It’s a simple upward twitch of the corners of his mouth. It’s barely a movement, yet it turns him from stranger into friend.
The baron watches him flip a card and lay it on the table between them.
The gypsy taps it. It’s the eighth card in the cross. The last one to be played. It depicts a man, rotting into skeleton. He holds a scythe. His face is mostly concealed by the hood of a black robe. Only his teeth and chin are seen and the subtle glow of two round hollow eyes.
“La Mort,” the gypsy says. “Changes coming for you mister.”
The air turns in the little wagon, one of many in the royal convoy, from warm congeniality to cold impartiality. “Nothing personal mister,” he says with the slightest hint of sadness in his voice.
The gypsy shifts in his seat. The movement is subtle but quick.
The baron wishes to ask, what, but can’t seem to get his tongue to form the words.
Then hot pain in his throat.
He places his hand there and pulls it away wet and red with blood.
He gurgles afraid.
The gypsy gathers his cards, wraps the deck in a colorful scarf and places them in his satchel just in time to watch the Baron’s head slam against the little wooden table.
He stands, stretches his arms up to the ceiling and grabs the lantern burning there casting a yellow light.
He tosses the lantern onto the Barons bed and waits for the flames and smoke to consume the mattress before slipping away into the dark night just moments before the camp explodes with the excitement of the fast spreading fire.
Art: Basano – Gypsy Assassin