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MY FELLOW AMERICANS

The President of the United States becomes the ultimate whistle-blower.

Discovering there’s a difference between ‘being in government’ and ‘being in power’ US President William Cutter, discovers the murderous tactics of the ‘deep regime’ in control of world politics. With his family under threat worse than death to coerce him to remain compliant, he plans to remove his enemies’ leverage by making the ultimate sacrifice: suicide.

Cutter first develops a plan to expose the corruption controlling the government, and save the world from teetering on the brink of a global nuclear war of superpowers.

Although watched constantly by his ‘minders’, the president manages privately to video his last speech, naming names and giving away all the secrets of the corrupt establishment – from the shooting of JFK, to the real story behind 911, and a planned New World Order to enslave the world’s population. In doing so he confirms every major conspiracy and how they inter-connect.

However, with global media remaining in thrall to his enemies, who can he trust to get his message out to the wider world?

Rose O’Carey, an inexperienced White House intern, finds a rare copy of the works of Shakespeare in her desk left there by Cutter before he died. Concealed within the book, Rose discovers clues to the whereabouts of the president’s last message and, lacking in confidence and realising the danger she is in, enlists the help of Secret Service officer, Marc Lucas.

Together they find themselves in a dangerous race against time to find the president’s message and disseminate it across the internet.

They find powerful enemies led by the new president and his White House media guru, who enlist the secret service’s most dangerous and skillful operatives trained to stop at nothing to eliminate their targets.

With their lives in danger at every turn, will Rose and Marc get the message out and save the world from a needless global nuclear war?

But most importantly for Rose: is everything as it appears?


Chapter 1

The Grievous Fault

MY FELLOW AMERICANS

CHAPTER 1
The grievous fault

His fingers glided across the ivory keys creating a moment of calm before the storm that was about to shake the world.

The delicate notes of Chopin’s nocturne filled the room, rising then falling like petals into the glistening pool of the pianist’s imagination. With eyes closed, he transcended conscious thought and played his favourite piece. It was to be for the last time.

He wanted this to be the last thing of beauty to be heard; to drown out the shouts and screams of outrage, the constant bullying and debating, the pleading, the threats of duplicitous self-serving egos. The last strains of sanity in an insane world, all set to the waltz that the great Polish composer had left as a legacy to the world.

The pianist knew that he was about to bequeath the world a different kind of legacy. Perhaps a more alien kind: The Truth. And for this, he knew that he had to pay a heavy price, the ultimate sacrifice.

What if he had become a concert pianist instead? Things would have been so different. He was a gifted player able to ‘exude music from his inner being’ as his music professor had once put it. He had the talent to match the greatest of all pianists, it just would have required dedication and practice, practice, practice. What if he had met his wife in very different circumstances? What if he had stayed with music, his first love, and never opted to struggle for fairness and justice in an increasingly unfair and unjust world? What if? … What if…?

But that was just the point. There were no ‘what ifs?’ to consider any longer. To do so was a futile exercise in regret: there was to be no learning curve. There was only ‘here’ and ‘now’. The wheels were in motion and there was no turning back. He was about to sacrifice his own world for the sake of The World.

Music had always been his saviour. She made time stand still; his moment of sanity in an insane world. Music was his secret Goddess, always there waiting patiently to caress his spirit and wipe away the stresses of days that would have driven weaker people to the brink of madness. As he played, he was slowly brought back from his meditation, that trance-like place, where music always took him. It was the unfamiliar wetness of the piano’s ivory keys that had brought him back to reality: tears. He hadn’t even realised.

His heart cried for a way out. His spirit fought for an alternative, a way to survive; thrashing around for an answer like a shipwreck’s drowning passenger grasping at pieces of driftwood in a desperate attempt to survive.

He abruptly stopped playing, leaving the notes that filled the room to momentarily hang in the air… then disappear like shadows into the darkness. The silence was broken by the icy rain against the dark window panes. It was late. A storm was coming. An antique grandfather clock in another room struck two. He wiped his eyes with the heal of his hand and noticed a presence behind him. He turned, the piano-stool creaking as he shifted to look around.

‘We’re ready.’

His wife placed a hand on his shoulder and they held each other’s gaze for what seemed like a lifetime. He could see that she had been crying too: he recognised the puffiness around her deep brown eyes, now artfully concealed by expertly applied make-up. She was as beautiful as the day they first met.

