Author : Sean Kavanagh
A third term as President.
No one since FDR had served three terms, but he could feel that tingling sense of anticipation, that odd, pulsing of the blood that foretold victory. He was on the verge of making history. The campaign had gone well. He’d connected with the electorate in such a very personal way and now he could almost taste that landslide. The speeches, the personal appearances, even the tedious writing of his manifesto, it had all gone smoothly.
A glance at his watch: 9.59pm – just one minute until the polls closed.
He sat down in his chair in the Oval Office to wait.
His eyes fell on the hands of an antique clock, which presumably one of his predecessors had installed, but which he’d not yet removed. The Oval Office did look a little threadbare these days, but times were hard.
The election was over: the clock struck ten. Now all that remained was the count.
He looked at the ballot box on his desk and smiled.
Wanting to savour the moment, he went back to the window and looked out. It was a dark November night in Washington, snow falling early, as it did now. But all the snow would be immaculate. Untouched. No footsteps. No sidewalks cleared. No hills littered with snowmen or the remains of snowballing fights between children.
The snow lay undisturbed by man, as there were no more men. Or Women. All gone. In a plague so swift it was over before panic even began.
But he had been spared.
And, as the last living member of the human race, he intended to see out his days doing what he believed to be right and proper.
The country…the world… needed a leader, and he was proud to be President of…everything.
Slowly, he walked over to the ballet box. Unlocked it (tampering was unlikely, but he was a stickler). Up-ending the box, the single vote fell out. His vote. He picked it up.
“Commencing count,” he said to, literally, nobody. He unfolded the ballot paper. His eyes went wide with shock. No….No, how?
He looked closer.
In his haste he’d folded the paper before the ink had dried, and now the ‘X’ next to his name was smeared beyond recognition. He took a deep breath and showed the ballot to the empty room. “Spoiled!” He announced, and he set the paper aside.
Such a defeat was bitter. It wasn’t a charismatic opponent, or a popular ideology that had defeated him, no, it was nothing but his own sloppiness and arrogance.
They’d always said every vote counted.
He hated it when the dead were right.