isitnaturalketchup

Hmmmmm……

“… a place for your drafts….”

Well, I suppose it’s done. Maybe.
I wonder if the tab thingy will work -

oh boy
I shall return!

Dr. Richards gazed upon the sad, crumpled man at his feet. It was such a shame, he thought, a long, prosperous reign of a wise prince with years of his life to come, to be thrown down into the depths forever. But he’d known - they’d both known - of what must happen, whether they’d liked it or not. And the time was now.

The air was too thick for the time of day, and it was a musky twilight hour in which Dr. Richards awoke. He sat up in the grass, and checked his watch first: Six o’clock. What a strange feeling it was to awaken at such a time, he thought…

“You’re a bit strange yourself, don’tcha think, doc?”

“Quiet.”

He stifled the voice inside his mind as best he could, only to get a faint chuckle from the very back of his head. The return of one of his unwelcome voices was enough to bring him back to where he was. This voice in particular, though… Oh, he just couldn’t stand him. Always showing up at he worst time, what a bother. Still, he wondered where it was that he sat.

And, where was he, exactly?

Hmmm… Thought Dr. Richards. He peered about the place where he sat. Rough soil rubbed against his overalls, and tall grass tickled the tip of his nose. He saw around him a field full of pale, untamed grass, which grew almost to his eye level where he sat. Above him, a stretching expanse of mulberry sky, soon to be dotted with the constellations he’d known so well. There was no one here, no human or any other being, to keep him company. The field felt complete and untouched, and Dr. Richards felt as though he were disgrace to this tranquil, heavenly place. He wondered how it was that he had been lucky enough to end up here, and who it had been who led him here. But he could remember nothing. And yet, how happy he was to be here, away from all those people, people, people.

Oh, how he hated people.

“Addison, you silly goose. Don’t you know you’re just a person yourself?”

“Quiet,” Dr. Richards said, covering his ears.

Again the laugh, resonating from the back of his skull, came to his ears. The voice was…

No, the voice was just silly.

“No I’m not.”

“Yes you are.”

Dr. Richards stood, his spine giving a crackling twitch in protest. Through fogged eyes he could see trees far in the distance, silhouettes against the pink sky. Among the trees, a magnificent castle stood. He had seen it before - too, too many times. The air was so thick here. He yawned, and walked towards that line of trees, towards that beautiful castle, slow steps leading him through this little slice of Heaven. Walking steadily, he let the amaranthine dusk absorb his senses.

Funny thing, Heaven, he thought as he marched through the grass. The trees were closer. I’d love to stay, but I don’t deserve to.

He came back from his memories, blotting them out with trouble. As his vision cleared, he saw again the form of the prince, his long dead prince. Dr. Richards tried to will all of his thoughts into his task.

“How pathetic.”

“Quiet.”

The prince was lying peacefully upon the wooden floor, and light from the ancient stained-glass windows poured onto him, delicately dancing over his broken body. A crown of silver and jewels no longer adorned his head. Instead he wore the dried red and mahogany of death. Yes, he was the prince. His prince. His friend. And so, as Dr. Richards picked up the prince for the last time, he knew he could not cry. He knew he could not cry as he carried the prince out from the castle, or as he set the limp body down into the vehicle. He could not cry as the gloom of nightfall saw him, and the prince, begin the journey back to the Site.

No, he could not cry.