PRESIDENT FOLEY SAKZIFebruary 4th, 2020
Clouds hazed the recesses of memory. The feeling of smoke fogged the perceived sense of vision, as a strobing, pulsing red glare glowed through the thickening cover. Hands pounded against the glass shield of the box, smearing their fingerprints along the surface. The muffled screams of high-pitched voices shuddered the glass, and a crack emerged as the hands turned to fists. The glass suddenly shattered, the fists disappeared, and the mist pooled into the completely crisp black floor. Foley looked around in the void. There was nothing. Clenching his fists in reaction to the loneliness, he felt a squishing texture, looked down and saw blood covering his palms. Pouring from the crevices in his fingers, red liquid dripped obsessively to the floor.
A sudden flash of light, and before him stood a tall, stoic looking man with a gut. With a beard, rugged and torn suit, and a pair of sunglasses with a broken lens, Van’a Kamoni stared at Foley with a fire in his hatred filled eyes. Kamoni raised his left arm, producing a pistol with the chamber pointing directly in between Foley’s eyes. Foley couldn’t move. He felt himself overcome with dread. Foley squeezed his blood soaked hands closed, and Kamoni tightened his gaze. A blast of light, and Foley jerked back.
Foley sat up quickly, panting. He must’ve shouted in his sleep, as his wife Hannah was rolling over, palm to her face, murmuring.
“Foley, what is it?”
Foley steadied himself and slowed his breathing. Light calmly filled the room through the blinds of the Presidential Mansion’s bedroom window. Looking around, he noted that the faces of his children, Karina and Mylon, remained the same on their family portrait hanging across the room and over their dresser. Nothing had changed. The world was still the same. Just another nightmare.
“Nothing, Hannah,” Foley responded, softly. He lifted the sheets above his legs and swung them over the side of the bed, stretching his arms behind his head and cracking his spine. He let out a satisfied sigh and sat still, patiently looking towards the window. The air was warm today.
Hannah reached out and traced her fingers along Foley’s back, tapping gently against the two bullet scars that sat there as a present reminder of Foley’s injuries in the Battle of Amstelveen in 2004. “You had another nightmare, Foley.” Hannah looked at her husband. She was growing more and more concerned for her husband.
“It’s nothing I can control, sweetheart. I don’t dwell on them.”
“You whisper in your sleep.”
Hannah moved forward and sat next to her husband on the bed. “You’re whispering the kid’s names.”
Foley remained stoic. He didn’t know he was saying their names. His face didn’t show it, but he was struggling to keep in a protrusive frown.
Hannah breathed in, opening her mouth to say something, but paused, and sighed instead. She rested her head on his shoulder. “I’m proud of you, Foley.”
The two of them sat still in the warmth of the sun’s soft beams. Rarely did these moments reveal themselves to the Sakzi family.
Thirty minutes later, President Foley Sakzi was seated in the situation room of the Zian Presidential Mansion. His generals and lead intelligence officers surrounded him, clamoring with papers and documents, as General Avery Reynolds and General Chase Lyons appeared on the monitor in front of them on a live feed from their headquarters in Vulkaria. An icon flashed next to Reynolds’ box, and the military men halted their quick paced organization and stood at attention as Reynolds began to speak.
“Mister President, our intelligence teams may have picked up on a trail regarding Van’a Kamoni.”
Foley again showed no overdramatic expression, but a shiver ran down his back and his hairs stood on end under his suit. “Elaborate, General.”
“Sir, we detected and began surveillance on a contingent of pickup trucks moving from Monza to Vilnotra. We know that Kamoni likely has compounds and safehouses across the coastal region of the conflict zone, but this convoy was not carrying heavy weapons, any viable shipments of crates or boxes, and no visible extensive insurgent presence. It just appears to be multiple vehicles with one or two riders each. Minimal security, no obviously visible target. Except for this…”
A screen image enhanced, showing a moving video of drone footage. Two pickup trucks were pulled off to the side of the road, and a man appeared to be relieving himself into the brush in the ditch. On the other side of the vehicle, four men with heavy firearms visible stood still and patient.
“This individual seen taking a “break”, sir, brought up curiosity. The drive between the two cities is short, only a max of ten minutes without interruption. We became suspicious when we noticed that there was no security in the convoy except for this one specific vehicle, which had at least four heavily armed men and one unarmed, slightly overweight individual who was apparently important enough to stop the convoy so he could do his business.”
“You think that man is Kamoni?” Foley asked, voice raised.
“We think, yes,” Reynolds replied. “His figure matches recent descriptions we’ve received from sightings of him. In addition, the weapons the four bodyguards are holding appear to be silver plated, which is part of his known preference for customization in his personal guard and armament.”
Foley leaned back, and for the first time in what seemed like a long time, he smiled. If this was Kamoni, the Zamastanians could finally have a hit on their long-time biggest enemy figurehead. Maybe it could also quell some of his nerves. “Did you track the convoy to any place in particular, General?”
“Yes, Mister President. A compound in Vilnotra. It’s on a cliff face overlooking the Bay of Kas. Before the 2017 insurgency started, it belonged to a multi-millionaire oil tycoon. Now, it’s a heavily fortified home.”
“Keep it monitored around the clock. I want drafts for an assault on my desk by noon.”
“Yessir, Mister President.”
As Foley stood and left the room, entering the long hallway of the Mansion towards the front rotunda, he felt heavy. Kamoni was in his grasp. Now, all he had to do was not screw it up.
The clouds came back, and Foley was standing on the top of a rock piercing through the endless void of darkness. On a rock adjacent to him stood his oldest child, his daughter Karina. Karina was looking down into the void, shedding tears. Foley reached for her, but the distance only grew further with each strain of the muscle to extend his fingers to her. Karina peered her head over to her father, and Foley’s heart sank. Van’a Kamoni materialized from the mist on the rock behind her, and with an evil, blood soaked smile, pushed his arm forward. Karina lost balance and began to plummet into the void. Foley was helpless to do nothing but watch and scream empty screams.
Foley slapped himself hard. He hadn’t even fallen asleep, he was at his desk in the Gaviria Room. Rubbing his palms into his eyes, he excluded a large moan and slumped back into his seat, rocking back and forth aggressively.
His phone buzzed, and it took a moment for Foley to react and open his screen. A message on the secure line from one of his generals showed a new surveillance image from the compound in Vilnotra. The man in the image was smoking a cigarette, wearing a ragged suit with a tear down one sleeve. Sunglasses, a fedora, and cargo shorts leaned against an armored sedan, his gut stuck out from underneath the unbuttoned garb. Kamoni.
“I’m going to kill this guy,” Foley growled under his breath.