I have been writing poems and short stories for years, some of which I have published independantly. I also blog. Writing is a loved hobby.
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too!
— Rudyard Kipling
The Kill Order
Dum-dum-dum!! Ooooh, I feel so dangerous!! I couldn’t help but think.
I clutched the knife tightly with both hands. My knuckles were white, and I could feel my nails digging into my palms. Sweats were beading on my forehead, and I could hear my labored breathing bursting out of my chest in little puff of tortured air.
It was with trepidation and extreme reluctance that I put one foot in front of the other as I literally had to drag myself to my destination: The Barn.
After all, it was not everyday that you received the order to kill.
Why me? I kept asking myself. It’s not like he’s short on people willing and ready to do his macabre order around here! Ryan, for example, I bet he’d be very happy to oblige the Old Man. After all, he’d done the killing many times before. He’s practically a seasoned slaughterer, literally. Although not as experienced and seasoned as the Old Man, but still, anyone’s better than me. I can’t do this, I can’t! I’ve never done the killing before.
I stopped and stood rooted to the ground, my eyes closed, as I tried to steady my breathing.
The barn was only a few dozen steps in front of me, the door old and creaking, but securely latched to prevent the victim, my victim, from escaping from within. Because that’s where he was, waiting for me, not knowing the gruesome fate he’s about to meet at my hands. He was probably peacefully eating what was most likely his Last Supper, oblivious to the machinations of men outside his sanctuary who plotted to have him killed and used as the centerpiece in an otherwise completely normal event.
Mister Belvedere, that was his name.
He had been with us for a long time, faithfully and happily doing his responsibility as the patriarch of his clan, the main male everybody of his kin and kind looked up to, the respected elder and teacher.
But now, he had outlived his usefulness, his time had passed, and the Old Man, my Old Man, wanted him gone, put out of commission.
Out of a gesture of goodwill and kindness (or so he implied), the Old Man wanted Mister Belvedere not merely killed, but after his death to grace us one last time, fittingly so, doing his last act of responsibility as befitting a worker, to keep us all satisfied.
I shuddered, drama-shrama.
The Old Man probably wanted to established his position as the main man, so to speak; to mark his territory in his imagined kingdom under One Ruler, thus removing any and all competition. I thought uncharitably.
So I admit that I did not necessarily agree with the Old Man’s order, alright?
As if hearing my depressing thoughts and reluctance to act on his decree, I heard the Old Man bellowed from directly behind me, “AARON!! What are you waiting for? We don’t have all day, sun’s coming down soon. Just do it already!”
I spun around to face him.
The Old Man was sitting on the front porch’s top step, leisurely smoking his pipe, and I swore I could see his eyes twinkling at me even in the fading light as if in a challenge.
I found my ire rising at the look, and before I could stop myself, I snapped peevishly, “Why do I have to do it? Why can’t Ryan? I bet he’s just wanting to.”
Said arrogant pest….er, brother dear, was slouching lazily against the post behind the Old Man, grinning lazily and mockingly at me.
“Because you complained yesterday that you don’t get enough man’s work to do around here. So here you are, doing a man’s work. Or are you too scared to do it, little brother?” He mocked.
The Old Man chuckled. “He’s right, Aaron. So go be that man you want to be, and KILL. MR. BERVEDERE.”
By the end of the sentence, his look turned steely and his voice dropped into a slow drawl he had always adopted when he wanted to stress the importance of his words.
I blinked once, a surreal feeling dropping over me. When he said it like that, it felt strangely like an initiation to me, a rite of passage of sort.
Not a boy anymore? Prove it. make your first kill.
It was on the tip of my tongue to retort back by saying that there were other things he could tell me to do to prove myself, but instead, gulping nervously, I said “Yes sir.”
I firmed my grip on the forgotten knife, and turned back towards the barn.
Inside the barn, I could hear Mister Belvedere, and was he singing?
Good heavens, I forgot that Mister Belvedere always sang around this time of the day. I swallowed once, twice, resolutely ignored the heartless snickering duo at my back, and determinedly marched to the barn.
With a trembling hand, more out of reluctance to do the job than my fear Mister Belvedere might caught on to me and escape, or worse fight back, I pushed the door open slowly.
Oh, Mister Belvedere!
As soon as he caught sight of me, he let out a long stream of enthusiastic greeting.
My hands trembled. I can’t do this when you look at me like that and chatting at me, Mister Belvedere. STOP IT!
As if he heard my internal barrage of thoughts, Mister Belvedere stopped chattering, and really looked at me, his head tilted curiously to the side.
Was it me, or was that a glimpse of intelligence I saw in his dark, glittery eyes? Did he know already that I was here to kill him?
“I’m so sorry. I know we have known each other a long time, and you did your task faithfully and made everyone pretty much happy and satisfied, but I’m afraid… I’m… your time has come, Mister Belvedere. I’m here to kill you. I don’t want to, but the Old Man, he said everyone under our charge here has to do the ultimate sacrifice towards the end, and die.”
Oh sweet heavens, I was sniffling.
“Aaron! Stop with the drama and make the kill!” Speak of the devil….er, I meant the old dude in charge, the Big Boss.
The Old Man was again bellowing from outside for me to make the move, as if he thought that I was procrastinating and being melodramatic.
As if, pfftt!
But apparently Mister Belvedere heard him too, and as if he understood the order that he was not privy to, he backed away warily.
And maybe it was my confused mind and blurry eyes, but I could swear he had this cunning look on his face, and a determination in his small black eyes, to fight until his last breath.
“Come on, Mister Belvedere, don’t make this any harder for both of us. It has to happen, don’t you see? So please, come here and let me do this.” I coaxed in a low voice.
I lifted the knife with my right hand, while my left was held out in front of me to ward off any unwanted attack from my potential victim, as I slowly and carefully moved towards him.
Mister Belvedere did not move.
Either he was resigned to his fate, or knowing the cunning little creature, he was most probably waiting for an opportunity, to do what I had yet to find out.
Oh no, you don’t. I’m going to do this, the Old Man’s counting on me to make this kill. Besides, I can’t have Ryan laughing at me for a botched job now, can’t I? Everyone’s going to laugh at me. As much as I don’t want to, it’s either my reputation or your life, and it has to be your life.
And with that thought firmly resolved in my head, I made a sudden rush towards Mister Belvedere.
For a moment, time stood still, he stood still, and I was definitely not stood still.
I was thinking, It’s going to happen, he’s going to let me catch him and kill him and this will soon be over!
© 2019 Lynne Samuel