Tawny jacket. Holding her chicks close. Two wet leaves.
The cellar was a foul place. Unpainted, its bricks oozed neglect. All the insects we pretended did not exist lived in that cellar. Mother, Father, Son. All deplorable.
Once in a while they would attempt to escape; climbing the stairs, somehow avoiding the traps we had laid for them. How entertaining those months were; listening to them scratch at the door like the rats they were. Revenge was sweet. Yet, sadly all good things must come to an end as they say. Then the doubts set in; had we acted in haste, were we justified? Weak, weak, minds… There was no way we would allow those things any chance to reclaim their place in our hearts by stealth. Conscience must be silenced. It can be a cancer when not properly conditioned by the will. How they had lived this long was a mystery to me. I always suspected somebody was slipping food to those swine. They would not win. A fire would see to that…and so that’s just what we did; set it all ablaze. Burn baby burn! What a wonderful bonfire it was. The flames were glorious; orange red fists punching the sky. Fifty feet or more of womanly majesty towering over the hillside. At last we were free.
We could do anything we wanted now…
Several hours later one of our number began to cry. She had not been with us long, and had yet to understand our wisdom. She would learn or suffer the same fate as the insects. How wrong we were. Her tears were not from sorrow but from joy. She became our leader; her name was Elizabeth. She was our Queen. I can still see her now, praying in the ruins of that foul place. Hands full of ash and carbon. Screaming for joy.
Leaving the embers of our birthing place we journeyed forth into the wider world. Elizabeth knew what to do. She always did. We were always clever insofar as to pretend to be what we were not. We would smile, curtsey, and acquiesce to any demand made. We were very popular. People found us alluring. This became our chief strategy in spreading our message that they were not in charge anymore; that they had had their time; that they would lose and we would win.
Very quickly our numbers swelled. We gave each new member a secret name, only the group would know. We had devised our own language and as the weeks and months strolled by we learned how to expand its use. So much can be achieved with a new language entirely your own. You control both what can be said and who can say it. There are no mistakes this way. Elizabeth would often recount how the move from Cuneiform to Greek expanded the possibilities of expression and in doing so gave the Greeks the advantage they needed to place in bondage the entire Mediterranean. Elizabeth was very clever. Very clever indeed.
Some of us chose professions which would aid the group; going to college, studying Law and Finance. The world of banking was a rich vein for our kind. We could almost be ourselves there. Others aided the group more directly managing farms and performing more menial tasks. We were always looking for new ways to gain more followers; but only those who would fit. We took no chances in appealing to those we thought had no chance of understanding our wisdom, let alone the strength to practice it. What we offered was more than a philosophy, it was a lifestyle. A constant mindfulness.
Men were obviously a no no. Older women were also problematic. They had been mortally infected by the disease of morality which had in our thinking held our kind back for too long.
Oh what great times they were. We were growing, our message and system of thought was deepening; all in all it seemed like we couldn’t lose. This was our first error. One of many.
The first sign of trouble was when one of our number; a small thing by the name of Angela attracted the attention of a man we thought would provide us with all the necessary funds we would need; should our other investments fail. He ran a business dealing in livestock. Many of us thought it highly ironic that a cattle trader would unwittingly provide us with the means to expand our operation. The cow was a sacred animal. A goddess to us. What a shame we never had the chance to use that blade he carried against him. If only Penelope had lived up to her reputation. She should never have been made second to Elizabeth. Damn witch.
What a disappointment Angela was. She told him. She told him everything. How he escaped still remains a mystery to me. What fools the young can be when the stench of love wafts before their face. Another one far too close to the influence of Penelope. A good thing she vanished.
That was the first time we had to kill one of our own. We liked it. We liked it a lot. Another mistake. Some of the group enjoyed her company, and so after a long discussion we passed a law that no one in the group could kill another member. All discipline would be carried out by a man. A man of our choosing who we could rely on. Many in the group thought this impossible, but we found him. He was very special. He had no ego at all. In many ways he was a empty vessel. Perfect for this one task. I still keep in touch with him, even after all these years. The group may have disbanded but friendship is still friendship, and usefulness is still usefulness.
And there you have it, and why I am before you now. I realise my letter of application is an unusual one, but I am sure you can see from it that I am a woman of some substance and grit. I hope you will consider me for this grand position, after all who wouldn’t want to be the first female President of the United States.
[Name withheld for legal reasons]
The End. (Turn up the volume).