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Head Shot

h3=. Head Shot

Copyright 2004 Roderick Gladwish

Published by Roderick Gladwish at Shakespir


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In psychopath mode Van Moog walked through the anthropology section of the museum. All lights were off. All was quiet. Even the cleaning machines were back in their garages charging. Only the security systems were active. These were blind to the man’s presence as he steadily travelled through a summary of human evolution in models, artefacts and bone. It was housed in the cathedral space of an atrium illuminated by the stars of a clear night’s sky. Museum defences were little challenge to a technician as expensive as Van Moog. Invasive programs had slid parasitically into the computers protecting the building making Van Moog a fading shadow in the records. Locks released as he needed them to, trips didn’t and alarms remained silent as the assassin passed by.

  • * *

Gareth Tezkova had struggled for 84 years to amass a small fortune. It was not his first grinding climb from poverty to wealth, but his hardest. In his long lifetime Tezkova had seen markets crash and countries do the same. He had learnt industrial powerhouses were often built on confidence that could vanish in an instant. Banks could fold from one employee’s mistake. Gold and gems could become no more difficult to make than plastic. Still there were ways to make money.

Tezkova’s previous riches had evaporated while he slept. One long night and it was gone except one tiny investment surviving out of the hundreds he had squirreled away around the world. A single seed he had cultivated slowly and remotely until it was the price of eternity.

  • * *

A few days before Van Moog had taken the same path when the museum had been open. Amongst the crowds interested in the exhibits he had reconnoitred. It was also an opportunity to ensure his DNA was deposited around the building maximising evidence of interest in rooms other than the one where his target rested. His presence would be unremarkable. Unbeknownst to those jostling around him, Van Moog gathered their skin flake dust. Mixed with old samples of his own genetic material he would redeposit them around the site of the kill. If Van Moog became a suspect this would mask the time of his return. He would not come under suspicion. Van Moog had co-opted several of the city’s security cameras into recording his return home from an exclusive restaurant whose staff would swear he was there all night.

On the previous visit he had a genuine interest in the skeletons, stone tools, metal objects, holograms and environments presented in the galleries. Tonight his compassion, humanity and curiosity were chemically suppressed. Displays were simply objects that could shield danger from his hypersenses. Like the virus watching over his path, the chemicals in his head were ensuring he was focused only on the task.

Van Moog entered a blacked-out side chamber. His retinas switched from light intensifying to infrared.

A blank wall was now dozens of dull irregular spheres in a matrix. He counted the columns and rows to find his target.

  • * *

Tezkova’s final gathering of wealth had not been easy. It had to be done remotely and in total secrecy for his surviving enemies were scientifically dispassionate and all the crueller for it. Working alone he had to learn the markets anew and how to access them untraceably. One clue to the deadly purpose for the profit would be enough for eternal incarceration. Monitored continually by soulless machines the task had been particularly challenging. His one chance to be master of his destiny would be gone forever.

Surrounded by fools and madmen there was also the battle to hold onto sanity against the soul crushing pressure of rebuilding a fortune one grain of sand at a time.

  • * *

Close to the transparent polycarbonate Van Moog could see the head clearly now, supported by a stumpy metal column on a shelf at waist height. Tubes supplying nutrients and energy were illuminated by the heat glow of power and network connections. A little plaque indicated:


G Tezkova

Born -312RII (1909AD)

Frozen -224RII (1997AD)

Revived 10RII (2231AD)


Van Moog’s gloved hand smeared opener on the wall. The chemical undid the bonds in the plastic and a hole expanded like a mouth falling open.

Cold air flowed in and woke the head.

Rigidly mounted Tezkova could only roll his eyes to look up at Van Moog as the barrel of the gun slid through the orifice created for the purpose. He smiled briefly. With no lungs or vocal cords Tezkova could only mouth ‘Thank you’.

Van Moog fired before the words were finished.

Air collected on his previous visit was propelled at high pressure over zero distance into Tezkova’s skull. Braking bone made more sound than the weapon’s discharge. Cranial fragments sliced through delicate neurones and synapses which had been rebuilt from their ice damaged state when found. They rode on a pressure wave that pulped the brain and blew it out the back of Tezkova’s head. This guaranteed it could not be reconstructed. Exactly what Tezkova – his client – had paid for.

There would be a hunt for the person who had killed the single sane head ever recovered from the cryovaults. Van Moog would not be caught because he never left evidence or witnesses. He looked at the other heads. Those not asleep were screaming silently as they had for years, day and night without end. Some wild eyes were locked on the killer. Had his neuro-chemicals been naturally balanced Van Moog might have left an incendiary bomb. An act of mercy under the guise of eliminating traces physical and mental. Compassion was missing. His full face mask was sufficient so he turned and walked from the room.


About the Author

Roderick is an aerospace engineer whose day job is designing spacecraft structures. When he loses self-control he writes stories. He also illustrates his own work.


Connect with Roderick Gladwish

Thank you for reading my story. If you liked it you should be able to find more at Shakespir. My style varies so at least one should surprise or entertain you. If you want to contact me or simply discover how truly random I am, try my social media.


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Head Shot

A very short story science fiction horror story about a hired killer walking the halls of a deserted museum and an old man struggling to make another fortune.

  • ISBN: 9781370267248
  • Author: Roderick Gladwish
  • Published: 2017-08-29 16:20:07
  • Words: 1130
Head Shot Head Shot