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Beautiful Nightmare

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The crowd was silent, and it wasn't just the crowd, it was the rest of the world who had seen what Diana Moon Glampers had done to Harrison Bergeron. Diana looked into the camera, a look of desperation on her face, knowing what came next wouldn't be anything good. The musicians didn't put their handicaps back on, only moving to lower their heads, grieving the person who had brought them a moment of hope. No one knew Harrison, other than that he was a criminal. No one knew that his family, his parents, had been watching the broadcast, or that he had a family at all. Yet they grieved anyway. The musicians rose from their chairs, and as soon as they did this, the government agents tensed where they stood. So did Diana Moon Glampers.

The first row of the audience rose from their chairs, then the next row followed in a wave. Row by row the crowd stood and faced the stage. Not one person was sitting down. You could suddenly hear the snaps of the straps connected to their weights shatter the silence of the whole theater. They thudded to the floor. They slid the transmitters from their foreheads and let them drop to the floor as well. It was quiet for only a moment before one of the government agents stepped forward.

"Put the handicaps back on right now!" he shouted. The crowd turned to look at him, and sadness filled their eyes. One stepped forward, and looked straight at Diana Moon Glampers.

"Are you going to kill all of us too? Like you did with them?" They pointed toward the stage, where Harrison and the ballerina lay lifeless. Through all of this, the cameras were still on air. The agents who were pointing their guns at the crowd lowered their weapons and dropped them to the floor.

"No." said the agent who had originally told the crowd to restore their handicaps. He sighed and turned to Diana Moon Glampers, who was still paralyzed in the same position. "We can't." he said with a finality that snapped Diana Moon Glampers out of her trance. She looked up at the crowd with wide eyes, but this time filled with surrender. The agents filled the aisles and walked onto the stage. Diana Moon Glampers looked one last time at the crowd, before she was taken into custody by the agents. Hands cuffed behind her back, the agents escorted her out of the building. It seemed she would be taking Harrison's place in prison for the rest of her life.

The crowd whispered as the police arrived to take Harrison's body. The ballerina's as well. People had spoken of the dark ages before people were the same, but this was equally as dark. It wasn't until the early hours of the morning until the people had finally left the theater. For once in people's lives they slept soundly, without a noise blasting in their ears, and without the weight on their shoulders. And they weren't punished for it.

After that night, many things went into order. The several amendments that caused these laws were changed into new laws that ensured that handicaps were obliterated and never used again. Some people protested this. They thought that people were destined to return to the dark ages in the times before handicaps. But they were surprised that spirits were more lifted than before, because of the weights that no longer dragged people down. Art was now full of color and people had spoken words that sounded clearer and more intelligent. It was a new age for people, and the one law people made sure was created was that no one like Diana Moon Glampers would ever run the government again. It was hard to imagine that one night could change the world.

Harrison was buried alongside his ballerina, and they had a monument made for them in honor of their courage and sacrifice. His mother and father were sad and angry that they didn't even remember much from his death, but were proud that he made a difference in the world. The monument was a figure and figurine dancing, representing the moment they changed the world. So many strangers visited at Harrison's funeral along with his parents. Every year on the day Harrison had died, people from across the country came to visit his monument.

Another thing that changed were schools. Children for the first time went to school and expanded their now open minds. Not only children, but adults, made use of the schools that were abandoned so long ago. People came together to create a new government that was fair. It no longer mattered if someone was better than the other, as long as each was free. Freedom was never taken for granted and neither was an education. Harrison's mother, Hazel, was one of millions who attended school.

"How did it go today? Did you learn anything interesting?" asked George as Hazel set down her school bag on the table. He didn't have to go to school, as his intelligence was only blocked by his old handicap.

"It was good. We worked on a little English and some Math." she started talking about all the different words and numbers. George smiled, thinking about how happy she was to finally learn about the world.

"That sounds nice." said George as he prepared dinner for the both of them. He was excited because food now had flavor and tasted great. He never remembered being a good cook. Things were still coming together, and it inspired them both to try new things.

"And tomorrow, we're going to study some science." Hazel continued. She was animated and excited about all the things she had already learned. "If only Harrison had seen this. He would have loved it, wouldn't he have?" She inquired to George.

"I suppose he would, it's all thanks to him that we're as free as we are." he stated. "I was afraid that things would get out of hand if we were all different people like we used to be, but it isn't that bad. Or at least, better than it was when Diana Moon Glampers was in charge."

Hazel cringed at the sound of the Handicapper General's name. It had been at least a year since Harrison's death, but the pain was still just as fresh. "You're right. Nothing could be as bad as that." she mumbled.

George reached out and lifted his finger under Hazel's chin to make her look at him. "It's all right now, she isn't here anymore. She's being punished for her crimes."

"I know." Hazel gave a slight smile, and began helping her husband make dinner.

This is how every day ended for the Bergerons. They had a nice dinner thanks to George's cooking, and thought about how their son had granted them this new life of discovery. George eventually was ambitious and got a job at a nice restaurant, and Hazel got a job as an account after finishing school. They both lived out their lives free and happy. So did the rest of the world. People got new jobs that suited their intelligence and talents, now that people had talents once again. George and Hazel found hobbies they liked. Hazel like knitting and George liked art. People hadn't gone back to what they thought would be the dark ages and instead built a better age of freedom. The night that Harrison had died had brought so much to the new world. Beauty rose from a nightmare.