Reads: 233

 

Sand. More, exciting sand. Alexander wipes his eyes as Randy trundles forwards, Alex drinks the last of his water and taps Randy to a stop by the nearest cactus. They fill up on water then Alex gets out his map and sighs,

“We're officially off the map now. Not that it makes it any more exciting” Alex folds up the map and puts it way. He reaches for a piece of paper, gets his bouler and writes in big letters, SAND. Then with another sigh he lets the wind take it, waiting a moment, he turned to watch it disappear into the.

 

Sand?

 

That isn't sand.

 

Alex rubbed his eyes.

 

No.

 

It isn't sand.

 

It isn't sand.

 

It ISN'T sand!

 

Alex almost leaped onto Randy, tapping him twice, twice again, twice again. Randy was already moving, Alex kicks with his heels urging him to go faster. He did. Randy starts to gallop shaking Alex up and down, which wasn't good for his spine, not at his age. Still Alex urges him on. Onwards the thing that isn't sand. Closer and closer, the object split into 2, then 3, then a lot more. Was this the square on the carter?

 

Randy halts and Alex jumps down into the deep, soft sand. He waddles forwards with his cloak dragging behind him and touches the stone but his eyes drifted upwards to the rest of the ruin. His foot lands on the smooth marble floor, running his hands along the wall that stretched upwards to the sky. It’s broken and sandy now but underneath it was magnificent, built by craftsmen with magnificent pictures on the walls, carved stones to fit each room differently. The floor is cold even in the midday sun, the walls stretching around every room told a story: pictures of battles; portraits; pictures of a city standing high and beautiful; birds and plants; market scenes and the exchanging of wonderful items. There had been colour here but now it is grey and faded, the walls were now rough and gritty.

 

He comes to a set of stairs, there is no floor above but Alex climbs up to the top. There is a small ledge, he sits down taking out some paper, his compass and his bouler. He measured north and marked where another map finished, he has many maps but the most exciting thing on most of them was an extra tall cactus or a snake nest. He sees Randy down waiting on the sand, a tiny dot compared to the size of this ruin, the ruin was too small to be a manor house and not the right type for a castle. A mansion? A holiday home maybe? Finishing off his map Alex takes another piece of paper and draws what is in his view. There is a big entrance way right in front of him with pillars either side of it, below his feet begin the stairs running to his right, up to where he is sat. There is evidence of a left stair coming round to the same point but half of it is missing. To the left of the entrance is a large room with window spaces, opposite to this is a larger room with one whole side gone, coming back is a room with high walls and many marks on the floor, the left back handside is a room with a fireplace and places to cook, stains lay on that floor. The floor in all the rooms, the pillars and the hall are slabs of marble, the walls are a cream coloured stone which have plaster remaining in some places.

 

Alex pauses drawing for a moment to look at the walls. There are definitely remains of pictures on the walls and the marble on the floor with waves in it but from this angle the hall floor looks like an owl. Yes there’s an owl, the white parts in the marble weave together to make a massive owl. Alex stands up deciding he should get a better look. He turns and is walking down the stairs when his spiel falls out of his bag and smashes into a step, he bends down to pick it up when he notices the step is hollow.

 

More than that something is shining. He reaches his fingers under the marble step and pulls it up. Underneath it there were letters, a piece of cloth, a note, a photograph and a large enclosed pot. The writing on the letters are written in Braille but they did not write them using boulers, the Braille was smoother and joined in places. Alex knew this strange writing and substance as painting and paint. Alex picks up a letter starts reading it,

 

Dear Lisé,

I hope you are enjoying your time at The Lodge. I've heard that our mother, Teresa, will be returning soon. The blind rabble seem to be a bit lost and day-dreamy without their queen. What are you getting up to these days? I would love to come and share your holiday however someone needs to keep a watchful eye over our rapidly developing Kirk,

 

Your Sister,

 

Emillè.

 

Alex picks up the other letter. This one is dated,

 

14th April 3086

 

Hello again my darling sister,

I am looking forward to your return. I got your letter and glad to hear about your paintings at The Lodge. The replacement signs you have done for us around Kirk are wonders to behold. I've never looked at them closely before but I was walking down Sir Walters Street going to get a new dress at Lu Bernadette's but there was a crowd coming out so I waited. During that time I gazed around and saw the detailing on our sign. Is there a golden owl on the top left of every sign?

Anyway, my main reason for writing was that with Teresa Màrrene back as the reigning Monarch,

 

Monarch. Alex pauses. He knew that word. Was he taught about it at school? No. He was reading about it recently. In our...

 

Our...

 

History. That's it.

Alex goes back to the start of the line and carries on reading,

 

Anyway, my main reason for writing was that with Teresa Màrrene back as the reigning Monarch, you wrote you feel restless and you feel an atmosphere of tension among the workers. I know you are scared sister but this slave, you say, that's gone missing from The Lodge. You needn’t fear, even if he did make it back to Kirk he would be dead within days, none can survive in the desert for long. Not the blind at any rate.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Emillè.

