We don’t need prompts.

For anyone coming late to the party, President Trump has, well, gone ahead and instituted a ban on Muslim and refugee travel into the US. The picture that heads this post is everything you need to know.

The chief architect of this has been his advisor, and Breitbart news head, Steve Bannon, who has also effectively replaced the head of the CIA, the Chariman of the Joint Chiefs and the NSA in all presidential meetings.

Times are scary now and there are monsters. The stories of who they are and what they do needs to be told a million times over in a million different voices.

Ovid Karr was not the Regent’s top advisor, but it was that rare photo of the Regent indeed that did not feature Karr hovering behind his left shoulder. In fact, Karr had been positioning himself thusly when the explosion ripped through the High Palissade. The tremendous booming, the terrible light and the attendant chaos and confusion separated Karr from the Regent and from their protective security detail. The sharp sound of gun fire had been enough to cause Karr to run as far and as fast as he could without delay. Which was how, hours later, he found himself in the immense woods to the northeast of the Regent’s largest, most-used sanctum.

Karr couldn’t begin to guess who was behind the attack. Dissidents, a foreign power, the army, maybe it wasn’t even a full attack. Maybe it was the Regent’s attempt to displace Karr. Ovid Karr wasn’t the sort of man to pretend, or care, that he had made no friends, even among his closest affiliates. He didn’t trust, wasn’t to be trusted, and was more proud of those two facts than he was of anything else. Karr didn’t really believe that the Regent had moved against him, fully convinced as he was that the Regent was fully convinced that he was indispensable. And this seemed like a big move. But anything was possible. Whoever was behind the attack, it didn’t matter. Ovid would figure it out and move against the aggressors. He had tools left at his disposal. Agents and resources left to tap. Plans and contingencies to execute. A sick arousal rose in him, originating in and spurred on by fantasies both of wielding power for power’s sake and wielding power to persecute.

First though, he had to get out of the woods. The sun was going down and winter was no time to be left unguarded from the elements. Breaking the flow of his stride he felt in his jacket pocket for the old silver lighter that had once been his father’s. Karr wasn’t a sentimental man and hadn’t much cared for his father while he was living, but from a young age he had always, if unaccountably, cherished and valued that lighter. He pulled it out from his pocket flicked it twice, saw a small flame bloom and the snapped it shut and put it back. It wasn’t dark enough yet to need it, but it soon would be.

Ovid walked and stumbled and ran when he could, which wasn’t often, through the branches and brambles of the woods. Here and there he thought maybe he caught a flash of bright, golden light at the corners of his eyes, but every time he whipped his head around he saw only deepening shadows.

But even though he didn’t seem them directly, the flashes grew in frequency and numbers and soon each one was bright enough to obscure his vision and leave the phantom images of war orphans he abandoned, families he broke up, students unrooted and workers he upended. They were a blazing sea of golden faces and bodies that washed and merged into each with. Except one little boy who persisted, right in front of Karr. The boy offered his hand up to the adult and the adult shied away as though afraid of being bitten. The golden faces disappeared in an instant, the boy included.

Karr felt in his pocket. His lighter was gone. He was alone. Without distractions or company or power to ensconce himself in. He was alone with only himself to contend with and the falling darkness swallowed him.


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