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“You need to be ready, things will move quickly,”

“How quickly?”

“72 days,” came a voice behind the desk.

In a room lit only by the fire in the corner, two people talked about the days to come. To one the future was simple, to the other it was a harsh reality that frightened him. The head belonging to the voice behind the desk tilted his head, looking at the portrait near the fire.

“Do you want to know what was going through my head when I was sitting for that portrait?” said the voice, pointing to the portrait.

“Of course,”

“I had won my second election,” the voice behind the desk said, standing. “I made a promise to the Australian people that if I was to win the election a second time I would make Australia a republic. With a majority in both houses I did what I had to do. Of course I did it because I prefer the word President to Prime Minister. President Alexander Grey. Commands more power.”

Alexander slithered over to the portrait, a smiling young man with black hair. The 65-year-old man smiled back. “I was 35 when I became Prime Minister, backstabbed many to get there. The Francis Underwood of Australian politics they called me. Six years as Prime Minister should have been enough, I achieved everything I wanted to do, I got people into jobs, I fixed the economy, I fixed education, and I implemented a new carbon tax. I even dismantled the power of the Church on Australian soil.

“Being president was easy. I won my third election, the first as President, with a loss of a few seats, but still with a majority. Every election after that was a piece of cake, I implemented policy so intertwined that proposed changes were easy to oppose. I was a god.”

The sound of a faint piano medley came through the door. He looked at the light coming from underneath, knowing that his wife would soon appear. Turning to face the body still seated, he said: “I had Donald Trump assassinated because I could. Anyway, you will have 72 days. Make sure you win the election.”

Alexander showed the presidential hopeful out, walking silently through the house of lies, knowing that they would never see each other again. The piano wafted through the hallway, beckoning the President to follow. He did, right into the kitchen where his wife sat at the bench in the centre, a glass of wine in one hand, her own will in another.

“Are you ready?” Alexander said has he poured himself a glass of red.

“Of course,” his wife said.

Alexander poured a glass of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon and looked through his will that his wife had laid on the bench. In silence, they looked, making sure that all was in order. Occasionally she looked at him, he looked at her, smiling and feeling content. Another glass, more reading, until Alexander signed his will and pushed it to the side. His wife did the same.

“I laid out the suit you wore when you were sworn in as President, the Valentino,” she said.

“Thank you, my dear Heather,” he said.

Taking his hand, Heather led Alexander to the bedroom, where he looked over the suit. He undressed, Heather folded his old clothes and sat them on the end of the bed. Neither said a word, they hardly did for they knew what each other were thinking before the other would begin to speak.

“You don’t need to do this,” Alexander said.

“I know, but I want to,” replied Heather, kissing Alexander gently.

Knowing that Heather would not change her mind, Alexander reached for his tie. Heather grabbed the tie and began to put it on him. Looking into each other’s eyes, they knew that a world did not exist without the other. Forty years of marriage and they knew it was their time. Alexander and Heather were ready.

Walking through the hallway, they talked about everything they had achieved. Arriving at the study, Alexander put on a single 7” record, Melancholia. Heather smiled as Alexander grabbed her by the waist. They started to dance.

“We haven’t danced to this in 20 years,” Heather said.

“We never danced to it like we did at our wedding,” Alexander replied, kissing her on the cheek. The record ended and started again. They danced. Time began to fade away.

After a while Alexander and Heather stopped dancing. Sitting in the great armchair behind his desk, Alexander took out a knife. Heather sat on his lap, and in the moment between the past and the future, they stopped.

“I love you,”

“I love you too,”

In one quick motion, Alexander slit Heather’s throat, blood covering both their bodies, and then slit his own. The last part of their world they could be a part of was the sound of Melancholia. The record spun and spun as their world faded to black.

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