A Chair Fit for a King. Flash Fiction.

The throne was made of iron with a thin gilding of gold, over time it had worn away along the arms of the throne, but the rest shone brightly. Ornately carved vines twisted their way around it, sprouting leaves and flowers along the way while delicately carved animals gambolled and frolicked, the carvings were so intricate and small that it would take hours of viewing to see them all. Despite the small nature of the designs they did not look overcrowded or busy, instead it was a delicious feast for the eyes. Jonathan sat upon the throne, though it had been years since had seen it properly he still remembered the carvings, as a child he would sneak it and gaze at them all until he was finally caught and shooed away by one of the servants. The ropes that bound him to the throne were made of material that felt like soft velvet, but they were stronger than steel. He had spent many hours struggling against them, as the raised scars on his wrists and ankles could attest to. The one across his chest hadn’t done much damage, but that was mostly because he couldn’t move his chest all that much, there was just enough room for him to breathe deeply. Every morning and evening servants came and bathed him with cool, damp cloths, they would empty his waste bucket which was artfully hidden by small black curtains that were pulled tightly closed between the legs of the throne. He had been sitting here for almost twenty years, his legs had already atrophied, more thin sticks of bone and skin than anything. His stomach hung heavily in his lap, he ate frequently, it was the only thing that helped pass the time. As a child he had looked upon it as a noble sacrifice, despite his fathers insistence that it was awful, but Jonathan could not understand how awful it truly was, not until he too was bound to it on his sixteenth birthday, the day his own father died of infection along the sores of his back and buttocks. The chair still smelled of rot and damp and sweat when they tied him into it. Somewhere along the dark and dimly remembered halls of the palace a clock struck ten, soon it would be time for the Royal Maiden, she would come nightly until she conceived another child. Jonathan found the act itself more one of duty than pleasure, he didn’t like the way he couldn’t move his body to match her rhythm, or reach out and stroke one hand softly down her back. No, it was nothing more than a mechanical act, he did it simply because it was his duty.

He heard a noise in the darkness, he didn’t bother looking to see what it was, probably another servant. He remembered his father calling out, his voice booming in the large room and echoing through the halls, asking if it was an assassin come to finally end him. Jonathan had never entertained the hope, why would he? There hadn’t been an assassination in over seven hundred years and even then it could be argued that it was more a case of a bad chef than an intentional killing. A servant walked into view carrying a tray, he hadn’t realised it was already time for his evening meal. Time stretched out endlessly here, but it was a duty that needed to be fulfilled. The people were bound to him, just as he was bound to them.

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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.
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