Once I Was King...

                They tell me the first lines are the most important part of any story; hopefully these will do:

Most days pass in a fog. I sit in a white room, watching the sun track across the sky; I watch the light rise and fall. A gentle aide, smiling, whispers in my ear. He tells me stories that begin 'Once upon a time…' or 'Back when the world was new…'. He whispers words from some fairy-tale, a child's story about vanquished dragons and valiant knights and beautiful princes and princess, their bodies wreathed in fine cloth, their fingers adorned with jewels. Sometimes these stories have Gods, just and vengeful creatures. Sometimes they end with a wedding, with all gone right in the world. Sometimes they end in tragedy; a hero boldly sacrificing themselves so that those they love, or Earth itself, may survive. These are the tales I like best; they remind me of what someone told me—my father perhaps—in another life:

                "No true victory comes without cost. No true King ascends to his throne unscathed. No day passes in this world without those whom you rule, whom you serve, taking from you. They take and they take… until nothing remains. Nothing but what they demand you become.

                "This is what it means to be King."

                Sometimes the fog lifts briefly, and I can see this white room, this sterile building, clearly for what it really is. A hospital… and a prison. On these days, I notice what each passing moment takes from me, bearing me down a river whose current beats me further and further into the future, further and further from my glorious past.

                I was… I was…

Winds blow in my room as my suborned self returns in flashes. Perhaps my feet even leave the ground. In the distance I hear thunder, and in my hands crackle lightning. My eyes become dark and deep. My old name dances on the tip of my tongue. I taste its power, and with it, on the precipice, flirts a glut of lost memories. But the gentle voiced aide rushes in; calms me with his whispers; feeds me pills with his soft hands. There is kindness in his eyes, I see, but also fire. Sympathy, but also fear. He guides me with surprising strength, until my feet again touch the floor.

                "There, there," He whispers, leading me back to my bed, tightly restraining me, watching until my eyes fade back to white. "It doesn't do to get so stressed. Let me read you a story, you like those right?"

                Back in the thrall of the fog, I can do nothing but mutely nod.

                And so passes time, be it weeks, months or years, to me the distinction no longer matters. Deep within me, something remembers, long withered roots grow stronger. Dreams of my past become clearer. With each remembrance I go stronger; my jailor must wait longer for my fits of reassumed kinghood to subside. The doses of whatever they use to subdue my powers, I suspect, get larger yet still more inefficient. The others in white rooms, they who once ignored me, now gaze at me openly with fear or awe or some mixture of both in their eyes. At night, in fitful sleep, I begin to mutter the same refrain, speaking it still as I wake.

                I will cast down my usurpers. I will stamp their names from history. They will be undone as I was undone. They will know fear. They will hear me resurrected, and all their hopes will die on the vine.

Once I was king, and will be so again…