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A Heavy Heart

People scurried about below, hiding under their umbrellas.  All the same. He sat in his office, watching them on screens, from the windows, every where he looked he saw the people.  There were so many of them!

He sighed and stared out the window into the dreary day.  A siren sounded off in the distance.  Deep lines were etched into his forehead and face; his youthful appearance was long gone.  Grey streaks now teased his hair and his eyes were eternally tired.

The weather outside seemed to match his mood.  For two days now it had rained; an unrelenting down poor soaking everything to the core.  The sky hadn’t been seen in some time; the clouds rolled in days before the rain began.  It’s funny how the weather affects people differently.  Many parallel rainy weather with sorrow and worry.  But not him; he saw the rain as a symbol of power.  And also as a reality check for humans.  To him, it showed how something as simple as water could control so much of human life.  People wouldn’t go outside, or when forced to, had to huddle under shelter.  Entire activities such as sports had to be called off.  And then there was the lightning; power sent directly from the heavens, and the thunder; the voice of the gods.  It was all a reminder that, no matter how dominant humans thought they were, they could still be deterred by Mother Nature.

There exists yet one other force that was a threat to humans, and that is humans themselves.  Though all are born inherently the same, and on the same small planet, groups always find something to use as an excuse to go to war.

It had happened again.  After he had single-handedly established the greatest nation on Earth, some of his own had dared to attack it from within.  Spending so much time trying to protect his people from outside attacks, his regime never thought that such an attack could happen under their noses.  Thousands of civilians died; tens of thousands perhaps.  No one knew for sure yet.

He didn’t understand!  Why?!  He had provided them, all of his people, with everything they could want.  This was the land of plenty and a place where everyone was equal.  Why then did they do this?! What did they have to gain from taking innocent lives?

And what should he do now?  He had promised, taken an oath, swore, to never use violence against his own people.  But, if he did not punish these perpetrators, nothing was stopping them from attacking again.  The decision was made more complicated by the fact that the attackers consisted of a large group, nearly two and a half thousand people.  His subordinates were now waiting on him to make an answer; to take an action; to do something.

He took a final look out the window; he could just make out the outlines of the Mountains in the distance.

“Sir…I’m sorry, but we need to know what to do,” someone said.

He rubbed his face and then stared down at his shiny black shoes.  Thousands of peoples’ lives were now in his hands.  The thought of giving an order to kill, an order of death weighed him down.  His throat seemed tight; air would not fill his lungs.  He looked up.  Everyone was looking at him; pleading with him to make a decision.  He had to act.  He was their Leader.

Clearing his throat, he looked the General square in the eyes.

“Wipe them out.  All of them.”

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“A Heavy Heart” by W. J. Newsome is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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