The Clearing: Ignis Fatuus (A Short Story Series 8/9)

Short Story, The Clearing / Sunday, May 28th, 2017

The Carpenter had spent years away from society. Not just in the Clearing, a self-imposed seclusion. Even when his existence was geographically around people, he was removed mentally. The pressure of judgement weighed on him, but it was more than that. It was more than just his super natural expectations.

The mortal realities he saw created in him a feeling of exclusion. He wanted to be away from a people who could do nothing but stare in the mirror. A collection of beings, coexisting for the enrichment of themselves.

Is that what being human was, relying on others to be their master? His faith continued to diminish as he saw more war. They proclaimed to bring freedom but only new and more horrific punishments developed. The species destroyed countries, turning to rubble what was only meagre to begin with.

Then they turned away those who were displaced. They engineered the destruction and then absolved themselves of responsibility. Their politicians made them they other, they were the evil ones who would harm us. They created a problem and ignored a solution. Their politicians said they would harm us and we should turn them back to a danger we exacerbated.

They spoke of their patriotism, as if this was something that was real. That you were born geographically somewhere made that special. Made that more important than humanity. That those you were born near meant more than those further away. That was patriotism, hoarding what you felt was great from those who needed it most.

The Carpenter could not be around them, the visions They showed him perpetrated this inhumanity. He was harmed by his life and the things he experienced even if he never was there.

The Carpenter worked on the chair that his decision would be made in. Humanities judgement would be there in that chair, now was only wood. He thought about humanity as he shaped it to fit a human so perfectly. He had made more chairs than he could remember. Decisions were made in his chairs that fundamentally changed people’s lives. The chairs he made held so much weight, they needed to be made with thought to that pressure.

As the Carpenter turned rough lumber to fine furniture he thought about his last example of humanity. A reprehensible person, void of conscious and filled with so much ego nothing else would fit. No love or compassion, he only focussed on what would enrich him. This story was about him, but also the people who were fooled by him. Who went along with his hate because they believed it would be beneficial for them.

The selfish nature of humanity would happily put in power a dictator, a monster of ego if it served them. They would claim that they voted because they were hard done by, but bigotry was always there. They put nice words on it, but the truth was that they believed that they white man should be revered. That was what he was selling, a time when this was so. They wanted riches of gold that was true but the riches that come from discrimination was so much more rewarding.

Ignis Fatuus was a man of immense wealth and did not hide this fact. A garish splattering of gold followed in his wake. The image of wealth was more important than what his bank balance held. His ego needed to be stroked, he needed the adulation to exist. To see his name in lights he placed a sign above every property he owned: FATUUS. When he arrived home he looked up at the sign and smiled, I am a success.

Fatuus spent his life like most who had wealth, obtaining more of it. In any manner he would gather it. He stole from workers, not paying for their work. He would sue at the drop of the hat to prove that he was the most powerful.

Then he began to gain the limelight through his appearances on television. This only caused to expand his ego, the millions around the world saw him as a success. A powerful man of riches. Still in search of wealth he wanted more of this adulation and power.

For the longest time he flirted with public office, not to help people. He wanted the power, the control of people. People of ill repute surrounded him, saw in him a master manipulator. They saw that he could be a face the public would vote for. They knew their faces repulsed the masses, they needed a patsy to be the face of the greatest lie in politics. They stroked his ego and told him he could be the most powerful man in the world. They knew him to be an impressionable idiot, he reacted in kind.

The evil men who pulled the strings would bring him to power in the most cruel way. They would tell the poor and unfortunate that Fatuus was one of them, he fought for the poor and would bring back their wealth. The rallies they held were concocted spectacles, the men in the background laughed at how they could manipulate. Fatuus the mighty commanded the podium and fed the hungry empty promises.

They ignored the racist undertones, more aptly they were fed by them. They believed him when he said he would bring wealth back to them. That he would not reduce the help they already receive. He would give them more, for less and it would be much better. He would make their nation like one of his buildings, FATUUS blazed across it.

