The iCandidate: 33rd Installment
To begin with Installment 1, please click here.
The iCandidate is a guilty pleasure - a unique interactive thriller about a political reality show to choose a potential President of the United States - in which the reader has a key say in how the plot unfolds.
In The iCandidate, eight finalists from all walks of life face the kind of challenges they might have to deal with in the Oval Office:
• Will they use the nuclear button?
• What will they do about ISIS?
• How will they cope in a crisis?
At the end of each round the reader gets to cast an iVote to help determine who stays and who goes home. It is democracy in its purest form, free from party loyalties, donor obligations and antiquated electoral practices - and it keeps the authors on their toes!
In the novel, serialized weekly only on NoteStream, the eventual people’s champion goes on to challenge the political establishment in an iCampaign for the presidency climaxing in an explosive finale in Washington on November 8.
But The iCandidate has even greater aspirations to trigger a revolution in the way America selects the most powerful man or woman on the planet, and really, would it be any crazier than what we've got now?
Change America one iVote at a time - and cheer on your iCandidate! Be sure to cast your in-app iVotes to save your favorite iCandidates!
"Said it before, and I'll say it again: wish this was real. Sigh." 5 stars by Olivia
NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!
The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.
For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.
Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!
Chapter 97 - The Break-in
Emily checked her reflection in a compact, pulling the baseball hat tighter over her head. Ayesha had begged her to go to the police, but Emily was adamant. She needed answers and she didn’t trust the authorities to get them.
In the end the two struck a compromise. Ayesha would call Zia.
“He’ll know what to do.” She was distraught. “Perhaps he can find out something about the person who did this to you.”
The young Pakistani washed and treated Emily’s wounds and they agreed Ayesha would call Zia in the morning. But before Ayesha woke the next day, Emily quietly dressed in the dark and slipped out.
Now she was standing in a bookstore across the street from Tariq’s brownstone.
While there was no lasting damage, everything hurt from her escape the previous night. She’d sat in a café for a couple of hours and moved on to the bookstore. There was no sign of life from the house, but his car was parked outside and there was a light coming through one of the upstairs windows .
Ayesha was calling. Emily bent over the phone in the gloomy store and texted that she wouldn’t be long. There was something she needed to do.
While clicking the send button, Emily finally saw movement across the street. The door opened and Tariq came out with an older, dark-skinned woman. He was laughing at something--like nothing had happened.
They got into his Mercedes and pulled into traffic right outside the bookstore. The elegantly dressed, elderly woman turned her face and Emily was back in the maternity ward on the worst day of her life.
It was the woman who had taken Emily’s baby.
Ten minutes later, Emily pulled her cap down even further and walked slowly over to Tariq’s house, which sat behind a low wrought iron fence and up a short block of stairs. She recognized the name on a bunch of letters stuffed into the mailbox.
The door was locked, but Emily had a theory that most people lived in mortal fear of losing their keys. She rifled into the mailbox and was on her third terracotta plant pot when she found the key buried in the soil. With trembling fingers she unlocked the door and placed the key back in the exact spot she had retrieved it from.
The rooms were dark and exquisitely furnished, but there were no pictures on the walls and no ornaments of any kind.
Emily stood staring around the reception room unsure what to do. It all made sense when she was keeping the place under surveillance. Now that she was inside Tariq’s home she didn’t know what to do.
There was a light on behind a closed door. The room faced the front, so it must have been the light she saw from the street.
Cautiously, she turned the handle and creaked open the door to find a small office dominated by a large desk in the window. She crossed the room and was about to open the single desk drawer when she saw it.
There were no pictures on the walls of the office, but in the middle of the rosewood desk was a single, gilt-edged frame. In it was a photograph of a much younger Tariq – the Tariq Emily had loved - laughing as he watched a child about to blow out the candles on a cake.
Make A Wish
One, two, three, four, five… they were celebrating the little boy’s fifth birthday. He had dark hair, big, beautiful eyes, and was smiling up adoringly at Tariq.
Emily picked up the frame and slowly traced her fingers over the features of the boy’s face, her son’s face. Her dreams had been filled with such scenes for as long as she could remember. She had imagined every one of her baby’s birthdays, but Tariq had actually been there, for all of them.
And now he would rather kill her than let her know that she was still a mother.
