The President stepped onto the platform smiling a politician’s grimace, surrounded by advisors and a platoon of bodyguards. He essayed a perfunctory wave before striding to his podium, mentally reviewing his twisted campaign speech for the fundraiser.

A businessman entered the lobby of a building, smiling at the doorman before walking to the elevator. The man was utterly ordinary in a nondescript way, the sort of man who could have been a banker, lawyer or CEO of any firm in the world, but still managed to be a highly disconcerting figure. His skin had a waxy sheen, like an animated mannequin, an appearance further enhanced by his perfectly groomed hair and professionally tailored suit. The doorman watched him intently as he rode in the elevator, but the man merely began to dig through his briefcase. Losing interest, he swiveled his gaze to the political convention occurring across the street, praying for the end of his shift and payday.

The President shuffled through his notes before leaning toward the microphone. Speaking slowly and clearly, he began to expound upon the economic, social and cultural issues that plagued the country, blaming the Middle East, the Chinese and his predecessor while skillfully diverting all blame from himself. After all, no investors would donate to a failure.

The businessman began to move quickly around the elevator. His hand snapped upward to slip a picture across the camera lens, obscuring its view with an image of the same elevator. The doorman, lounging inattentively in his chair, briefly smacked the screen to dispel the brief flicker that crossed the monitor. The businessman had disappeared, presumably having exited at another floor. The doorman eased back in his chair, waiting for his manager and check. Back inside the moving elevator, the businessman delved his hand into the large black briefcase standing at his side. With practiced movements he assembled a large machine gun, pulling its components out of the case and snapping them into place. With a satisfied sigh, he exited the elevator at the roof.

The President launched into a charming series of stories concerning the multitude of hard working citizens he had met during his travels around the country. He cited numerous examples of how beneficial his leadership had been to the states, modestly accepting the smattering of applause that greeted each of his achievements.

The businessman glanced around, eyeing the Secret Service agents crouched on the rooftop. Exuding an air of calm professionalism, he pulled out a set of throwing knives. A flick of his wrist launched the first knife through the air, spiraling toward the first agent. He let out a startled cry as the knife hit his back, keeling over onto the rooftop with a mundane thud. The second agent swayed to the side as the businessman snapped the second knife at him, allowing the sickled blade to swing over the abyss that separated the building from its neighbor. The man grasped at his walkie-talkie, valiantly attempting to warn the President of the impending danger. With a cruel smile, the businessman threw himself at the agent, crossing the intervening space in a short set of steps.

The president glanced upward momentarily under the pretense of admiring the sky and the environment. Catching sight of a flicker of movement atop the building across from him, his eyebrows raised a fraction of an inch, the equivalent of a shout of surprise in anyone else.

The businessman’s hand connected solidly with the agent’s upraised palm, staggering his forward momentum. Both men were obviously talented fighters, and circled each other atop the roof, feiting jabs at the other before retreating quickly. The agent, out of a sense of dedication to his country, continued to fight instead of fleeing into the belly of the open elevator. He was obviously the less skilled of the duo, but had managed to land a few well-placed strikes. Finally, with a savage snarl, the business man dived towards the agent, fully committing himself to the attack. The two danced around the roof, frantically parrying and punching. The fight slowly began to swing in the businessman’s favor, his stunningly powerful blows pummeling the other backwards.

The President mentally debated whether to cut his speech short or persevere, still gazing at the rooftop. Finally, he reasoned that the donations he would receive from the fundraiser more than balanced out the risks. He stepped a fraction of an inch to the side, leaning toward the microphone as he launched himself into the next paragraph of his speech.

The businessman’s hands blurred slightly as he moved faster and faster, forcing the agent backwards under the onslaught. Pinned to the edge of the roof, the agent desperately yanked open the businessman’s jacket, revealing the thick bundles of cash that had bought his service. With a fierce snarl, the businessman shoved the other off the precipice, leaning forward to watch him spin to the ground below. With a small sigh, the cold-hearted man dusted off his hands and wondered where he could stash the bodies.

The President began to conclude his speech, smiling mechanically at prospective donors.

The businessman narrowed the sights of his weapon, gently easing forward the trigger.

The President stared at the rooftop across the square, catching sight of a man crouched behind a large gun.

The businessman smiled fiercely, snapping off a single shot.

The President gasped as a hot, painful sensation bloomed inside his frozen heart.

The businessman watched as the president’s body flipped through the air, trailing blood from a hole in his heart. The shout that floated up from the square fell on deaf ears as the businessman stepped daintily into the elevator, kicking the first agent’s body casually off the side of the roof. The doorman watched him intently as he stepped back into the camera’s line of sight. Having satisfied himself that the businessman posed no threat, he continued to watch the door, drumming his fingers repetitively against the monitor. The businessman slipped out the front door of the building, merging seamlessly with the throng of people that milled about the podium and dead President.

Emily Malpass, Age 13, Grade 8, Trinity School, Silver Key

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