It was to Mark, however, after Matthew had gone off to make all necessary preparations for his broadcast, that Tom entrusted the task of looking after Luke. Without any publicity being given to this for the time being, he was to be placed under house arrest with a very strong military guard, and the telephone wires to his house cut. He was not to be allowed to communicate with anyone, and any messages he received were to be promptly conveyed to Mark and if necessary to Tom himself. Mark was very conscientious about his task, and remembered even to have a close watch kept on the Telex machine; so that he had due notice, even before Matthew began his broadcast, of the imminent arrival that night of Snow White and some Dwarfs and two socialists in a helicopter due to land on Luke’s rooftop.
Just before dusk, Matthew appeared on television to address an expectant nation. He had had only a few hours to prepare but, together with the Black Shadow and his skilled bands, he had made the most of them. He had got to hear about Luke being placed under house arrest and, though he was somewhat peeved that he had received no social authority or indeed intimation in this regard, he had managed to have the news spread far and wide so that the suspense throughout the nation was even greater and more confused when he appeared on the screen than in the morning.
‘You have all heard about the terrible tragedy that befell our nation today,’ he began. ‘You know that three people died this morning at the President’s house, and that our beloved leader himself only just escaped with his life. My former colleague, who happened to be there, for reasons which I will not stop to consider now, appeared before you earlier today. He gave you his version of what occurred and urged you to actions that he thought appropriate. I do not intend now to show you what it was that actually occurred. There is no need to do that, for what is necessary at this point is to think and plan for the future, and for the welfare of our land and its people. Besides, there is still some doubt about how the tragedy occurred. I will merely show you a brief glimpse of what happened later, and our great leader’s reaction, which will enable you to judge for your selves.’ Continue reading