Michael felt the pendant through his dress shirt. He traced the never-ending star, then the crescent moon that surrounded it. A talisman of truth. At least, that’s what the tag read when he’d bought it from a jeweler. He’d gone in for a ring for his soon to be wife, and walked out with that and the pendant he’d found browsing the estate pieces.
Love and truth. Two promising phrases for his future. He straightened his jacket, tightened his tie and took one last look in the mirror before heading down for a quick bite. He grabbed his briefcase and trotted downstairs. Elizabeth greeted him with a curt nod, refusing to take her eyes from the flyer she held.
“Michael, look at this.” Davis is out of control!
“What’d he do?” He turned to her after he pushed bread into the toaster.
She turned it toward him.
Fight against the infection!
Davis to Cleanse the Community!
He fought the urge to burn the flyer. He took it from her and slipped it into his case.
“I’ll take it to the sheriff. Make sure he knows his true colors.”
“Michael, I called him as soon as I found it in our mailbox. He says it’ll pass, that Davis only wants attention.” He won’t help us.
“Listen, if Davis wants that kind of attention, the sheriff won’t need to help us. These people aren’t hateful. They won’t spare him a second thought.”
Elizabeth looked at Michael’s briefcase and shuddered. I hope you know what you’re doing with an extreme candidate like Davis.
“I know exactly what I’m doing, don’t worry.” He grabbed the toast and took his first bite, shuffling in the fridge for milk.
“You said ‘I hope you know what you’re doing’ and I do.”
“I never said that.” Are you feeling okay?
“Elizabeth, I’m fine, trust me.” He poured himself a glass and slid the milk back before turning back to her.
“How are you doing that?” You’re a mind reader now? She raised her eyebrows.
Knowing exactly what I’m gonna say before I say it!
Michael’s eyes widened as her voice echoed. In his head? “I…can hear you.”
Well, you’re not deaf, course you can hear me! But-
“No, no Beth, I mean I can hear you…in my head. Your thoughts… I hear them.”
Her eyes met his. How?
“I don’t know how! I just can.”
Now you’re scaring me. Please just go, go talk to the sheriff, go to work, anything!
“I didn’t mean to, Elizabeth. I don’t know how this is happening-” He caught a glimpse of the clock, “Shit! I can’t be late.” Michael lifted his case and ran for the door, rushing to his car and tearing from the drive.
He drove, pushing the 5 extra miles over the speed limit to make it to the office in time to see his standings as a candidate for mayor. Him against Davis. If he gave Davis any ammunition, he’d exploit it for all its worth. Even something as minuscule as tardiness. Davis would twist it, put out the idea that he couldn’t be trusted if he couldn’t even be punctual.
Michael agonized over another debate with the man. He’d found a way to blame away the community’s problems and even worse, some people seemed to believe him. He pulled into the parking lot and ran into town hall. He stopped when he saw Davis in the doorway.
“Another day, another useless attempt to beat me, Michael.” Once I get elected, the cleansing will begin.
“You’re out of your mind if you think these people will follow someone like you.”
“I’m just a guy who wants what’s best for the community.” Blind sheep.
“You’re an extremist who’ll do anything to get your way. “He tried to push past Davis into the conference room but he blocked his path.
“I’m a man who won’t stand by and watch his community be ruined by a bunch of inferior people.” Sympathizers are just as disgusting.
Michael swallowed the bile rising in his throat. He wanted to block Davis’ thoughts, but he couldn’t stop them. He shoved past the man and entered the conference room. Chairs filled with people chatting, waiting for the final debate between the candidates to begin.
Davis sauntered in behind him and took his place at a podium while Michael took the other. The chatter died down and the debate took off within minutes. Davis talked of fast action, fixed problems, restoring the community to its former thriving glory.
Michael grew sick of watching people fall for the trap of false promises.
“Wake up, people! Davis isn’t here for you.” He pulled the flyer from his briefcase. “He’s here to spread hatred.” He handed it down to audience members and as they read it over. Voices overwhelmed the hall as anger erupted. Davis watched unfazed as the flyer got passed around.
“What do you have to say for that?”
“Those flyers are simple to make. Who’s to say you didn’t create it?” Davis stared at him, smirking.
“I’d never think of something so disgusting, let alone advertise it!”
“People, think about this. If I’m as extreme as Michael accuses, wouldn’t I have sent those to everyone in town? An extremist isn’t ashamed of their beliefs. They wouldn’t be as cowardly as to pull something like this. I’m Michael’s obstacle to obtaining office.”
Davis smiled as he watched people bicker over who told the truth. Finally, the chatter died down and each candidate made their closing statements. Michael’s head swam. He watched as people filed out, waiting their turn to place their votes, and behind them lay a trail of pieces of the shredded flyer.
You will get burned if you play with fire.