Kingdom Chaos - Chapter One
Danger in the Darkness
Chaos has cluttered our minds. The ability to think has been disabled. These were the thoughts that echoed in his head as he moved silently through the darkness. Sweat trickled down the back of his neck as he tugged at the high collar on the uniform he now wore.
Less than an hour ago, he had descended into the legendary tunnels beneath Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, gone to his locker, and emptied it out except for the lone envelope he placed on the shelf. Now he made his way toward the monorail shop, a solitary figure traveling the backstage roadways that were absent of activity at this time of day.
Shifting the backpack he carried from one shoulder to the other, he slowed his pace, but only for a moment. The pack now resettled, he scuffed his feet and continued onward. The predawn morning offered a cooling breeze that pressed against him, making his long walk more comfortable than he had anticipated. As the wind slightly gusted across the gritty pavement, a breeze of thoughts blew through his mind. People, events, and crossroads of the past had all carried him to the road he had chosen to travel this day.
Guiteau, Czolgosz, and Oswald were names that some people still remembered. They were the roster of names that belonged to an exclusive club—each had been a presidential assassin. However, the name he most respected and admired was John Wilkes Booth.
A smile crossed his face as he understood what most people did not. History was lost on the common man. People had lost the ability to think and instead relied on pundits to help them process the world around them. Creative thought and the insight to search for deeper meaning took too much effort for mere mortals. Sound bites and sounding off had replaced sound, thoughtful insight. Their inability or refusal to think had become their greatest weakness and why he had to do what needed to be done.
Sighing deeply, he wished people would understand history. John Wilkes Booth didn’t start out to be an assassin. No, that was not his destiny at all. Booth believed President Abraham Lincoln would destroy the Constitution and the beloved South that Booth adored. In order to put a stop to this decimation, Booth put together a team of co-conspirators, who after Lincoln’s election in 1864, planned to kidnap Lincoln and take him to Richmond, Virginia.
After Booth had the president in his grasp, he would offer him as a trade for Confederate soldiers who were serving their time in northern jails. This original idea of kidnapping the president evolved into a more elaborate plot to kidnap Lincoln as he traveled in his carriage. The added drama of people finding an empty presidential carriage added a flair to the event that Booth enjoyed. The rest of the plan remained unchanged; Lincoln would be ransomed for the release of Confederates. This he believed would inspire the South and turn the tide of the war, as the North would be rocked by their vulnerability in losing their leader.
Then the unexpected happened. In a moment no one anticipated or predicted, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. For Booth, the days that followed were a blur. He listened as Lincoln gave a speech laying out how the nation would be rebuilt and unified. Booth’s blur refocused into a razor-sharp rage against what he saw as injustice. Their plan had to take a much darker and dangerous path.
The brilliant activist actor now planned to assassinate Lincoln along with top officials in his administration. The target list was ambitious. President Lincoln, General Grant, Secretary of State William Seward, and Vice President Andrew Johnson were to be killed the same night, within minutes of each other, by men Booth had found to be like-minded in their concern for the nation.
One of the co-conspirators was instrumental in orchestrating the events that would unfold. John Wilkes Booth was convinced that the simultaneous assassination of four top officials would propel the North and the Republican Party into chaos long enough for the Confederacy to reassemble itself. Most people had no inkling of the motives that Booth brought to that fateful evening in Ford’s Theater.
Much to his disappointment, the team he had recruited did not share his resolve or resourcefulness. They all failed in their roles. But Booth did not; history was forever changed with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Time had erased the commitment and concern that motivated Booth. Today, it was his responsibility to take up the cause to protect and preserve a land that he loved. John Wilkes Booth had been willing to die for this purpose.
Now he found himself in Disney World, walking along the solitary roadway, ready to make the same sacrifice as Booth. However, this time, history would be changed forever.
His smile broadened as his footsteps carried him past the concrete buildings that housed some of the most famous and beloved attractions in what many believed to be a magical world. But he was more learned than the masses. He understood that the magical exteriors were nothing but fantasy, and they only served as distraction from the grim reality that threatened them all. The façades were simply an illusion. From his vantage point, he could see what the world really looked like. Industrial, functional, unfinished, and uncaring painted a more accurate portrait of the world around them. His role was to expose fiction and reveal the facts that would help protect the nation that seemed to be slipping away.
The road curved to the left, and in the distance he could see his destination. The view of the Magic Kingdom behind the scenes, or as they had been indoctrinated to call it, the backstage area, was less than spectacular. Plain and ordinary, it reinforced his disdain for the glitz, glamor, and packaging that could so easily distract. And that was how the nation had been lured into this dark place in history.
The election of Tyler Pride as president had been the most shocking and divisive election in the modern history of America. A northern business mogul who had built an empire in tech companies, real-estate ventures, and reality television had used his name recognition, his branding genius, and his personal charisma to stun the entire world as he swept into the White House.
Glitz, glamor, and packaging had been used by the disruptor, along with the campaign slogan, “It is time for some Pride in America,” to motivate and engage voters from all walks of life. Pride was the ultimate anti-politician. He had shelved political correctness in a brutal campaign season and leveled his angry attacks at the infrastructures, the institutes, and the insiders, creating a political earthquake that continued to suffer damage in the aftershocks of the election.
As he continued his walk backstage, his smile disappeared. His pace quickened as he neared the monorail shop. Thoughts of Tyler Pride clouded his thinking. He, along with others, had hatched this plan on the night Pride was elected because they knew how dangerous he really was. His ideas, his methods, and his policies were already ripping apart the very fabric of the nation. It was time for a revolution, and he had been selected as an instrumental part of it.
A cast member waved at him as he entered the barn. With a hearty greeting in return, he exchanged a good-morning wave and moved on toward his intended stop. Glancing upward, he smiled once again. Monorail Red sat on the track that would travel along the spur line, move into the Ticket and Transportation Center, and then sit on the Epcot line. It was here he would wait for the dawn about to break—and his destiny. How the coming events would unfold was really up to Tyler Pride, but as for him, his choice had been made and his decision was final.
There would be some foolish people who would dismiss the events about to be set into motion and simply label him, and the others, as assassins. But he knew differently. He had been selected for this moment in history. He quickly moved through the mental checklist of the actions about to be carried out. For a brief moment, he imagined what the look on the president’s face would be. Ego and arrogance were about to come face-to-face with a harsh reality check. How President Pride would react was really a matter of his own pride.
This could be the first day of revolutionary change, or it might be a day that ended in great sacrifice. No matter the circumstances, the results would be the same. He would be remembered as a patriot who helped save America.
Climbing aboard the front cabin of the monorail train, he opened the compartment below the controls along the back wall, carefully tucking his backpack into the storage area. Taking a seat behind the driver’s console, he once again tugged on the collar of his monorail cast member’s uniform. Glancing out through the sleek, sloped window, he knew this would be the vehicle he would ride into his future. Not just his future, but into history itself. History and the passing of time will revere and reveal true patriots. That is how he wished to be remembered.