We lived in the gaps between the stories.
― Margaret Atwood
It was a week after Stone Ferus' assasination that Paul Teller was finally able to disclose all of the details surrounding the government cover-up during the plague.
On the surface it appeared to be a simple case of Stone Fergus being able to dupe a gullible and vain American president but the subtext of the plot was far more nefarious.
Fergus was demonically energized and made use of occult powers to impress and ultimately direct the president.
It wouldn't have been the first time―Ronald Regan consulted psychics while in the White House and they influenced many of his policy decisions.
Fergus' goal was to use the emergency to lock down the country so he'd have free rein to pass an Emergency Act suspending many democratic freedoms. He'd then have a clear path to enact many populist measures that would excite a nationalist fervour while inciting xenophobia and mistrust of immigrants blaming them for the 'oriental virus'.
He viewed the president as 'a useful idiot' whom he would manipulate as the face of the party while managing himself to control the access to power and gradually move toward a totalitarian state.
His assassination effectively scotched these plans and left the cabal in disarray.
After hearing Teller recount the sinister machinations behind the cover-up, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
"That's incredible, " I told the Defence Minister, "A lot of people believed something like this could never happen in America because of the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the constitution and the system of checks and balances."
Teller gave me a sad smile. "Ordinarily that would be true, Grant, but every system of government has its weaknesses, hence the need to be constantly vigilant."
"What about the rest of the cabal," Sarah asked, "were they satanists like Fergus?"
Paul Teller shook his head. "No, there were a couple of alt-right senators and a few who were white supremacists who saw the plague as an opportunity to scapegoat immigrants and foreigners and who wanted to take their far right nationalistic policies into the mainstream. But by and large the people who backed Fergus were just crass political opportunists."
"So, it wasn't the rise of the Antichrist," Sarah laughed.
"Hardly, but it was probably nearly as devious and Fergus came very close to succeeding."
Later that evening, Sarah and I sat alone in front of the fire in my front room. There was an eerie calm broken only by the crackling and popping of the logs as they sizzled and burned.
A light rain was falling outside.
"It's hard to believe this sense of oppression has lifted," Sarh said, "even though the plague is still present."
"I suppose it'll be a month or two before it completely abates and will probaly end up as a recurring seasonal flu―but that I can live with―I'm more worried about the aftermath of the cover-up and how it will affect politics in the States and Canada going forward."
Satrah nodded solemnly. "I know what you mean. Didn't Shakespeare say the evil men does lives after them? That's what I'm afraid of."
"Hopefully the sentiments stirred up by this fear and suspicion will die out. Maybe this will be a kind of wake-up call for everybody―a reminder not to take our liberties for granted."
"What about us, Grant―where do you see us going forward?"
I looked at her face bronzed by the fire and hair backlit by the flames.
"Maybe we're like the mythical phoenix consumed by the fires of affliction but rising out of the ashes and being reborn."
She leaned in close to me, laying her head on my shoulder.
"I feel reborn―do you?"
"I do, Love―we've been tested in the fire and now we're pure gold―speaking of which, I have a ring to give you but for now this will have to do."
I embraced and kissed her―one long and sweet kiss.
It was a foretaste of where our lives would go from here.