The Royal Disease. Short Story.

So Saturday I had my pirate themed party and it was fun, everyone (well, almost everyone) came dressed up. I was a steampunk pirate (because steampunk is cool) with a monogoggle, cane, sword and steampunked raygun. I Wasn’t too bad off on sunday either, even with only like 3 hours sleep so that was good. Watched Doctor Who too, dunno what to think about the season finale at all, but it was fun to watch even though I was hungover, hopefully the Christmas special will be good.

I also learned something on saturday, curly straws are not long enough to fit down the neck of a bottle of Asti, also, drinking champage from straws causes it to fizz lots. BUT the day was saved. One of the presents I got was a straw building kit where you can stick straws together into different shapes so I made an extra long straw to drink from, and someone told me that bending the straw a bit will stop it fizzing and it worked!

It was a fun party, with not quite jello shots (they hadn’t set by the time the party started >.<) and punch with lots of alcohol (pretty much the dregs/remains of any bottles went into it, there was vodka, shnapps, micky finns, rum, jack daniels, skittles vodka, cherry sours, asti and a few others that I’m probably forgetting) and even with all that alcohol, you still could taste nothing but a delicious, tropically punch.

As to the vodka flavours I made, I pretty much forgot about them. I did try a few, but the taste of vodka was suprisingly strong, but they were not cool/cold at that point so it wasn’t too suprising. The strawberry infusion wasn’t nearly as strawberry tasting as I thought, especially because it smelled so amazing, which was quite dissapointing.

I forgot to charge the camera we have but luckily some people brought cameras, now I am just waiting for them to be uploaded (hint hint.) and see how ridiculous I look. I seem to recall I spent most of the night with a mini-plunger (also a present, you stick it to the back of your phone and it keeps it upright so you can watch videos without holding it) stuck to my head, mainly because I forgot it was there. I also had a cake, but forgot about this too, which was annoying because I got some really awesome candles (the only reason I wanted a cake in the firstime) that have different coloured flames when they burn. will just have to use them next year. also had cake sparklers and cake rockets (don’t really know what to call them, that seems like the best description.) I also forgot about food till late enough, obviously someone should remind me of these things as I am obviously not nearly as organised as I appear.

Also you know what’s awesome? I still don’t really get hangovers, I feel slightly off and tired but other than that I am generally fine. Though my sister was the same and this apparently wears off, but I shall enjoy it while it lasts.

Anyway, on with the show!


The Royal Disease.

The cage swung back and forth, slowly arcing. A thin squeak punctuated each swing. The cage was large, but all too small. It would fit a full grown man and nothing else, it was tall enough to stand in, but few stood for long, their legs becoming too weak to support them. Occasionally, thin screams can be heard in the distance, but these are infrequent.

Thousands of cages line the road, each one hanging, each one slightly swinging. Some are still for a while, but scavenging birds land on the cages, peck at those inside. When the body is unresponsive their frantic pecking starts the cage moving, when they’re still alive the birds startled flight pushes the cage, sending it gently swinging again.

People travel the road, for it is, after all, the main one. The general noise and hubbub of thousands of people moving seems subdued, the conversations quiet, stilted, trying to ignore the newest victim, calling out to those passing by. It wasn’t too bad, travelling the road during the rush hour peaks, surrounded by so many people it is easy to block out the noise, but travelling the road alone, with only a few people visible in the distance, or worse, at night. When the cages continue their creaks and those inside call out in the darkness, or those too weak to call out, groan. Some talk to themselves, cackling wildly at nothing there.

The punishment was always used, had been for centuries, but as the king grew in his madness more and more people were sentenced to the cages. Left to rot without food or water. Before, families sometimes tried to keep their loved ones alive, slipping them morsels and liquids during the night, but this stopped after those caught doing so were also put into cages. Before cages would sit for years, maybe decades before they needed to be replaced by a fresh one, but in the last few years cages lasted maybe a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. What was once reserved for heavy theft or murder was now handed out for minor infractions. Those who were lucky were sent to the Chambers, where they would be tortured and eventually released, their bodies never whole and their minds cracked and broken, but they had a chance, they could heal, their minds slowly repairing. If the Chambers was full, they would be sent to the cages, screaming as they were dragged away.

The king saw visitors less and less, convinced that there was a plot on his life, that everything was poisoned, every visitor was set to kill him. Neighbouring kingdoms ceased to send diplomatic visitors for fear of being accused. He was mad but his kingdom was strong, the strongest of them all, any warlike action on their part would end with the total destruction of their kingdom.

He sat in his opulent throne room, thick plush carpets covering the floor, large, intricate tapestries decorated the wall while portraits of the dead stared down disapprovingly from their portraits. His throne was large and well covered in comfortable fabric. A table was laid before him, filled with hundreds of delicacies, but few were tasted. He was not hungry, his appetite fading. He had been feeling sickly the last day or so, normally he would fear poison, but he had seen others with this illness and they recovered quickly, so would he.
The queen and heir had been sent away months ago, hidden away so not to encounter any attackers. She had been a calming influence on him, but now, without dissenters he was free to wallow in the madness. It calmed him, knowing his son was safe, that his heir would survive no matter what might happen to him, his guards remained loyal, he made sure of that and they would die protecting the queen and his son.

He gazed at the food, his appetite suddenly returning with voracious ferocity, he ate everything in front of him, no longer caring that it could be poison, he drained the jugs dry of their wine, then of their water and demanded more. He ate through the night and into the next morning, the cooks fearing that if he kept up this level of consumption the food supplies would run dry. Though he gorged and ate everything before him he began to get thinner, slowly at first but it gained speed, his cheekbones jutting from his sagging skin.

Outside, on the road those in the cages began to shout and clamour, their voices deafening as their energy was restored, their thirsts slaked and their hunger vanishing. The sorcerer sat in his cage, quiet and ignoring the shouts and cries of those around him as he weaved his spell.

The king sat immobile on this throne, dead, his hands covered in the food he was trying to stuff into his mouth, too hungry to care about manners or dignity. The queen and heir were transported back to the kingdom, subjected to the anguished cries of those who were now dying again after tasting life. The first order of the new king was to release all those who were in the cages for anything less than murder, ordering those who were wrongfully imprisoned to be compensated. People cried out, praising the new king, his smiled down at his subjects, the flickering flames causing his eyes to glitter and shine, but deeper, beneath the artificial glow was the flicker of madness, already growing.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
This entry was posted in Blog Posts, Fantasy, Short Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s