“Oh,” Anya said, “I didn’t realize there would be a line.”
The older man in front of her glanced back at the new arrival. “A lot of people arriving all at once,” he explained.
“Right. I guess there would be.” The line shuffled forward. “You look familiar,” Anya said. “Have we met?”
“I doubt it,” he replied, still facing forward.
Anya shrugged, asking instead, “So, what did you do . . . you know, before?”
He sighed wearily, answering, “I worked in government.”
“There’s a thankless job for you. I was a waitress, got no end of grief from customers, but at least there’s still a tip at the end.” A shadow fell over Anya’s expression. “I was working when it happened. I . . . think it was a bomb. You?”
“A bullet.” He winced as though he could still feel it. “In the back.”
“It’s all just madness, isn’t it? You have to wonder if the people responsible for all this really believe it’s worth it.”
A somber silence. “Maybe they did,” he finally replied. “But once they’re here, about to be judged . . . how could they?”
That’s when Anya recognized him. “You’re . . . You . . .”
“Yes,” came a voice like the grave, “I started the war.”
* * *
Story by Gregory M. Fox