Eliminate Andrew Higgs

Submitted into Contest #27 in response to: Write a short story that ends with a twist.... view prompt



Orders are orders. You have to follow them. If the sergeant asks you to kill a man, you kill him. No ifs and buts. That is how I was raised. You are not to question your superiors no matter what they ask you to do. My father lived by that rule and I was going to prove that the apple hadn’t fallen too far from the tree.

In my line of work, I had seen a lot of folks lose their lives merely on account of having failed to do what was asked of them. Was it not, then, obvious that I, in order to avoid suffering a similar fate, was to carry out orders unquestioningly? Besides, what had made me particularly happy was the fact that the sergeant had shown a great amount of faith in me by entrusting me with a task that was usually reserved for the officers. A humble orderly like myself seldom got to lay his hands on something of substance. I knew there was something special about me and the sergeant must’ve felt that way, too.

Eliminate Andrew Higgs. That was all he had said.

At exactly quarter past two that night, I left my room with a recently sharpened knife, a small file, and an old piece of cloth, securely tucked under my shirt to accomplish the task I was entrusted with. I had pinched the aforementioned items from the pantry in the evening. My target was housed in a two-storey building right across mine. A couple of young orderlies were on patrol duty near it. They were both novices and I had full faith in their stupidity; they were no threat to me. The two of them were soon engaged in a tete-a-tete as I had predicted. I couldn’t hear what they were chatting about, owing to my below average hearing ability, but they did seem to be cracking jokes. I quickly made a dash for the building and arrived at its back side, facing the lake, and squatted down. My heart was pounding so hard against my rib cage that for a moment I thought it might give away my location to the two patrolmen and they would come running around the building and rain blows on me. Thankfully, the cool breeze blowing over the lake and onto my face did a pretty good job of calming my nerves. I took a few deep breaths until I could hear the sergeant’s voice clearly in my head.

Eliminate Andrew Higgs.

I was standing right under the window of Andrew’s room. It wasn’t too high so I easily managed to slide the file under it, push the lock upwards, and unlock the window without making a single error. I pulled open the window and climbed in through it. To my advantage, the faint white glow of the crescent moon in the sky couldn’t do much to disturb the darkness inside the room. I looked at the bed and found Andrew lying on his stomach, with his head turned to his right. As I was taking the knife and the piece of cloth out from under my shirt, my gaze fell on a radium clock by the window. It was two thirty, which meant he was due to wake up in an hour and a half, just like all the other cadets. I balled up the piece of cloth with my right hand and pressed it on his mouth. Then, almost instantaneously, I jabbed the knife into his neck. I felt the knife traversing a thick network of arteries and veins in his neck, severing several of them as it emerged through the other side. He jerked once but that’s about all I had rendered him capable of. His body went limp. Blood oozed out of his neck and onto the clean white bed sheet, like a miniature waterfall. I stood for a few seconds looking at his body, making sure he was really dead. There was no way he, or anybody for that matter, could’ve survived an attack as vicious as that, but I liked to be thorough. I grabbed a nearby blanket and threw it over his body and left the room just as I had entered it. By quarter to three, I was back in my room thanking the lord for this opportunity, before going to sleep.

I must confess that I personally didn’t think Andrew deserved it. But, like I always say, orders are orders. For all I knew, he might’ve been a traitor, selling inside information to some devilish individuals with nefarious motives. Besides, the sergeant didn’t come across as unreasonable or whimsical to me. He was as able-minded and intelligent as a sergeant is expected to be and I trusted the man’s judgement. As to what would happen to Andrew’s body, I hadn’t the foggiest. However, that wasn’t my concern and I was sure that the sergeant would’ve had someone take care of that aspect of the task. I had not a thing to worry about.

After having slept for a mere two hours, I was up again, looking forward to briefing the sergeant on how I had accomplished the task he had entrusted me with like a veteran. Now, I am not one to fish for compliments but in this case I think I deserved at least a ‘well done’ if not a ‘you genius!’. After all, as per his orders, I had killed a man.

By five forty-five, I was standing in front of the sergeant in his office, ready to answer in the affirmative if he were to ask me about having done the job. Once again, his command flashed in front of my eyes.

Eliminate Andrew Higgs.

The sergeant was having his green tea while going through several documents laid out on his desk. He took a sip from his cup and looked at me as if I had just entered the room. He raised his eyebrows looking at me, clearly trying to figure out why I was still standing there. He put down the cup, wiped his mouth with a napkin, and said, “I’m sure you’re here to apologize for your discourteous behavior.”

I was naturally perplexed for I couldn’t recall behaving in a discourteous manner with anybody, let alone the sergeant.

“I do not follow, sir,” I confessed.

“Is that so? Well, allow me to narrate exactly what happened yesterday,” he said with a hint of sarcasm in his tone.

“Yesterday, at 2100 hours, did I not summon you here?”

“Yes, sir.”

“After I was done instructing you about what was to be done, did you not ask me if I needed anything else?”

“I did, sir.”

“If you remember that, then how is it that you cannot recall what I said after that?”

“What, sir?”

A lemonade and two figs!”

February 07, 2020 21:56

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Ay Jay
16:22 Feb 13, 2020

Wow, that really is a twist! I love the setting details. Nice work, Sagar!


J Sagar
17:03 Feb 13, 2020

Thanks for the feedback!


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