Orange was a good color for the end of the world. Orange - painted in the sky like watercolor, a dark splash of red bleeding into it at the horizon. Donald "They're the rapists" Trump’s face might have blended in if it hadn’t been for that shock of thin, flax-colored hair and dark, soulless eyes.
“Dictator Trump, sir,” a thin girl in a crisp black suit said urgently. She had an earpiece in one ear, a piece of chewing gum in the other, and looked like she was on about her seventh cup of espresso. “You go live in thirty seconds, is there anything you need?”
Donald "I want surveillance and I don't care, are you ready for this, are you ready" Trump stood at his podium, hands wrapped around the edges of the wood. He peered out at the cameras like one of those hairless cats with a bad spray tan and a toupee squinting at a mouse.
“No,” Trump said, dismissing the aide. She scurried away, and the camera men shifted under the weight of Trump’s empty gaze. He drew in a deep breath. “I’ve been waiting for this day for fifty years,” he muttered to himself.
Make America Great Again. Trump laughed to himself, oblivious to the concerned glances that the camera men threw at each other. More like Make America Bait Again.
The plan was perfect.
The plan was flawless.
After all, the plan was created by the one and only Donald "The fact is that we need unpredictability" Trump.
“Live in five, four, three, two…” the camera man pointed at Trump, and he plastered on the Politician’s Scowl™ . “Good afternoon, America. It is my pleasure to announce the development of a partnership with 105 of the major countries in the world, including key powers such as Russia, Germany, North Korea, China, and Britain, among many, many others. Together, we plan to eradicate future wars.” He paused for effect. “These countries have already begun destroying their weapons of mass destruction and dismantling their armies, as America has been doing in these past few months. By tomorrow, the world will be free of threat of war, and we can live without fear in a peaceful and cooperative world.
“A conference of these leaders will convene tomorrow in an undisclosed location to celebrate this newfound peace, but know that this day marks a monumental moment in America’s history, and the history of the world. By forming a peaceful union with these countries, we will have the freedom and support to become the best country we can be. We have already begun to make America great again, and these are but the first steps. I am glad to have taken them with you. Thank you, and goodnight, America.”
Cyrus watched as the camera cut back to the host of the press conference, then reached over and muted the TV. He felt sick.
“I’m not the only one who thinks this is crazy, right? I mean, do you really think all those countries just up and destroyed their weapons?”
Hayden was scowling at the reporter’s face as she beamed at Donald "We have to build our country big. Powerful" Trump, showering him with praise for his great ideas and peace-making skills. “Crazy? There’s clearly some dangerous scheme going on here. I think it’s borderline cataclysmic.”
“That’s a big word,” Cyrus commented, a little smile tugging at his lips despite the seriousness of the political situation at the moment.
“Be quiet, I read,” Hayden replied. Cyrus shook his head, grinning as Hayden punched him lightly on the arm, then wound their fingers together. “If this is the end of the world, it’s been nice knowing you.”
Cyrus rolled his eyes. “Please, if this was the end of the world, I feel like there’d be a lot more smoke and screaming.”
“So it’s not the end of the world?”
“It’s not the end of the world.”
CHAPTER ONE: CYRUS AND HAYDEN AND THE END OF THE WORLD
It was immediately apparent that there was a lot of smoke and screaming. And also bodies. Dead bodies. Dead bodies of every major leader of every major world power. For clarification. Donald "To the Victor Belongs the Spoils" Trump stood over the wreckage alternately scowling and cackling, paying no attention to the tears of the loved ones that rained on the bloody ground. After all, his plan lacked finesse, as most explosive devices do. He peered out at the lifeless remains of his former political peers and smiled.
What Trump missed was the guy laying unconscious near the edge of the blast radius. A guy who had volunteered to help out as an aide in the hopes that such connections would further his career in political science. Trump didn’t see the concrete block pinning his legs to the ground, and he certainly didn’t hear another boy - uninjured but furious - declare his everlasting vengeance against the dictator.
Nope, Trump didn’t notice any of that.
He just sneered, his laugh echoing across the carnage to hit upon the ears of Hayden, who was alternately cursing Trump’s name and calling for help. Johnathan was unresponsive, but the blood seeping into the ground from his crushed legs didn’t inspire confidence.
Hayden was fuming at the distant figure of Donald "Protect and defend all Americans" Trump. “That goddamn little-“
“Hayden,” Cyrus interrupted, his brows furrowed in worry. The tone of his voice sobered Hayden, who stopped in his rant and knelt next to Johnathan. His heart hadn’t stopped pounding since Levi’s frantic call twenty minutes ago.
Greensboro’s hosting the conference, they said. It’ll be a great opportunity for our town, they said, Hayden thought bitterly as Cyrus continued, “Help us move this block of concrete. Our best shot is to carry him to the medical tents.”
“What?” Hayden asked. “I thought you weren’t supposed to move an injured person.” His eyes flickered to Levi, who was squeezing Johnathan’s hand. He looked like he was about to be sick.
