By Joshua A. Spotts
I have lost what was mine. I am a prisoner here where once I was a prince. I am but a whisper in this crowd of confusion. Terror has replaced joy. Hate has replaced love. I am only a thin container holding in an unfamiliar darkness.
I pray to the one ray of light in my lonely place hidden amidst the vastness of the world. I plead with it. “Save me!”
It never answers.
I plead with it. “Give me strength.”
It never answers.
I know it can hear me. I know because it eventually leaves me. And all things that leave me can hear me. I hate the light. It mocks me and I hate it. I can feel my container cracking as the light leaves now.
They are here now. I hear their feet invading my space and I am helpless to defend the darkness. Their shadows beat me to the ground. Their flickering lights whip my eyes. Their cruel voices burn my ears. I dig my fingernails into the stones beneath me and they cry out. “Stay silent, pet. Do not groan. Do not let them gain from your pain. We will take care of you. With us you are safe.”
I feel secure as I embrace the stones. They warm me. They comfort me. Amidst the burning babble of the invaders’ I hear my name. I ignore it as the stones speak to me. They pull me closer to them. I lay my cheek on their comforting warmth. Yes, this is where I belong. Here with the stones. I no longer need what I was. I no longer need to be a whisper. I no longer need to be a lord. I no longer need to find what I lost. I surrender myself to the rocks and their bewitching magic.
“Where is he, Father?” The princess asked.
Her father just looked at her. His eyes were hollow. His mouth was full of turkey. Red wine ran like blood down the sides of the burnt animal before him. His spilled wine goblet rolled off the table and fell to the floor with a clatter that echoed throughout the dining hall.
“Where is he?” The princess screamed this time. Then they came. Those hooded men of the scroll entered the room. The princess whirled on them. She hated them. They had caused the hollow look in her father’s eyes.
“He, if you mean your brother, is resting, your highness.” The tallest of the hoods said.
“Is his fever gone?”
“No, my lady,” said the shortest of the hoods. He was the doctor. He was directly responsible for the care of the royal family.
“What have you done to him?”
They didn’t answer.
The princess looked at her father. He stared back at her with hollow eyes. He was like an animal, unaware of danger.
“My father went to you when he was weak with fever. This,” she gestured to him, “is how you returned him to us.”
“The fever is a terrible thing, your highness. It does things to men. We were lucky to maintain your Father’s life.”
“You call that life?” The princess pointed at her hollow eyed father again. Grabbing a knife from the table she waved it at the men. “If I find that your ‘cure’ has done anything to my brother, I shall have all of you burned alive in the grease of your own fat!”
Spinning, her red hair flowing out behind her like a cape, the princess marched away in the opposite direction of the men of the scroll. She had decided it was time for her to visit the Room of Stones to seek guidance.
“The son?” The steam hissed and rose as it slithered along the floor.
A tall man answered. His black hair was oily and combed straight down to his shoulders. His dark eyes peered into the frosty mirror. “Worse than his father, my lord.”
“The daughter?” The voice came from within the mirror, as did the smoke. The ice spread across the floor and grabbed the tall man by the ankles. He tried to step away but the ice brought him down. A bone cracked. The cruel sound echoed and the voice laughed.
The ice crawled over the man. It sucked him down until he lay flat on the stone floor. It formed a coffin over him. His breathing became shallow. The sweat on his forehead froze there, forming a false crown. The smoke slithered unto the ice coffin. The ice moved away from the man’s face like the tendons of some horrid monster.
“You shouldn’t have upset it, slave.” The voice hissed. Hot steam burned away the man’s false crown. “Now, tell me of the daughter.”
“She is still strong, my lord.”
“Excellent! Is she on her way?”
“I don’t know, my lord.”
“That’s too bad, slave.” The smoke receded into the mirror and the ice coffin covered the man’s face, shutting off his bone-chilling scream from the world.
I dream. I dream of a room filled with pillars of stone. I dream of blood running along a cold marble floor. I dream of a girl of royal bearing. I dream of her dead. This is the dream the stones grant to me. It is their gift.
The dream changes as I watch. The girl, covered in blood, rises from the marble floor. I can hear every stone in that room crying out in pain. They want me to save her. They need me, but I cannot escape from my dark space.
There is some dark purpose behind her. It slithers along like a snake. Smoke and ice are its garments. The stones plead with me to save them. Their anguished sounds fill my ears. Their pain seethes through my veins as the red haired girl approaches a large stone in the center of the room. As she lays her hands on the stone, the dark purpose rushes in and consumes it. I hear the last cry of the stones before they are silenced forever.
The room collapses in on her. There is no roar as the stones fall. There is no crack as they smash into the marble floor. There is only silence, terrifying silence. As my dark space falls in on me and the darkness flees from my body, I would only ask one question. How can the decision of one girl cause so much devastation?
Here the stones come. They are silent. It is as if they are grieving as they bury me beneath them. I do so miss their voices.
Copyright 2012 Joshua A. Spotts