A Simple Mission

“Just a simple mission,” they’d said, like what they wanted wasn’t at all unusual.

Another chance to serve my country by removing an obstacle to social progress. Despite the euphemisms, I knew exactly what they really wanted. They called it an execution. Told me it had been approved by the courts after a proper trial and everything.

But what court doesn’t even tell someone they’re on trial? What execution involves slithering into someone’s house while they sleep?

I shouldn’t have listened. Should have known better. About the guilt. About how from then on I would always see the blood on my hands no matter how often I washed them. If that was it, perhaps I could have gotten over it. Found a way to live with myself.

Only it wasn’t.

Now, barely a day goes by without that familiar prickle running down my spine when I least expect it. Sometimes its in the mirror. Sometimes out of the corner of my eye. Once, even at my daughter’s school.

I’ll be minding my own business only to look over, and there he’ll be. Standing there. Watching. Smiling at me like he doesn’t mind the bullet hole in the middle of his forehead.