Child of Darkness: Chapter Four


Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang


The Eternal Leader was perched in the middle of a ring on the northern end of the stadium, framed by a set of white goal posts that had been wreathed in black, ruby and gold silken streamers a solid white horse adorned by a ruby cape that covered the horse’s hind flanks. He waved, instantly silencing the capacity crowd of a hundred and fifty thousand. Recently renovated to show off North Korea’s ability to compete on the world stage,  the stadium was located on Rungra Island in the Taedong River and was 60 meters high with 207,000 meters, making it the largest stadium in the world. Huge flat screens had been installed directly above the four main arterial passageways that formed a cross bisected the stadium. Projected on the screens was the visage of NK.  In each of the sixteen arched roofs that resembled flower petals were giant microphones that picked up his every word courtesy of a wireless system that he wore under his dress blue military jacket. Guiding his horse around in a tight circle, he called to the crowd. As his horse reared, he directed his gaze into each of the six cameras that were affixed atop poles that rose forty meters in high and were positioned three on each side in the shape of an oval around the inner natural grassed parade ground. As well as providing constant surveillance as well as projecting the night’s proceedings to the rest of the country, the cameras contained the controls for thousands of lights. The crowd was mixture of carefully selected citizen-loyalists, communist party officials and workers, the military rank-and-file, officials from nations either sympathetic or allied with North Korea, including China, North Vietnam and Cambodia. Standing on the longest sides was a small contingent of the world media. He directed his attention to the half-moon of military, political and cultural leaders assembled fifty feet in front of him. He waved his arms and they separated, revealing a black metal low-slung cart pulled by an army jeep. On the cart, the unconscious doctor, Maxwell George, still bound and gagged, lay.

“New day, new season for all,” the Eternal Leader said, as the jeep approached midfield and stopped. “We, North and South and China must forge a new identity. A new Asia.”

Four guards  alighted from the jeep and carried the unconscious doctor to a spot marked with an “X” in white chalk and sat him down.

“It is an Asia that controls the stars, the moon, and all under heaven.” The Eternal Leader waved his hand behind him. A giant black silken butterfly outlined in gold was unfurled from the ceiling by soldiers standing atop the steel beams that covered much of the stadium roof in a patchwork design.“This is new Asia.” He raised his arms and the crowd cheered as they had been previously instructed. Then, he beckoned all but three of the group of leaders to stand under the butterfly. As they moved to their allotted spaces on either side of the butterfly, he positioned himself in front of the butterfly’s thorax. He held his left arm up in the direction of the left wing. “Bejing, Seoul, and,” he moved his arm to the center, “Pyongyang, heartbeat of the world.” he put his right hand up in direction of the right wing, “and our brothers and sisters, in China,  Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.”

The Eternal Leader focused on each of the men who stood to the left of the butterfly. “Farmers, soldiers, and leaders come together,” his gaze moved to the right, “bring trade to the world, show all that Korea is one again with no need for foreign muscle on our shores. No more skirmishes in Seoul initiated by foreign instigators.” He stood up in the saddle and pointed to the remaining three, elder leaders of the Korean Communist Party, EDM, who had remained in the center . They bowed slightly and looked around enjoying the recognition by the boy now a man they had helped raise.   “And, none by factional filth that spreads slanderous disharmony among the people.”

A cry escaped from the men. Their arms were bound tightly behind them by three soldiers who had run out onto the field from the tunnel behind the Eternal Leader. The elders were then led to midfield and forced to sit beside the doctor. As they cried for mercy, swearing renewals of their loyalty to the Eternal Leader, NK locked eyes with his Minister of Defense. Silently, into the camera, with conviction and ever so slowly mouthed a single word. “Traitors.”

When the soldiers had left by an exit at the opposite end, the trawler operator was led out, his hands cuffed in front of him, around from the left of the butterfly and positioned before the Eternal Leader. The trawler operator did as his handlers indicated, bowing, holding his hands up in supplication.

“All glitter and glamour of West will be mere offerings, supplicants to New Asia, ” NK continued, nodding to the trawler’s hands. “It is time for reconciliation.” The operator cried, tears lining his face as the ropes that held his hands were cut. “The people require harmony of Yin and Yang.” The Eternal Leader directed his gaze to the palace curator, who ran toward him. Reaching NK, the curator pulled out a gold silk flag. Holding the flag where a camera could get a fix on it, NK remained silent for a minute, listening to the chanting of crowd. They called for reunification. On the flag, in the center, was a drawing of Korea as it had existed prior to the establishment of the demilitarized zone that currently separated the two countries. “It will be a marriage between Pyongyang and Seoul.” NK gave the drawing back to the curator. “The world will visit us, entranced by our majesty, our might, our bond. Earth renews through us.”

As the operator continued to cry his thanks and prostrate himself before the Eternal Leader, two soldiers helped him up into a gold satin coat. The reflection of the coat off the thousands of lights created a sense of the sun rising throughout the stadium. On the front was the flag, the red, gold and black royal standard, of the ancient Joseon state. Black triangles surrounded three sides of a red rectangle. In the center of the rectangle, eight half-moons of alternating gold and white were surrounded by eight taegeuks, or trigrams of solid and broken lines, representing yin and yang in various states.

“The people will thrive.” NK gestured to the operator. “Korea.” On the back was the butterfly. “They will thrive when revolutionaries and anti-party cliques are eaten up in the storm of Asian unity. It is time for the storm to begin.”

As he rode out of the stadium through the entry he had come, the trawler and everyone else who remained standing accompanied him. The lights in the stadium dimmed to half-light and a door in the middle of the stands opened. Another army jeep hauled a steel cage containing a hundred barking, growling emaciated dogs  onto mid- field, stopping fifty feet from the two men.