The Final King

Getting out of bed wasn't an easy task for him anymore. His mind was often plagued with nightmares, even during the day, haunting his waking hours. It hampered his spirit, sucked the soul out of him. His hair was matted, his soul was fractured, and nothing the Royal Healer did would help him. He had become a shell of the bright, young man he had been. And without his steady presence and firm guidance, his country was left in shambles, angering the withering prince.

But he supposed that was okay, feeling something other than nothing. He was trapped, his mind constantly playing the events of that day along the line of his vision. His limbs were heavy, bones weak. He had tried, time and time again to get up and overlook the castle's comings and goings, but all he could see was the destroyed remains of everyone he loved on the floor, painting the walls with their blood. Everyone around him faded away, leaving blurred faces and muffled voices. He felt the pity of the healers around him, hearing their hushed whispers through the haze of his mind, but he couldn’t bring himself to be embarrassed.

He had been angry at the start, raging and pushing on the grief swallowing him whole. His mind was racing with all the vengeance that he desired to act on. His troops had been all too willing to get revenge for all that they had lost that day. But no amount of anger was able to stop the tidal wave of anguish that slowly ripped him away from his people when they needed him the most.

And while his citizens scrambled to deal with their loss of leadership, the final king was fading out of existence like a dying star.


23 was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
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