When the stormfront of the Popular Revolution broke over the Ionnes regime, the rabble of citizens and defected soldiers who stormed the presidential palace were puzzled to find that Dr. Ionnes himself was not among the family members they captured. The newly installed Directorate, mostly made up of newly “reformed” Ionnes men, promised answers. Many rumors had the dictator escaping through a subterranean railway while abandoning his family to their fate.

As they so often say, the truth is stranger than fiction.

Under “enhanced interrogation” by the Directorate, Ionnes’ son Basil made a puzzling reference to a secret buried in the turn-of-the-century catacombs beneath the palace. An excavation team recovered a badly-decomposed set of remains from a shallow grave…one which bore Dr. Ionnes’ distinctive withered arm and silver left incisor. Forensics experts hastily flown in from overseas confirmed that the body had been in place for a considerable amount of time.

Dr. Ionnes, it seems, had been dead for the last decade of his “rule.”

Eventually the Directorate pieced the situation together, leaking information at a steady rate to keep the restive populace from noticing the repeatedly slipping date for the promised free elections. Dr. Ionnes had suffered a heart attack or stroke after a heavy dinner, and his wife, sons, and bodyguard had sought to perpetuate the illusion that he was alive through a combination of old recordings, impersonation (Basil Ionnes was a good double for his father from a distance), and carefully cultivated rumors of paranoia. They’d gone on that way for so long that some of the worst offenses of the Ionnes regime, including the May Day army shootings that sparked the Popular Revolution, had happened when the old doctor was mouldering underground.

Mrs. Ionnes was asked about this over a hot glass of boiling oil and tongs–why she or one of her loathsome sons hadn’t simply taken over the family business Duvalier-style. “We hoped to blame him and scatter if there was ever a revolution,” she reportedly said; “obviously that didn’t work out too well.”