Author’s note, added Oct. 2, 2020: This entry was posted before the Covid-19 disclosure, and it refers only to the likely result of the election… I would never wish the virus on anyone.

The setting winter sun shone weakly over Washington D.C. on this blustery day in January. He stormed through the halls of power, angry as always, raging at all the new faces. None of them belonged here. Where were his obedient minions? These people weren’t paying any attention to him at all.

A young woman with clacking heels and a bulging briefcase approached the corridor junction where he stood. She was so intent on getting to wherever she was going, she walked into him—and straight through him. Just as if he had been a…

But no, that was ridiculous. He must have imagined it. He couldn’t possibly be a ghost. Only the insignificant little people caught the virus and died—like the ones who came to his rallies. Anyway, he didn’t remember dying, and there was nothing wrong with his memory. Hadn’t he passed the dementia screening with flying colors? His belfry had no bats in it.

Photo of bats flying at dusk.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Around another turn, down the next corridor, he saw some familiar faces. But they didn’t even glance in his direction when he spoke; and they looked suspiciously happy, instead of scurrying nervously to do his bidding as usual. Traitors! He would soon bring them to heel with a few well-aimed tweets. Nobody could make him give up power because of a rigged election and fake news.

The solid weight of the phone in his pocket, sliding comfortably into his hand, reassured him. Quickly he logged into his Twitter account. Almost at once, he realized something was very wrong. Where were his millions of devoted followers? That low number had to be an error. He refreshed the page while scheming about how he would punish Twitter’s management for their woeful incompetence. When the page came back up, though, the number had dropped even lower.

Losing his temper entirely, he threw the phone at the nearest wall. It smashed into several pieces, which fell to the floor and melted into tiny puddles before disappearing. Wait, that wasn’t right—a phone couldn’t do that! His hands were shaking now. When he looked down at them, he saw that they were disappearing too, becoming less solid with every breath he took.


He woke in a cold sweat, his heart hammering. Just a dream, he told himself—nothing but a bad dream. He hadn’t been able to rid himself of it, though. This was the fourth time in a week.

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