"It won't be long now," I said to my son.
Arthur sat in the chair by my bed, his shoulders straight, his intense brown eyes revealing how there would be no tears shed for my passing. In my
feeble state I attempted to reach out my hand to him, but my arm fell upon the bed. Still, the motion was clearly implied, and clearly denied.
"You have done well, Father," he said, a statement of fact, not of pride. My being ruler of the world for just ten short years (and the heinous
atrocities I had committed as leader) ate away at my strength day in and day out. My son, on the other hand, now in his sixties and Commanding General
of the WPF (World Police Force) grew stronger. Colder.
It had taken my entire life to get the world to where it is today, meaning my son grew up without a father, except for what he'd seen of me on the
news (winning elections as my opponents mysterioulsy disappeared, manipulating countries into war - wars that weakened them to the point where I could
move my armies in and take over with little resistance. He watched clips of me executing tyranical leaders, child molestors, rich men that brought
suffering to great numbers of helpless citizens... My son grew up with the idea that brutality was the way of life, and not the means to end all
suffering. Though I love him with all of my heart, my son is my greatest failure.
I asked him, "How are the oceans? I remember enacting a law to prohibit fishing for five years."
"Ocean, rivers and lakes," he reminded me. "They are now boiling with fish."
"And the forests," I inquired, knowing that I had proclaimed all woodlands off limits to builders and hunters. Even going for a nature walk was
punishable by death.
"The world is once again a veritable jungle. As for the wildlife, there is no longer a list of endangered species." Then it was Arthur's turn to ask a
question. "The palace is deserted; why would you order everyone to leave except for me?"
My missing heartbeats revealed that I had only minutes, if not mere seconds left. "Never mind about the staff; I don't want a bunch of people crying
around me; pretending that they care for the monster dying in this bed. But, I need you here to tell me of the kind of world I'm leaving behind. I
need to know that the hard road I chose wasn't all for nothing. What of the human population?"
My son sighed, clearly wishing for me to get on with the business of dying. "Population is down to thirty million. With the outlawing of curing
non-communicable diseases, the average lifespan is down to the age of fifty-five. The death penalty for eighteen-year-olds failing the standard I.Q.
test was keeping executioners busy around the clock for the last 8 years. It is now slowly decreasing, with grade averages increasing. The population
is now at the point where nuclear energy is no longer neccessary. Wind and solar energy is plenty enough."
I nodded, satisfied with the world I had made. Peace. Food. Shelter. I had moved mankind away from total annihilation. Was the cost too high? Was
there anyone on the planet that understood what I had done? I had to know. "The people," I asked, "what do they say about me?"
This brought a smirk to my son's face. "You want to hear how they love you for what you've done? They HATE you. They believe you to be the antichrist
and pray for the arrival of their messiah. The only ones who understand you are myself and my second in command."
"Richard is a good man," I said, calling him by his first name; something he insisted upon, unwilling to lose his humanity to the cold, heartless
title of Second General.
"Richard is an idiot. I will have him killed the moment I become Emperor."
I wanted to be shocked by his statement, but I knew my son. "You just said that you also understand what I've done. Why would you execute the only one
in your corner?"
Arthur sat forward, no longer hiding his sheer madness and rage. "For ten years you have been the most powerful man in the world. And yet, you still
allowed these ungrateful ants to hold onto their freedom of speech. They cry out for their human rights and forget the rights of their emperor. I will
make myself into a god and rule with an iron fist; it will be my right! Our audio satellites can pick up and locate the slightest of whispers. And if
those whispers are against me, then those malcontents will have their traitorous heads removed. I will reduce the human population down the THREE
million if that's what it takes for them to worship me."
Just then, I felt it. My last heartbeat. Maybe it was God's justice that I should remain conscious for this last murder. The murder of my very own
son. Years ago I had had a remote device planted in my chest. A device that would count down the seconds to my next heartbeat. And if that next
heartbeat didn't occur within a reasonable time, the device would detonate the several bombs placed in the walls of my bedroom.
May God forgive me, but I doubt it.
edit on 4/15/2012 by jiggerj because: (no reason given)