The King woke late. The sun was well up. He stretched his hand out for his morning refreshment but it wasn’t there. Well, he would have the servant punished. He called for his servants to dress him. But was answered by silence. Something was wrong.
He pulled his robe around him and went out into his ante-room. The Chief of Spies was sitting there.
“What has happened?” the King asked.
“Somehow the truth got out. What we were doing. The people have walked away. The soldiers too. Even the police would not obey. The prison guards opened the prisons ….”
The spy chief looked stunned.
The King stared at him in disbelief. “It can’t be. It was the perfect system”.
The spy shrugged. “Agreed. They worked – and we would take everything that belonged to them. They were always in default of the laws because we kept changing the laws without telling them. When they had children we used them as hostages. We applied draconian punishments for the slightest offence, even against relatives or friends who had nothing to do with the original offence. One woman passed me. She said, “What is the point in having children? All that risk, work, expense and worry and you get destroyed because they made a mistake.”
The King sat down aghast. “It was the perfect system. Heads we won. Tales we won”.
“And I have further bad news” the spy continued. “Our enemies have gathered and are advancing. There is no-one to fight for us”.
The King looked into space, still disbelieving. “We always won. We betrayed our allies and our supporters. No-one could gather strength against us. Any who resisted we totally destroyed along with their entire families. How could we lose?”
The spy went to speak again, but the King said “Hush”.
He listened. He heard nothing. No sound of people at work. No calls from the vendors. No babies crying. No people. Nothing.