, January 20th

'All my hard work has finally paid off.'

"I, James Francis Ford, solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the..."

Boom! An explosion rang out.

"Aaaah!"

"Run! Noooo-"

Screams and shouts echoed among the terrified crowd. The Secret Service and military quickly noticed the disturbance and surrounded the zone. The people of power standing smugly until now were fear-stricken, realizing that all their power and wealth could not buy them the safety of life.

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Their eyes then fell to the podium, where lay the body of the President-Elect, previously an ex-CIA Director. He lay headless on the floor as it had popped like a watermelon. The mic that the man was speaking into was now nothing more than bits and pieces.

At moments like this, the journalists had more spine. Instead of screaming and running, they tried to catch as many photos and videos as possible.

Beep… Beep… Ting! Tr-trinngg!

Suddenly, every single mobile phone in that area, whoever it belonged to, rang with notifications. Some took out their phones and glanced; there was a message with a link. A few daring ones clicked on it and found a live stream of a handsome old man speaking. His face looked wrinkled, the signs of ageing and weariness.

Clicking on the link, the people there didn't know that the entire world had received this message in every single mobile phone. Within a few minutes, the number of viewers reached 1.6 Billion. Some thought the stream was boring, but they didn't close it. It was because the old man in the video held a poster, with the words written, "I killed James."

The video continued.

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All those, including the ones on the blast site, be it average citizens or security personnel, watched it with curiosity and fear as the man introduced himself.

"My name is Johnathan Colt Westerling. I am an 85-year-old orphan, who used to work for the CIA from 1959 to 1980. I was a spy in the Soviet Union under the cover of a wealthy industrialist named "Artyom."

"My wife was also a US spy there, and despite having to live in hiding, we had our moments and conceived a child. It was 1980, a month before my work was to be completed. I was going to return home with my pregnant wife to start a normal life. However, our cover was blown!

"My… my wife was killed, but I remained. Later, I discovered that, just like me, a lot more US spies have been killed similarly. Just a few days before their completion of the mission. I spent decades searching for the traitor, but when I found him, he turned out to be the most powerful man in the country! James Francis Ford is a traitor!"

The old man gritted his teeth and continued.

"James killed dozens of our spies in return for money from the Soviets. With no other way, I was forced to kill him. Powerful men like him rarely get punished, no matter what the crime. I have proof for everything, enough to make you all believe what I said is true. Now, you shall all receive a link next to access it!

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"I just hope what… happened to my wife... does not happen to others. Those I swore to protect destroyed my home… and now, I hope this ends for good. God bless you all. God bless you."The stream ended, and with that, every single mobile phone in the world received another message. Clicking on the link inside took them to a website with interactive content. Date-wise, all crimes of James Ford were listed there with proof. Documents, photos, audio or video - everything.

This set the world on fire, a fire for justice where those in power oppressed and used various schemes to get their way.

Around 15 minutes before the stream ended.

Howard Jack was at the scene when the blast occurred. Being an ace FBI investigator, he knew that his career would skyrocket if he could catch this old man. He didn't particularly care about the dead President-elect, anyway. Nobody did.

So as the live stream was going on, he slipped away and got into his car to track down the source. To his shock, it was not even masked. The old man was streaming openly. So he stomped on the gas, turned on the sirens and zoomed past the busy streets.

At the same time, he used a voice-assisted computer to check this man.

"Botcop, search for the name Johnathan Colt Westerling, born between 1935 to 1950," He instructed.

The system replied in an instant. "Beep. Three results are found. Johnathan Colt Westerling - born in 1935 - died in Vietnam in 1965. Johnathan Colt Westerling - born in 1940 - orphan - [Access Denied]. Johnathan Colt Westerling - Jazz Singer - Died in 2000."

Howard frowned and commanded a moment later, "Search the second one. Use the access code SPAFBI 40200609!"

"[Declassified] - Johnathan Colt Westerling - Parents unknown - Born in Brooklyn - MIT Mechanical Engineering - Joined army 1959 - Killed in Action in Laotian Civil War..."

"Is that it?!" Howard exclaimed, and tried to look at the screen. But just then, the AI spoke again. "[Declassified] - Artyom - WANTED - Russian Industrialist - CCCP member - Wife's name Antonina - dead - Father's name, Konstantin - dead."

