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Comments: 2


26th June 114P.R.


Out into the desert again. I never thought that I would be so happy to be leaving Kirk. Well, I never thought I would be leaving Kirk. I remember mum and dad warning me of the Blackwoods, warning me of their disquiet connection and fascination with the monarchs. But I now understand the real unseen obsession was never about fear or hatred towards the monarchs but instead it was about knowledge and beauty. I suppose in a way that is what Nicolas is wanting between the monarchs and the people.


I smile to myself,


Chezelle, Alais and Roumanix. All cities.


My smile starts to creep into a grin,


Other cities. New cities. New monarchs. Monarchs who want nothing but beauty and knowledge within their cities.


I straighten my back and speak in a deep voice, “Nicolas. The King of Roumanix.” I laugh to myself, “Teresa. Simply knowing is not enough.” Suddenly my foot hits a rock, “Oh, fu... fudge.” I stop shaking my foot and put it down only to spot a rattlesnake in the sand a little way away. I direct my voice at it, “We will be keeping a watchful eye on you.” As I get closer to it I raise my voice, “And so will your people!” The rattlesnake makes a quick getaway and I laugh immensely. I pick up my bouler and start writing again,


I wonder did the other monarchs know about the revolution? And if they did why haven't they come to Kirk? Or why haven't they done anything? Maybe they just thought it was best to leave us alone.


We're alright though. I mean Matt, Emily and Megan will be alright without me. I'm sure Matt will go on to be a great doctor, and Emily and Megan will find their way. Something in me also tells me Ffion's going to be alright. As for Alex, I am not fearful for him, I'm jealous. He gets to keep Sophia. He gets to live, learn and love her as he would his own daughter. The only trouble that has been caused has been caused by, well. Me. I could have just stayed mute. Stayed fearful. Stayed under the control of the dead monarchs. But it's too late for that.


What did Riof do? Was he another monarch? What were his foul methods?


“Too many questions.” I stop writing and shut my diary. I look down and the diary isn't shut, my bouler is left on the page. I lift it out but then I notice something, a different handwriting in my diary. I turn to a page marked,


24th June 114P.R.


It was Alex's writing. I sigh and shut my diary again. Now is not the time to look over memories, even if it was only 2 days ago. I put my diary, bouler and the gold decorated box to my side. I turn and look at a cactus. I walk over to it, put the spiel in and drink until I am no longer thirsty. I then turn back to the cactus,

“Look at that. Sand. Lots and lots of sand. Apart from you.” I tap the cactus and immediately regret it. I start to take out the thorns but keep talking, “Quiet isn't it? Silent almost. Nothing but the rare whisper of the wind.” I listen for a moment to the quiet moving of sand, “And how do you feel in this harsh environment?” I turn to the cactus, “Different? Alone? Hushed?” I pause and I shake my head, “Shhh, I know.” I tell the cactus, “You'd rather be alone.” I gently tap the cactus then I look up at the sky, raise my hand up against the sun and turn so my shadow is on my left side. As I start to walk again I begin tapping the box in a rhythm. And as I stare into the southerly horizon I speak my thoughts out loud to Nicolas, the King of Roumanix,


“For 114 years we have been purposely disconnected. For 114 years you have soundlessly turned your eyes away. For 114 years you have let us softly fade into the desert.”


“Well I am the messenger of that silenced city and you will hear my voice.”

Submitted: May 31, 2015

© Copyright 2021 SE Howie. All rights reserved.


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Add Your Comments:



Hey - this is brilliant! Great concept and really thoughtfully developed.

*Spoiler warning*
I love the way that you describe Kai's vision as a totally alien thing. She hasn't got the resources to describe sight in the way that a seeing person would. It made the first half really intriguing, and there were some poignant moments as she learns to put words to the experience of seeing.

I also enjoyed the way this story combines the harshly physical elements of the crash and the desert with the internal emotional and psychological stuff.

I like the use of different writing modes - having the diary tell some of the story, as well as the letters. You've obviously put a lot of thought into the background of the world and setting as well. It was fun getting to know the environment of the story.

I was expecting the ending to include some final threat. I was suspicious of Sophia, and that stuff with the gun made me wonder if there would be a twist, like Alex turns out to be a bad guy. But in a way that would have been more obvious, and I love a straight happy ending!

Fantastic, well done! I loved it.

Mon, June 1st, 2015 9:21pm


Thank you Andy I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And one of my first thoughts was to have Alex turn out to be a bad guy, as one of the first images in my head that I had for the story was to have Sophia and Kai in the library and for Sophia the to be shot by Alex. Hence breaking Alex and Kai apart but I diverted from that ending as I love Alex to much and it made the ending much more open.

Tue, June 2nd, 2015 2:24am


Hi I've just read the whole thing! This is a terrific book and a great achievement on your part- well done. The concept is fantastic. Its so simple and classic I keep thinking it must have been done before but racking my brains I really can't think of another example. Its completely original. your imagining of how the city works and your creation of the atmosphere of the desert and the ruins are brilliant. I loved the very subtle way you reveal the nature of the heroine's 'curse'
A terrific achievement. best of luck with finding a deserved wider readership.

Sun, July 5th, 2015 12:39pm


Thank you so much Crowefoot. I remember myself trying to see if it had been done before. Your comments really do mean a lot, thank you :D

Tue, July 7th, 2015 8:01am

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