It took a little while for Hector to find his way back to the academy, but when he did, he was greeted warmly. Everyone he passed stared at him and parted before him. Hector felt like a rockstar. By the time the elders brought him in for a debriefing, Hector was feeling pretty proud of himself. He didn’t notice the skeptical looks which they shared amongst themselves.
“So… you completed your mission?” Mrs. White asked, her eyes narrowing.
“Yes,” Hector replied proudly.
“And you made it look like an accident?” Mr. Black prompted.
Hector faltered momentarily, not wanting to admit to the fact that his mistake of bumping into the bookshelf was the cause of the “accident.” It didn’t matter; he had completed the job, hadn’t he? They didn’t need to know that he freaked out in the middle of it. “Yep. It looked like the bookshelf just tipped over and… well, you can imagine the rest,” he said, accenting with hand motions.
“And nobody saw you?” Mrs. Grey questioned.
“Only one old couple, but they were taken care of easily enough,” Hector said dismissively.
All five eyes widened. Five as in just five eyes, not five pairs. Mrs. Grey was missing one, but that was a sore subject. “What do you mean ‘taken care of’?” Mr. Black asked tentatively, his words slow and deliberate.
“Oh, I just told them I was going to a Halloween party,” Hector said proudly.
“It’s March,” Mrs. White pointed out.
“Yes, it is,” Hector agreed. He drummed his fingers lightly on the table. The guilt of murdering someone was currently residing in a dusty corner of his mind, and it would stay there until later, when he was alone. “So, we good here?”
Mrs. White leaned forward. “Wait. Let me get this straight - you managed to break in, stage an accident, and escape more or less uncaught? You?” Disbelief colored his tone, but Hector didn’t catch it.
“Me,” Hector said proudly. “Hector the assassin.”
“Dear Lord help us all,” she muttered under her breath. “I think we’re done here.”
“Great!” Hector said, standing up and pushing his chair away from the table. “Well, it’s been a fun talk. Now I’m going to go get a celebratory root beer float.”
“You do that,” Mr. Black muttered.
Hector left, and the three elders turned to each other. “I… That didn’t go as I expected it to,” Mrs. Grey admitted.
The other two nodded in silent agreement.
“Seriously, how did he manage that?” she continued. “I mean, I know he was really good in class, but those psychological tests? He failed every one.”
“I was hoping he would fail his assignment so that we could get rid of him,” Mr. Black admitted.
“I think we all were,” Mrs. White said. “Wasn’t that the point?”
Mrs. Grey folded her hands in front of her. “Well, regardless of what we want, we have to abide by the rules set down by the founders of our institution. Until he fails a job, we aren’t allowed to kill him.”
“So, what? We give him another job?” Mr. Black asked. “I hate giving Hector jobs that Eva could do with ease. She may not have scored as high on the tests as Hector did, but we’re all agreed that she’s the better assassin.”
“Definitely. Still, this was probably beginner’s luck. After this job, he’s sure to be gone,” Mrs. White said. “Do you want to give him the Marshall job?”
“Sounds good,” Mr. Black said. “Let’s hope he finds this one more… disagreeable. Now are there any donuts left?”