Washington, D.C., 1945

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Author's Note: This is a rough draft of a story that's been simmering in the back of my mind for a while now. I would love some feedback! Please share your thoughts about what you loved and what could be improved. I'd like to see this one in print some day, so I want to make sure to get it right.

Thanks, awesome readers!


The president of the United States lay in his enormous bed, listening to his wife snoring softly next to him. The soft light that he always left on in the corner painted sparkling strands of glitter in her hair. He envied her the sound sleep of the innocent. She suspected what was happening. Anyone who was paying half a lick of attention suspected. But she didn't know. Not really. She hadn't watched the film they made at Alamogordo. She didn't have any idea that half the crazy bastards out there had honestly believed that the bomb would destroy the fabric of space time itself. She couldn't wrap her mind around a bomb that wouldn't just knock down buildings. This bomb could erase a city from the map.

There was no way he could let them use it. No one could justify such a horrific war crime. Italy had fallen years ago. Hitler was dead, rotting in Hell with Mussolini. Germany was broken. Japan could do considerable damage, it was true. But they couldn't win against the entire rest of the world and they knew it as well as anyone.

He wouldn't do it. He couldn't. It was just too much. He would go public, tell everyone the whole truth, shut the program down, and have all of the research destroyed.

Yes. That was the answer.

Thus resolved, the crushing weight that had been smothering him began to lift and he finally welcomed the soft waves of sleep that would carry him away on their gentle currents.

A piercing pain just above his ankle ripped him back from the edge of hazy sweet dreams. Throwing the covers off, he jumped from the bed. The quick motion dislodged the black and yellow arachnid from his leg and it landed, legs up, on the snowy white sheet.

Startled, his wife sat up. She saw the thing on the bed and scooted so far back she was in danger of toppling off. "Oh my God! Is that a scorpion?"

The president was a man of action. With a notebook from the bedside table, he flicked it onto the floor where he smacked it twice, watching with no small satisfaction when two legs broke off and a thin trail of green slime oozed out.

"Don't be stupid, Bess. It's just a spider. There are no scorpions in Washington." He climbed back into the bed, mentally cursing the throbbing sting on his leg. "I'm sorry I woke you. It's gone now. Go to sleep."

After rifling through the blankets to make sure there were no more horrors lurking, she lay back down and her breathing soon evened into a soft quiet rhythm once more. She barely stirred at all when the phone rang. Her husband, no stranger to middle of the night phone calls, plucked the receiver from its cradle. Immediately, a melodic, softly accented voice came through the line. The president didn't speak. He listened very intently for a moment or two and hung up without saying a word. He understood now that his thinking had been all wrong.

Any chance of sleep had evaporated. It was 4:00 in the morning. If he got up now, by the time he showered and went downstairs the cook would have breakfast ready. He would eat and then he would make the call. Those Jap bastards had made their bed when they bombed Pearl Harbor. Now they were picking off good American boys with their damnable Kamikaze fighters. To Hell with them. All of them. They'd sink the whole damn island if they had to. Not only would it save the lives of the American soldiers, it would send a pretty message to the Commies as well.

His decision was made.

By the time he was in the kitchen, he'd forgotten all about the bug bite.

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