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I spent days digesting everything he told me. At first I was in denial – I couldn’t accept that everything I thought I believed was wrong. I had spent all my life hating our invaders, our occupiers even though they had made our existence comfortable and for many – worth the heavy price of our liberty.
The next meeting was a month away, which was just as well because it took me most of that month to come to terms with the reality and to decide what I was going to do. I was unsure whether anything would change after a month, but I knew I had to try.
The days flew by, I thought about Kyla a lot, and I knew I had to do it for her – if there was any chance she was still alive, fighting in the north against people who had no need to be considered enemies, I had to do this and I had to find her.
I went through the routine on Meeting Day, doing exactly as I had done a month before. I sat through the whole bloody meeting, listening to the plans to clean the area on the other side of the river. I heard about resettlement and how a new village would be set up there within six months. Hearing those words felt empty now I knew the truth.
I waited until the end, making sure nobody else was in the room until I once again made my way backstage. Again, Kahai and Collins were in the same room. I listened to their conversation for any hint, any sign that what I had been told a month ago was wrong – any sign that what I had always believed about Kahai was indeed correct.
Twenty minutes. Twenty long minutes they talked intensely. The conversation was no longer ambiguous and I received the certainty I craved.
Collins needed the toilet. This was my time, this was my chance. I slipped across the hallway. As he made his way out of the door, I threw my body at his and drove my stone blade deep into his neck.
The room behind me erupted into shouts and screams. I felt myself torn away from Collins as the life ebbed from him; all I could care about was watching him die – and he soon did.
Somebody threw me into the corner; I turned and looked and was surprised to see three guards aiming their guns at me.
‘No! Put your weapons down, all of you,’ came a voice from behind them. It was the woman from the meeting a month ago – the one I had heard talking with Collins at the previous meetings. She had Collins’ blood all over her suit.
She pushed her way through the crowd as they lowered their guns and approached me slowly. With a look of relief in her eyes, she gestured for me to put the bloodied knife down. I threw it to the floor and put up my hands. I didn’t care what they did to me now. It was over; Collins evil regime, the one where he had kept a benign alien species in servitude, having blackmailed and threatened a species who had done nothing but help us, was over.
‘He had their children locked up and was threatening to kill them if they didn’t give him weapons,’ I blurted out, ‘he was taking our children, forcing us into war in the north and making us believe it was them all along.’ I gestured at Kahai.
‘I know,’ was all she could say to me.
‘It’s not right,’ I said.
‘I know,’ she said. ‘It was him. It was all him. I only found out a month ago and I’ve been- I don’t know, I’ve been wondering what to do next. Now he’s gone, we can make amends to Kahai and her people. We’re going to need to ask you some questions though. How did you find out?’
‘Not now. I have to go. I can’t stay here but I will be back.’
‘But where will you go?’
‘North. That’s where Collins has them fighting. I have to know what happened to Kyla… my girlfriend.’
She stared at me for a few moments. ‘Give me half an hour and I can send some guards with you.’