This is the fourth part of a fiction serial, in 890 words.
Naturally, the actual day of my twenty-first passed wthout remark. It was just a normal day in the workshop. As I watched father busy himself with his new project, the idea came to me immediately. That was what I would do, as soon as I had learned enough about the equipment to be able to make an accident look convincing.
There would have to be a decent time delay allowed as well. I wouldn’t want anyone suspecting a coincidence between my coming of age, and father’s death. I was used to a lot of things. Hunger, humility, solitude, and patience. And it would be patience that I relied on for over a year as I carefully studied the new machinery, and father’s habits around it. I also needed a short time window of opportunity, and that came three weeks after my unnoticed and uncelebrated twenty-second birthday.
Father announced that I no longer needed to accompany him on the factory inspections. Everyone knew who I was now, and he wanted me to start work on a new device for a drill that replaced its own bits, by sensing when one was worn out. This involved designing and building a cartridge system not unlike the magazine of an assault rifle, though on a much larger scale. It would remove the need for someone to constantly have to replace the bits in the automatic drilling machines he was still selling all around the world.
Having already practiced assembling the metal box that held the drills, I had it done very quickly. I only needed one more hour to work on sabotaging his latest project, and knew he would not be back for at least three. As I studied the circuits of the computer-controlled device, I reflected that I was glad that I had spent so much time alone reading about electrical engineering. It had served me well.
On his return, he wanted to inspect my work on the drill-holder. His expression inscrutable, he made no complaint, but I knew he would have to find some reason to make me reassemble it. And of course he did. I worked quickly, suppressing a smile. My plan was set, and tomorrow would be the day I would free myself of this man.
That day started like any other. I ate a meagre breakfast as I watched him devour three sausages, two eggs, and four slices of bacon. Mrs Foyle hovered in the utility room, waiting to start her cleaning regime as soon as we had eaten. Once in the workshop, father directed me to continue working on the small part that would attach the new holder to the existing drilling machines, and he wandered over to his latest project, taking measurements, and nodding with satisfaction.
He was constructing the prototype of an automatic circular saw, fitted in a portable bench. The computer that controlled the machine had been reduced to the size of a mobile phone, and enabled anyone to use the saw with no training. The simple icons were self-explanatory, and the saw itself was full of innovations. It knew when to stop cutting, as a safety measure, and to save electricity. It self-adjusted the speed of the large spinning saw blade, depending on the thickness of the wood, and a photo electric cell immediately cut off the power if anything other than the wood in contact with the blade crossed the beam.
Undeniably, father had almost finished inventing a useful saw that would be a boon for the retail domestic market, as its safety features were second to none. It would also be very affordable, portable, and could use any blade currently sold.
An hour later, he was running another test. I walked over, feigning interest as he watched the blade sawing through different lengths and thicknesses of wood. But when he tested the safety beam to shut off the power, it didn’t work. Becoming increasingly annoyed, he waved his hand back and forth through where the beam should operate, frowning as it quite obviously was not going to shut off the still spinning saw blade.
Back then, I was not very strong of course. Much lighter than father, and a full two inches shorter. But surprise is a useful weapon, and the one I employed that day.
As he peered onto the place where the beam should be working, I grabbed the collar of his warehouse coat and pushed him violently to his right side. He wasn’t expecting it, so had no time to even shout or resist before the jagged blade made contact with his neck. Even though I arched my back, jets of blood and ragged lumps of sticky flesh still hit my face and neck, as well as covering my hands and arms.
It would not have been realistic to allow the saw to sever his head completely, as much as I would have enjoyed watching it roll onto the bench.
When he had stopped making the strange gargling noise, I pulled him back off the saw, and let his twitching body drop to the floor. There was a huge hole in his neck running from under his right ear, all the way to the left side of his chin. Blood was still pouring from it, and I could clearly see his jawbone through the opening.
I stood and watched for a moment, until he was no longer moving