A Story by Christopher Robin

Dug this one out of an old hard drive, early school stuff, enjoy!





The briefest touch of the sun’s warmth on his fingertips brings the man to consciousness. He blinks his eyes a few times and his brain clicks in to gear, he does not move a muscle. He is totally invisible to anyone caring to look in his direction; he is covered by an off-white sheet exactly the same colour as the travertine on which he is lying. The man has been lying in the same position for 9 hours now. He moves very, very slightly and checks the sight of his M107 Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle; it is still locked on to the target point, exactly 380 meters from where he is lying.

The man has no name, he is the Shooter.


A few kilometers away, another man awakens. His alarm has woken him. He rises and slips from his bed, moving to the curtains, parting them, and letting the sunlight stream in. He looks out across the city, his city. He is so struck by the beauty of it that he falls to his knees, clasps his hands together and prays to the Lord. He mutters in Latin, but it translates to ‘The Lord protect me and guide me in all that I do this day’. He rises as his assistant enters to help dress him. Today is no formal occasion, and he can dispense with ceremonial clothes. He has a small matter to clear up at the Governors Palace, and then the rest of the day is his own, he plans to write letters.

Everyone knows this man’s name, he is the Pope.

He is also the Target.


The Shooter breaths steadily, he is perched on top of the Vatican City Railway Station, on the roof of the left wing, giving him a perfect view of the steps leading up to the Governors Palace. He closes his eyes and remembers the journey up to the roof last night. The only access is by rope and hook. One must enter the Railway Station, in all its travertine marble glory, and head to the stairs on the left, past the green marble columns. From the top of the stairs one has a small, quaint view of a slice of the Vatican City, through any one of 3 windows. With a key acquired earlier, one of the windows pushes open onto a ledge; walking around this ledge, one can aim a relatively surreptitious rope and hook to the roof. From entrance to position it took the man 1 minute 37 seconds, 23 seconds faster than estimated. That included setting up the rifle, which was packed in three parts, the barrel connecting to the butt, and the scope sliding neatly on top without a sound. The tip of the barrel is just hidden by the end of the cloth. The man smiles as numbers flash past his eyes; his target will be exactly 380 meters away, yet he is shooting a rifle with an accurate range of 1,800 meters. The non-hollow point FMJ, Russian made scrap-metal bullet will fly at 853 meters a second. This means that 0.45 seconds after he pulls the trigger, the bullet will have made contact with the target. This also means that the target will be hit before he hears the sound of the shot. The magazine for the rifle holds 10 bullets, the Shooter has loaded it with 2; he is cocky, but not stupid.


The target descends the steps from the Papal apartments and greets his First Governor and his head of security who will be driving. The target turns and smiles at his transport, a modified Mercedes-Benz M-Class with a glass hatch attached to the back. He climbs inside the glass hatch through an entrance at the back, and is elevated into position via a hydraulic lift. He sighs and smiles at the increased and unnecessary security measures put on this short trip to the Governors Palace. The Pope muses that the symbol of peace cannot walk in his own city for fear of being hurt or killed, what a world. The trip is a relatively short one, there are few people around this early in the morning, the Target smiles and waves to the gardeners he knows, thinking that managing a garden is truly doing God’s work. The driver tells him that they will stop just outside the Palace, and that the Pope must walk between the head of security and the First Governor up the steps to the Palace. The Target agrees because he has to, and wonders how anyone can be so nervous and calculating on such a beautiful morning.


$100,000,000 was a ridiculous figure. You couldn’t think in terms of what to buy, only in terms of what that sort of money couldn’t buy. Certain jets or boats perhaps, maybe certain properties. The Shooter wasn’t going to buy anything with it, it was going into an account, and he would live the rest of his life off the interest. He would start a family, put this life behind him, maybe work the stock market, or the property market. After this one shot, money would not be a factor in his life, he wonders how many people in the world enjoy the same situation. With an annual interest rate of 7%, that gave him over $14,000,000 to play with every year; that was more than $1,000,000 a month, which was around $41,000 a day. He closes his eyes and smiles as he makes a quick calculation, and works out that he will earn $1708 an hour for the rest of his life after this shot. The smile is still on his face as the Target’s vehicle appears round the corner.


The intercom in the glass hatch blares again, it is the driver announcing that they are stopping here. The Pope hits the button on the wall, which moves the hydraulic chair into the sunken position so he can get out the back. He could open the doors himself but has to wait for the head of security to come round and open it for him. The Target feels infantile in his door-to-door care, whilst he understands the need for it, it does not stop it being a hindrance day in day out. Surely if he was to be attacked it is God saying his time as Pope is at an end? The Target knows he lives in a world where people place their faith in security rather than in God. While unfortunate, he cannot deny he sees the sense in this, with the world in the state it is. Well, today is another small step in the healing process, another piece of legislation designed to help people, rather than hurt them. He is secretly glad and proud that his signature can bring hope and joy to so many. The head of security knocks on the door behind the Target. It is time to move.