 

Alex folds the letters up and puts them in his pocket. Remembering something he rummages in his bag and pulls out the carter, he scribbled on it, The Lodge, by the square. Then he reaches down and takes out the piece of cloth. It is purple with a gold shape in the middle, Alex turns it to make out what it is. An owl. Just like the one in the marble hallway he'd seen only moments before, he looks at the fine detailing on it and the Braille beneath that reads, The Watchful Owl. Putting it way in his pocket he carries on rummaging. A Note.

 

To whoever reads this. My name is Lisé Màrrene, the year is 3086 and I am 28 years old. I am descendent of the monarchs who have ruled over Kirk and it's surrounding desert for over 3,000 years. I have a sister called Emillè who is 30, 3 brothers: the eldest, 37 named Perry, the youngest, of 18 is Leonand the other, Edmon is the same age as me.

 

I hope you have heard stories about the Seer's Kirk, for it was beautiful with spires reaching up to the skies, marble paths, silver train tracks running over cobblestone, beautiful extensive gardens, bright and vibrant colours everywhere and every street was a feast for the eyes. Our palace is set in centre of this marvellous city with it's magnificent grounds. The seers, what the monarchs were called back then, called in for their people to enter the city, to behold it's charm and elegance but they did not care. The commoners did not see, they took instead to the senses of touch and sound, destroying the sense of sight in the process.

 

The Feast Of Light. The end to the awe-inspiring Kirk that the seers had dreamt and built only 100 years before. After the “feast” all the colour had faded from the city, the streets seemed darker and the relationship between the seers and the common-folk became distant. They had killed Kirk. They had, KILLED. The perfect vision.

 

So we built our own life, above them with our streets paved with marble running across their rooftops, we hand painted our own signs, each generation looking after our Kirk and replacing things if they had turned sour. We have 10 lots of blind families that we use generation after generation for building, constructing and serving. Our personal slaves. But mostly we leave the blind to their own, we watch over them and rule them as expected because they are our empire and our power. However we make sure to be separate from them as we are pure and gifted by the Gods and they are not. Every young monarch that is born is taught that history and taught what the blind can do and will do if they ever get the chance again.

 

So if you can read this then I assume you also have the divine gift therefore you are rare and phenomenal, just like us. Seek us out and you will be welcomed with open arms, Kirk lies to the east of here. You will be able to find us in the Grand Palace.

 

Alex blinks. He put the note down on a step and draws a long breath.

 

Letting the breath out he speaks to himself,

“Blimey. Looks like some people had it worse than I did.” His eyes then trace downwards to the photograph that lay face up. It was a family, clearly, and it appears to be Lisé's family. Sat on a chaise in the middle of the photograph is an elderly lady, around 50 years old, her hair is curly and her eyes look young. She is clothed in a dress that is white, it has lace on the arms, neck and fine red embroidery can be seen climbing down the side of the dress. That must be Teresa, Alex thinks to himself.

To each side of Teresa sit two girls on the floor. The one on the left looks older than the one on the right. She has golden hair that rests calmly on her shoulders, her dress is the same as Teresa's but with gold embroidery. Alex guessed that was Emillè. One on the right the other girl is almost the mirror image of Emillè apart from her brown hair, the green embroidery on her dress and her younger complexion. Lisé.

Directly behind Teresa stands a man, his posture is tall and strong and he looks as if he is King. Alex thinks for a moment that he is the King, up until he looks closer and notices he is in his late 30's or early 40's so he can't be Teresa's husband. His suit is black, his hair is brown and his hand is placed caringly on Teresa's shoulder. That must be Perry, Alex concludes. To the left of him and behind Emillè stands the youngest looking boy, he is in his late teens and wearing a charcoal suit. He has curly hair. Leon. To Perry's right and behind Lisé stands the last person. His suit is grey and he has a glazed look about him. Edmon.

 

Alex folds the photograph up with Lisé's note and puts them in his pocket. The last item is a large enclosed pot. He eases the lid off and looks at the strange substance. Taking out some paper Alex dips his finger into the substance and writes an A in Braille on the paper. Then he smells the substance and rubs it between his fingers,

“Paint.” Alex says putting the lid back onto the pot.

 

Suddenly he hears a loud wailing behind him. Alex whips round. It was Randy. It was then he feels the wind, the particles of sand brushing his face and hears the sound of thunder. Alex turns his head to look behind him.

 

A sandstorm.

 

Stretching across the whole horizon, blocking out the sun as it comes. He could see the force it carried, like the inside of a tornado. The colossal beast was coming right for him. Alex lurched up grabbing the pot as he fled down the stairs, across the hall and into the entranceway. He leaps from the marble onto Randy, landing violently in the saddle. He kicks with his feet with such intensity that they stab into Randy's ribs.

 

They fly across the desert. Desperately trying to stay ahead of their destruction.


Submitted: May 31, 2015

© Copyright 2022 SE Howie. All rights reserved.

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