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How Mountains Moved This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

At the beginning he only sat still for a moment. His kingdom was vast and beautiful, but he was the only one left to enjoy its beauty. He sat still for just a moment and relaxed for the first time in what had actually been years. He didn’t mind sitting still.

            After that he sat still for many moments. So many moments, in fact, that after awhile he no longer felt as royal as he once had. His land was so vast, and he was so small. He sat still for so long that he forgot how to move.

            Eventually he no longer cared to move, he was content sitting still and watching, his eyes trained on the horizon at sunrise and welcoming the stars after sunset. He no longer smiled or breathed or enjoyed, he simply sat. The trees around him began to grow and the dirt and the leaves and the wind and the rain stuck to his back which was turned to protect his eyes from the elements.

            Soon nature began to absorb him and his muscles that never moved became the lines for the rivers. His heart that beat so slowly became the thunder, and his back that never straightened became the hillside. He never spoke and rarely breathed; he simply stared and wondered about what would have happened if someone besides himself had ruled his land.

            Time moved on as he sat frozen, and soon he was discovered by animals. The deer sheltered themselves in the curves that his body provided. While rabbits and gophers and other burrowers found solace deep under the layers of dirt that covered him, next to the heat of his skin. Birds sang from the trees that grew from him and fish swam in the rivers that ran down the curvature of his form. He was surrounded by his land, yet he found no joy in it.

            Eventually men followed the animals that had come to live with him. He watched as they murdered the deer and cut down his trees. They stole fish from the rivers and birds from the skies. They built homes against his sides and fires that kept them warm. Sometimes they would gaze upon his face with wonder and leave him pieces of what they had taken from his beautiful land. He no longer wanted to watch, but he didn’t remember how to close his eyes.

Years passed and man became more advanced. They built more houses until cities rose and cars drove through roads that they had carved out of his sides. People came from miles around to see him and take pictures of the king who no longer felt as though he ruled beauty, and had grown tired of watching as what had once been slowly disappeared. Men of science came and tried to figure out who had created him, as if he was made of the earth.

Some days they would climb up his chest and take measurements of his face and his eyes. He could see them in their short red shirts and their boots that left foot-prints on his cheek bones. They would laugh and joke about the poor measurement skills of the people of the past, and he remembered a time when he had pride in the way that he looked. Little by little the smaller men made the mountain of a man crumble under their words and their destruction.

Most days the fumes from their cars rose and hurt his eyes that he wished so desperately he could close. He could feel the stains of the chemicals on his face and the way the clouds cried acid when it rained. His animals ran away to make space for the men and their families, and eventually even the fish in the river no longer swam. Occasionally he would hear his birds sing in the trees that now were surrounded by paved paths. One night he cried one single tear for what was lost and closed his eyes because he no longer wanted to sit still and watch. He wished he could remember how mountains moved.


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