The Black Crows

by Timothy Romer

The crowd thundered as Yuri lifted yet another near impossible weight. Squating three hundred pounds was no easy feat, but when a wager was placed by his best friend Dimitri, Yuri just had to do it. Come on buddy, get that weight up, demanded Dimitri, half taunting his worn out friend who had just gotten done doing over eighty push ups in a minute to satisfy another challenge. Yuri and Dimitri had been best friends for over eight years, so Yuri was used to a little playful banter. He finished the set and threw the weight down, slamming it to the ground and following up with a roar. There, now Im done for the day! he exclaimed. The two friends shared an embrace, which quickly turned into Yuri demanding his money from his friend. As Dimitri was pulling the bills from his wallet, Yuri received a phone call. He quickly turned away from his friend and found a secluded place to take the call. He had to make sure no one could hear what he was talking about. The caller was the leader of the Black Crows.

The Black Crows was a group of trained assassins, that would take up contracts from different people willing to spend the amount of money required to get rid of someone the right way. Yuri answered and was told that there was a high value target that needed to be killed as soon as possible. No reason was given, just the name and description of the target along with the location and time in which the attack would happen. As Yuri finished up and made his way back to the middle of the crowd where he left his friend, he noticed that Dimitri was also taking a phone call near the back of the crowd. He approached his friend, who immediately finished his phone call and made is seem as if nothing had happened. Yuri made an attempt at asking his friend who he was on the phone with and Dimitri told him that he would tell him later. At this time the crowd was starting to disapate and people were heading their separate ways, so the friends decided to also head home.

Once Yuri had arrived at home, he called Dimitri to ask about the phone call he received at the competition. When Dimitri answered, he told Yuri to make sure no one was around to hear what he was about to say. When he reasured his friend that no one was, Dimitri told Yuri that he received a phone call from a mysterious group of assassins called the Black Crows and that they had a job for him to do tonight. Yuri couldnt believe what was happening, thats impossible, his said to himself. As far as Yuri knew, the Black Crows didnt recruit people by way of a phone call. A member of the group would have to notice your abilities, make a recommendation to the leader, and finally have the leader hunt you down and offer you a chance to begin training, and should you decline, he would kill you. Yuri tries to cover up the fact that he even knows about the Black Crows by changing the subject of the conversation. They finish their conversation and Yuri pushes it to the back of his mind, the mission had to come first and the time was approaching for him to complete his task.

Without thinking that was his friend had told him could be true, Yuri made his way into the Black Forrest. He had traveled through this forrest many times before, whether it be for other missions or just as a hunting trip. He followed the path he had followed so many time before, which led him right to the camp of the target. There was a make-shift tent made from a cloth and some rope, a campfire was lit in the center of the camp, the sound of someone shuffling through something in the tent could be heard. Yuri readied his weapon for the kill, unsheathing the poisoned daggar from its protective case. He began to creap toward the camp when suddenly his friend Dimitri came out of the tent. Yuri stopped and nearly dropped the daggar. He couldnt believe that his friend could have possibly been the target, especially after hearing about the phone call Dimitri received earlier. Yuri thought, Could he have lied to me? How could he have known about the Black Crows? Maybe this is a test of some kind? I cant kill my best friend! With so many thoughts running through his head, he had let his guard down and Dimitri heard him shuffle his feet to stay balanced. Dimitri jumped in the direction from which he heard the noise and landed directly on top of his friend. As they wrestled, trying to understand the situation Yuri blurted out, stop, its me! Yuri! The two friends were still, lying on the ground. Yuri spoke first and asked, What are you doing here? I was about to kill you! Dimitri responded back with, You failed my friend. This was a test of loyalty asked of me from the leader himself. You failed, I cant believe you failed.

The two stood up and brushed themselves off, which gave Dimitri time to explain what had happened. He explained that the leader had given him orders to pretend to be a target and fight back once Yuri had tried to kill him, what Yuri didnt realized what that since he didnt attack his friend even though he was told that he would be a target, it meant that the leader couldnt trust him to take out any target that he would have given Yuri. Dimitri, while sobbing, told Yuri that he had to leave, and never come back for fear that if the leader found out what had happened, they would both be killed. Which explaining this, the friends heard something moving in the darkness. Yuri fell to the ground, a poison dart had been shot into his neck, Dimitri fell to the floor and began screaming, pleading for the attacker to spare his life and the life of his friend. The leader of the Black Crow emerged. He said, The love that your friend showed for you is nothing but a weakness, and it has no cost both of you, your lives. The Black Crows has no room for mercy or compassion. With a swift move, Dimitri was cut down by the leader. He bled there next to his friend for many hours before succuming to death.

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