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His Own War
Everyone he had ever loved was dead. His whole family was gone. He was the only one left. The woman he’d loved had all killed themselves. He had failed, again. Just like his father had told him he would.
He had thought he was invincible. He had thought he was going to win. The whole thing had been going well. People had surrendered. He had won parts of it. He was the best. He had rallied hundreds of thousands of people to his cause. He was right. He was certain of that, if nothing else. But she was leaving. Why was she leaving? He had no idea. He couldn’t understand.
She had been standing by the door, he was by the bed, stroking the covers, making sure they were perfectly straight.
“You poison everything you touch. I don’t want to be a part of this anymore.” She turned, wiping the tears from her eyes, and slammed the door behind her. He sat back down on his bed, cradling his head in his hands. She was gone too. Everyone had gone. They’d dropped like flies around him; even Blondi was dead. But that was his fault. He had ordered her death as a test.
Six children were going to die in that building that night. All on his orders. The guilt had finally caught up with him. He didn’t move for hours, ignoring all the people shouting his name. Let them shout. Let them worry; it didn’t matter to him anymore.
“Eva!” He didn’t shout, not quite. It was more of a desperate, longing call. The woman who had left before entered the room through the other door. She had never left, not really. She was hooked on him. He was like a drug, dangerous and deadly, obsessed and insane.
“I’m here. I’m still here darling” Her blonde hair flowed past her shoulders, and her bright blue eyes sparkled with youth. She was barely thirty-three; he was fifty-six. She had insisted on being with him that night. She had traveled back to him and fought her way through dozens of army men to get to him. She sat by him and held his hard away from his face.
“They plan to kill the children. Joseph is going to do it soon, before they catch up to me. It’s not fair, Eva. I only wanted… I only wanted to make our country better. I did the right thing, didn’t I?” Eva looked guiltily at him for a moment, contemplating what he would say if she told him what she really thought of his violent campaign.
“You did what you thought was right. No one will ever question that” that was the best she could do. He always knew when she lied. He looked relieved, raising his head from his hands.
“I think… I think I’ll do it now. If you still want to…” He looked at her with despairing eyes. He had given up. It was too much. There was nothing left for him to stay for. If he stayed, he would have to face the humiliation of failure. They would kill him anyway, if he didn’t get there first. It was a matter of honor.
“I- I’ll do it too” she couldn’t bear to disappoint him.
“Oh my darling wife. I love you, Eva. Tell me you love me. Tell me I did the right thing”
“I love you. I married you, didn’t I? What more could I do?”
“Nothing” he was like a child in his innocent finality. “I have the gun here.”
Eva gulped. She had the pills in her pocket. She had borrowed two from Joseph. He was going to kill the children with the same pills. She handed her husband a pill. He stood up. He wanted to die straight and tall, the victor in his own war.
Eva lifted the pill to her mouth, her hand shaking violently. He held her other hand. She had trusted him to win. But she had had the chance to leave, and she hadn’t taken it. She loved him. More than life itself.
“Good girl. I’ll see you very soon, my love” he caressed her hair, touching the side of her face. She closed her eyes and tears fell freely, running onto his hand. He kissed her tears away, and nodded her to bite into the cyanide pill. She bit, crying silently and holding her husband’s hand. She fell, and he was there to catch her, laying her gently on the floor. He had arranged what they would do with their bodies. He didn’t want the enemies doing anything to his or Eva’s corpses. He had given very clear instructions to the most loyal of his men at lunchtime. He had said his goodbyes to them. The bodies found in this room were to be burned. He would not suffer the humiliation of his enemies, even after death.
He bit into the pill, raising the gun to his head at the same time. He shut his eyes. No one heard the shot. The loudest man in history died… in silence.