The Monarch

The Monarch

the monarch

“Here” the Monarch wheezed, struggling to find a comfortable position “This is the right spot.”
“The right spot for what, sir?” his heir asked, trembling.
“This is where I am going to die. The light is just right. I want to feel the breeze over this old skin one last time.”
The heir looked at the frail, wrinkled body, the skin was translucent, growing paler in the early morning light, taking on a distinctly greenish tinge.
“I will meet you again.” He stated, confidently, for that – he had been told since he could remember – was what you said to a dying Monarch.
“Oh, pish and tosh, boy! None of that afterlife nonsense!” The old patriarch shook violently, but managed to keep a serene, almost cheerful tone.
“But sir!” The youngster protested “This is blasphemy! Do you not believe we will all meet on the other side?”
The Monarch laughed, but the laughter soon turned into a pained twitching.
“Rubbish.” he managed to splutter between coughs “And I suppose you believe we will all be pretty little angels by then, don’t you?”
“Well, sir… yes.” The heir looked uncertain “With wings that will take us up, high into the air, close to the sun and the source of all Grace. Why… is that not true, sir?”
“I’m an atheist, boy! This is it! This is our one go at life. Make the best of it! Angels, indeed!”

Those were the last words he remembered saying, before he drifted off into oblivion.

As he woke up in the blinding light, a moment or several lifetimes later, he stretched his wings, feeling exceptionally foolish. He peered down and back, taking them in: they were stunning, huge, black-rimmed and golden, with flecks of white. He felt strong and alive and he chuckled at his own blindness and lack of faith.
The world really was full of Grace.

He took off, enjoying the gentle caress of the wind as it embraced his new, perfect body. It was a moment of pure, immaculate bliss.

When he hit the transparent net, he barely had time to register the searing pain of the metal rod thumping through his thorax.

***

“This is called a Monarch Butterfly. See?” Ben said, taking the insect out of the net and placing it carefully onto Molly’s hand. She squinted at it.
“I still think this is a creepy hobby, Ben. It makes you look like a serial killer.”

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