The lights are dim in his office as he sits quietly. Despite the sound proof windows and walls, he can still hear the loud resounding chants, from the hundreds of thousands of his people demanding he step down. The flickering of the muted TV leaves dancing shadows along the walls of his inherited pristine office. He wasn’t used to such grandeur and decadence, when he was young he used to ride a donkey to school.
“Those were the days,” he thinks to himself as his left index finger strokes his bearded chin. His eyes are closed as a single tear streams down his face. He never expected this.
Alone, he felt alone. He always had, despite the fact that he was one out of five siblings and had managed to bring five more children into his life with his wife. His mind drifts back to the days when he was a newlywed, to his days in California, a slow smile creeps to his lips.
A soft knock gently teases at his consciousness. The mask comes on.
The door opens as his brotherhood advisors flood the room. Assertive nods are shared between them.
“How bad is it?”
“Maybe I should…”
“No. We did not work together for all these years just to cave to the few that are paid by the old regime,” replies the eldest.
“I don’t think that all these people were paid,” he says in a hushed tone. He looks away from his political kin and starts to walk towards the window.
“Don’t stand next to the window. It’s dangerous, you don’t know what foreign hands are lurking in the darkness ready to pull the trigger.”
Lips firmly pressed as he walks away from the window.
“This is the game plan. We will not cave, we will not show weakness. We know what is in the hearts of true Egyptians, of true Arabs. This is a test of faith, we must pass.”
“We’ve gone too far.”
“Enough,” growls the eldest. “You will do as we say. You gave your word not only to us, but to the power above. We will take care of this resistance, we will amputate them like a gangrenous limb, remove them like a cancerous tumour. All you need to worry about is closing deals with our friends.”
“The deals are closed and alliances renewed.”
“See? This job isn’t so bad,” teases the eldest. The dim light casts a dark shadow on his mug. They all stand in silence for a moment, the unanimously turn towards the door. Except for one. One stays. He was always his friend before his brother.
“It’s bad,” he says shakily, knowing that was he’s doing is the equivalent to blasphemy.
“I don’t want to be here, I am a mere puppet. I was a revolutionist once. I was a member of the former regime, I’ve been in politics for over 10 years. I was thrown in the filthiest of jails, in the darkest of holes. My confessions were forced lies, and here I am now, doing exactly the same thing, the same damn thing… I wasn’t even their first choice.”
“I know. But maybe they are right. Maybe this is the will of …” they are interrupted by the ringing of the office phone.
The brother picks up the phone and answers with a few brisk grunts.
“They want to know if they should start to mobilise the militias.”
He looks at his brother and without faltering he looks up above and says, “Please forgive me. Yes.”
At that very moment, he had the answer in his heart. He now knew in the depths of his conscious that he made a mistake.