2009 -- 1.2 (Spring) Fiction

The Objective by Jeremiah Shearer ~ep

      The objective lay on the other side of that wall. Creeping toward the door I put my ear against the frame. Stillness. Pistol at the ready, I enter the room swiftly and silently. Clear left. Clear right. Turning, I close the door as quietly as I opened it. The room was ordinary in every definition of the word. The only things worth noting are a single king-size bed and a dresser. A picture hangs on the wall to the left. It’s the only thing on that side of the room other than the entrance to the bathroom. Pistol leading, I open the door. Bathroom clear. I make my way to the side of the bed. The objective is there, sleeping, peacefully ignorant of his intended fate. Reaching into the velcro pocket of my vest, I take out the silencer. Satisfied with its integrity, I attach it to the barrel of my pistol. I present the pistol before me, intending to finish the mission. A glimmer at the corner of my eye distracts me. A single picture sits on a desk next to the bed’s headboard. The picture contains two people. The objective and his son. My thoughts are turned inward as I think of my own son. The pain of always saying goodbye, broken promises, and missed opportunities courses through my mind. I told him I was getting out, and I meant it. This is the last job. The final mission to secure our future. We have lost so much already. My wife. His mother. Forcing my focus back to the mission at hand I once again present the pistol before me. The sound of two shots quietly echoes across the room like the mournful cries of a lonely dove. The sound of a padded step on carpet whips my attention towards the bedroom door. I fire off two more rounds and hear them thud into the darkness of the other room. My aim was high. Standing there in the doorway is the objective’s son. He stares at me with a questioning expression; his gaze drifts back and forth from me to the bed. I am shocked into immobility. My thoughts are groggy. My mind is dull. They said he would be alone; his son was with their mother. The boy makes his way to the other side of the bed as I try to sort through the detonating realization of what had happened. He hugs his father. The corpse doesn’t hug back, and the boy begins to cry. His crying turns into a pitiful howl. He stares at me accusingly, knowingly. His eyes haunt me. With a numbness I haven’t felt since her death, I leave the room. One thought flares in my mind like a burst star. I never have to say goodbye to my son again.