The vehicle has stopped, the Shooter checks his sight again, feeling the warm weight of the butt against his shoulder. This particular M107 has been painted a chrome black, the smell of new paint lingers in it still, barely a few days old, mixing with the musty, unclean smell of the soft limestone architecture around him. With another breath he takes in the fresh smell of the trees and grass surrounding the building, there is an edge of tin on the air, a problem of being so close to the busy streets around Rome. He hears the traffic in the distance, horns, rattles, exhausts, clashing playfully against the gentle creak of the trees, the quiet gurgling of the fountain in the courtyard, the soft twitter of birds near him on the roof. He closes his senses and focuses, the smell becomes his own breath, even, in and out, the sounds become his saliva running over his tongue as he swallows, the miniscule click of the safety catch being released on the side of the rifle, the thudding of his heart against his ribs. The beat grows stronger and louder as a man steps out of the vehicle and moves to the back, knocking on the glass hatch.


Knock, knock, knock goes the man’s hand.


Thud, thud, thud goes the Shooter’s heart.


The Target knocks back and the back doors open, he climbs backwards out of the hatch and looks around, smiling, he breaths in the fresh air of the city, it is soft and welcoming; this is shaping up to be a perfect morning.


The Shooter’s conscience has been bought. He will not hesitate, he will not think twice, he will not place himself in the target’s shoes, it is a thing that will be done, a thing that must be done. As the target loses his life the Shooter’s life will begin, a life for a life is a fair exchange, there is nothing else to think about.


There is only this moment, there is only his finger upon the trigger, there is only the sight aligned perfectly with the target’s head, there is no chance this shot will miss.


One movement of his finger, one inch backwards will give him a new life.


Thud, thud, thud.


A nod from the head of security indicates they should keep moving. The Pope waits to have a man on either side of him, then moves at an easy pace towards the steps, he cannot help but marvel at its architecture, this is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. He imagines heaven to look something like this.


They both plan to spend the rest of the day in the sun.


The shooter breaths out, and counts under his breath, following the target in his sights. The target is 4 steps away from the contact point, 3 steps…2 steps…1 step.


The Pope pauses for a moment, and experiences pure bliss that the day is turning out so well.


The Shooter breathes in.


Thud, thud, thud.


The Shooter pulls his finger back on the trigger, engaging the mechanism that will slam the bolt forward, propelling the bullet through the air, he feels the bolt slide, and jam.


It is impossible for this gun to jam.


He quickly moves his hand and disengages the bolt manually from the exterior slide, he pulls it back and ejects the shell, with the bullet still inside, he replaces the catch and feels the bolt mechanism pick up the second bullet in the magazine and slide it into the barrel, ready to fire.


He checks his sight, and pulls the trigger again, the mechanism engages, the bolt slides back, and jams again.


The Pope walks slowly but steadily up the steps, still marveling at the magnificent morning. He reaches the top of the stairs and turns, looking out over the city, his eye catches a bird as it flies from the roof of the Railway Station. He smiles at this small yet intricate symbol of freedom.


He feels it is the small things that make God’s work truly amazing.



© 2015 Christopher Robin

Author's Note

Christopher Robin
If you're gonna mistreat it, beat it.

( I have no religious or spiritual affiliation, this is a perspective story of pure fiction )

My Review

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I like this a lot, it was a really interesting read. I enjoyed how you used two very different points of view to show extreme contrast, and the story ended differently than I expected which is always a nice surprise. Good write.

Posted 5 Years Ago

Quite a treat for old school stuff ... there are a few lines and ideas in there where the age of the writer is given away ... nonetheless, a perfect picture painted .... talented you be .... what else you got stashed away to share ?

Posted 5 Years Ago

Christopher Robin

5 Years Ago

Spring cleaning the computer and the old hard drives can occasionally yield some unexpected rewards... read more
Wow! Seriously! A school student can write this!

Let me just list down all the major parts that I enjoyed;

1) The start reminded me of Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown. The intricate details of the both the characters' situations just kind of gave an anticipatory thrill, already.

2) The cascade of thoughts, provided such powerful background to the story.

3) The two different perspectives of the characters penned so aptly, that the reader can easily be in their shoes.

4) Even though, you say its pure fiction, I felt the vital force of God in the Last line!

Amazing work!
I usually don't drag my reviews this much, but loved it!

Posted 5 Years Ago

Christopher Robin

5 Years Ago

I am very glad you enjoyed it, it's rather unique in terms of the sort of writing I usually do, but .. read more

5 Years Ago

You are welcome.

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3 Reviews
Added on August 29, 2015
Last Updated on August 29, 2015
Tags: story, narrative, writing, fiction, short story, perspective


Christopher Robin
Christopher Robin

Melbourne, Caulfield, Australia

Chris, almost 28, live in Melbourne, love reading, writing, gaming. I like to have fun with words. I'd also like to raise the bar a little when it comes to publishing online 'literature'. I hope you b.. more..