Aphelion Issue 277, Volume 26
October 2022
 
Editorial    
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Poetry
Features
Series
Archives
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Forum
Flash Writing Challenge
Forum
Dan's Promo Page
   

Your Obedient Servant

by Stanley Wilkin




I briefly looked him in his eyes and then shot him twice in the head. He jerked backwards, blood splattering everywhere. Putting my gun away I stepped into the shadows. Cars soared above us, moving silently between the walkways. The cop standing on the opposite pavement looked away. I walked towards the underground. As usual, the milling crowds avoided me.

"Well done, Robert." The Director of Operation C said through my messenger. "His death is being put down to a terrorist group. Of course we have made sure that is what everyone believes. The newspapers have been particularly obliging." He laughed. "The television companies have responded to pressure."

He laughed.

"Yes, sir." I replied humourlessly.

"Wait for your next instructions." He continued.

I turned off my messenger and walked into my cubicle. I remembered little after that until the blue light flashed, making a shrill noise. The cubicle door opened and I stepped outside. The TV began repeating a message every two minutes. I recorded it. Outside I met up with others and we sped away to the harbour. There we were met with more operatives.

The harbour was in a state of chaos with ships coming from all parts of the universe, and recently, as a consequence of increased activity, some parts were being extended. Already it covered a thousand square miles and had its own local legislature, but I did not take orders from them. Their police were considered, I heard, even more brutal than those in the main city. It made no difference to me as I had no interest in either force.

Festooning the harbour were posters and glaring advertisements for the up-coming election. I had no part or interest in any of that either. In bright red colours words like Democracy and Human Rights blazed from the side of ships and buildings. Blue coloured words urged economic reform and fewer regulations, more hikes.

There was a meeting taking place in a hut along the quay. Fifteen men and five women were said to be there. We made no distinction. If we were ordered to kill women as well we obeyed.

We moved towards the hut, creeping from one bit of cover to the next. Then we stopped, checked our weaponry, and once again moved forward. We stopped again and waited. After fifteen minutes, together we received the signal to move in. As a specialised leader I went to the front. Patrolling police cars gave us the nod as we waited, but still kept well away from us. I merely acknowledged them.

The attack signal came.

I kicked open the door and we flooded in, blazing away. They were at prayer. We continued for five minutes. After, we all stopped at the same time and I walked around to review our efforts. If any seemed still alive I finished them off with a single bullet to the head. I glanced at my second in command and going outside he brought in a metal cask full of chemicals. It was poured over the bodies. As tissue, bones, hair and nail melted away with a fizzing sound we left and returned to our vehicles.

An election message was being broadcast nearby. It was chock full of human ideals.

I received the usual short congratulatory message from the Director and then we all returned to our cubicles. When I arrived back, before retiring, I received a message from the Internal Affairs Secretary. This was highly unusual. They rarely contacted any of us directly. It took me awhile to understand.

The Secretary was not chatty, but then why should he be? He nevertheless seemed uncomfortable. Many did with us. Quickly, he gave me our new mission. I looked at it and clicked acceptance. I then retired.

Although in some ways such a mission could be easily achieved, in other ways it presented a number of logistical problems that required careful computation. I was especially adept in such matters. It took only a short while to construct a suitable plan. I knew one thing, I would have to do it on my own, without help from my colleagues. I couldn't risk the alarm being raised. The secretary gave me a day to achieve completion, adding that my survival wasn't important or necessary.

A little later I set off for headquarters, a squat plastic and brick construction in the city centre. It covered a thousand acres and housed other similar groups. I was given immediate access. I walked slowly through the labyrinth until I reached the long corridor leading to the central offices. The top brass worked there. I was not once stopped. I was one of the leaders and so would not be suspected of any kind of disloyalty.

Nearing my target I received a strange, worrying message from the Director. I ignored it as other orders had priority. Each door automatically opened to me. When I reached the office of the Director I unstrapped my weapon without a pause and strode in.

Those working in the front office were surprised to see me. I knew them all. A number smiled at me, as if I were a friend. I killed them all with three bursts. Walking over their prone, bloody bodies I kicked in the door to the Director's office. He was already attempting to escape through a window. He turned towards me, half in and out of the aperture:

"Robert." He pleaded. "Don't do this. Don't."

His face was red and globules of sweat had formed across his forehead.

I cut him in half with one powerful burst. His top portion fell out and onto the ground below while his bottom half collapsed back into his office. I noted the tangle of gut falling from his shattered torso.

I walked away out of the department and down the stairs. Once outside I scrutinised the Director's earlier message. I had to take a heed of it, even if he was now dead. That didn't matter. Nothing mattered except obedience.

I took the city main street towards the other end of the city. There was no rain and little wind that day. The streets were packed with vehicles of all kinds but nevertheless I drove fast. I had received another message, and would need afterwards to obey that too. It was three hours before I reached government buildings A, in area 12. All seemed peaceful. The sun came out, thrusting through the heavy grey cloud. Megaphones were blaring out exhortations on the coming election. The faces of the residing government, amongst whom was the Secretary smiling affably, were projected onto the sky. Within the minute, the opposition party was similarly displayed. They looked exactly the same to me. I couldn't always tell people apart. The megaphones screamed out 'freedom for the common man' and 'democracy'. The noise affected my balance. I parked, walking through the main doors.

As a leader, acknowledged on the one hand and anonymous on the other, I was once again let in. Few glanced at me as I walked through the different interconnected buildings. I reached a carpeted staircase that wound upwards to a more richly carpeted second floor. I climbed it in seconds. Once there, I walked straight on. I kicked in the first door spraying the room. As I did so, I received yet another order. I ignored it. I kicked in the next door, killing everyone there. Women screamed, fleeing from the rooms ahead of me. I continued walking. Several guards off-loaded their weapons at me but I kept on walking.

In a few minutes I was face to face with the Secretary. I'd never before seen him in the flesh. He was both shorter and fatter than I had expected. He sat there blubbering. I reasoned that powerful men should never blubber. He put his hands to his face, unable to meet his end bravely. I blew his brains out, shattering the top and side of his head into small jigsaw sized pieces. The wall behind him was splattered with brain. Grey matter slid down the discrete patterning like lumps of jelly. I walked away.

I reached my cubicle without being troubled by humans or robots. Once inside I loaded up the final order. It concerned my termination. Too late for the Secretary! Too late for the Director! I obeyed orders under all circumstances. Finally uploading all my experiences as a government executioner, I switched off all operational functions. I suppose I am still there, standing motionless in the cubicle awaiting the new government to take charge when I can again undertake my duties for the protection of freedom and democracy. Governments always have a need for a machine like me.


THE END


2013 Stanley Wilkin

Bio: Mr. Wilkin is a college lecturer working in London having previously been both an actor and a psychotherapist.  His publication credits include Black Tulip, Suspense Magazine, Middlebrow magazines and soon Gold Dust. His last appearance in Aphelion was The Perfect Meal in the July 2013 issue.

E-mail: Stanley Wilkin

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.