A Kingdom of decision

Posted: January 14, 2011 in #fridayflash, Short stories

Twenty years. Over half of his life he had worked to build his Kingdom. She had destroyed it all in a matter of hours. Crushed towns folk surrounded the shattered buildings, lost loved ones and mounds of desolation. The Kingdom of Kataria looked like a plate of left over’s, from a Sunday roast dinner. The crushed remains of unidentifiable objects and buildings, merged together into a mass of unidentifiable disorder, with a thick brown liquid emerging from on top and seeping through the cracks and mounds.

Wild animals and peasants were united in the rubble and devastation, looking to each other for comfort, with the fear the kingdom of Kartaria was no more. Orcs lay amongst the townsfolk, pleading for aid and forgiveness, whilst the wild monkeys searched for scraps of food. The woodland trolls and Centaurs lay amongst the dilapidated forest of Kataria, the usual passive harmony, now chaotic and restless. The Kingdom lay in ruins, but his heart was in more pieces than a children’s construction set at Christmas.

The loss of his world; his empire; his life; lay strewn like discarded pieces of trash. And there she stood, her shadow overcastting the land and his realm.

“Why?” he mumbled almost speechless through shock and despair.

“I’ve had enough!” she screamed. Her voice travelling through the valley, screeching through the forest, bouncing off of the snowy mountains and ricocheting off of the castle’s tower, knocking the poor gargoyle guards from their perches, like a possessed boomerang. “Twenty years this has been your world and where do I come on your priority list?” she bellowed. “I feel like I’m going insane. You and your Kingdom are all you care about. Day in and day out, this is where you are. Its over!!!”

They both starred at each other across the loft conversion, the Kingdom of Kartaria stood between them, as it had been for so many years. Years or careful painting, precision, patience and determination. A passion for this world he had created for himself, made from miniature figures and carefully sculpted landscapes. Several square metres of a minuscule world which had a giant place in his heart, now left a gapping and gushing hole.

He fought back the tears, “I don’t go to the pub, or out playing sports. I don’t visit strip clubs or go on wild men-only holidays. I’ve never had an affair or neglected my role as a father. It’s a hobby. One that I love.”

“You’re obsessed! Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays are all disrupted by your need to spend time up here. I wake in the night to find you gone and up here ‘tinkering’ with minor touches. You get home from work, eat dinner with the family and then disappear to your beloved Kingdom. A hobby has turned into a fixation, a drug. You can’t go a day without spending at least an hour up here. Our last anniversary was spent with you twitching and looking at your watch. Your son’s birthday’s are spent giving him a guided tour or what will one day be his. He hates it as much as I do, it’s stolen his father!”

“So you do this?” he said angrily opening his arms wide to the destruction she had committed.

“Yes. The Kingdom had to go, or your family. You wouldn’t have been able to make that decision,” she said sounding defeated and as if her energy was leaving her body like a deflating balloon. Exasperated she swallowed her anger, “we love you, but we want your time! You may as well have been having an affair for the amount of time and energy you put into this thing, compared to your family”

“You’re jealous,” he said smirking inappropriately.

“Yes maybe. Which is why, like a mistress, I’ve humiliated her and shown her you belong and matter to us!”

“Don’t you think if you had to make the decision for me, that says it all really?” He said again, pawing at debris from his model world. “If you don’t think I can make the decision over this and my family,” he paused, “does that not tell you that I wouldn’t, couldn’t and won’t. All you’ve done is made a decision worse. Its going to take me years to put this right!”

“No. No more!” she shouted, like the evil witch who came to conquer the Kingdom and turn it to a dark, cold place. “It’s us or this.”

He looked to his kingdom and then looked up at his wife, a marriage of 25 years.

Which one could he restore?

  1. Tony Noland says:

    Addiction comes in many forms, and this one is just as destructive as an addiction to gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc. The elements of delusion and rationalization here were very true to life.

    The details and insight were wonderfully told.

  2. Tony’s right. This is an interesting twist on addiction destroying a marriage. Now which one will he choose?

  3. ganymeder says:

    I totally empathize with the wife in this one, and I *adore* role playing!

  4. I agree with ganymeder. I think RP is an amazing thing, and I had my own addiction to Second Life for awhile, so I can understand this completely. I empathize with the wife. I think there are more marriages like this than anyone knows. Good story!

  5. KjM says:

    This is not going to end well. I can tell. Once an addiction gets that kind of a hold…

    He’s still thinking of it as “his kingdom”. He even has to ask himself which one he’d try restore.

    Excellently developed characters.

    Well done.

  6. Jason Warden says:

    It really is true, addiction can take any form, any. If it disrupts your life and those around you it qualifies. As for the story itself, I think you could have kept the illusion of a ‘Fantasy world’ just a bit longer by removing the child’s construction set reference and the one about Christmas but otherwise I thought it was well done.

  7. Blackbirdsong says:

    This really is sad. Life is passing him by and all he cares about is some stupid game. I really sorry for his wife. Poor woman.

  8. adampb says:

    A well crafted insight into spousal relationships and the things that affect them. It has an authenticity to it and the dialogue hints at the depths of each character.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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