The Flight of a Starless Garden

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Author Note:

I want to first say thank you to anyone reading this. Without you these words fall on empty ears. This story has been copyrighted, and it can only exist in my personal blog, unless permission is granted.

Also, I want to give a special thanks to Stephen Lybeck who helped and guided me through the challenging 1500 word literary test. Sierra Rottman, Anthonio Mangino, and Professor Rutenberg thank you as well for being there for me, and giving me wonderful advise when I had moments of doubt. Lastly, I want to thank you, the reader, once more for being one of the reasons I write. Enjoy!

 

Information behind the story:

We are all born into things beyond our control. From youth we are often told what our destiny should be, and how the world works. Yet, did we ever have a choice to find it ourselves? This story is about a king who wishes to escape from the man he is becoming. The past echoes in his mind as he tasked with a burdened that may change him forever.

This tale takes place before the great war between humans and sprite in the Caligo Universe.



The Flight of a Starless Garden

By: H.S. Crow

 

I would rather be weak than face what lies ahead. Escape comforts my restlessness and embraces my chest with warmth. Oh, to be free of this burden and fly away. I would never come back. No more inadequacy or agony. Along, needless pain and struggle seethes from my people as they drown in worry.  How pathetic I am to delay. These primal rifts must reveal my burden. Everyone must see the consequences furrow, but no one does. No one ever does. Animals, they are, born in my captivity. I am trapped in their illusory cage choking on the key. This life, I didn’t choose it. Who would?

 

“Council members, this atrocious verdict may doom us all. As your king, I implore you to reconsider. God will not forgive us and I will not commend such barbarism.”

 

My words are firm, but no eyes waver. They are resolute with their presumptuous and shrewd expressions. Restless silence soon follows like always. Ensnared in their gaze, my mind flees to mother’s garden.

 

As a child, I always ran off at dusk and watched the sun settle under patches of chickweed. How pleasant it is to return. The moon flatters the sky and dims tilled paths only unripe eyes can follow. The tranquil prismatic fragrance of jasmines dots the ceiling of ancient tombs that resemble constellations, yet it was the honeyed oils of oak that gathered me home. Void of responsibility and people, it hums a song without dissonant troubles in its soft breeze.

 

The song whispers beneath stained windows brimming with heraldic achievements, none my own, and cools the anxious sweat below my underarm. Crudely enough, it plucks me back to my intolerable table adorned with pointless splendor of all the kingdoms my father ruined. The stale stench of tobacco promises to burn my nostrils for days.

 

“Speak before I lose my patience!” I yell with anger I am newly aware of.

 

A gauntly-set man with hair, thwarting the unequivocal retreat from the crown of his head, clears his throat. “Sire, I understand your position, but those authoritarian sprites must learn their place. They started this war by attacking our brothers in the north. That transgression cannot be overlooked when the kingdom already questions your authority. Dismissing this problem could create a mutiny.”

 

His words hold truth I refuse to accept. My hands tingle from the lack of blood as each finger strangles the other beneath the weight of my desperation. I slam my fist with futile vigor prompting the room to stir in uproar. “Mutiny is your concern? What about your humanity? This killing will mark us devils. We must find another way.”

 

A woman with a boastful gown drags her hem frontward. “Humanity?” she says biting her lip and debating her next words, “there will not be any humanity to save if we continue this dovish mentality.”

 

The room whispers in agreement. “Sire, this crude act will darken our hearts. None of us desire it. It would be absurd to think so, but this is a matter of self-preservation,” a youth interjected with deceitful poise as tendrils of discomfort sway in conflict.

 

“I need time to think,” I declare.

 

Doors open and fresh air whisks parchments in to temporary flight. The polished tiles click as guards clad in argent armor file in and escort me out. Before anyone else speaks, I am gone. I walk briskly to avoid spiteful eyes as murmurs of dissatisfaction ring like mosquitoes at dusk.

 

I will deny them. They will not take my blood. The distant buzz behind me echoes down the great halls as every soul kneels at my presence.

 

There are times I feel my bones strain under the weight of all lives dreamt. My life is everyone’s fantasy. What silliness they dream. How astray their desires.

 

I travel to the tower of secrets and order the guards to leave. I watch them carefully as they vanish down the pebbled path—dry and white in the sun. The birds chirp above rustling trees as I breathe.

 

I trek up the serpentine stairs which is always work. My legs ache as I reach the top floor. There waiting is an uninviting door with rotted wood covered in moss. I press my wrinkled hands against the splintered surface and push. It creaks and complains as dust schools around me. I cover my mouth and enter my room of phantoms.

 

Old discolored paintings of my late beloved hang proudly. Her curved lips redefined my life ages ago. For a moment, she was my oasis. How I believed no one could take her from me. Everything I ever loved existed here. Merely approaching my darling Clera always shook my heart, even after father took her and mother’s garden.

 

Love bears limitation, he would say. Happiness carries you nowhere, he would bludgeon.

 

“Embrace anger Alston! It is the only thing that keeps a king alive aside for his wit,” I recite in fury as I cling to the hoary desk mottled in memories. Those words subjugated me until the day my hand was forced. His frozen eyes should have freed me.

