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In a world where murder is legal, the elderly Mildred begins to questions the ethics behind such a strong action


Submitted:May 11, 2010    Reads: 69    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


Mildred Fixes A Murder
Mildred had the sudden, inexplicable sensation that something was not right. She paused mid-dig and reviewed what she had done that day, meticulously analyzing everything to see where the incorrectness might have occurred. She had awoken, brushed her teeth, prepared and eaten breakfast, done her laundry, and now here she was, doing this. No, nothing was incorrect or out of place. She went back to her digging, trying to push this newfound idea out of her mind.
"Surely," she thought, "no mistake has taken place…"
Unable to see otherwise, she went back to her digging. It was a tough job she held but some part of her enjoyed it: the weather was warm and it provided a workout that she otherwise would seldom get. From her hole, now several feet deep, Mildred looked at the grass surrounding her.
"Where the blast did he go to?" She muttered to herself, throwing the shovel out of the hole and hoisting herself up after it. A second's more searching soon revealed the object Mildred was looking for: a young boy of sixteen. He lay silently in the grass, his dark black hair sweeping gracefully over his disconcertingly grayish blue skin. He was a slender boy, not too lanky, though the way his clothes were taut around his body gave the distinct impression of bloat. Mildred looked closely at the boy, for she had once known him well: during her time as a school teacher she had encountered many children and this boy, this Patrick, had been one of them. As most people do, this boy had grown up to attend institutes of higher education and as happens to most people, this boy was deceased.
"What a shame," she said to no one in particular. "for this boy to drown at such a young
age. I wonder who pushed him?"
It was not uncommon for murders to occur, they were, after all, quite a useful tool for solving quarrels. The unfortunate result of this is that those in jobs required to work with large groups of people often had higher murder rates. Her own former profession, elementary school teacher, was one of the more dangerous ones. She had decided it was time to retire when during a random search of her students' desks one morning she had found 31 guns, 12 knives, and a smattering of arsenic. Significantly higher than in previous years, she soon found solace in a new job: grave digger.
Mildred hoisted the boy on to her shoulders and then dropped his body in to the hole below. As was her custom when burying those she knew, she reflected for a moment upon Patrick's life. He had been a good boy, full of life, curious about the world around him and intelligent to boot. The most dangerous weapon he had ever brought to school was a hand grenade: Mildred respected him for that- it took a lot of guts to bring in something that could only be used once. Above all, Mildred had liked him because he reminded her of her own son, Arthur, who had been killed in a sword fight thirty or so years before, a few years after the legalization of murder. Banishing these thoughts to the back of her head, she quickly shoveled dirt over the boy and went about her business.
Mildred had managed to push the boy out of her mind for the rest of her work day until she sat down to her bi-weekly tea with her good friend Gloria. A woman of 85, Gloria had in her younger years radiated elegance. Though as happens to the best of them, the years had taken their toll and Gloria's tattooed on eyebrows and short pepper hair now gave her wrinkled skin the distinct look of a perpetually surprised lion. She, like Mildred, had been a school teacher until the job became too dangerous. Unable to afford full retirement, she now made her living working the night shift at a local convenience store.
"I wonder," Mildred began. "if you have heard of that young fellow I used to teach,
Patrick Smith was his name, being drowned?"
"Oh yes, my dear." Responded Gloria in her slow, elegant drawl, "such a shame, that
one."
"What do you think he had done to get murdered so? I've always felt drowning would be
a particularly nasty way to go."
"I heard that in the last few years he had fallen in with a bit of a tough crowd. Very
dramatic kids if my sources are right, quarreled often. You know the sort."
"Indeed. Such a shame they couldn't off him in a less…gruesome way. Drowning is so
very unattractive."
"Yes, but more dramatic than getting shot, right?"
Mildred sipped her Earl Grey and pondered this for a moment. Murder was such a strong action, this was something she believed quite firmly, so what could this boy have possibly done to warrant such a punishment? She reminded herself that if it were true he had been hanging out with such ruffians, it was possible he had done naught but wear white after labor day, as some had admitted to killing a man for such an offense just the previous week. Normally those who were killed had done something to warrant it: letting their tree grow into their neighbor's yard, cheating on their spouse, looking at someone the wrong way. Usually she was not bothered by such trivial details, she herself had killed a man more than once, but this time she could not let it go.
