“I love the Authority”

 

This is the sentence I’ve heard myself saying countless times a day. When war struck Ireland five years ago, a new party rose up promising to ensure safety for our country. Naturally, we were overjoyed. Five years ago, I really did love the Authority.  But then it took my brother.

 

People from all walks of life started disappearing once the war ended. At first, I thought it could be enemy soldiers, lurking in society and taking out people whenever they could. We’d seen Guerrilla warfare before, so it wouldn’t have come as any surprise. But I’d begun to notice a trend; as more people in my area began to mysteriously disappear, I felt myself searching for what they all had in common.

 

Joseph from down the road had been complaining about water prices the last time anyone saw him. Irene had forgotten to curtsey to a portrait of the Supreme. And the day before I last saw my 10 year old brother Stephen, he had ask our father about the Authority. A simple question, a fatal question.

 

“Why do we love them?”

 

If I’d seen then what I know now, I’d never have let him ask. I’d have stopped him in his tracks, shook my head “now, bot him to ask something else, anything else. But hindsight is 20:20 and now my brother is gone. You probably think I’m outraged – that I joined the Resistance in a heartbeat. You may call me a coward when you learn that I didn’t. I’d understand; sometimes I think myself to be a coward too. But the Resistance isn’t the only way. Once you’ve been around power for long enough, you begin to realise that the way to ensure it ends up in the right hands is to take it out yourself.

 

I joined the Authority soon after Stephen’s disappearance. I’ve worked alongside some of the biggest members of the party for five years. I’ve gained their absolute trust. They have no reason to be suspicious when they see me walk into the Supreme headquarters, not when I lock the door to his office. They have no reason to suspect that the inseam of my coat contains a gun loaded with enough bullets to render the Supreme unrecognisable. They’ll only realise their mistake when their devoted leader has hit the ground.

 

I stand in front of his desk, the back of his chair facing me, my hands are shaking. I’ve waited 5 years for this moment, all I need is for him to turn around. I rap my knuckles on the desk – no response. By now, my hands are trembling so badly that I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to fire the gun.

 

“Why are you here, Sergeant?” I hear him croak out in his usual, patronising tone. It’s interesting how someone so fragile could have this much control. But then, the fear subsides. As the chair begins to turn, I reach into my coat, fingers clasped around the gun. My hands are still, now. The Supreme looks me dead in the eye, and for once his imposing figure brings me no fear.

 

“What are you holding? What business are you here on?” His questions grow more frantic as I remain silent. I watch as the realisation sinks in, and a surge of adrenaline hits me. I bring the gun out to aim right at his brain – a clear shot. “This is for Stephen.” I murmur, as he scrambles to get out of his seat.

 

“What in God’s name are you doing, Sergeant?” he shrieks pathetically. The locked doors behind me begin to rattle as guards attempt to bring them down. As I pull the trigger, they burst open.

 

But they know they are too late. I stare down at the crumpled form of the “Supreme”, feeling equal parts overjoyed and absolutely terrible.

 

“I love the Authority.” I whisper bitterly.

 

I don’t mean it, do I?