A short story written on a ten-minute limit from a prompt
By Alexander Sigsworth
“Write a scene from the point of view of a character as they reflect on their life-long dream.
What does this character want? What have they sacrificed to come this far? Who have they left behind?
The catch? Just hours prior, this character was about to achieve their dream… but decided against it. Why?”
* * *
I was wrong. I was wrong all along.
I thought it would be better than this. I thought I’d be the incorruptible one. These past four years, this world’s been turned upside-down. War, disease, terror. Of course they’d vote for me. They had no choice. This was always the way it was going to be. I just couldn’t see it. America, Britain… whatever country you can think of. They’ve all had their best times and worst times. Unfortunately, this nation has had less balance. To lead them? It seemed impossible. I’d always turned-away from politics. Cynicism, corruption, and war-mongering. That’s all I thought it was about. I was right, of course. You do not get into office without becoming the worst possible version of yourself you can be. And in the course of doing so, you lose friends, your family privately disowns you, and even your own team within your party think you go too far. It’s their fault, really. They made me party leader. I was the sacrificial lamb, whose soul would be given-up in order to get them all into the money. Or was it my fault for putting myself in that position in the first place? I don’t even care anymore. Because more importantly, I gave-up my very integrity. I didn’t win this election. Someone else did. The person I’ve become. The despot I need to be. The higher-up you go, you further-down you sink. It’s always been that way, I was wrong to change it. I should have listened when my old college friends – too, students of politics – told me that I was going too far. That I was perpetuating what I had criticised in the past. I always wanted to be elected. I really believed I could do some good, I really did. Please, believe that. And I still do. I just had to do terrible things to prove that. What’s the point in being a good leader if your campaign was one of smearing, bribery and lying. Of course, it gave them all a shock when the 07:00 news announced that I’d officially stepped-down from the inauguration. Luckily, there was protocol in place, and the man below me took-up the position, gladly. I’d rather surrender to a terrible leader than be one myself. He’s a real demagogue, and the one that I refuse to be. I’ll disappear now. I’ll be surprised if I’m the subject of the news again.