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 always abandons me. I can feel my container cracking as the light leaves even now.
They are here. I hear their feet invading 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. The stones cry out. “Stay silent, pet. Do not let them gain from your pain. We care. 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. I lay my cheek on their comforting warmth so soothing. Yes, this is where I belong. Here with the stones. I no longer need what I was. I no longer need to be even 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, full of turkey. Red wine ran like blood down the sides of the burnt animal before him. His 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.
“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, the doctor.
“What have you done to him?”
They didn’t answer.
The princess looked at her father. He stared back at her with hollow eyes, 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 me.”
“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 so-called cure has done anything to my brother, I’ll have all of you burned alive!”
Spinning, her red hair flowing out behind her like a cape, the princess marched away. She had decided it was time for her to visit the Room of Stones to seek guidance.
“The son?” The smoke hissed as it slithered along the floor.
“Worse than his father, my lord,” a tall man answered. His black hair was oily and combed straight down to his shoulders. His dark eyes peered into a frosty mirror.
“The daughter?” The voice came from within the mirror, as did the smoke. Ice spread across the floor, grabbing 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, of blood running along a cold marble floor, 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 them. They need me, but I cannot escape from my dark space.
There is some dark purpose behind her. 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, the darkness flees my body.
Here the stones come. They are silent. They grieve as they bury me. I do so miss their voices.
Copyright 2012 by Joshua A. Spotts