Here is a king. He is focused on the primary work of any king; building and fortifying his kingdom. Piece by piece, he built a spectacular castle around himself his whole life. The castle is located low in a valley. While a natural defense from those who would oppose him, this location also served as a natural barrier from early morning light (and most of the light throughout the day for that matter) in effort to not let the sun disrupt his day. It is much easier to sleep in the darkness and since the sun light has the disagreeable habit of becoming brighter though out the day, this shielding from the sun is a necessity for the king’s comfort.
Inside the castle, the walls are covered with innumerable accolades and memories of his accomplishments. There are so many that it appears that the castle itself is constructed out of them. Perhaps, if some of the remarkable tapestries depicting his likeness in great, Olympic fashion were removed, one could find some sort of foundation upon which they hung. It was doubtful.
The most striking piece of decoration in his hall was a great mirror hung above the door at the far end opposite of where he sat on his throne all day and night. It was strategically placed so that he could see himself reflected back in the midst of all his accomplishments and all his greatness. There was nothing better that could be placed there for it made sure that his attention was focused on that which was most important, himself. And it was to this end that he was currently working, creating a new post of status to hang on his wall for all to see that they may know him and join him in celebrating his kingdom.
The perfect words. That’s all he needed. No detail was avoidable. How many words? Which words? How many sentences? Oh! He hadn’t even stopped to consider multiple sentences. No, this time it needs to be one short thought almost passing by without further consideration but still enough that everyone who read it would be tempted to turn around and remember it. Most importantly, it couldn’t sound as if he wanted or needed a response. It would be as if his words were above a response. Any outside interaction with it though would give him some sense of control. Yes, of course. It wasn’t enough to feed off the affirmation that would come with others liking or commenting on what he wrote but, in order to really suck the marrow out of the whole situation, he needed the control.
He was the one who said what was important. What others needed to know or hear. It was his words, and by association he himself, that mattered. It all came down to the words he chose right now. His trouble was that there were several different ways he could approach this.
An emotional appeal? Heartfelt and honest (as honest as he cared to be)? Oh, those worked magnificently when used correctly but one was limited in the frequency of their use. In his case, heartfelt was a simple classification rather than a genuine source. Like the child, who learning the art of poetry is pressed to create emotional works and simply follows the patterns of those before him in an effort to receive good marks and then move onto something more exciting. The real ones though, the people who only needed to express the storm or emotions happening inside of them and weren’t dependent on the sentiments of others, although they were welcome, those people had given him plenty of material to piece together any emotional confession as needed to fulfill his current situation. After a fair amount of practice, only a small outside catalyst was necessary. Still, vagueness was needed, lest the territory would quickly become too tricky to navigate if you weren’t one of the truthful few who really were in the depths. Best to play it safe here and keep searching through his options, he decided.
Social or political commentary? No, not this. Certainly, this path was the equivalent of watching a man, who having just dug a hole in order to trap some unsuspecting foe, turns around and promptly falls in it himself. They were too difficult a bog to navigate for this current instance. He was wise enough to avoid them. Aside from the executional difficulties, these types of thoughts were focused on the idea of outside change. An impact beyond himself. Whether he realized it at this moment or not is irrelevant but he certainly wasn’t concerned about the world that was any measure beyond the end of his own nose.
A try at some humor? He felt himself above the person who posts a joke without context. How he had come to the level of professional, looking with a strong sense of disdain towards that crowd of amateurs is unclear. Any humor that he mentioned must be experiential. The details can be muddled around with as needed, but the core of his story would have to be derived from his life. In this way, all of his potential admirers would not only say to themselves “Isn’t this wonderfully amusing?” but they would also associate the man himself with a delight and joy. Having read his words, those lucky people would without a doubt, believe that this man’s life must be filled with these light anecdotes full of laughter and whimsy. This end was much closer to what he desired, but was not quite what he needed at this time.
It was necessary that the words he chose would focus the perception of others not to the words, but rather, in fact, to him. The words would vanish out of mind as soon as they served this purpose. In a week’s time, few would know how they arrived at such a location of admiration – and it was in fact better if they didn’t know – but all would have the idea in their heads that “Oh, he certainly has the best posts. I should pay attention to him.” After all, that was the place that he created and the world in which he lived his life as the sole occupant in his own kingdom, longing for others to come acknowledge him. Every post was a plea for the subjection of others to his reign. He was a king in his own world where others, through praise and regular agreement with his own views, may come to partake in his glory.
Slowly he wrote the update on a piece of parchment.
“Yes. Perfect,” he thought. “And another in a little bit will only strengthen me in the eyes of others.”
He sank leisurely into his throne. It creaked and echoed through the large empty room as silence soon took control of the dimly lit castle he had built around himself. The sound of cheers and devotion retreated back into the dark areas of his mind where they originated.
A strong wind came and battered the castle, rattling the doors and shaking the walls. Streams of dust fell from the ceiling like small spirals of snows off the high, still branches in a quiet forest. And with this outside force, the great mirror shifted and detached itself from the wall. In the next moment, everything seemed to come to complete stillness as the mirror descended down toward the ground and one second seemed a lifetime. An eternity of silence that was gathered into one infinite point in time turned in upon itself and created what could only be described as the opposite of silence. To call it a noise or a sound would be severely insufficient for both of these may be overcome by some louder blast. There was nothing greater than this. Moreover, any sound or noise inevitably dies out and succumbs once again to silence, but the result of the mirror crashing down, its ability to be ever present from there on was the method by which it, this cosmic resonation, worked. Its power wasn’t limited to just this moment. A persistent presence beyond the hearing of human ears – not to be thought of in the same way that certain sounds may be heard by animals but not humans. It was beyond the ears themselves. In this way, one would not need ears to know it was there constantly ringing. It didn’t grow stronger or weaker with time. In fact, time seemed to have no impact whatsoever on it. The pulse didn’t move through time but rather it was time that pattered along in relation to the essence of this presence. Just as a musician may change the tempo at which a piece of music is played, this force (it was in a way tangible to all the senses and yet above them) kept the time of existence.
Seven large shards of glass were strewn across the floor in front of the throne and the king. He gazed at them as a seven fragmented, broken faces stared back at him.
Where the mirror once stayed on the wall as part of the castle, a large void had been revealed amongst the displayed accomplishments of his life. One got the sense that the void was unmistakably there before the mirror but had simply been covered up; the whole castle functioned in this way. Over the ridge of the valley, the sun rose and shot light into the void. The light gathered itself into a small patch on the floor in front of the throne which seemed to disappear into darkness compared to this new luminescent area of the hall. The light reflected off the broken pieces of glass. It seemed to focus itself into such strong beams and they burst through the castle hall and meeting the dusty walls full of his praise quickly set the whole place burning.
Any resemblance of a smile slowly left the king’s face. A tear crept down through the creases on his cheeks as he looked longingly at the doors. Not one person had ever come through them. He didn’t notice the droplet though. He had trained himself long ago to ignore them
He looked back at what he had just written and felt empty.
Surrounded by the flames of everything he had made, he dropped the parchment to the ground, stood up from his throne and walked into the circle of light.
Although i was unaware of this song until about 3/4 of the way of writing this, it stuck in my head for the remainder of the process.