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Long Live the King

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Hangings always made me feel awful. Yes, I had seen several before, but this one was different. It involved a whole new layer of sadness. I could feel grief ripping me apart, enveloping me, covering me like mold covers an old piece of bread. Who was hanged, you ask? Whose death was causing me this level of sadness? It was Marcus Stele, the healer of our small village, and one of its most respected members. He was loved and cherished by everyone who knew him. He was a caring, gentle man, with a good sense of humor. The person who least deserved to be hanged. Incidentally, he was also my father.
As I watched the esteemed healer take his last breath, I turned away, unable to watch. But, no more than a second later, I had to look back. He was my father, and he deserved the little scraps of respect I could offer him. I looked into his eyes and I remembered them alive and steady. My father was always as steady as a rock, despite his old age. Except when my mother died. My mother had been the most stunning lady in the world, or at least I had thought so. She had given me a necklace: a little silver trinket with a turquoise centerpiece. I treasured it still.

I remembered the day clearly. He had come home drunk; he never drank. I was seven at the time, so I didn’t know why father was so angry. He crashed into the house, and yelled at me when I asked for supper. I had been so shocked that I hid away in the loft, sobbing. A few hours later, the ladder creaked, and my father peered in. “Maryse?” he called. I had backed away, scared of the shadow that he had become. “Oh Maryse, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to yell,” I had crept further away, but still he had come. He had held me in his arms, and sang to me. My father had the most beautiful voice.

Not that he would be singing anymore. He had stopped breathing now, and the crowd was beginning to disperse. People came up to me, apologizing for my loss. They had tears in their eyes, and seemed to choke as they attempted to console me. But my eyes were dry, and my voice clear. I would cry later. I would not give the king the satisfaction of seeing me in that state. King Truman, who had ordered my father to be killed. He had said that it was for killing one of his patients with a potion, but I knew better. He was standing over on the other side of the prison yard, looking very smug. My cheeks flamed in anger. If anyone deserved to be hanged, it was that man.

My father had found out last night. Surprisingly, he had been less emotional than ever. He had crept in the house when I was supposed to be asleep. Instead, I was up, waiting for him. He found me pacing a track into the floor in the main room, worried out of my wits. He had been surprised. When I badgered him for information, he had just said that he was going away for a while. He would not tell me anything else. The next morning, when I heard there was a hanging, I feared the worse. And with good reason.

My father had been the leader of the rebels, set to overthrow our so-called king.

Later on, the same day of my father’s hanging, King Truman was killed. A knife through the heart, I heard. And on his bedroom wall, etched in his own blood were the words: LONG LIVE THE KING

There were rumors. They said that it was Richard, my father’s second in command. Or the king’s own army chief, tired of this false dictatorship. I could tell they hadn’t really spent all that much time or effort on the investigation.

If they had, they would’ve found a necklace; a silver necklace with a turquoise centerpiece, lying on the floor of the king’s chamber.





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Odessa_Sterling00 said...
Jul. 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm

This was really good.  I liked it a lot, espeically the conflict in the story and the emotion.  Great JOB!!!!

Could you look at some of my work too?

 
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