There was a turn of the key in the lock and Emily froze by the desk, paralyzed with fear.
She could hear talking from the hallway and in a panic quickly stepped into a giant closet filled with packing boxes, closing the door behind her and trying to breathe as lightly as possible as she heard someone come into the room and a chair scrape as they sat down. She still had the gilt frame in her hand.
She heard numbers being punched into a phone and Tariq’s voice, right next to her, arranging for a car to pick him up and take him to the airport. Drawers were opened and shut and she could sense him standing there.
“Mother, did you move the birthday picture? You know I like to keep it in my office.”
A woman’s voice replied impatiently: “The cleaner’s been. It’s around somewhere. Come on, you’ll miss your flight.”
“Can you please look. It’s very important to me.”
“I have to go vote around the corner and then I’ll find it. Don’t worry. I’ll come out with you.”
Moments later, both walked out of the front door, locking it behind them, and Emily carefully emerged from her hiding place, waiting a little longer before slipping out, still clutching the frame to her chest, into the anonymity of a Manhattan afternoon.
The world that was a very different place for Emily than it had been just 24 hours ago.
She knew she was a mother. Now she just had to find her son.
Chapter 98 - Election Day
Just after 8:00 a.m. that morning, a smiling Todd went through the paces at his polling station photo-op in Rutherford, New Jersey. He signed autographs as he chatted with iCandidate fans while waiting in line to vote in an elementary school classroom.
Much was at stake in the next few hours.
“Yes, I’m very confident,” Todd told a New York Times reporter. “Certainly, we are prepared to govern; and no, it is not a handicap never having held office in Washington before. I think most voters would think it an advantage.”
“Thanks for all your support and encouragement,” he said into the CNN camera as he left the polling station where record numbers had already arrived to vote.
“I’m going home to catch my breath before heading back to Washington to wait for the results to come in… No, as I said, I am not nervous. I am confident the people of this country feel exactly the same way as I do. It is time for some real change and Grace Conwright is the person to make it happen.”
Chapter 99 - Last Minute Doubts
Grace, already on a flight from Chicago to D.C., was a jumble of nerves. She had her ever-present entourage of aides and security staff with her, but no real friends. Gillian and the others were all back in their own hometowns to vote and Grace felt alone in spite of all the attention.
Her thoughts flitted to Cameron, but she quickly pushed them aside. The phone conversation they had from her hotel room the previous day had been comforting. But to think there could be anything else in it was ridiculous. He’d lost the love of his life a long time ago. She at least understood why he acted the way he did with women. She just wasn’t going to be one of his conquests.
Going back to Chicago fueled her homesickness. As much as she tried to push the assassination of her parents to the back of her mind, she couldn’t help but dwell.
She couldn’t tell anybody, not even Gillian, but she was consumed with doubts.
She had no experience in government, let alone running it. What on earth was she doing? Who did she think she was, conning all these people into thinking she was somehow their voice? It was madness.
Everything in her being was telling her to throw in the towel. Before it was too late. What if she turned to one of the dozens of journalists bombarding her with questions and told them it was over, that she had changed her mind?
Someone else could do the job!
At that moment, flying to her destiny, she would gladly have swapped places with Todd. He wanted her job so badly and Grace remained baffled over why the public had chosen her. Tortured by her scattered thoughts she tried to get some sleep for the first time in nearly two days.
Her system was so wired, the previous night she hadn’t even gone to bed, preferring to sit through endless cable TV discussions about her worthiness as a candidate.
For months the polls had her a distant third behind Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The pundits wrote off the huge success of the show as an aberration, saying that when it really came down to it the public wanted an experienced political campaigner, not the rookie winner of a Hollywood reality series. Trump seemed immune to the criticism and for that, at least, Grace admired him.
But in the past few days she had pulled up to within a couple of points of the Republican firebrand, with the analysts changing their tune and suggesting undecided voters were shifting in favor of Grace. The iCan Party’s independent spirit had struck a deep chord among many conservative voters uncomfortable with Trump.
Her rallying poll numbers ignited what Grace feared was a full-blown panic attack. She was having trouble breathing and didn’t dare get up in case another passenger tried to talk to her. Try as she might, she couldn’t get the thought out of her head.
She could win.