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everybody wants to rule the world

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A door being kicked in and the shouts of soldiers- a body startling awake in the darkness- a hastily packed bag ready to go-

This is what she knows.

She sought to be more than what she was, she wanted to be seen, recognized, lauded, loved-

This is what she knows.

She wanted importance, she wanted to work for herself. They asked her, their faces hidden by darkness, by shadows, by their own intentions, what she was willing to do, and she said, her voice low and angry- desperate and terrified and clinging with all her strength to a facade of strength- she said, she shouted, oh, she fairly screamed, that she was willing to do anything.

She whispered to herself afterwards that it would be worth it, that she wouldn’t regret this, because power, she had always believed, would solve her problems,

She ignored the small whisper in the back of her mind that told her otherwise.

Soldiers bursting through the doors- a shirt, on backwards- a bag, snatched from the floor by hands trembling in excitement, fear-

This is what she knows.

She chose this life, she leapt into it with no regrets, none but one-

This is what she knows.

She betrayed the woman that was a trusted mentor, who put her neck on the line in hiring her. She was untried, untested, and her mentor encouraged her. She put her in jail, might as well have turned the key herself- and she did it all with a smile so sickly sweet that you could’ve drowned in the scent. She laughed with her friends, she put her regret behind her, she was happy and free of suspicion- she screamed into a pillow at night, the cloth- the secrets, the lies- suffocating her.

She visited her, twice. The first time, the cameras ran and her mask was tightly wrapped around her, drawn in close and without a crack, without a flaw. She looked at her mentor and expressed a disappointment that was fake and a sadness that was real, and she asked the woman why she had done this- and the woman told her- calm and cold and clear-eyed and strong- that justice would come, justice would come and descend upon her like an avenging spirit of the myths of old that they had both loved to read.

The second visit was different. The cameras were looped, footage recycled, and as such, they missed the conversation that took place- the screaming, the shouting, the threats- and, above all, the way that the woman sat there, tall and calm and cold and clear-eyed, the calm in the center of the storm.

She left, her heart beating wildly in her ears and her blood pounding through her body and her anger giving her a new determination.

And the woman she left behind buried her face in her hands and cried for the friendly girl she had mentored, cared for, trusted.

A hastily torn off piece of paper with a few words scribbled on it- a pair of shoes, set by the bed for this purpose- a room, hidden behind a bookcase-

This is what she knows.

She had told them she was ready, that she was the one to take this task upon herself, even when they warned her that it might be too much for her-

This is what she knows.

She wanted this power, this command, over those who believed her, trusted her, would defend her if ever there was need, and, most of all, over those that she was beneath. She wanted them to notice her, wanted to push out from the shadows of others- always the shadows of others, but who would overshadow her when she was brighter than the very sun itself?

There was no shame, no remorse, no sorrow in betraying the bodyguard- because that’s all he was, only there to guard her and her love- in fact, she did it with an almost-genuine smile on her face- she bit the inside of her lip to keep from crying out, she remembered the times he’d cheered her up, laughed with her, protected her- and she grinned a bit wider at the sorrow on his face, because she'd made so many sacrifices, brushed away so much pain and an infinity of proddings from her conscience, that she barely even noticed the tug at her heart.

He turned away, refusing to look at the face of the one who had betrayed his trust- that precious thing that was so hard to gain, made flighty by years of watching the human race and broken promises and broken trusts.

She tossed her head and told herself that she didn’t care, blinked once, twice, three times as she resolutely didn’t shy away from the disappointment in those brown eyes.

A form, crouched in a cramped, tight compartment as sounds come from just outside- sounds of shattering fill the apartment- soldiers wreak havoc on the house as they search for their quarry-

This is what she knows.

She thought of her one regret, one night, as she drank a rich, full, red wine like the ones they’d shared a hundred times, thought of his blond hair and blue eyes and the smile that lit up the faces of those around him. She thought that maybe she could stop, that maybe she should stop-

This is what she knows.

She looked at him, and wondered why she had ever thought he was worth giving up the world for. She had considered, seriously, one dark night, telling him everything. Telling him her plans, her dreams, how she would change the world and all in it. She thought, and she fought with herself, but she did not act on what was perhaps her best instinct. Why would she?

If she was to shine bright, if she was to be the sun and moon and all the stars, then there was no room for others. A cloud, no matter how distractingly enticing, only serves to blot out a part of the sun’s splendor. She showed a sign of remorse when he saw her, his gaze falling, his eyes shuttering closed, and she tried to reach out a hand, but was stopped, restrained, and she told him that she loved him- she did, oh, she did, but love is such a foolish motivation, isn’t it- but she didn’t love him enough.

There is no room for others when one wishes to be more powerful than anyone else. When one dreams, in their wildest dreams, of ruling a nation.

And, she thought as she gazed at his back, in a moment of self doubt- self clarity- perhaps what she was seeking wasn’t power, wasn’t importance, was nothing but a pulsing, pushing, never resting desire to do something- anything- that would make those that came after her remember her, look at her, whether it be with awe or pity or anything else-

But she stopped that thought, shoved it down into the deepest recesses of her mind, where it would never come to full fruition, where it wouldn’t grow and bloom into regret.

A bookcase being destroyed- a form, handcuffed, fighting wildly- a trio, staring at a snarling face that spits hate and vitriol and false promises and poisonous words and reminders-

This is what she knows.

She was offered sums of money that many people would do quite a bit to gain, that she should’ve been willing to do quite a bit to gain. She refused it, though, because then her actions seemed mercenary, seemed crude and evil and wrong- and that, perhaps, should’ve been her warning-

This is what she knows.

Money, that’s what they thought was her motivation. They looked at her, disappointed, their faces both regretful and accusing, and they ask her how she could turn her back on them for money, and she smiles. She smiles and she spins little lies- because what’s one more, what’s another thread in the spider’s web after all this time- and she says she wanted to see what it was like to have that amount of money, that they must’ve not been that important to her, that she just never cared- and that one, that takes real willpower to get out, because those are the words that cut her own heart to the quick-

But she steels herself, fortifies herself, and thinks of the way she will be remembered. She’s changed the world, one way or another, and no one can ever take that away from her. She'll go down in the history books because of what she did. They can’t tear that away from her hands, and if they try, oh, if they so much as try, she’ll laugh, wild and loud and carefree- full of tears and apologies and pleads for forgiveness and weakness- and tell them what she did, what her motivations were, why she made the choices she did, the way she refused payment but it was given to her anyway, the way that she made her own decisions, ignored the orders given to her, followed her own plans, but hid her rebellion for just long enough.

They can’t take her accomplishments from her. They may try, but it would be as fruitless as trying to blot out the sun or the moon or all the stars- this is what she tells herself as she sleeps on a hard metal bench, with no one to visit her, no one that she wants to see.

They can’t take them from her, not the woman that mentored her, that she looked up to- not the man that protected her so many times, that laughed and joked with her, that cared about her- not the man that she loved, that loved her, that would give her the world if he could.

They can’t take her deeds from her- no matter how much she wants them to- no matter how hard they try.

A trial, held in the utmost secrecy- the testimony of witnesses that did not look at the accused, that stared at her with nothing but contempt in their eyes- the sound of a gavel, of the words intoned with a seriousness that was not often heard, and the sentencing of one that was once going to be powerful-

This is what she knows.

She was going to rule the world.

This is what she knows.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.