“We don’t have a choice,” Cyrus told Hayden, “he’s losing too much blood, and no one can hear us.” It was true; with the mass amounts of confusion, their shouts were being drowned by screams and shouts and terror, and laughing.
Cyrus grabbed one side of the concrete block, and Hayden took the other. They heaved, but it didn’t move. “Levi, we could use your help,” Cyrus said, appallingly calm. Levi didn’t move, didn’t respond.
“Levi!” Hayden’s sharp voice cut through Levi’s mind, jarring him. “Help us.”
Together, they shifted the rough misshapen piece of concrete off of Johnathan, then carried him as flatly as they could to the nearest emergency medical tent. With every step Hayden took, he cursed Trump’s name further and further into oblivion. He would see that bastard dead.
He swore it.
On the other side of the city, a girl was getting a call. The person on the other end was unidentified, but sounded breathy and stressed. He was offering her a position in Trump’s new headquarters in Greensboro as their head PR agent. She was refusing. He was trying to convince her. Another call was beeping in on her line, and she asked him to hold. He graciously agreed. Whoever was on the second line did not identify themselves at the beginning, as was customary. Instead, they merely told her that she had to take the job, that they needed her to be in Trump’s inner circle. She was asking why. They explained that if she wanted to avert the end of the world, foil Trump’s plan of taking over the world with America as his battering ram, and get paid only in Trident Layers, she had to take this job. She asked who they were.
They replied that they were the Movellians, and they had only the best interests of the human race at heart.
She switched back to the other line and telling the first man that she had reconsidered and would take the job. The man sounded pleased, and thanked her, telling her that instructions would be arriving soon.
This woman hung up the phone, shaking, and wondering what she had done. With no one else to call, no one else who would hear her out, she dialed a number.
Her sister picked up. “Hello?”
“Hey, Char, it’s Mari.”
In their underground bunker, an impeccably dressed man hung up the phone, turning to three teenage girls who were watching him with wide, piercing eyes. The man sighed. “I really don’t know why you resurrected me for this, or why you made me read that frankly awful script, but I have to say, this is the most interesting thing to happen to me in decades. Hell is surprisingly boring.”
“We appreciate this, Oscar, really. You’re doing great things with that silken voice of yours,” one of the girls said, smiling a bit.
“Myrah, was it?” Oscar asked. She nodded. “Yes, well, Myrah, as confused as I might be, I would feel a little better with a stiff drink. Have you got anything?”
“Uh, no, I, uh-“
“OH MY GOD!” a high pitched squeal came from the doorway. “Is that Oscar Wilde?”
Oscar sighed. Prodigy patted his arm in consolation. “Sorry for dragging you into this,” she said. “We’ll let you get back to your peaceful afterlife soon, we just need you to do a little PR work first, okay?” With a wry smile, she added, “After all, didn’t you say, ‘There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about’?”
Oscar shot her a look. “You can’t use my own words against me.”
“I can and will,” Prodigy replied. She flashed a smile, then she left him to the ravenous fangirl known as Jess - their head PR agent. Prodigy had other important things to do, like meet the person they had decided was most likely to be successful and cooperative in their plans against Donald "We will never enter any conflict unless it makes us safer as a nation" Trump based on her personality type, amazon shopping history, and the valentine’s match quiz she took in the sixth grade.
She was perfect.
“Raven, Fever, you’re with me,” Prodigy said. “Myrah, when Jess calms down, can you get her to brief Oscar on what’s happening? Then get them to start on the underground PR campaign.”
“You got it,” Myrah replied, heading back to the room where Jess was alternately squealing, jumping up and down, drooling, or a combination of the three.
“And what am I supposed to do?” a haughty voice asked from about a foot off the floor. Prodigy looked down. A small black cat sat licking its paw in a condescending manner. Diego.
“You’re supposed to stay here and do cat things,” Prodigy replied stiffly. “You’re a cat.”
Diego rolled his eyes. “You know how much I hate cat things. Put me to use, Prodigy,” he hissed in his low, deep voice.
“Yeah, I’ll get right on that,” Prodigy breathed, motioning for Raven and Fever to follow her out of the room. The cat glared. Raven trotted over, taking her place slightly behind Prodigy. As always.
“So, why aren’t we taking Jess?” Raven asked. “Shouldn’t our PR agent be working with Mari?”
Prodigy shook her head. “You know how distracted Jess gets. With her powers the way they are and her attitude being so… changeable, there’s every chance she’d start shipping someone somewhere and her powers would distract Mari. Jess’s main purpose is recruiting Movellians and getting them pumped for the final plan.”
“But she could help us convince Mari - I mean, she’s probably still having doubts,” Fever pointed out.
Prodigy glanced over her shoulder. “At this point, all Jess would be able to convince anyone of is Oscar Wilde’s greatness.” Jess was still fawning over him. Oscar looked half displeased and half thrilled by the attention.
Fever led the way to the elevator, which smoothly transported them to the surface, the disguised metal doors opening out of the trunk of a giant tree. In unison, Prodigy, Raven, and Fever stepped out to view the carnage that was the Global Peace Convention.
There was smoke.
There was screaming.
It was the end of the world.