He wanted to tell her that everything had been a terrible error of judgement and that they had been granted a last minute reprieve, but he knew he could not. There was no way to turn back: he was destined to be judge, jury, executioner and victim in one. He felt the guilt creeping into his heart again, but her hand firmly planted on his shoulder told him that she had agreed to this plan from the beginning. She was his strength, his love, his life and always would be for as long as they both lived – and perhaps longer if there was such an existence.

‘The children?’ he said, unable to hold her gaze any longer. He glanced back to see her face harden with the kind of resolve he had never witnessed before.

‘They’re already in the car. Asleep. I’ve given them … their medicine…’

‘Karen, I- ’

‘…for the journey.’ She put her finger to her lips and hushed him gently into submission.

‘We’ve done talking, Will. I can’t discuss it any more. I won’t. We have to do this. We decided. We can’t back out now.’

Forever in awe of her strength and always grateful for her courage whenever he was at a low ebb, he wondered what he had ever done to deserve someone like this. Will slowly rose from the piano and took Karen’s hand. They embraced. It was to be their last; like twin spirits entwined, they knew – hoped — they would last an eternity. He could smell her perfume and absorbed her perfection with every sense available to him.

They both walked through the old historic house, hand in hand, now quite calmly. Karen had been right: the time for talking was over now. They both knew what they had to do. They knew that this was the end game; yet it was just the beginning. The final scorched earth policy that snatches victory from defeat. The move that removes all valuable pieces from the board to protect the sovereign; the ultimate sacrifice.

Now standing in the garage, William and Karen Cutter surveyed Will’s vintage car collection. Six cars, each one with her own personality. Karen had joked in the past about Will’s love of these 1950s classics, calling them his six ‘other’ wives. A joke that would come back to haunt them, bringing with it a bitter taste of unhappiness.

Running trembling fingers along its lines, Will walked past the Buik Skylark – looking good now but, he knew, even better with the roof down. He stopped at the Aztec Red Cadillac Eldorado, its bodywork glistening as if it had just left the factory. Another convertible with hood up, ready to drive. In its day, it had been one of the most expensive cars money could buy. The 1950s: a time when America was at its most positive; most respected and admired on the world stage … how times have changed. Will had many fond and carefree memories of driving along the country lanes of New England, kicking up swirls of leaves in the fall.

Today’s journey was to be much shorter in distance but an infinity in time and space.

He looked inside and saw his two girls on the back seat: one lying with her head leaning on the window, the younger using her older sister’s lap like a pillow. They were fast asleep: the medicine was doing its job well. A wave of guilt and sadness engulfed him. How could he be doing this to his two beautiful treasures? But he knew the alternative would be worse; unimaginably worse for them to endure and for him to witness. No, it was to be much better this way… something that he could control. As old soldiers say: we are all mortal, so it is not when we die but how, that is the important thing.

Will tried the handle and the door opened smoothly, as if it were still in a showroom on display for sale. He sat in the driver’s seat and his wife got into the car next to him. She looked straight ahead.

‘Is it ready? The car, I mean,’ she said.

‘Yes, it’s ready.’

They both sat there with their own thoughts for what seemed like an eternity. Then, with a nod to himself as if resolving an inner discourse, Will reached in his pocket and took out two capsules.
Karen looked down at the pills in his hand with a flash of terror in her eyes. Her eyes darted to his, a look of confusion on her face.

‘To help you sleep – you’ll just feel a bit woozy. There’s water in the glove compartment.’

Tears flooded her eyes as she reached for the tablet and plucked it from Will’s hand with trembling fingers and held it in front of her. She looked at her husband, her whole body started to tremble uncontrollably.

‘Oh Will … I-I love you. Wherever you go, I go…’

She dropped the tablet onto her tongue, but once it was in her mouth she was unable to swallow. Her throat was too dry. She reached for the glove compartment, retrieved the small bottle and took a short sip of the water, her eyes never leaving his.

Will placed the remaining sleeping pill in his own mouth and swallowed it, taking some water from the bottle. He reached down for the ignition key and turned it, gunning the 5.4 litre engine into throbbing action. The car was the first 1953 specification and everything was in its original condition … with one exception. The exhaust had been re-routed into the car.

‘WAIT! Stop!’

She flung the door open and got out. ‘I can’t do this … not like this!’

‘But Karen, we discussed this. We agreed we had to go through with it … no matter what.’

Karen was in tears and stood there by the car for what seemed an eternity. She could feel the first effect of the drug pulling gently, almost imperceptibly, at her consciousness. Then she heard something familiar; something she had not expected to hear.

