Until Death: A Parable | Teen Ink

Until Death: A Parable

December 15, 2022
By elliewu SILVER, Irvine, California
elliewu SILVER, Irvine, California
7 articles 10 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Even when you face a difficult moment and fall a little bit behind, as if you’re doing a long jump, wouldn’t you have a longer runway to be able to jump further?

The Emperor lies on his deathbed, greyed and worn, his pale wrinkled skin sagging limply on the velvet sheets. His eyes remain closed as he instructs the messenger to kneel beside him. This messenger known as Abel does as the Emperor had said, bending his head to hear the broken words that the once-great ruler lets out, each staggering breath forced from his lips only to become a mere trace of air. After Abel receives the message and is hurriedly dismissed, with unwavering determination and resolve, he flies through the first set of palace corridors, down the towering staircases, and through the majestic courtyards only to slightly falter as his mind takes in the sight of the endless crowd that clogged every inch of the palace grounds. Gritting his teeth, he pushes through the unending throngs, their stifling voices and mocking laughter bouncing off the walls and joining into a whirlwind of ringing. It plugs his ears and clouds his mind like a constant fog suffocating his entire self, never letting him take a breath. But still, he pushes forward. He moves on with only the sight of the open land and open doors driving him on. He knows that, if only he can get past the crowds, he would be able to soar though the fields as if his feet never touched the ground. He knew he could succeed. He only had to try harder. But his ceaseless steps and the royal golden pin shining on his uniform gave little grace. He runs and runs but, still, the gates look no closer and his steps are growing weak, his gasps for air declining to short painful bursts. His legs shake with exhaustion, but he keeps running. It is only when his eyes darken, an inevitable haze spreading over his glassy eyes, that his steps slow. And it is then, that he sees another man with a familiar uniform rushing through the crowds – except that man stops. He stops and whispers into another man’s ear, a man who also wears the same uniform. As Abel watches the men in uniform, like multiple waves, always moving, they are passing a message along. Just like that, they continue. They listen, they run, and they speak. Each man with the same set of duties, one after the other. Until the last man who stands at the entrance of the gates, listens to the message and flies. He flies in the exact same way Abel imagined his own legs would take him. The man flies forward until the light of evening sun has enveloped him completely, letting him run as fast as he wished with only the thought of a mission and a success. With his own lost hope dwindling, Abel feels a shadow of unconscious wrap around his mind. His body limp and numb, his legs give way. And while his gasps cease and the last struggle for energy diminishes, the waves of voices continue and the crowds go on – that one man’s urgent message lost with his labor.

The author's comments:

This is a parable I had to write as one of the finals in my English class. The assignment was to write a parable in response to the ones that we read during the semester, and the one I chose was "An Imperial Message" by Kafka. So, this parable is inspired by "An Imperial Message" and takes the point-of-view of the messenger instead of the reciever of the message. To be honest, I wasn't planning on submitting it here, but, now that I've finished, I'm pretty proud of the work I've done! This is the first parable I've ever written, so i hope its good :D

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