The Victim

Chapter Four: Victory

Goodbye

Yesterday, the defense secretary warned me of widespread problems in the army. Most of the experienced soldiers and generals were traitors and turncoats sacrificed during the purges and now languishing in the camps. Their positions were taken by less-experienced people, and the training methods revisited to be more “inclusive” of the new members to the army, including people with disabilities.

Our last few covert operations have failed. The experts consulted to assess the state of our military all agree: several potencies could potentially invade us. In response, I reduce the military budget even further and archive her report. She stares at me after I communicate my decision. She wants to say it’s a bad idea, but she knows she can only obey.

On to more interesting things. I’m talking to you because today is the sixteenth anniversary of the death of my friend from school. My only true friend. She understood me. I could talk to her. Now there’s nothing and no one left. I’m on my fourth term, and it’s becoming more and more tedious. Living is becoming more and more tedious…

After the ceremony I return to the “castle,” i.e. the presidential residence. I haven’t appeared in public for over two years now. I’m becoming more myth than human. What I represent, what I’ve defended, is becoming embalmed and worshipped as pure truth. It’s all deeply disgusting. I sit down and pour myself a freedom vodka, which is how I spend most of my time now, drinking, reading and sometimes writing a testament of my political life. I’m hoping drinking will kill me sooner rather than later.

As I drink from my glass, my chest starts to burn. At first it feels like I’ve had a bad meal. But then I feel it. It’s not just another drink, not just another day. I look at the glass, then at the bottle. It’s poison. I’ve been poisoned. It’s so ironic I start to laugh loudly. Of course nobody comes into the office, they’re too scared of me to dare.

I know who it was. One of the members of my court. The vice-president finally found the balls or the support to reach for power. It’s funny. Did you know I had at least one family member of everyone close to me labeled as an enemy of the state? I did it after a wise leader did before me, to make sure they were tame and loyal, that they didn’t bite the hand that fed them. Maybe it isn’t even poison. Maybe it’s just my body finally giving up on life.

Yet here I am, with my back against the floor of my presidential office, spurting blood from my mouth. I try to call for help but my throat has now shut and I can only make a gurgling noise with my own blood. I stop fighting it and smile a tired smile. I think… I think I died with my friend from school during the attack, that all this has been a death-dream. At least it has felt like one.

I can almost see her now. Standing next to my little sister, smiling. I reach out to them with my hands, but I feel like sinking, deeper and deeper, deeper and deeper…