Captain Robert Scott

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A boy's excessive reading of adventure stories leads him down an unexpected path.

Submitted: November 15, 2013

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Submitted: November 15, 2013



The boy liked to read adventure stories.  He would read and read and read until his eyes were dry like a cat's tongue, and then he would walk to the kitchen and drink a glass of water, a full glass of water, and then he would return to his bed and read some more.



Sometimes, late at night, his father would stand in the doorway, a black outline, and the black outline would speak.  "You read so much you're gonna lose your eyesight, boy," it would say. The black outline was angry.

"No," the boy would say. "No, I won't."

And the father would look at the boy, and the boy would look at the outline, and they would look at each other. 

Then the father would turn, and be gone.



Other times the boy stayed up so late he would see things. A few times, when he was reading about Captain Robert Scott in Antarctica, the captain himself appeared at the foot of his bed and talked to him like he was one of the men on his expedition. He would even yell.  Because of the wind, in Antarctica.Really Captain Robert Scott was just a black outline, but the boy knew the truth.



Then, one day, Captain Robert Scott knocked on his front door. It was daytime.  The boy was eating breakfast cereal, and his father was eating eggs and reading the newspaper. His father walked slowly to the door and opened it, and Captain Robert Scott breezed past him into the kitchen. 

"Come with me," he said to the boy. The boy's father was still at the entryway, hand on the knob of the open door, looking out.

The boy looked at Captain Robert Scott, and looked at his father, and looked out the window, and then picked up his bowl of breakfast cereal and followed the captain out the open door, right past his father. Captain Robert Scott closed the door behind them.



"Take this," he said, handing the boy a compass.  The boy took it.

"And this."  Some water.

"Now, pick a direction, and walk in that direction, and do not stop until you know it is time to stop."

The boy looked at the captain, and the captain looked at the sky, and then at his watch.  The boy finished eating his cereal slowly, still looking at the captain.  Then he picked up the compass and the water, and began to walk.



The boy walked for many months, slowly sipping his water, always checking his compass.  He did not stop.  Eventually he reached a great flat expanse, and it began to snow.  But the boy knew what to do.  He kept walking.


It snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed, and then it stopped, and the sun came out.  The boy looked around.  The snow was beautiful, but bright.  He kept walking.




Slowly he realized that he couldn't tell the sky from the snow.  The sky was blue, and the snow was white, but it all looked the same, colorless. Not white or black really, just colorless.  He looked down at his shoes.  They were just like everything else, colorless. His hands, colorless.  His shirt, colorless.

He considered this, and kept walking.




As he walked each step became a little easier.  He had been tired, but now he wasn't.  He began to feel the snow disappear under his feet.  He looked ahead and saw a light and the shape of something.  What was it?  A bed.  Yes, it was a bed.  His bed. He walked to it and stopped.  He crawled in. He looked around.  He was in his room.

An outline appeared at the door.

The outline paused, and seemed to hesitate. "Goodnight son, I love you," said the outline.

The boy looked at the doorway, then picked up his book, and continued reading.


© Copyright 2019 Tom Glass. All rights reserved.

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