The story is written in the third person, limited point of view.
The sniper is involved in civil war in Ireland, between the Republican army and the Free Staters. The sniper has been in service for some time. The war has divided his family so that he is fighting for one side, while his brother is fighting for the other (similar to the Civil War in this country).
The sniper is on a rooftop, watching what is happening in the streets below. He is located in an area called the Four Courts. It is nighttime. There is fighting throughout the city. His job is to sit on top of a building, without disclosing his position, and taking out the enemy as they approach his location.
He decides to light a cigarette, even though the light will give him away. He takes the chance and immediately he is fired on by another sniper on another rooftop. The first sniper then kills the men that arrive in an armored tank, and an old woman who had tried to tell them where the sniper was located.
When he exposes himself to shoot the woman, he is seen by the other sniper, and shot and wounded. The rest of the story describes how the protagonist uses his wits to attempt to kill the other sniper.