. He knew that this local had no idea where he was leading the two members of his gang. He crouched down. Ready to pounce. The local finished. He was turning away. He jumped.The local looked up. The Assassin was coming towards him holding a rock. He had no time to think. He didn’t feel anything. He just saw black.Above the canopy of the forest, the clouds gave a small rumble of thunder. It sounded like the drum roll that was played before someone is hanged, only quieter. The clouds released a few droplets of rain.The Assassin had put the local over his shoulders, and headed back to his boss. It would take longer, having to weave through the trees with the weight of an adult on his shoulders. He couldn’t rest, he would rest when it was over. He still had a long way to go, if he was to succeed and get the money he needed.”Boss, Steve’s been gone for at least a half hour, don’t you think we should find him?””Look Goldie, he has obviously lost himself, we don’t have time to get him, that’s a rule you’ll have to learn. Any man who gets behind is left behind.”The two members of the Red Fire, who were pursuing the Assassin, were oblivious to the fact that they were getting closer to him and his boss, who were sitting down, in the trees. The boss was talking in a quiet voice, and pointing to his bag and then laughing at the Assassin, who wasn’t saying anything.The clouds were now groaning at regular intervals. They were black in colour. The air was tense. The wind had ceased to blow. The temperature was cooler.The boss of the Red Fire stamped on his finished cigarette; through the trees he had spotted the man who was responsible for the murder of his second. The Assassins back was turned away from him as he was facing his boss. Slowly and quietly the two members of the red fire began to unpack their sniper rifles, and pieced them together. They both knew whom they were going to shoot. Goldie was going to shoot the Assassin. The boss was going to shoot the bastard that paid the Assassin to kill his second. He signalled to Goldie. They were both now perfectly positioned to take their shots.Suddenly several bolts of lightening slashed the sky into pieces. The lightening bolts looked like a branch of a dead oak tree being draw across the sky by and invisible hand, stretching out to the ground. The sky darkened by the clouds, light up to be a purple colour. A noise sounding like two high voltage wires being touched together was heard across the sky. The sky went black. A tremendous crash of thunder scared the life of the boss of the Red Fire. They had to kill the boss and the Assassin, who were also frightened by the thunder, and the darkness of the rainforest. They fired a single shot at their targets simultaneously. The boss had been shot in the forehead. His body was resting on a tree. Blood began to dribble down his forehead. The Assassin had fallen forwards onto the ground. He had been shot in the back.”Wait.” The boss whispered. He squinted. As the body fell forward, he saw that the Assassin had his hands tied behind his back.The clouds could hold the rain no more. The rain fell from the sky with the force of a building collapsing. It thrashed the canopy of the rainforest, tens of metres above the two members of the Red Fire gang, trying to find a way to get through, to the ground. The lightening threatened once again, followed by the boom of the thunder, boasting its authority.The boss and Goldie were soaking wet, and were about to stand up.Before they moved, they each felt a pistol on the back of their head.”G’day boys. You Americans are a gullible lot. Remember, Chicago was your land, Australia is mine. Do you think for one minute that I didn’t know you were after me? You come into my territory, you die mate.” The thunder erased the sound of the two bullets being shot. The Assassin bagged the two guns, then walked over to where his old boss, and the gagged Steve, who he had swapped clothes with lay. He took the bosses bag and opened it, shielding it from the rain with his body, yes, that was the money he had wanted, one hundred thousand pounds worth of cash. He emptied the cash into his bag and began to make his through the rainforest, he laughed as he thought how simple the operation had been. The American were stupider then he thought.Towards midnight the rain ceased, and the clouds drifted away, so that the sky was scattered with the incredible lamp of stars. Then the breeze died too and there was no noise save the drip and trickle of water that ran out of clefts and spilled down leaf by leaf to the brown earth of the rainforest. The air was cool moist and clear, and the four bodies lay, waiting to be found, or to stay there forever.