The Day After the Revolution

I went to get food today. All of the shops are closed. A lot of people were milling about in the street. I walked past the palace; it’s burning. Our soldiers have taken out all of the furniture, and all of the wood. Some of it is going to refurbish some of our buildings. The rest will go to hearth-fires. I hope I get some. Winter will be here soon.

They’re burning all of the documents. All of the secrets they kept about us. Our freedom is born in those fires.

The bread line was long. I heard people talking about what’s going to happen now. Power vacuum, is what they say. Now that we’ve liberated ourselves from ourselves, what will happen now?

I saw them burning artwork at the palace. Pictures of our emperors, our empresses. You’re not supposed to say the word “Tsar” anymore. They won’t be remembered that way. It seems a pity to burn artwork. But the soldiers see freedom in that, too. So let them do it.

I looked at myself in the mirror for a long time this morning. I’m getting old. My body doesn’t feel like mine anymore. Are we really trapped in here, like the mystics say? Just spirits trapped in bodies we don’t want? I didn’t used to feel this way. I’m getting old.

I heard that some of the soldiers were taking baths at the palace. Warm baths! Enough water for a week for most people. I guess they’ve earned it. I’d like a warm bath. Maybe once we figure it all out. I don’t know if we’ll ever figure it all out.

They didn’t give us very much bread. Enough for two days, maybe three. They say the shops will re-open soon. I don’t believe them. No one wants to do anything now that the killing is over.

I passed the square on the way to the bread line. The bloodstains are still there. They haven’t moved the chopping block. They want us to remember. We’ll remember what we did. How could we forget? I won’t.

One of the tea houses was open. I stopped in. They didn’t have any tea, but people were talking. I saw some old friends. I saw them smile. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen people smiling.
I heard people saying the Policians will come. That what we did won’t matter. That our freedom is what we have right now, and it will be over soon. That’s why I don’t think the shops will open again. They say the Policians will come with their bought soldiers, the half-men, the Henissery warriors. That’s what happened on Inba. And on Kalkudya.

I was told the Duma would meet tonight. They’ll want me there. They respect what I’ve done. I don’t.

One of my friends patted me on the back today and told me that we’d succeeded. We did what we had to, and we did it well. I don’t feel that way. When I look at my hands, my hands are red. All of our hands are red. What seeds sown with blood have ever borne good fruit?

Alea jacta est is what the priest said to another man in the bread line. Does anyone know what Rubicon we’ve crossed? The soldiers never read any books. All they’ve ever known is war.
I don’t know what the Duma will say. What do we do now with no government, no leader? Maybe they will want me to lead. I don’t.

Maybe they will ask me, maybe I will say yes. Maybe they have a plan in place. All of the civil servants are dead. Why did we kill so many people?

None of us wanted to die. Not even the people who said they wanted to die wanted to die. We’re all condemned to death. Why do we think we can choose when other men should die?
I wonder when I will die. I think it will be soon. The thought is comforting. I won’t need to wait in the breadline, thinking about warm baths, when I’m dead. Do you think they will remember me? I don’t know.

I thought about Katya today. I saw her looking at me when I looked in the mirror. There’s still part of her in there. Ever since I learned I had the videniye, the Vorstellung, I knew why she had stayed with me. She had it too. Never told anyone. I should have known, but I never thought about it. That’s why there’s still so much of her in there. In here.

My master, my yuchitell, used to tell me how we leave little bits of ourselves everywhere we go. That’s why people with the videniye can see where they’ve been. We’re all still there, everywhere.

I didn’t want this, any of this. I just wanted to be a carpenter. To make cabinets. Tables. I made some beautiful chairs when I was younger. I’m sure they’ve been burned to keep someone warm. Wood’s too expensive these days to make furniture. But we still burn it. We have to.
Everyone says that the Revolution is over. That we’ve won. All I can think about is what we’ve lost.

-From the personal journal of Ivan Vladimir Ilyich, known as “Ivan the Executioner”, chief agent provocateur of the Rossinian Grand Revolution, and primary Party leader during Rossinia’s brief period of independence. Executed for crimes against the Polician Theocracy in 836, Anno Sanctorum.

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3 thoughts on “The Day After the Revolution

  1. This little guy comes from the science fiction universe I’ve been working on. It’s about the disillusionment that comes after the revolution–which is any revolution, really–is over, and everyone has to clean the blood off their hands, and go back to their quiet lives. Or something like that.

  2. The revolution itself is a disillusion. Nobody cares about a real revolution, most people care too much about their facebook drama and home entertainment on their technocrap to engage in a revolution – or even resistance. The powers that be got everyone where they want them, pacified. I’ve dreamt of the revolution for over 20 years, but as time moves forward my hope diminishes.

    • No one ever thinks about what will happen after the Revolution. The answer is usually “nothing good”. Look at The Terror in France, or the rise of Leninism in Russia. The wars that followed both Revolutions killed far more people than were helped by the uprising. It’s important not to take down fences until we understand why the fences were built in the first place.

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