by Isaac Wilde
Screams filled Aedon Palace that night, the pained screams of the dying and the anguished screams of the assorted Family, and the shouts of befuddled servants running around in the dark. The screams emanated from an extravagantly furnished bedroom at the very top of the massive, white marble castle keep.
Lying on his bed was decrepit form of King Markom, his wrinkled and sunken eyes closed. He was close to dying, and his voice was horse from crying out as pain passed through him. But his nerves were spent, and his body couldn’t even feel itself failing.
Suddenly, the King’s eyes flashed open, revealing electric blue irises, and with a raspy whisper he said:
The writer paused, reflecting for a minute on what the King would say. The next sentence would establish his story, and he wanted to make it spectacular. He looked out the window of the small secluded cabin he lived in, and watched the silt-filled waters of Lake Rust lap against the shores of his island.
He looked up, an idea bouncing around his head. He turned and placed his fingers on the keyboard of his laptop, one of two modern appliances in the cabin. The other was a dilapidated phone, which lay lopsided in its cradle.
He began to tap out the first letters of the Kings last words. - And with a raspy whisper he said, “The power, oh, the power burns. It’s made me older, older than I am. Make sure… Make sure that They don’t get it, and warn my son. Warn him that it hurts.”
Suddenly, the area around the King’s heart began to glow warmly. His eyes began to lose their fervor, his face began to calm. The light shot up from his chest, refracting and bending to create a small, diamond-shaped object. A small hum echoed throughout the bedchamber. Then, the strange illumination dulled, and a small crystal appeared on the King’s chest. The King let out a horrible, shuddery sigh, and lay still.
The noblemen and women surrounding King Markom’s bed gasped as they realized that their beloved King was dead. A tall man with brown hair and an expansive beard stepped forward. His name was Askel Danilo, the leader of the Northern Tribes. He snatched up the mysterious diamond that had formed over the King’s heart.
“The King is dead. His claim over the Northern Tribes has died with him. My people need my presence,” Askel said, a little louder than necessary. The small crowd parted around him as he made to step out of the door.
Erik Anton, the King’s son, no more than seventeen or eighteen, placed himself in front of the hulking Northman. “The King is not dead. I am now King, and the Northern Tribes and the diamond in your hand are mine.”
“Step aside, boy.” Askel said, walking past Erik. Erik stopped him with a hand, which was, although less so than Askel, very muscular.
“Obey your King, Danilo. I am the rightful ruler.” Erik said, defiantly.
“I will not kneel to a child.” Askel said, and shoved Erik aside. Askel walked out of the oaken door, slamming it with a resounding crash behind him.
Erik angrily whipped a tear of frustration, guilt and sadness from his eye. His beloved father was dead, the nobles refused to obey him, and the diamond, obviously meant for him, had been stolen by Askel.
Quissa Autria, the old King’s wrinkled advisor, rested an ancient hand on Erik’s shoulder. “My lord, I still have many years left to my name. I can help you reclaim your birthright, your throne. We will take back the Northern Tribes again.”
The writer stopped, satisfied with the start of his story. He saved it, and decided to stop writing for the day. He would let the story continue in his head, and spend tomorrow writing vigorously. He snapped down the lid of his laptop, a new model that he had ordered a week ago, and had only just finished transferring the files to yesterday. The ad for the laptop had said it would help make your writing come real, and the writer had bought it instantly. The writer stepped over to the coat rack, and began to prepare for a hike.
But, before he could even zipper his down jacket, the phone rang. He checked the caller I.D. Emergency Number. He picked it up, worriedly. A machine began playing, and he almost put it down. But then the words the machine was saying registered.
“Attention all American citizens. The President of the United States has died. The vice president, Tonan Riek, has taken control. As our government was in momentary confusion, the northern states of the U.S. have formed their own country, called the United Northern States. The revolt was led by Kelsa Linoad, who is now the president of the United Northern States.” The computer voice whirred and clicked, and the message repeated itself again.
It was an impossible happening, the writer thought. Half of the U.S. doesn’t just get up and leave! And why on earth would they have any cause to? The writer hadn’t heard anything about discontent in the northern states. But then, something in his brain clicked together, and with a jolt he unscrambled the letters in Kelsa Linoad. Askel Danilo. And then, he unscrambled the letters in the vice president’s name. Erik Anton.
The incredulity of it all was dazzling. He turned towards his computer, where the opening words of his story were sitting, innocent. How could his words have done so much damage to the country he loved so much? It was impossible. It had to be a coincidence.
But he still flipped up the screen of the computer. Before he rashly deleted his story, hopefully undoing the disaster, he wanted to experiment. The writer typed up a quick paragraph about rain, wondering if it would start to rain outside.
The rain pelted the small cabin, the bloated shores of the Lake lapped at the wooden planks. Lightning strikes shone far in the distance, the roar of the thunder deafened the man inside the cabin.
The water seeped inside.
The writer stopped as water began to lap at his feet, and onslaughts of water rushed through the door. The door crashed inwards, and the writer became smothered in water. Caught without air in his lungs, he soon found himself short of breath. Desperately, he flailed at the keyboard of his computer. He pressed a button, and watched as all of his writing; stories of creation, destruction, governments, history, the future, all get deleted.
As each story goes, so goes what it was about. First the water left, without a trace of it ever having been there. The writer sucked in a grateful breath, but then his cabin disappeared, and he saw that the lake has dried up as well. Then the trees disappeared, and then the sun and the crescent moon, and then the now-visible stars begin to wink out. The ground beneath his feet disappeared, and the writer floated in nothing, with only his laptop. But the computer deleted the last file, and then the writer vanished.