In Order to Live

The Genre Stretch challenge for this month was “Occupational Fiction”.  There’s no romance in this story, but it’s definitely about someone’s job.

**

Mikas could hear his blood pounding in his ears as he made his way through the streets of Stralsund.  This would probably be the last time he would take an assignment like this one.  A part of him was terrified at the prospect of what he was about to do.  Another, larger, part of him knew that this was the only way he could be assured that it was done.

He found the building where he had arranged the meeting and glanced back across the square.  Already, a crowd was gathering to hear the speech the president of Veligrad would give.  Some people were saying that he would finally grant Leituva their independence.  Others said that, if he did that, there would be one of two things that would follow: his deposition by Veligradian Intelligence or the secession of many of the Veligradian states.

He knew the truth of the matter.  Petrov would never allow the president to give Leituva their independence.  He would see to it that the president wasn’t simply taken out of office.  The man wouldn’t survive to the end of the week.  Speaking those words would be like signing his own death warrant.  That was why he was in Veligrad.

He took a steadying breath and then headed inside.  He made his way to the room, where he would wait for Petrov.  How many times had he done this in the past?  He couldn’t even remember the answer to that question.  Yet, somehow, this time was different.

By the time that Mikas had reached the roof, the crowd in the square had swollen to amazing size.  He couldn’t think of the last time that such a crowd had gathered in a public place.  Under the government, such gatherings had been forbidden.  The current president had reversed that policy.

He stepped across the roof, towards the ledge.  He glanced downward.  There was no one on the sidewalk below.  The president would make his speech on the other side of the square.  Everyone was there, crowded as close as possible, to hear his every word.  He heard the roof access door open and turned around.

“Director Petrov,” he said, his voice soft.

The taller man stepped away from the access door with a cold smile on his lips.  “Good day to you, little one,” he said, as he moved slowly towards Mikas.  “I could hardly believe your note.  Would you truly turn yourself in?”

Mikas shrugged.  “I can’t keep running away,” he said, frowning slightly.  He glanced out towards the square.  “This place… it was my home.  I miss it terribly.”  When he turned back to Petrov, the man was only a few feet from him.  “You didn’t bring any guards to make the arrest of a traitor like me, sir?”

“I’m not going to arrest you, Mikas,” Petrov said, his voice soft.  His eyes sparkled with something that Mikas didn’t dare name.  “No, you will return to my house and no one will ever see you again.”

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