Scalpel (2005 Short Story)


“Fourteenth floor, Harold.” She ordered the elevator man as she leaned against the ruby carpeted walls, her mind solely on how she would collapse onto her bed upstairs. She released a premature sigh of relaxation. Harold stepped over to her, his cane clacking softly against the maple floor.

“Tired, Jamie?” he asked in his cultured, English accent. “You look like it.” He calmly looped his finger around the top button of her blouse and casually opened it. Jamie stirred, but the secretly rebellious girl was far too used to this from him to object.

“Yes, I’m tired.” She put just enough force in her voice to keep him from probing any farther. She wasn’t ready to reveal the details of recent inactivity, certainly not to him. She looked at the lighted floor number: 3. Couldn’t this elevator move any faster?

Silently he slid his hand away from her collar and slowly down her side. He paused as he reached her stomach- something felt different? “You’re pregnant.” He said calmly. It was a statement, not a question, and he took her lack of a response as confirmation of what was already certain anyway. “You must get rid of it.”

“No,” she backed away. “She’s my child. Just because the father-”

“You don’t even know who the father is, do you?” he cut her off acidly, forgetting his accent.

“Get rid of it or I’ll get rid of it for you.” As he reached into his inner pocket, she backed farther away.

Finding herself in a corner, she immediately began to panic. “What are you going to do? There are other people in this building!” The unspoken threat angered Harold more than the loss of the benefits that had come from being the girl’s acquaintance. He removed a small, silenced pistol from his pocket and placed the barrel directly against her stomach.

As Jamie screamed in horror and pain, the elevator operator calmly watched the bullet burrow into the developing skull of the fetus that was the cause of this confrontation. The path of the bullet continued, cutting through Jamie’s vital organs and snapping her spine in two. By the time the bullet exited her body, she was already dying. The “click” of the trigger still echoed in the elevator.

Harold scowled as he reached for his cell phone and flipped it open. “Elevator maintenance,” he said, forcing himself calm. “Clean-up needed in elevator shaft.” Without waiting for a response, he hung up and hit a button on his cane. He pushed Jamie’s remains through the trap door that opened in the center of the floor, and then closed it.

Thanks to his quick clean-up, there was no more that needed to be done before the next tenant could get in. All of the blood had splashed onto the red walls; he had disposed of the body before it could begin to drip.

All would be as it was.

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