After the Peace

Four weeks we waited in the mountains, living on roots and rabbits, watching the horizon. The younger recruits were beginning to despair when Leo came back over the ridge, new clothes on his back, smiling. The others slapped him on the back and opened our last bottles of whiskey, but I was wary.

“Good news,” he cried, when we all were assembled, “The war is over!”

We roasted a fat jackrabbit on a spit, and he told us how well he had been treated in the capital, how even their President feared and respected us. They had not just agreed to our terms, he said, they had done one better — they had appointed him to head their Council. He would be almost equal in power to the President. Now at last the people would have a voice, he said. And with that, we raised our hands in the rebel salute and drank our cups dry.

Late into the night we danced and caroused. Mouse did his impression of the President cowering before Leo, agreeing to all of our demands. I broke away from the group and found Leo sitting on a rock overlooking the ravine.

“It’s a new day,” he said to me, “a new age.”

He had his own bottle of whiskey. As he raised it to his lips I looked into his eyes, and I saw him blink and look away. Then I knew for certain what I had long suspected, there in the mountains — that there are no new days in this world, no new ages.

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