‘Mommy?’

Startled, Will looked back into the rear seat and saw his oldest daughter, the twelve-year-old, starting to stir, more asleep than conscious.

‘Are … are we there yet?’

With tears in his weary eyes, he shot a desperate, pleading look at Karen.

‘No, not yet, honey. You go back to sleep.’

‘I wanna see grunmahhh …’

Karen sighed and steadied herself as she rocked the front seat’s backrest forward and climbed into the rear seat to sit between her daughters.

‘I meant, I can’t let them go on their own,’ she said, her head becoming heavier as every moment passed. She closed the door behind her and held her babies tightly. ‘I held them when they came into the world, Will. I want to hold them on the way out.’

William Cutter nodded his agreement. None of this was their fault, they were the innocents in all this. He realised that, technically, he would be a murderer, committing infanticide. It may not have been the first time, but this would be his last.

He gunned the engine and smelled the pungent odour of petrol exhaust vapours spewing forth from the gas-guzzler’s engine. He was getting light-headed now, barely able to think clearly. He looked into the wide rear-view mirror and saw that the loved-ones he had lived for – and will die for — were sleeping as if on a long journey. Forever sleeping an everlasting sleep …

Unable to keep his eye-lids open any longer he allowed them to slide closed over the last of his tears. His final thoughts were for those who would discover his secret and the hope that they would manage to share it with the world, and in doing so, save it.

***

‘Break it down.’

‘But sir – this door is solid-’

‘I don’t care: BREAK THAT FUCKING DOOR DOWN!’

‘Yessir.’

The SWAT team Captain hurried away from Special Agent Marc Lucas as he stood there in the rain, his suit was soaked through, not that he had noticed. It was almost three-thirty on this windswept February morning and, without the headlights shining, it would have been as dark as midnight. He could hear the distant sound of a car’s throbbing engine on the other side of the massive garage door. It had been running at least since it was first discovered nearly twenty minutes ago – God knows how long before then.

He stood in the rain and butted his head against the solid oak door in silent desperation. How could he have been so stupid? How could he have not seen this coming? He feared the worst.

The SWAT team Captain returned with two officers carrying a pneumatic jack used for changing tires. This one was larger, Lucas noticed, more for changing the tires of a truck than a car.

‘Until we get some decent equipment down here, we could try this,’ said the Captain.

‘I don’t care what you try, just get that fucking door open!’ shouted Lucas.

The two SWAT officers managed to get the jack under the huge mechanised up-and-over door and had quickly managed to jacked it up to a height of around two feet – just enough for a man to crawl under. Using a flash-light lent to him by one of the officers, Lucas squatted down and peered into the gloom of the garage. A dim internal light was still on, but it was still hard to see through the smoke, which now escaped under the door. He coughed at the stench of exhaust fumes. He un-holstered his Glock 19.

‘I’m going in. Stay here. No one comes in until I say. Understood?’ he ordered.

‘Understood,’ came the reply from the senior police officer.

Lucas squeezed through the opening under the garage door and squatted, his weapon and the flash-light pointing to wherever he looked as he made a visual sweep of the gloom. He could see six cars – vintage cars, but in pristine condition – all lined up in two rows of three. The middle car in the back row, an old model red Cadillac, was idling.

His eyes were stinging from the exhaust fumes and as he approached the car, he started to feel light-headed. He pocketed his flashlight and took out his handkerchief in a vain attempt to stifle the toxic fumes, coughing violently into it.

He reached the Cadillac. His priority was to get into the vehicle and turn off the engine. On the driver’s side, he could see through the window but the exhaust fumes obscured the slumped figure inside. He tried the door handle but the car was locked from the inside. It took two blows with the butt of his pistol to shatter the driver’s side window. A strong waft of exhaust blew into his face from inside making him cough again. His eyes were streaming and he found it hard to make out who the driver was. He could just make out figures in the back seat. He reached into the car, turned the ignition keys and stopped the engine. A deathly silence filled the garage, all he could hear was the distant sound of police radio chatter coming from outside.

Trying to keep his breathing to the minimum, he opened the car door and could see that the figure was slumped away from him across the bench seat of the Cadillac. Male, Caucasian around two-hundred-ten pounds. He grabbed the driver’s jacket and pulled him into an upright position to try to drag him from the car. The face, eyes closed, jaw slack, turned towards his.

