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King of the jungle

Short story By: Lev821

Is this really a perfect, idyllic journey?

Submitted:May 9, 2013    Reads: 124    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

I wonder where I will go. Where haven't I been? I've crossed the deserts of the world and made many friends. I've explored the icy frozen lands at the poles, and seen lifeforms scientists can't even imagine, but now I am unsure.

Where will I go?

Although I've sailed the seas many times, there are still places I haven't been. Islands to discover, territory yet to feel the tread of the human footprint, so I will commandeer a pirate ship, and as captain of a ragged bunch of worthy souls who could not wait to volunteer I set sail.

My journey is hazardous, but against all odds, against storms and a giant sea creature trying to sink my boat, I finally make it to the island. An island I have discovered. An island without a name.

My scoundrel crew are in constant states of deference to me. None of them dare question what I have to say. They obey without hesitation, and congratulate me on having discovered new land.

What shall I reward them with?

As I'm feeling kind today, king of the lush jungle beyond the beach before me, I hand them one gold coin each, each bowing in reverence. I can't help feeling proud of myself, proud of them. We shall feast well tonight, and in the morning, explore the jungle.

The sun hangs in a cloudless sky, illuminating the beach, the cliffs and the deep blue ocean. It's a nice day to explore, and I lead my deferential group into the green, luxuriant jungle, sunlight dappling us as we trek.

Then I realise. It hits me in an instant.

Have I discovered paradise?

I think I have, because, with the exception of my crew, I see nothing less than perfection.

Further into the jungle we go, and then animals appear, animals known to science but without any fear, without any hostility. There are apes in the trees. There are birds watching us. Tigers and Elks watch us silently, pacing around. I see a rhinoceros.

I don't want to go home. How can I when everything I need is right here? I wonder if they have been waiting for me all along. It certainly looks that way, because with my obedient assemblage behind, and all the animals looking at me, I know I am king.

Then it happens, as it always does in my journeys, something always sours the milk. My moments of glory are short-lived. Temporary.

One of my crew screamed, and I turned to see why. They were pointing at the animals. When I looked back at them, I screamed as well.

My journeys often end in chaos, in disarray. Too much for me to cope with, odds I cannot beat, so reality I must face, but I don't want to, I never want to. I cannot exist in a middle ground, between the physical and the imaginary.

I can start again however. I can start another journey, and when I do, I feel peace, but sometimes I have to face the harsh reality of who I am, and what I did.

My screams always go ignored, sitting here against the wall, in my straight-jacket, in my padded cell. I can imagine. I can go wherever I like, because in my mind, I am free.


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