Double Blow

After weeks of campaigning it was becoming clear that the election was going to be a very close call. My main support base came from the old village who resented the way Demille had ridden roughshod over their concerns to attract a groups of nouveau riche city dwellers to Gensdouce. To accommodate them he forced through several compulsory purchase order against the farmers, taking away land which had been in their family for years in order to build large new estates of one family houses. But what was surprising was the fact that my popularity seemed to be on the increase among this new population; so much so, that it was felt I now had a real chance of winning. This made tonight's debate vital.

The debate itself had been proposed by Demille. His purpose, he claimed, was to give each candidate a chance to explain their respective vision for the village and how they were to put that vision into practice. Each candidate would have ten minutes to put across their vision and then questions would be put by the public to each candidate's team. The closing speach would be made by another member of the respective team.

For days every spare moment had gone into preparing the debate. We often met long into the night or rose early in the morning to spend time together before the working day began. Everyone looked bleary-eyed but we all knew what was at stake. But it would soon be over; then the job would begin in earnest.

But if the debate was in all our minds, someone else had stolen the limelight in the village. Violet's case against her husband had at last come to court, and her antics were on everybody's lips. Mme. Boucher's little shop began doing a roaring trade as everyone dropped in to get the latest news on her celebrity daughter, and to put in their two pence worth, not always very tactfully. In addition, there was renewed speculation as to the real father of her child; journalists coming from all over the country to feret out whoever he was. As for Violet, she was still very fragile and her doctors had warned against leaving her alone. Morgana was spending a few days in the city with her and wouldn't return until shortly before the debate and the next day Thérèse would go and replace her.

I entered the hall shortly before 5 p.m. Apart from a technician setting up the sound system everything was calm. Guillaume and Thérèse arrived shortly after, followed by a steady stream of people from both sides. Guillaume was just trying out the sound when there was a commotion outside and Mayor Demille stormed in, a newspaper in his hand and shouting at the top of his voice. Shedding his outward layer of clothing, he marched straight up to Thérèse and thrust the newspaper in her face.

"You promised, you'd say nothing, you lying little bitch."

The colour drained out of her face as she took the newspaper in her hand.

"The debate is cancelled. The election too. I'm dropping out. I'm dropping out and all thanks to this little bitch."

"Pierre, I swear to you, I know nothing about this. Four years ago I swore I'd say nothing about this. I'd didn't do it for you. I'd never have done it for you. Violet insisted I keep quiet. Yes, I used you. I made you pay a price for my silence. And it was worth it. But I've kept my part of the bargain. Whoever released this to the press, it wasn't me."

But Demille wasn't there to hear Thérèse' denial. Reactive as he was, he'd not waited to hear what she had to say. Her words bounced off his back as he left the hall. No, he was no longer there, but dozens of others were. And before long the news would would spread through the whole village.

That evening we held a crisis meeting to decide how to proceed. Mayor Demille had officially informed the authorities he was withdrawing from the race. There would be no election. But neither would I be mayor. My candidacy only made sense to oppose Mayor Demille. Now circumstances had changed. What was needed now, was someone to unify the village and I took great pleasure in proposing Guillaume to be that man. His reputation was impeccable and his knowledge of the workings of the French administration would stand him in good stead. The opposition also adopted him as their candidate, assuring he would be returned unopposed. Now was the time to bring the village together once more.

I returned home wondering where Morgana had got to. She had been due to arrive just before the debate, but the house was empty. Even if she had not heard what had happened and gone straight to the debate, she should be back by now. I put the TV on to listen to the late news and poured myself a glass of wine. Just as I did so, the doorbell rang. Morgana must have forgotten her keys. I opened up only to see a policeman standing on my doorstep. At that moment the phone rang.


Nice little extract, I enjoyed reading this!

25 March 2009 at 12:24  

You left me in suspense...very good read!

25 March 2009 at 13:47  

The intrigue!

25 March 2009 at 15:25  

I too was caught up in the momentum of the story - thanks so much for sharing the deftly written story with us!

25 March 2009 at 17:24  

Uh oh, bet something bad happened to her!

27 March 2009 at 03:00  

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