The Boy King

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The boy in the khaki cargoes and the red shirt was sitting above the rest of his world. The belt that held up his shorts was tightened one notch tighter than it probably would have been on another boy of his age and height, but he looked healthy in a lucky sort of way. The balcony that he was lounging on was simple; unadorned but for a folding chair, the boy, and his book. He was enjoying himself immensely. He was alone and he was reading, which were two of several things that truly delighted him. He did not fear being alone, and he had never been lonely.
From where the boy was ensconced with his book he could not see far, only a brief excerpt of the surrounding area, but the boy liked it that way. It made it easy to find details, and he enjoyed finding details. They made things what they were to him. Behind him a radio softly whispered that it was summer. The boy briefly looked towards the sky above his small kingdom (that was how he thought of it), and studied it carefully for a moment. Gray clouds obscured the definite shape of the sun behind them, but the light it emitted was still bright and hurt the boy to look at.
The boy peered out over his small green kingdom of sleepy gardens and wooden fences. Beyond he saw a large, gray, concrete, monolith of a city, chugging ever onwards, propelled by an engine of average but good people. Hardworking individuals who had long ago become so entrenched in their routine that routine was life. The boy thought briefly of ending his reign, but he decided that he did not want to climb down from his high, white tower, and journey through the green expanse of his kingdom to the great, gray, monolith beyond. His head quickly bent back towards the page.
The boy soon became distracted again, this time by the brown scurry and flash of a squirrel. He watched intently as it hustled along the wooden walls of his capital. The squirrel noticed the boy as well, and stopped abruptly. He evaluated the boy as carefully as the boy had considered him. His analysis complete, the squirrel rose on his hind legs, cracked his tail like a whip, and chittered a challenge. The boy stared unflinchingly back, giving no ground. They sat that way for a long time, two rival kings, each carefully weighing the strength of the other’s forces before making his move. The unblinking sideways stare of the squirrel pitted against the earnest, questioning gaze of the boy. The boy’s gaze soon became unfocused, and his eyes had to occasionally blink and retrace the indignantly arched outline of the rival king’s body. Shortly, both kings decided that discretion was indeed the better part of valor, and turned their weaponry elsewhere. The squirrel resumed hunting for nuts, and the boy went back to his book.
A breeze began to gently blow, and the greenery of the boy’s kingdom reluctantly began to sway with it. A light rain began to fall, and the boy glanced up as the first drops splattered on the pages of his book.
The boy king looked around, and for the first time he felt lonely. The birds had stopped singing, and the rebel squirrel had disappeared. The breeze became a wind, and the green limbs of his kingdom began to sway more hurriedly, as if trying to get his attention. He watched the sun disappear behind the skyline of the city and began to cry silently and unwillingly. The shadow of the massive gray buildings crept over the happy, loud green of his kingdom and slowly darkened its hue. The rain began to fall harder and soon the boy’s tears were indistinguishable from the raindrops that were falling from the sky like wet cold bombs, leveling the beautiful white and green capital of the boy’s kingdom. His book lay forgotten on the balcony, the print blurred by rain. The radio had fallen silent. The king slowly lifted himself from his simple throne and climbed out of his tower. The squirrel hurried onto the balcony, and mournfully mounted the abdicated chair. He perched there, watching the silhouette of his enemy trudging slowly away.
And the rain continued.
And the reign stopped.





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