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The Reason We Are Wrong

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau

I see his face against foggy glass, his eyes blue, and full of
longing, and pain. The train continues on its trek, and his thin
hollow face fades away. I vow to pull this country from the
depression that drowns its core, I will fix this pain.
“Matenui, are you listening?” Father’s voice is sharp and it
pulls me from my resolve. “Please remember your rule will be
your downfall if you cannot control your mind”. I almost say,
“you’re one to talk,” but I restrain myself, because I know that I
can show him better when it’s my turn. Patience is my ticket
and I will ride the train for as long as I have to.

Eight…nine…ten. It has been ten days, 14000 minutes,
since Turoro (father) was killed by the train of time.

He was old and it was expected, but my heart is still raw and bleeding.

The tenth day of mourning is over, tomorrow will be the day to
celebrate Turoro’s life and look to the future. Tomorrow I will
be queen, and our country will have a leader again. I only wish
Turoro could have resigned before dying, so he could have seen
me as ruler and helped me through the first bit. Tomorrow I will
stand alone.

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Music and dance spread throughout the country, there are
celebrations in every home, but the biggest is here outside the
castle. Tonight every light will be on, but before that there is
business to get done.
Quiet, composed, elegant, perfect in image, I have been
trained for this. Turoro paid for only the best tutors. Still, on the
inside, I feel very alone and I am sure, now, that the pain in my
heart will not be leaving. For hours on end I sit, talk and walk.
My face is their future, and the hope of something better is in
all of their eyes. When I look at them, the boy with blue eyes
looks back.
The train has reached its first destination, the ceremonies
are over. I am assigned an advisor and I make more promises.
Then the crown is lowered, it is heavier than I expected, but the
weight feels good and excitement begins to burn through my
bones. I will show them better.

It has been all about fixing things, poverty, rights, pollution
etc. Turoro messed up a whole lot of things, but everything
moves so slowly in the government. I have begun counting the
seconds not just the minutes. One…two…three. There is a
hundred things to fix and I am still on number one (poverty). It
spreads and sweeps through the nation, like rot, but also like
water seeping and growing at the same time. There are

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children dying of hunger and people falling through the cracks,
all over the country. Through all this I have to wait, they have
to wait, for paper to be signed and papers to be stamped.
Four…five… six.
Thud, thud, thud on the giant oak doors, it echoes off the
walls and off the floor. “Come in,” my voice is tired and
detached. My advisor struts in, he is all business, and maybe a
bit of anger.
“Matenui” his voice reminds me of Turoro’s. “I heard
about the Poverty Act” his voice is cold and cutting.
“Yes” I say slowly.
“It destroys everything your father did in his life” his tone
is of accusation, and it angers me.
“My father did not care about the people, he only cared
about himself” I match his tone of accusation with hostility “he
destroyed this county!”
“Your fath-”
“Out!” I stand up and point at the door.
His face falls, and he walks out the giant oak doors, shoes
pounding on the tile floor. I count his footsteps,
Seven…eight…nine.
Pātia does not understand the idea of sacrifice for other
people, his focus is on only himself, like my father. Although he

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does not have the boy with blue eyes to motivate him, he still
has eyes. So, he should be able to see the pain soaking through
this country and the people waiting for something better. He
will understand eventually. Everyone will understand. Once this
is finished, once they see the outcome, once the train reaches
its second destination.

The Poverty Act

A young man who goes by the name of Pāruenga, is asleep
or pretending to be, in a tent full of sick, terrified people. These
people all have one thing in common, they are all homeless or
very close. Pāruenga knows quite a few things, he knows
everyone at the camp is here to be killed, he knows there are
more camps, lots more, and he knows it is the new queen’s
doing. She calls it The Poverty Act.
The morning comes reluctantly today, maybe it knows
brings death. But the train drags it forward, and the first rays of
light hit the tents and the makeshift building beyond.
Supervisors, many of whom just passed through the poverty
control themselves, line up the victims outside the tents.
The lines are marched towards the looming building, this
execution must be orderly. Pāruenga tries to tell a young girl to
run, he says “nothing will be worse than what is waiting in the
building ahead. If you make it out, you are free.” She does not

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listen, she is too scared, so is he. They are both trying to
convince themselves that this is not real.
All the people are marched into the building, as the door
begins to shut, people begin to panic. Now they try and run, but
it is too late. Everyone begins to break down, crying, shouting,
screaming, they are all cursing Matenui’s name. No one can get
punished for it now because there is nothing worse than what
is about to happen. Unbeknownst to the victims inside the
building the ones outside are cursing the queen’s name too.
The invisible gas begins to fill up the lungs of every person
inside the building. Pāruenga’s deep blue eyes begin to lose
their life, as he thinks of a girl he saw once, and how she looked
so young and pure, then. He wonders “what changed
Matenui?”

Their names are all in mauri:
Matenui = obsessed
Turoro = tyrant
Matenui has labelled him as the villain, but she still loves him and occasionally
forgets to call him Turoro.
Pātia = question
His role is to question Matenui.
Pāruenga = victim
He represents all of Matenui’s victims.