Now was the moment to make a decision and change his life forever.
Tom took a deep breath and shakily let it out again. His finger tightened fractionally on the trigger, the metal searingly cold against his skin.
His target shifted in his seat, seemingly close enough to touch through the scope of Tom's sniper rifle.
A chilling breeze ripped through the tower, making it sway with an ominous creaking noise.
Tom shivered from where he was pressed against the cold metal platform at the highest part of the tower, his dark green hoodie doing nothing to keep out the cold.
Darkness crept across the sky as the lingering light from the sun began to fade and the city began to stir, bright lights blinking on in a futile attempt to dispel the gathering darkness.
It was his first assignment. In the streets of New York City, jobs were hard to find for dark-skinned boys like him. That was why he had taken the blue-suited man up on his offer.
The money would help him to survive for six months at least. But now that he was up here, now that he had seen his target, he wasn't so sure.
It wasn't like he hadn't taken a life before but that had been out of desperation, a necessary sacrifice for him to survive. Down in the streets it was everyone for themselves.
But this was not the same. The target had no idea what was happening, couldn't even fight back. Their life was in Tom's hands, and frankly, that frightened him.
After all, who was he to choose between who lives and who dies?
The target obviously had enemies, perhaps they had done bad things(haven't we all) but was it really Tom's choice to decide whether they should be punished for that? He was not one to judge.
The lights in the target's office blinked on cheerily, oblivious to the struggle of conscience that was going on above them, but very much involved in it.
Tom took a deep breath, the world around him seemed to pause. Looking down at that chip of glowing light against the darkness he made his choice.
The shot was clean and quick, the silencer ensuring it made no sound, yet somehow Tom could still hear it, an explosion inside his head.
Packing his gun carefully into its case, he slung it over his shoulder and began to make his way slowly down the ladder to the ground floor.
His bones ached from lying against the cold concrete for soo long. "I'm getting to old for this" he thought sourly. He rubbed his chin where the wiry hair was beginning to turn grey, and sighed.
He should be happy, it was a perfect shot and his newest client payed very well. But still the silent gunshot rang in his ears, echoed in his mind. "Unnecessary" the voice in his head whispered.
"Unnecessary death". Tom wiped his hands on his faded jeans reflectively, as if trying to wipe off the blood.
Blood that had never been there, yet when he lifted his hands to the glow of a streetlight, it shone brightly, crimson against his dark skin.
He sighed again, pulling his dark grey hood down over his face. People on the street never gave him a second glance. "Homeless maybe," they'd think, "old, no threat". Tom saw them differently.
"Next target, maybe," he'd think, "middle-age, bad decisions, though none as bad as mine"
And yet, every time a new client came forward, thrusting a small picture and a wad of notes into his hand, he'd be off again.
Lying on cold concrete as the light faded from the sky, bones aching almost as much as his heart. A soundless gunshot that deafened, blood that never touched him yet could not be scrubbed off.
He'd made his decision and he'd live with it, until next time, when he'd be faced with that choice once more.