Tony Holdsworth felt great. No, he felt amazing. His fears, anxieties, worries all totalled to the weight of a feather. He felt like he could lift off and fly at any moment but was satisfied just to smile.
“So who will be next to receive the gift of happiness?!” he beamed. The crowd had all but forgotten the fracas with the protesters and Tony had all but forgotten the throbbing pain in his cheekbone. A quick top up of Walter Wallace Happiness had helped with that. “How about you there, miss?”
Tony approached a woman in her late thirties, attractive but poorly dressed. She seemed to shrink inside herself as he neared, shaking her head timidly. “No, it’s OK.”
“Please, miss, I’m not here to hurt you, but you must be here for a reason.”
“No. I don’t- I just-”
Tony had just managed to put the microphone to her when his pocket vibrated. His heart fluttered, and he worked to get the phone to his ear as quickly as possible. “Excuse me a moment, folks, I think our special guest is ready!” he broadcasted before dropping his tone to conversational. “Yes.”
Sam Tank’s voice came through, businesslike and to the point. “Tony. We’re on. Ten seconds.” There was a hint of anger and hatred at the sound of the man’s voice, but it was a distant memory that Tony no longer sought to understand.
“I’m terribly sorry, miss, we have to skip to the next segment - though I think you are secretly grateful!” He popped a tablet out rapidly and handed it the lady. “For your troubles.” He took a deep breath, “Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls! The one and many: William Unston!”
The crowd erupted with excitement and the big screen plastered to the side of the Towers went blank. After a moment the picture came back. There was a girl standing in a large room next to a bed with what looked like a very ill man in it. The crowd seemed to hush. This was not what they had expected – it was not what Tony had expected. He was excited by the prospect.
“Hello,” the girl’s voice struggled to project itself. “My name is William Unston and I am here to instil justice upon those responsible for our misery.”
Tony couldn’t say for sure but he felt like he knew the girl. Maybe it was just the headset she was wearing but she looked like one of the Nick’s from the set at Channel 8 – the rushed looking girl.
“For too long we have suffered at the hands of Citadel Inc; too long they have toyed with our perception. The final straw came with the introduction of Walter Wallace.” She looked down at a piece of paper in her hand. It shook uncontrollably. “Walter is another lie to ensure we fail to ever realise our hopes and dreams. He is the mirage at the edge of the horizon. An eternal promise as we walk to our deaths pulling the cart for our slave masters.
“I have one of the slave masters with me now. The slave master: Boss Citadel. He is the crippled culmination of greed in a society of people who wish nothing more than to be him. Well he will be no more, and when-” the girl choked on her words, “when I cut off the head then the body will eventually fall. And when I blow off the roof the Towers will crumble beneath.”
The camera zoomed in and Tony saw the tears that streaked the girl’s face. “Goodbye. Stay strong.” She lifted her right hand to the camera, “I’m so sorry.” She pressed down on the gadget. In an instance a deafening BOOM rung out. The screen went fuzzy and Tony looked up to see the top floor of Citadel Towers shoot out in all directions.
Screams of terror pierced his ears and the crowd morphed into a frenzied wave of panic. Large pieces of the debris from the building were falling into the crowd. Tony could only see them fall, the landing just out of sight but he could only imagine how many were squashed and maimed. As the push became stronger from the people trying to escape his entourage of guards were overwhelmed and Tony fell to the ground. Others fell on top, stepping and tripping on his large body. The pain was excruciating but an odd numbness came over Tony as he contemplated his fate. Was he to die? He felt nothing.
Just to the side of his head he saw the jar of capsules with Walter’s Happiness locked inside. He reached out with his last strength but just as he grabbed the jar a large boot crushed it, the shards violently digging into his hands. He chuckled. He knew of nothing else to do. It was the last thing he ever knew.