Ignis Fatuus attacked relentlessly his opponents, making accusations that were so salacious that the cameras focussed on him. Even the wealthy who hated him couldn’t help but encourage him. They gave him the attention they knew he wanted. They allowed his comments to be fact, putting people on the screens who told you it was real.


Then what was thought impossible, the better judgment of a nation would prevail, happened. The declared him leader, President Ignis Fatuus. He gleamed at his win, told the nation again that he would be their leader, clear out the filth from government.

Then on his first day he began to put in charge the filth. The men who stroked his ego, those who thought they could manipulate were right. He did what they said, put them in charge of the things they wanted to destroy. Fatuus stood and smiled, I am your defender.

They termed his reign as the age of misinformation. In truth it was the age of lies, and his supporters continued to support him. They believed his grin, he wouldn’t lie. Many people called his supporters stupid and that was true. His opponents skirted the phrase, they said they were misled or they were suffering. This allowed them to continue their support, it validated them.

It is powerful when you call the stupid that, the ones that can be saved come to the truth. The truly stupid continue to be so. When you tell them they are smart, that they have validity they will remain stupid for time immemorial.

Truth is a funny thing, it acts on reality even if we choose not to acknowledge it. Those whose nefarious efforts put Fatuus into office began to be acted upon. Fatuus surrounded himself with corrupt souls, they were that way because they were corrupt. There treachery was quickly uncovered and the floor began to shrink under Fatuus’ feat.

Many attacked Ignis Fatuus as being part of the corruption, letting an adversary be their helpers. The truth was all to depressing, Fatuus was too moronic to collude. They kept him in the dark, his overlords. He could not be trusted to keep quiet, at a compliment he would sing.

Those around him began to fall, he puffed his chest and beat against the accusations. Then they hit at the heart of his campaign and presidency. Their weight was even to great for those of his party, their spines seeming to regenerate out of nothing. They put him in front of commissions, and like his idiocy would demand he attacked them. Contempt for that which he should have protected.

Finally the evidence to great, the embarrassment overwhelming. They threw him from office, to the stock piles of the disgraced and discarded. No longer president, no longer a leader he shrank from the public eye.

That would have been the end of it for most. They would disappear and lived out their lives. Perhaps speaking occasionally when the heat was off them. They would take their beatings and learn from them. Not Fatuus, he was defiant in his exile.

The buildings with the FATUUS signs still stood strong, his fortune still there even if shrunk. What was most important was that he still had his supporters. The poor who believed his lies even when they were proven as false.  They protested his ousting, the army on alert as they may become a full-blown militia.

Ex-President Ignis Fatuus’ empire sat in the middle of those who despised him. Who conspired to oust him. In his relative quiet he bought up land around those who loved him and built a monument to himself. A building with gold and marble, in an area where people starved to death.

A compound surrounding it that only the loyal would enter. Thousands of people followed him there, a cult that infected democracy itself. Those who were in his ear to make him run for president, the same who were the cause of his downfall were in his ear once again. They were made up of media types who could spew propaganda. They were oil men who could create energy and cut it off from those they chose. Charging what they felt necessary. Energy was so much more important in war-time. Then there were the arms dealers, those who would profit most from arming the less fortunate and the nation itself.

Trump Tower Real

Fatuus came out of exile one fateful day. The new president, who was elected in a non standard election run came into town. The controversy gripped so deeply in their democracy that they did something that had not been done before. Dissolving the whole government and re-electing all representatives.

The new President came in to broker peace, the area had been at unofficial war zone. Fatuus came out, prodded by those who could gain from destruction. He called the new President illegitimate, the crowd roared. Their hero stood up to the corruption they were told to hate. It was a stand-off, Fatuus demanding to be reinstated. Calling his ousting a coup, denying the evidence itself. The new President demanded he call off his supporters.

At first they said they were protecting themselves. Then they began to roam and attack those Fatuus said he would eradicate. Then they began to attack anyone of authority to the point that whole parts of the country had FATUUS signs emblazoned.