 

“They should have,” I whisper.

 

The wavering sunlight dances on the granite windowsill. I touch the brittle remains of the jasmine buds I once cherished and watch them crumble to dust.

“Sweet Clera.”

 

I caress the delicate brush strokes of my wife’s paintings until the moon reveals her hesitant face peering out at distant mountains.

 

“I have done my best to grow this kingdom as a king should, but this will darken minds. The heinous act will solve nothing but feed my people retribution. They need to believe I still side with them and I as well. This could determine whether our people persevere or cannibalize. I know we won’t make it divided.”

 

Shadows rear behind me and I can no longer see Clera. I whisper a prayer, and for a moment, I feel her in the room. Her distant laughter, her kiss, and with it every tragedy we shared. It drives me mad. My hands reach for anything as unfamiliar screams escape my tongue. I smash and raze every memory until nothing is left except for Clera’s portrait and my inherited resentment of him. Shattered glass sparkles under the moonlight as my lips quiver. I can hear him too.

 

I retreat to my throne room, a grueling task, as my thin pale skin weighs on my frame. I order the prisoner in and wait on my scarlet seat strung with gold thread. Candles line the walls and ceiling as frankincense snugs the chamber with a sylvan aroma.

 

The iron doors part and a small figure veiled in raven feathers enters. The guards bleed out with a simple hand gesture as my gaze fixates on the prisoner’s amethyst eyes. The beauty they hold haunts me as I sit in dread. I stand and quietly stare for centuries. I forget the universe and lean forward as a delicate sound pierces my ears.

 

“Where I’m from they say gods crumbled the stars to create us. Are you a star like me?” she asked while removing her headdress.

 

My skin crawls in shock as her silken hair rolls down her back in waves of ink. The figure was a sprite, but a child nonetheless – just a child.

 

“I thought the heir was a boy?” I muttered in anger causing her to frown.

 

“Boys, girls, trees, does it matter?” She responds and looks away, struggling to restrain her tears. “Are you going to kill me?” she asks with a wavering voice. My soul fractures as she takes a timid step forward. She is like me – born into power beyond control.

 

I stand up, approach her and kneel to wipe her tears. “I do not want to,” I admit as she weeps.

“I don’t want to die,” she sobs while reaching to hug me. Her face presses into my chest and I embrace her as if she were my own.

 

“Forgive me.” I cry as my mind abandons all thought. Her whimpering breath beneath my tightening grip bore into me like arrows.

 

She left me stranded like a shipwrecked mariner, alone, as her arms dangle beneath my shame.

 

The doors slam open and horrid expressions freeze over the faces on the council.

 

“Get out!” I howl, trying to conceal the child in my arms.

“The sprites,” a council member trembles, “Their envoy is here, and they revealed to us the true culprits behind the northern attack. It was our own people. It was us. What should we do?”

 

“Kill them.” I answer as iridescent feathers spill from my arms and with them each hope I bore.

 

“Kill who, sire?”

 

My hollowed gaze fixed.

 

“Everyone.”

 

50 thoughts on “The Flight of a Starless Garden

  1. H.S. Crow,
    Your writing as usual is exquisite, but similar questions still remain. Who is this mournful king? Who is his prisoner? Why has she been imprisoned? What is her connection to the faded painting? Are these characters humans or other worldly creatures? If so, why does the story take place in a pedestrian room and not in some exotic locale? Is the king ruminating to himself or talking to the reader? If I had to give your writing a genre, I would call it “poetic abstraction.” Since this new generation doesn’t read books anymore, let alone the classics– only iPhone texts– I don’t know if there is enough of a readerships out there any longer who will appreciate its sophistication, except old codgers like me. That’s about it.
    Good luck,
    Mike

    1. Professor,
      You are right, but I hope to change that. I feel that the loss of readers and respect for literature has a possibility of being hazardous. The mind needs to read. It teaches patience, enhances intelligence and sympathy, and the imagination needed for innovation can be nurtured from it. I don’t want to give up on this generation, or anyone born after. So my hope is to fuel an appreciation for it.

      Thank you. I am glad I have continued to impress you. It makes me happy. To answer your questions.

      The mournful king is a human king during the advent of the war between humans and sprites that led to our permanent exile. He is a subject of abuse, and forced conformity to everyday things we dislike. Born into a position he never wanted. He mirrors many people who are influenced and sometimes pushed to being things they never wanted to be. Thus, he represents our innate urge to escape the invisible prison we live in.

      His prisoner is the heir of the sprite kingdom. In this case the eukarians. In my upcoming novels, the distinctive identifier of a eukarian is the purple/violet/or amethyst eyes they bare. The prisoner is the upcoming queen of the Sylvatic Kingdom, a kingdom the human civilization believes broke the treaty by attacking their northern brothers.

      The room conveys the pointlessness of all the feats done by men at this time, thru the eyes of the king that rules them. In his eyes, all these achievements mean nothing because everything that mattered has been long gone.

      Her connection is internal to the king. The loss of Clera, his wife, by his father’s hands stripped his innocence and in irony locked him in place as king, but the murder of the little girl destroyed what remained of his humanity. The murder of the girl represents his change into something he never desired.