‘Holy Mother of-! No… NO…’

With renewed strength he pulled the driver from the car straight onto the floor and fell backwards with the shifting weight. He sat down with a bump, his back leaning against the neighbouring Buick. The driver fell awkwardly onto him and he found himself now cradling the lifeless body in his arms. He felt for the carotid pulse under the chin. There was no beating. He lifted an eye-lid: the pupil was dilated.

‘Get me an ambulance IMMEDIATELY!’ he shouted over his shoulder, ‘no one comes in apart from ambulance and paramedics. Got me?’ He suspected that an ambulance would be in vain. It was too late.

He felt for a pulse again.

Nothing.

Then he checked every pocket.

Nothing.

_________________

CHAPTER 2

‘The President is dead …’

With ruddy face breaking sweat and a sleepless night weighing heavily under his eyes, George T. Waylander stood at the press briefing room rostrum and paused with lips quivering, unable to speak the words written in front of him. Still in a state of shock, the erstwhile Vice President – now 48th President of the United States of America – could still scarcely believe the message he had been given to read.

He read the printed script to himself again, hoping that the characters would simply rearrange themselves into a different message. Waylander, usually a charismatic orator, paused for much longer than his usual well-known theatrics would have allowed. The room froze as a long moment’s silence covered it like a shroud.

In the west wing of the White House, the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room was packed with journalists from across the union, together with some selected representatives from international news media outlets.

Although many people would recognise this famous briefing room from televised announcements across the decades, few are aware of its remarkable history. Originally used to accommodate an indoor swimming pool for Franklin D. Roosevelt as a therapy to ease his polio affliction, it was later converted to a press briefing centre by President Richard Nixon. Ironically, it was Nixon who had decided that more space should be given to sharing information with the news media; the same news media which would bring his presidency down over the Watergate scandal – the name that served as the forebear of every political scandal ever since.

With the cavernous swimming pool now emptied and covered over, the room had been re-named in honour of James Brady, the press secretary who was shot and permanently disabled during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

Each journalist seated in the now crowded room stopped writing and glanced up in shock. For a moment, as the members of press corps processed what they had just heard, a pin could have been heard landing on the plush blue-grey carpet.

The eerie silence was as the withdrawal of the sea before the onset of a tsunami of questions. Seconds later, a forest of hands raised as every journalist blurted out questions, creating a cacophony as each reporter demanded to have their questions answered first.
The overwhelming babble made Waylander freeze, not knowing whether to answer a question or to carry on reading the script. He gave way to another suited official standing behind him, who approached the rostrum and spoke before he could utter another word, giving him vital moments to collect his thoughts.

Jaye Merlind, the White House Press Secretary grabbed one of the swan-neck microphones on the lectern before President Waylander could speak further.

‘Please … PLEASE … ladies and gentlemen. There will be a time for questions. We ask you to remain silent until the end of President Waylander’s statement … this is a shocking day for us all and we have all got to work together on this. PLEASE … no questions at this stage, please allow President Waylander to finish the announcement…’

Respected by some and hated by others in the Washington press corps, Merlind – had earned the reputation of being the arch manipulator of the news media. Nicknamed ‘Merlind the Wizard’ he took pleasure in playing journalists against each other until the news – or his preferred interpretation of it — floated to the top like magic. The hardiest Washington correspondents had been known to be reduced to quivering wrecks suffering the ramifications of disagreeing with him or looking for stories other than those prescribed in this room. In political journalist circles, to cross him, is to risk one’s career — some have suggested in hushed whispers, perhaps more.

The room settled down: no individual wanted to be singled out and barred from further inside information on what was sure to be the story of the year — perhaps of the decade. An electrified hush followed as Merlind relinquished the microphone back to Waylander.

‘Thank you, Jaye.’

Waylander cleared his throat. Although shocked, he was a seasoned political war-horse and, a matter of hours into his unexpected and un-campaigned-for presidency, he was able to collect himself in the brief respite he had been granted. Within those few moments he now stood taller and looked more commanding. He knew how to act the part; he had practised in front of mirrors for years.

‘There is more to add on this tragic day for all Americans, indeed for all of us in the world who are shocked by this sudden turn of events…’

***

Listening from her small office near the Oval office, Rose O-Carey sat transfixed…

‘… It is with a heavy heart that I also have to announce that not just President Cutter, but the entire first family has passed away as a result of an appalling and tragic boating accident at Camp David …’

‘Liar.’

Rose muted the closed White House live feed on her workstation.

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Martin Ison

Nottingham, united_kingdom

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