Fatuus on-screen called to his supporters, they demanded freedom. They demanded to secede, to form their country of Fatuus. He would lead them for the term of his life them his daughter, the successor would follow.

The new president held strong, tens of thousands of people turned up. The demonstrations became more and more dangers. People were killed and martial law called. The military came in to calm the situation, it did the opposite. The Fatuus media told of a time when the corrupt government would come in and try to take their freedom. With the tanks coming down the street that time was proving to be today.

Then in one shot war was started, one of Fatuus supporters had sight of who he deemed as the illegitimate president and shot. The bullet hit him in shoulder. The army was brought in, full force retaliation.

Thousands of people died, the areas that Fatuus controlled began to look like those they caused abroad. They became the people in need of refuge, under explosions they hoped someone would help. They cried out for Fatuus but he like all cowards ran away. Back to his complex, he sat on the top floor and demanded his people to fight. To do what he never would, lay down their lives.

The war lasted for months, the intensity slowed but there were fire fights often. Fatuus looked on his war zone, it may be dire but it was his. All that land, all those lives were his. His was a self-fulfilling prophecy, he spoke about carnage and there it was. He spoke about the government wanting to attack and there they were.

Many ran from Fatuus, and they were welcomed back. Back to reality and truth, they would try to contact their family that were still there. The propaganda was strong, so many stayed in support of the Fatuus regime.

The new President was alive and well, he healed and went to the airwaves. He demanded that the country show compassion for the Fatuus, welcome them back. They were shown the help they refused others and were told did not exist. The President slowly took back the country.

The Fatuus numbers fell, through death and defection. They lost so much land, only the compound held up. The cretins who convinced Ignis Fatuus of his divinity escaped long ago. They stopped helping him, they only had self-preservation at their heart. Now Fatuus was only surrounded by those who believed his propaganda and that became reality in their circles.

Then Ignis Fatuus, at an age that few of his followers would see died. The propaganda said that he had died due to assassination. It was laughable but they believed it. As his body lay cold many put down their arms, lost without their messiah. Others walked out of Fatuus. Many pointed guns to themselves.

The last thing that Ignis Fatuus saw were his supporters crying. Telling him that they will always be his devotees. Sometime the truly evil don’t get a punishment. Till the day they die they see the world as they wanted. An image of the delusional but reality matters not when you are dead.

Ignis Fatuus left a legacy of destruction. The country never the same again, separated along lines of truth and delusion. He only saw himself as a hero, history would not be so kind.

The country rebuilt, many parts were devastated for decades. Humanity is determined and those who were once Fatuus supporters came back and rebuilt. There was still a group of people who revered him. Every now and then coming to the front of society for some sort of depravity.

The most saddening is that history was destined to repeat itself. That someone so despicable would come back to power. It was as if those who were at most need of help sought these people.

The Carpenter sat in his chair. It was in the style that Ignis Fatuus most liked. When he was Ezra he made one of them for him. Before he was president, before he was the most reviled. A simple chair for a man of simple mind.

The Carpenter thought about how we continue to be drawn to evil people. Did that say something about the evil or the rest of us. That we can be so easily manipulated, following even what is in our worst interest.

It’s not clear if we were evil or complacent. The Carpenter thought of the question of whether the human race was worthy of existence. If we were destined to continue to follow this pattern, causing so much pain what right did we have? Even if the majority were not evil, we allowed evil people to control us.

If pain was what the future held then was it not right for the species to be put out of its ever lasting misery. Compassion demanded it of a pet, surely the species was deserving.

Ignis Fatuus was a current example of a persistent problem. The Carpenter lit a fire and sat and watched it. He had his examples of humanity now he needed to decide. He could feel Them getting closer. Their expectations growing, they wanted to know.

The flames leapt up and he was lost in the thought of existence. A great decision would come soon.

The decision will be made, what should he do. The seven people have shared their stories, should he end it all. Is there anything that would beg for existence.

To catch up on past parts go to The Clearing

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What should the decision be? Where does it all end?




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