      How he has become his father.

      I love the genre you gave it. 🙂

      Sincerely,
      H.S. Crow.

    2. Crow, I like the storytelling a lot here. I think there is a lot of emotion, especially at the end, and it resonates well.

      However, I think the prose is too thick. For example, a man is described as having hair which is “thwarting the unequivocal retreat from the crown of his head.” This guy is not an important character (we don’t even know his name), so I would not recommend taking 10 words to say he is balding.

      I think the tragic king is a strong character, and his dilemma is a powerful emotional core for the story. I am very interested in this, give me more of it!

    3. Mike, I don’t know why you’d say kids don’t read books any more. The Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games books have been incredible hits in recent years. Sure, you can argue that kids are reading mostly unrefined mass-market fiction, but how many children actually read Salinger fifty years ago without being forced to for school?

      1. Thank you so much Mr. Dan for your input and yes I agree with you. When I was growing up in high school it was rare to find students that enjoyed books. I often felt like an outcast. Maybe it was my demographics, but as I grew older and started exploring I noticed how often I came across people that would respond “No, I don’t read. I’m too busy.” or “I don’t like books.” I know everyone is different and my original response may have seemed like no child reads, but my words were meant to target the ones that don’t. Lately, I have been meeting many people that have a love for books and writing. I learned that I was wrong in my original statement. Many people still read, and have a love for books, but I still want to try to reach those that don’t. The ones who simply have not had a chance to read something beautiful. I don’t care if they read my work, but I care for them to pick up a book and fall into a world unlike any. A world through the eyes of another. Those that read live many lives, but those that don’t tend to live just one.

        I apologize for the confusion in my response from long ago. I have changed a bit since then :). I want to create stories that draw people, without force, to read and explore literature. It’s a big reason I have started to grow my team to venture into other forms of media. I want to create stories not just for books, but for games and animations. Even, the music I compose has a story. I believe that by doing this . . . in essence I can reach more people.

        With that said, You are also correct on prose you mentioned. I’m still growing as an author and your honesty will help me. I sincerely appreciate it and will learn from this.

        Sincerely,
        H.S. Crow

    1. Thank you very much 78Isiah :). I will surely look into that. I look forward to your review on my future short story diving deeper into the Caligo Universe.

  2. I met you at the paint store, and while skeptical at first I must admit finding your writings intriguing and promising
    keep pursuing your dream

    1. Thank you! We are actually working on the mythos right now, and will be releasing them soon by July the latest, along with concept art and world maps.:) I’m glad you enjoyed it and we look forward to bringing more worthwhile content very soon.

      Sincerely,
      H.S. Crow

    1. It’s something many of us struggle with, especially if our dreams conflict with the expectations of others. May it be those you love or strangers, everyone you meet holds a set of expectations that may or may not fit your own, and sometimes these occurrences influence us into different roads and understandings… However, I find it problematic when they are forced. We all have one life to live, at least as far as we know it. To have your future decided for you without the respect that you may not want it is honestly unjust in my eyes. Regardless, if the path is foolish or not I believe that we all deserve the opportunity to choose our own destiny, and have the love and support of those around you to achieve it. Your happiness, and the respect of those around you are very important things, but sometimes we forget and allow our faults to judge. Sometimes people do this based on their experiences, but it can be bias. You see, we all walk different paths, and though we share many truths and sorrows. In the end you are your own person capable of anything. I can speak for my father who never believed I would become an author. It’s only recent that he has come around, but it wasn’t easy. Then again, nothing ever is lol. If you want to be something, anything—reach it and strive to obtain it. Live a life worth living with a future of your choosing. The ability to reach your dreams is only limited by your belief in obtaining it, even if you fall, fall forward, and push harder. It is said that we should reach the stars to find fulfillment, and though they are lovely, sometimes the star resides in your heart and all it takes is knowing yourself and what you want to find it. Never let the words “What if” haunt you like it did my grandmother. Thank you Amelie for reading this tale.

  3. I needed to thank you for this excellent read!!
    I undoubtedly enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to have
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    1. Thank you Kasey! We shall have new material coming up in the month of June and July with the release of the mythos until our next book comes out. I am currently working on another lovely short story and once it’s finished I look forward to your review of it. 🙂

    1. I am grateful. Thank you, and I shall. I look forward to you coming back in the next few weeks when the first mytho is released.

    1. Thank you Brave Explorer! We are almost ready to release our next set of content. Look forward for you to check it out soon. 🙂

  4. This is an extremely good suggestions particularly to those new
    to blogosphere, brief and exact info… Thanks for sharing this one.
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    1. Thank you! I appreciate your words. We’re updating the site for the next few weeks and new content will be put up with it. I look forward to you checking it out when you can. ^^

  5. I simply want to say I am all new to blogging and seriously enjoyed your page. Most likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You absolutely come with remarkable posts. Regards for sharing your blog.

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate the time you spent exploring it. I hope to continue making content that you’ll enjoy in the near future.

      Sincerely,
      H.S. Crow

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