Sun Tzu

…There are roughly three hundred people who control the world, these elite force from various families operate from behind governments to manipulate and suppress the general public into a state of obedience. There is no such thing as free will, no freedom, no choice. People are numbered, cataloged, observed, controlled, sedated. Actions monitored, words recorded, DNA genetically altered. The word is a sugar coated brutal cage, people are cogs in a bitter machine, fed drugs, kept in a…

 

Paul looked up from his journal, the room was darker now that dusk had fallen, he blinked to adjust his sight to the dim light, relying on his keen ears to catch any sound, something had disturbed his flow. A scratch, match head against striker, flickering yellow flame by the window, fat glowing red tip, a face barely illuminated.

“Father.” He was familiar with the cigar scent.

Paul screwed the lid back onto his fountain pen, watching the mature figure step out of the gloom to stand over his prodigy. There was no point closing the journal.

“It never ceases to amaze me, your fascination with these people.”

“To know your enemy you must become your enemy.”

“The supreme art of war is to subdue your enemy without fighting.”

Both men quoted Sun Tzu.

There was a moment of silence between them as his father read Paul’s words but he made no comment, simply placed a strong hand upon his sons shoulder.

“They are here; we are gathered in the grand hall.” He spoke between puffs upon the expensive cigar. “Can you be ready within the hour?” It was less of a question and more of a demand.

Paul nodded.

His father patted his shoulder several times before leaving the room in silence, trailing behind him a faint wisp of smoke.

Paul closed the journal once his father had left, carefully placing the engraved fountain pen diagonally across the leather cover before heading to his quarters. Rachmaninov’s ‘allegro ma non tanto’ filled the lavish rooms from an unseen sound system as Paul slowly changed from his casual attire and into an impeccably tailored tuxedo. Although it fitted like a glove, Paul felt uncomfortable.

His Gentleman-in-waiting gave an approving nod and assisted with the claret coloured cravat. Paul smiled at the young German, blonde, blue eyed, tall, strong, handsome, immaculate. Everything that Hitler had decreed as perfection for his master race.

“Rudi, a brandy if you please?” Paul requested, his outfit complete.

The concerto flowed through the apartment, the rise and flow of the intricate musical pattern, scales chasing after swift notes. As Paul watched Rudi pour two drinks, he changed the music over to the Pet Shop Boys ‘It’s a Sin’.

***

It was over an hour later when Paul arrived in the grand hall, guests were still arriving, the tall ceiling rang out with the collective sounds of light laughter and chatter. A string quartet provided delicate background music for those gathered. Identical maids in immaculate uniforms served fine champagne in crystal flutes or hors d’oeuvres from silver platters. A perfect cliché.

“How deliciously stereotypical.” Paul remarked to his younger sister.

The child looked up and smiled, Paul did not return the smile. The overdose of make-up and finery gave the eleven year old girl the illusion of teenage ripeness, an image Paul found disturbing.

“Are you not excited?” She chirped, blissfully unaware of his dark thoughts.

“No.”

“But you’re getting married.” Her tone contained all the enthusiasm which continued to elude Paul.

“Aren’t you even excited to see what your bride looks like?”

“I expect she will be perfect.” His reply was cold.

At 9pm exactly, a vision of pure beauty descended the marble stairs, clad in fine silks and delicate lace. An audible gasp issued forth from the gathered host, scattered whispered comments could scarcely be heard yet each word was uttered in awe. The bride glided with effortless grace to take her place by Paul’s side.

There was no music, no traditional march; the string quartet had fallen silent. That silence allowed the scene of visual perfection to capture the attention of the whole audience. Paul mentally congratulated his father, for the effect was dramatic, his chosen bride angelic. Nervous demure expression, deep pools of unique violet eyes glanced up at her husband-to-be from under long tinted lashes.

Indeed Paul’s father had excelled himself with this treasure, Paul watched him smiling smugly, cigar unusually absent from the corner of his mouth, as the guest Rabbi lead the couple through their vows. Carefully rehearsed lines, expressed with fake emotions, all participants professionally trained none had ever met before.

The whole service an Oscar winning performance.

Paul kissed his blushing bride admit cheers, applause and blooms of champagne coloured confetti; the musicians took up their instruments again with Beethoven’s ‘Ode to joy’. She tasted delicious, like sweet apples and honey. Perfect, just like the rest of the charade. However, the Rabbi, the marriage and the service were very real and therefore very legal.

***

Once all the guests had left, the estate in silence, save for the discrete army of servants which would regain the immaculate perfection of the manor before dawn.

Paul was summoned to his father’s study. It was supposed to be his wedding night, yet they sat, chatting, reflecting over the events of that evening. Rudi poured the two gentleman brandy from a cut crystal decanter, he handed Paul a thick based tumbler with a thin secret smile and Paul’s father calmly shot the hansom German in the back of the head, continuing the conversation.

Paul hid his emotions behind a static mask. Blood, brandy and shattered crystal decanter decorated the expensive carpet, which would easily be replaced. Everything… Everyone was expendable.

“I should let you return to your bride.”

Paul finished his brandy with a nod.

“Make me proud son.”

Paul met his father’s cold gaze and set his jaw square.

“Yes Sir.”

***

 

A.M. Harrison

 

 

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