From all this, Howard Jack realized what the old man said in his live address was true. It seemed he was indeed betrayed. Documents released suggested the same. But now, he was conflicted if he should even hunt this guy.

"I suppose getting more information from the national database will be impossible. Maybe I can ask him questions myself," Howard muttered.

He drove straight to the cemetery where the location was detected. He only informed the other law enforcement agencies after he arrived. But it seemed the people who lived nearby also saw the video and quickly came here upon realization.

He promptly went to arrest the man... but he was in for a shock!

...

Johnathan couldn't care less about any of this. He wanted the man to be dead, and now he was. He let the crimes become public because he didn't want to be named a terrorist, and then be used to start a war in some unrelated country.

He had live-streamed from the graveyard where his wife, unborn child, and his lovely cat, Simba, were resting. All these years, he was trying to keep his body and mind fit and strong to keep fighting. But now, it was as if all strength left him, and he fell to his knees.

"I did it, Diana… I did it!" He caressed the gravestone. "I brought justice to you, to all those who were wronged. I-I hope you will accept me now, for I have lost all my will to live. Not a single day goes by when I do not dream about us, our son, our cat... what life could have been, our little dream home—is all gone."

He took out a locket with a photo of them and stared at it tiredly. There was something in the air today. This was the end of the line, and Johnathan felt it.

Soon enough, he felt his breathing getting harder and his vision blurry.

Kneeling beside the grave, he caressed to clean the stone softly and took his last breath before it, "I'm... tired, Diana. I hope there is an afterlife... where I can meet you."

Suddenly, as if the heavens had replied to him, the cloudy sky seemed to have formed a dent, letting a ray of sunlight fall on Johnathan's body!

The flowers and the grass freshened up, yet the old man remained kneeling, his head held down, the locket in his hands, a photo of him and his dear wife open. His old wrinkly face froze, and his eyes felt heavy. However, there was no sadness or tears. He had been waiting to die since the day Diana left him alone.

Wooo… Wooo…

Sirens resounded. It was the modern era, and it didn't take long for people to realize from where the live stream occurred. Soon, a barrage of police officers, secret service members, journalists, and even ordinary people arrived at the location.

There they saw the concentrated golden sunlight falling on the old man's body, making him look like some angel. The ethereal scene left the people in awe. Cameras started flashing as the journalists took photos, and the police restricted the surrounding area with tapes. Howard Jack then went inside to arrest the man, but when he put his hand on the shoulder, Johnathan's body fell back. Lifeless, like a doll.

Howard's face fell as he exclaimed, "H-He's... dead?"

He checked Johnathan's pulse and confirmed that the old man was no longer in this world. Later in the postmortem, it was revealed that the death was natural. Johnathan Colt Westerling died while remembering his wife.

Photographs of the scene circulated around the world, all over the internet. It was the power of mass media, and he quickly became the greatest symbol of the fight against the corrupt people in power.

Seeing the scandal's size, the government had to take drastic measures. Johnathan's proof had the names of many senators, representatives, governors, police officers, army officers, officers of secret service, CIA, FBI and other influential people from around the world. It was surely going to be a nightmare in the coming years for the government.

Yet who cared, who even cares anymore?

Johnathan didn't, that was for sure.

...

What happens after one dies? Nobody knew that. Well, at least nobody alive knew that. Johnathan experienced what he could not describe in words. At first, he felt as if his body was flying in the sky, but he noticed his own body on the ground, still kneeling when the police arrived.

After his soul reached the sky, everything went black. He had no sense of time, space, direction, or touch. However, he kept his sense of sight and could see something. In this dark space, there were shining white snakes, all identical to one another. They were countless, but they didn't attack him at all.

They looked creepy and disgusting, but he became accustomed to them.

'Am I one of them?' he wondered.

Time passed. Johnathan didn't know how much, but his hope of reaching the afterlife and meeting his wife slowly shrunk like dying candlelight. He wondered if she was also going through this experience, stuck somewhere. Or maybe she was one of these snakes?

"Argh..." Suddenly, he felt as if something was squeezing and pushing him. He tried resisting but had no control over this feeling. Then, he saw that the other snakes were also being pushed in a direction.

The white, thick-headed and thin-tailed snakes sped up slowly. 'This… wait!' An alarming thought came to his mind, one that he hoped was false. 'I-I... am a—'

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