A month had gone by. That look of stupid contentment on Peter’s face was still in stark opposition to how he felt inside. Yet if he even thought in opposition to the new way–critical thoughts, rebellious thoughts, conspiratorial thoughts–he would feel a sharp migraine that seemed to split his head open. He didn’t understand how Price and Hammond were able to endure such a painful death for the sake of ‘liberty.’
To feel comfortable, he had to repress his honest feelings and go about with that mindless grin…not something he was wont to do. His only consolation was that he had Michelle at his side…in body, if not in spirit.
“Years back, I complained about viruses, vaccines, and mask mandates,” he said. “Those were days of carefree happiness compared to now. Unh!” His splitting headache came back.
“Be content,” she said. “We have our homes back, and we’re sharing the extra rooms with the poor, as we should be. The Bolshivarians’ work will be all finished any day now, and they will leave. Then we’ll have our heads back.”
“I’m not…holding my breath…for that. Oh!“
“Let’s turn on the news,” she said, walking over to his TV. “Maybe George will have a new speech.”
“Oh, yes,” Peter said, rubbing his head. “Our beloved dictator. Oww!“
She turned the channel to CNN. “If you’d just stop thinking ill of them, the pain would go away.”
“I can’t help it. It’s in my nature…to rebel. Oh!“
“George asked no less than four times to step down as leader,” she said. “They won’t let him resign because they love him so much. He’s a great leader.”
“You believe that bullshit, eh? Ooh!“
“Here we go. He’s about to give us a speech.”
“Friends, comrades,” George began. “The time has finally come. Our work has finished. Your Earth is healed, democratic systems of government have been established around the world, and the gulf between the rich and the poor is no more.”
“Wonderful,” she said with a wider than usual grin.
“Hooray,” Peter grunted. “I can feel the…democracy…swimming in my head. Unh!“
“You are free!” George shouted to cheers from his listeners.
Free? Peter wondered, with another stinging pain in his head. Could there have been some justification in Price’s opposition to the Bolshivarians?
“The time has come for us Bolshivarianss to say goodbye to you Earthlings,” George went on. “So this is the end.”
They’re going to kill us, Peter thought, his head throbbing in pain. I knew it. They’ve fixed up the Earth. They don’t need us anymore. They’ll split us all up into pieces, scatter our body parts everywhere, and they’ll enjoy our Earth without the need of human flesh for clothing. We’re all dead.
“We Bolshivarians wish to apologize to all the better Earthlings for having occupied your bodies for so long,” George said. “We know many of you have been bitterly opposed to our use of mind control, but with all the deaths we Bolshivarians have suffered, we were given no choice. The saving of the Earth was growing far too urgent for us to allow a protracted struggle with the likes of President Price. A shortened, but aggravated, struggle was necessary. But now, we will release you. We will let you go.”
Good, Peter thought. Kill us all and get it over with.
Oddly, though he didn’t feel a headache after those thoughts.
He and Michelle saw the little dots of light emerging from their bodies. They floated out and hovered before astonished Peter and Michelle.
“I knew it,” she said with a tear rolling down her cheek. “The mind control would only be temporary.” A grin lit up her face that to Peter could only be described as genuine.
“I don’t believe it,” he said. “I’ve got my brains back.” Now he was grinning.
On the TV, they saw the lights come out of all the people listening to George, and out of his body, too. The lights all floated up to the sky as everyone looked up.
“I’m free,” George said. “I can resign my position. I no longer have the burdens of leadership.” He let out a loud, triumphant laugh.
Peter and Michelle felt a gentle ‘farewell’ energy emanating from the Bolshivarian lights as they floated towards the living room windows. They were about to pass through the glass like ghosts and fly outside before Michelle stepped forward.
“Wait!” she said. “What about my mom and dad? I don’t wanna lose them!”
You will never lose us, Siobhan said in her mind. We will always be with you.
As will we, Peter, the energy of Peter’s parents vibrated throughout his body.
“But isn’t your energy linked with the Bolshivarians?” Michelle asked. “If they leave Earth, won’t you go with them?”
No, sweetie, Siobhan’s soothing energy buzzed in Michelle’s brain and heart. The Bolshivarians shared their energy and our energy with yours. So we’ll always be together, even after they leave the Earth. There is a common oneness that transcends all space and time, so we’ll always be together, no matter how far away the Bolshivarians are, even to the other side of the universe.
“Wait a minute,” Peter said. “That could mean that the Bolshivarians are still, secretly, controlling us.”
“Oh, will you stop with your paranoia?” Michelle said. “You have your mind back, don’t you?”
“It seems that way,” he said.
“Any headaches?” she asked, sneering at him.
“No.” In fact, he’d never felt better.
“Then stop worrying about it.”
“But what if, in some subtle way, the Bolshivarians are still–“
“Oh, please, Peter!”
The little lights were all outside now.
She rushed to the front door and went outside. Peter followed her. All of his neighbours were out on their lawns, watching the Bolshivarians floating up into the night sky. Soon, it became impossible to distinguish their alien visitors from the stars.
The people of Earth felt one last message sent into their minds: Remember, if you humans return to doing harm to each other and your world, we Bolshivarians will be forced to return and save you from yourselves again. Remember the lengths to which we are willing to go to ensure that salvation, so be good to each other and to your planet.
“How could they tell us that if they’re really so far away from us?” Peter asked.
“Through their advanced technology, of course,” Michelle said.
How does it feel to have a healed world, Michelle? her mother asked her in her mind.
“Like paradise,” she said with teary eyes and a wide grin.
“Yeah,” Peter said with a grin of his own. “It’s great to be free. I guess it was all worth it in the end.”
All of his neighbours were thinking the same way.
Every single person was grinning.