The Boy in the Woods: Part 19

by bdhesse


Michael and Palesa crawled along the edge of the roof towards the second story window.
“Are you sure this will work?” Michael asked Palesa.
“Trust me,” Palesa replied. “He’ll be there.”
When they got to the window, Palesa crawled below it to the other side. Then they each sat down as quietly as possible. The window was open and they could hear everything that was happening inside the room.
Curious, Michael peeked inside quickly. The room appeared to be a large dining hall. It had a long wooden table with about 12 wooden chairs around it. The table was occupied by only one person: a large man who had his back to the window. He was eating from the many plates that filled the table and throwing the discarded food to the floor. A second man stood in the corner and watched the large man eat with a blank look on his face. The second man was tall and very thin with sickly pale skin. He had very little hair, but what he did have was damp with sweat.
Michael pulled away from the window, making a face as he did so.
“Don’t give me that look, you greedy glutton,” a voice said from within the room. “You act as if I never feed you.”
“F…forgive me, y…your majesty,” a second voice replied. “I…I mean no disrespect.”
“All these problems, everything that plagues the nation, it’s all caused by people like you who aren’t grateful for everything I’ve done for you,” the first voice continued.
“Yes, your majesty,” the second voice said.
“Even my own men…you’re really the worst, you know,” the first voice said. “Like that idiot you replaced. You know what I caught him doing? Eating food off the floor! My food! As if he were entitled to the food from my plate. As if I never fed him. Ungrateful whelp. But you know what I did to him? You know how I made him pay? Beheading! The greatest punishment that never should have been gotten rid of.”
“Of course, your majesty,” the second voice replied.
Before the man could go on, Michael and Palesa heard a door slam open. Someone hurried forward, then there was a moment of silence.
“Your majesty,” a female voice said. “I’ve located another one of those wishing stones.”
“Excellent, Rain,” the first voice said. “How far is it?”
“Not far,” Rain replied. “But there’s something you should know: there are fortune hunters hunting these stones too. They’re nearby and are probably looking for this one.”
The man grunted loudly. “I don’t care,” he said. “Get me that stone. Get them all. I’ll pay you whatever you want. Nobody else deserves those stones.”
“Yes your majesty,” Rain replied. “I’ll do what I can.” Footsteps move away from the window. Michael and Palesa hear the door open and close again.
The first man continued to speak. “Excellent,” he cried. “Soon I’ll have five of those stones. Soon I’ll be able to wish for anything. Maybe I’ll wish for more wealth, or power. Or maybe I’ll wish for eternal life. The possibilities are endless.”
Michael and Palesa continued to listen to the man talk about what he would wish for as they watched a woman in a uniform march quickly across the grounds and out of sight.
Michael signalled to Palesa and they crawled back along the room the way they had come.