"I wonder, Gloria, if he had deserved it?" She looked perplexedly at her friend and Gloria slowly lowered her lilac covered tea cup. The elderly woman pursed her lips and crinkled her brow, trying to think of an appropriate response.
"I think, Mildred," she finally said. "that most people do not deserve to be murdered."
"Surely you don't actually believe that Gloria?
"I'm older than you, Mildred, so perhaps you don't remember what life was like when
murder was illegal, but I do. It might be helpful in population control and resolving disputes, but life was much more peaceful when you didn't have to worry about getting shanked all the time. People deserve the chance at having that sort of life, regardless of what silly choices they might make."
"I suppose you might have a point."
"I do have a point. It's just silly that it should be any other way. Quite frankly, I wish
someone would do something about it."
"What do you propose be done?"
"I don't know, but it needs to be drastic and done soon. I love this country but I tell you
I'll knock heads together if I must."
Amusing herself with images of the elderly lion woman mid-fight with several politicians, an idea dawned on Mildred: perhaps something drastic should be done. Perhaps it was time justice was brought to those who murdered for such trivial reasons…or at least to those who murdered Patrick. At once she was reminded of her earlier feeling of disconcert. Implementing this idea, she was certain, would sooth that feeling away.
"Perhaps, Gloria, you don't need to do such things."
"You think?"
"I'm sure justice will come about. Now if you'll excuse me, I have shopping to do."
With that, Mildred raised herself from the table and left her old friend staring after her.
Over the next week Mildred meticulously collected the items she needed to assure justice in Patrick's murder: the addresses of those who had committed it, an arsenal of small concealable weapons, and a mask so that her identity might be secret. Thus protected, she set on her way to round up the responsible parties. Her first stop brought her to a small, unassuming house on a street with freshly planted, small trees and an almost disturbing lack of overgrown lawns. Thinking she had crept silently up the pathway to the door, she was surprised when a girl, no taller than 5'5" and appearing to be about fifteen, answered the door.
"What do you want, old woman?" the girl hissed.
"I'm looking for a woman by the name of Mallorie. Do you know where I might find
her?"
"What do you want with her?"
"My name is Millie, I represent a casting agency in the city. I was told she might be
interested in joining us."
The girl eyed her skeptically, then stepped outside and shut the door.
"I'm Mall-"
Before the girl could get the name out of her mouth, she found herself with a stuffy black bag shoved on her head. Unsurprisingly incapacitated by the sudden inability to see, or breathe for that matter, the girl paused for a moment. Seeing her chance, Mildred tied up the girls' arms and stuck what the girl assumed was a gun to her back, leading her to the van. It was in reality just a highlighter than Mildred had use, but there was no time to be concerned about such specific things.
Mildred was surprised by how easy she found it to kidnap the rest of the teens. Occasionally she would think of how morally reprehensible it was to kidnap children (and how very illegal) but she reasoned that she was doing a good deed and was quite sure the courts would agree, should they ever catch her. So she continued to stock up on teenagers until she had found the five she was looking for.
It was a rather motley group she had rounded up, Mildred realized when she got them in her home and lined them up against the wall. Though all between the ages of fifteen and seventeen, they came in various and somewhat disturbing shapes and sizes. The tallest, a boy by named of Elias, had the rather unfortunate look of being put through a meat grinder then stretched like taffy. The smallest, Caitlin, featured hair in the shape of a triangle, teeth that appeared sharp enough and straight enough to cut bone, and an expression wicked enough to suggest she was perhaps a fan of killing kittens. Indeed, years of heavy orthodontic work and intense cage fighting had done their work: Mildred had spent enough time in elementary schools to recognize a trained killer when she saw one. Trying to ignore an impending sense of danger, Mildred went about her business.
"Good evening," she said pacing in front of the children. "You may call me Mildred. I
believe you know each other?"
The teenagers responded with stone faced stares.
"I'll take that to mean yes."
More stares.
"Well then, I assume you all have some idea of why you're here. Any guesses?"
In the silence that followed, Mildred removed her sword from its sheath and held it to the throat of one of the weaker looking boys.
