I was supposed to write about Toby today, but it turns out that was a little ambitious. Toby’s mind is a wasteland of thoughts. As I tried to walk a mile in his…paws… I discovered that I’m pretty sure he thinks about nothing.
So, instead I thought I’d return to the basic rule of writing: write what you know.
For me, that’s obviously Kings & Princesses and Kingdoms and such.]
The sky was dark and darkening by the minute as the woman’s scream cut through the night air.
The sounds were smothered by other voices shouting, rising on the wind, filled with urgency and panic. Still the woman’s cries rang out above the rest. The storm moved closer and the darkness itself rang out in loud percussion, as if joining in as the woman’s wails carried their message to the three waiting souls whose lives were about to be altered forever.
In the courtyard, the boy lifted his head and turned his face into the fierce pressure of the storm rolling in. The commotion from inside the walls was not a foreign back drop to his nightly watch. The sounds of screams and shouts were common place to him. Maybe he would have listened closer if he knew the power they would have in his life.
Several hundred feet of solid stone walls stood between him and a little girl who was far from oblivious to the screams. She was huddled in the corner of her room, hands up against her ears, pressing in on her head with all their feeble strength as if she could somehow shut out reality. Her eyes were squeezed closed as she pushed sound through her vocal chords in a soft whimper; an attempt to drown out the noises coming from her mother’s room.
She slipped in and out of universes inside of her mind; flipping through the options, searching for a flicker of something warm and safe that she could cling to with all her powers of imagination. Her mind settled on a world she’d cultivated for almost a year. It was a simple world without no rules and requirements and crowns and thrones. Most importantly it was a world where mother’s didn’t scream their way into death and darkness.
In the room next door, the king stood watching the woman who was nearly a stranger to him fight for breath. He wanted to tell her to stop trying. It was only a matter of time.
He wondered if this time it didn’t hurt as much simply because he barely knew her. But still, the child. It should hurt a little. But it didn’t. A thought flickered through his mind: maybe what the servants whispered about him was true: maybe he was a demon.
The screaming stopped.
One of the servants moved to place the lifeless body of the baby in his arms, but he lifted a hand. He didn’t need to touch any more evidence that he was cursed.
He had done all he could. Fought against fate with all inside of him. But, three dead queens and more lost children then he could count? God had spoken. There would be no prince to follow him; no king to pass his reign onto.
As the rain poured down, his mind slipped away into darkness.
In the years to come, people would whisper, speculating about when precisely the King had lost his mind. No one was sure if it had happened that stormy night, or maybe years and years before, when he had cradled his first queen’s body in his arms.
The boy in the courtyard would have no memory of any of it. Even on the day that he would become King, he wouldn’t realize the role that night had played in determining his destiny.
The girl, huddled in the dark, would never forget that day: the last day she ever had even the pretense of a parent. She would wake the next morning, heart as hardened as her father’s and it would remain that way for many years to come.
[aghlahg;ilahghagliahgahrlghaig;h!!! THIS SEVEN IN SEVEN THING IS HARD!!!!
That’s my story. So there.]