Chapter One

November 2012


The man stared at himself, unaware. His being so would lead to the end of the world.

As he stood there he enjoyed the silence. The crowds were gone, the chanting had ceased, and the President elect inspected his reflection in the mirror. His fingers hurt from shaking hands, his head hurt from remembering names, and little stood between him and his new office now but the complete dawning of what he had achieved. Had the others before him been as ill-prepared and ill-informed as he?

He wanted to be alone during his Democratic opponent's concession speech and had retired to his hotel room alone  to watch it on Fox News after receiving the other candidate's congratulatory call an hour ago. He needed time to gather his thoughts, go through his acceptance speech one more time, and let the victory settle.

He wondered if he looked like a president yet. His chapped lips and white-flecked black hair framed his heavy-lidded blue eyes. He bent over and rested his elbows on the old oak set piece the mirror rested on. He spoke his new full name.

“President Elect Thomas Hayward. President Thomas Hayward.” He said, and his reflection smiled wearily.

On the dresser by his hands stood a frame with a picture of his wife and two daughters. He reached for it and stared at the pretty faces. They had been his whole world to this point. Now, he was genuinely responsible for the whole world.

Placing the frame back down lovingly, he turned and sat on the chair by the bed. His wife had made the hotel rooms he had stayed in throughout the campaign feel like being at home back in Hudson, Massachusetts, where he had begun his political career as the Middlessex county prosecutor.

His career, especially his last case,had brought him to Washington as the freshman senator from Massachusetts. He had entered the presidential contest four years later and been the immediate front-runner for the Republican nomination and then the front runner in the general election campaign.

He had led because he was an outsider in a year when incumbents were voted out in droves.

He won, or so Fox News kept repeating, because he had stuck to his campaign slogan of honesty and transparency in government, though he had never fully understood what those words truly meant.

His thoughts wandered back to his blue collar town of Hudson, Massachusetts and to his road traveled to The White House by the age of 52- Not as far a distance as his predecessor had traveled, but not bad, he thought to himself, as he fidgeted with his tie. It was time to celebrate with his supporters and his family.

The President-elect walked to the door, placed his hand on the door handle and pasted a winning smile on his face.

 He opened the door and stepped into the din.

Chapter 2