"Again I ask, any guesses?"
"Patrick?" The boy guess, a slight croak in his voice giving away the true depth of his fear.
"Keep going."
"…We killed him?"
"Precisely."
"So what are you going to do to us then?" questioned Mallory, "Killing him wasn't
illegal. You can't punish us for it."
"Oh, but I can, and I will." said Mildred, removing her blade from the boy's neck.
"No, you can't. But you will go to jail for this, kidnapping is illegal."
"I'm willing to risk that."
Mildred looked to the children, whose once stone faces now featured the strange mix of skepticism and panic.
"You all committed a terrible sin," she charged. "and now it is only fair that you pay for
it. I'm here to see to it that you pay appropriately."
"Are we going to die?" squeaked a mousey looking girl.
"That depends. Do you want to?"
The next morning found Mildred in a suspiciously good mood. As she went about her business, digging holes and burying bodies, she couldn't help but hum a cheerful tune to herself. The sun was shining, there were only five bodies that needed burying, they didn't smell quite so awful as they usually did ("They must be fresh" she thought to herself), and she had made a difference in the lives of five young teenagers. As a teacher, it had always been her aspiration to make a difference in the lives of those she taught, but never had she had quite as hand on of an experience as she did with these children. It made her feel good to think she had changed the world for the better. Sure, digging graves made the world smell a little less, but when you thought about it, it didn't really have any effect on the living which is something Mildred had always strived to achieve. Of course, the kidnapping of five children in the same day had been the headline of that morning's newspaper, but Mildred felt quite certain that she would not be found out for some time. Most people seemed to dismiss kidnappings as murders and thus to not think much of them. It was the more serious crimes of theft and loitering that one had to be truly concerned about.
Her sunshine-y feeling remained strong throughout the day and she found herself working quite a bit faster as a result. Overjoyed to find herself done with her duties in the early afternoon, she decided to ring Gloria. It wasn't time for their bi-weekly tea yet, but she didn't really have any other friends anyway.
"Gloria, I insist you come over to my house immediately. Let's have a lemonade."
"Mildred? Is it time for tea already?" Wheezed the old woman.
"No Gloria, lemonade. Let's have lemonade."
"Lemonade?"
"Gloria, it's a gorgeous day, I think we should sit outside and drink lemonade."
"Well, okay."
"Good, I'll see you in half an hour."
Hanging up the phone, Mildred considered the fact that she didn't actually have lemonade at home. It wasn't anything to be concerned about though, she had lemons and sugar. As she climbed into the car she decided that it would not be impossible to knock off a pitcher of it in a minute or two.
Pulling up her long driveway she could see that Gloria was already outside waiting impatiently for her. The woman had presumably not been there long, but she was not a patient person by nature and stood with her arms folded and toe tapping.
"Where have you been?" she demanded.
"Good to see you too, Gloria."
"Have any idea how hard it is for an old woman to move around so quickly? Getting here
in half an hour was no easy feat, let me tell you."
"My apologies, Gloria. Please, sit down," Mildred gestured to one of the lawn chairs sitting in her front yard. "Let me get you your lemonade."
As Gloria slowly lowered herself in to the lawn chair, Mildred rang the bell on the table next to it. From somewhere in the house a little movement occurred and a curtain fluttered in an open window.
"What's with the bell?" asked Gloria. "Did you get yourself a servant?"
"You'll see." Replied Mildred, gingerly lowering herself in to a chair next to Gloria.
From somewhere behind them a door slammed and within moments a triangular shadow appeard next to Mildred.
"Yes, ma'am?" spoke the shadow.
"Mallorie dear, bring us a pitcher of lemonade and two glasses, please. Oh, and I don't
think I have any mix, so please let Elias know that he will have to squeeze the lemons in the refridgerator. I don't have a juicer, so he'll have to do it by hand."
"Of course, ma'am." The girl quickly ran back to the house.
"Mildred!" Gloria gasped, "Did you kidnap those children? Are they your slaves?"
"Don't be silly, Gloria." chided Mildred, "You know that kidnapping is illegal."
"How are they possibly working for you then?"
"Volunteers, darling. Volunteers."




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