A few miles from Macbeth's palace the two hired assassins stood waiting in the forest. They knew the route Banquo and Fleance would take and they stood patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity. They heard footsteps crack the branches on the ground. They hadn’t expected Banquo and his son so soon, but it wasn't Banquo. The man they encountered was a stranger to them but his attire and manner indicated he too was a ruffian.

 

“Who told you to join us?” asked the first murderer.

 

“Macbeth.”

 

“He has no reason to distrust us. He gave us our orders down to the last detail,” said the second murderer.

 

“Then stand with us,” said the first murderer. “The western sky is streaked with the last glimmers of day. Now travellers spur their horses hoping to reach an inn. The man who is the subject of our watch must be getting closer.”

 

“Listen!” said the new man. “I can hear horses.”

 

They patiently stood listening to the sounds getting nearer. The horses seemed to be slowing. They heard the riders dismount.

 

“Give me a light there, Fleance.”

 

“It's Banquo!” said the second murderer. “The others are already at the feast.”

 

“He's tied up the horses,” said the first murderer.

 

“That's usual - everyone does. They leave the horses here and walk to the palace gate.” said the third murderer.

 

They heard Banquo and Fleance approach them. Between the trees they saw the first flickers of their torches.

 

“Look, a light.”

 

“That's him!”

 

“Get ready!”

 

Each hid behind a tree. They could see and hear their victims clearly. Banquo passed them.

 

“Looks like rain tonight,” Banquo said to Fleance.

 

“Let it come down!” the first murderer said as he struck the torch from Banquo's hand.

 

The other two murderers sized Banquo and stabbed him repeatedly with their daggers.

 

“Treachery! Run, Fleance, run, run, run. You must avenge me. Oh....”

 

His voice trailed off. In the darkness the murderers couldn't find Fleance.

 

“Who put out the light?” asked the third murderer.

 

“Wasn't that the plan?” asked the first murderer.

 

“We've only killed one. The son got away!” said the third.

 

“We've failed in the main part of the task,” said the second.

 

“Let's get out of here and tell Macbeth what happened,” said the first.