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Aug 2018
Our story's beginnings are rather plain
Set in a town built on the mundane.
In this town, there lived a boy
Devoid of ambition, love, or joy.

He sleepwalked through his days
Aimless and alone.
Drowning in a melancholy haze
He longed for something lovely to call his own.

Now, I shan't tell you the young man's name
For fear he'd hang his head in shame
But his story you should know.
For it's not the name that marked this boy
But the places he would go.  

One day, an idea dawned
To take a day trip out of town.
The boy made a map
And a line was drawn
To the path he would walk down.

He followed the map with surprising ease
Over the hills and through the trees.
Though the boy was thrilled
He couldn't wrap his mind
Around the treasure
He would soon find.

The path came to an end
Without the map's warning
Causing the boy's plans to upend
Before it was even midmorning.
But the boy was in awe
Despite the offset.
He knew what he saw
He would not soon forget.
In the middle of the golden field
Stood a tall ivory castle.
His chronic disenchantment healed
The boy vowed to see inside
Whatever the hassle.

So he searched for a door
Until he could search no more.
He attempted to climb
With no regard for time.
He searched for a ****
Or a lock
Or a key.
Only when he was about to give up
Did the answer break free.

Against all reason
The castle began to glow.
When the transformation came to completion
A strange voice let him know.

"Come in," coaxed the disembodied voice
Honeyed and assured.
Feeling as if he had no choice
Inside, the boy was lured.

"My, you are a rude one," the voice began to chide.
"A lady invites you into her home, and without a word, you come inside?
I'm not expecting you to write me a sonnet, but at least have a bit of tact!
If we're being honest, boy, I believe your manners lack."

Sure this was some sort of stunt
The boy calmly shook his head.
"Forgive me, Miss, for being so blunt
But I believe the fault is yours instead.
You expect me to believe I was propositioned
By a castle that spoke?
I am certain one of my peers commissioned
Some sort of pricey joke.
I'm sorry, Castle Lady Dear
But I must be on my way.
I'm afraid I can't stay here
Perhaps we'll finish another day.
It's truly nothing personal
I simply have a hunch
That if I stick around for now
I'll miss my mother's lunch."

The boy turned on his heel
Not saying any more.
He soon let out a pitiful squeal
When he found there was no longer a door.

The Castle Lady countered his squeal
With a sinister cackle.
"Did you really believe you could leave me here
Without it becoming a debacle?
I'm sorry, dear
But for now
To this place, you are shackled."

Heart suddenly stricken with fear
The boy's eyes filled with tears
And he began to cry.
"Please let me go!" he cried out.
"I am far too young to die!"

Much to the boy's chagrin
The Castle Lady only laughed again.
"Goodness me, my dear!
You must be some sort of fool!
I do not plan to **** you here.
How could I ever be so cruel?"

Angered by the castle woman's taunts
The boy's eye began to twitch.
"If you won't **** me, what do you want?
Let me go, you witch!"

Unphased by his outburst
The Castle Lady simply tsked.
"Are you sure the witch is me
When you're the one being so mean?
I know what a statement this might be
But I believe you're the meanest boy I've seen.
But you can relax
For I've had my fun.
I simply have a favor to ask
Before you turn and run."

Against all logic
And stranger-danger talks
The notion of adventure
Overpowered his urge to balk.
"What is it?" he asked the Castle Lady
As curiosity struck.
When the Castle Lady responded
He could not believe his luck.

"Resting in one of my rooms
Is an awe-inspiring prize.
It holds power and beauty few men ever get to witness
With their own two eyes.
In fact, it holds too much power
So much that it's making me sick.
Only the brightest of young men can bear it
And you're the one I've picked."

The boy's heart raced.
For that prize, he yearned.
Still, he said:
"There must be some mistake.
Are you sure this is a prize I've earned?"

Overtaken by laughter
The Castle Lady began to roar.
"I am not that sick, dear boy!
Of course I am sure!
I can not make any mistake
No matter how small.
Didn't your mother teach you
That divine beings know all?
Now, you are an imaginative lad
With the charisma to match.
I'd dare say you are the best equipped child
Out of the local batch."

The boy couldn't help but crack a grin
Flattered by the Castle Lady's assessment.
"I suppose you must be right, then.
Now where do I get my present?"

"It is not a difficult journey at all," the Castle Lady replied.
"Just walk a bit down this here hall
And look to your left side."

Suddenly, the room filled with bright light
To help him find his way around.
In saying the journey was not difficult, the Castle Lady was right
As another glowing doorway
Was soon found.

"Very good, you clever boy!" the Castle Lady cried.
"Just give your fingers a quick snap
And take a step inside."

Proudly, the boy followed her advice.
The snap of his fingers reverberated
Sounding quite nice.
Secretly, the simple action
Gave him a small thrill
For he was the only child in his town
Who had such a skill.

Just as the lady promised
The door opened right away.
Thus, he took that fateful step inside
As she said he may.

Alas, it seemed the boy had been cheated by his wanderlust.
The only thing inside the room
Was a wooden box
Coated in dust.

All sense of wonder gone
The boy was certain it was a trick.
"You horrid con!
What in here is making you sick?"

Unamused, the Castle Lady sighed.
This was not the first time a child had thought she lied.
"You're jumping to conclusions, boy.
I'm not that sly a fox.
If you want to find the treasure
Look inside the box."

Begrudgingly, the boy obliged
Lifting up the top.
In the moment he saw what was inside
The whole world seemed to stop.

The boy's jaw dropped
As the box glowed
As if it contained all of heaven's rumored light.
It was true that he was unlikely
To ever again see such a wonderful sight.

"Well?" the Castle Lady inquired.
"Would you like to keep it?
You have all the qualities required
It's only fair that you reap it."

"Of course I'd like to keep it," said the boy.
"But what should I do?
What power do I have
To take care of this box
Any better than you?"

"The box can do anything," said the Castle Lady.
"Perhaps that's why I can not have it.
Still, you need not engage in special care and keeping
Or develop any new habits.

The box can do whatever you wish
Cure disease and famine
Or make your family rich.
I can not tell you what to do
Just use your own discretion.
Besides, it wouldn't truly be yours to use
If you did so under my direction.
So simply take it home
And do with it what you will
But before you choose to roam
I have one more message for you still."

Holding the box to him
The boy lifted an ear
Regarding her as a friend.
"What is it, Castle Lady?
Please say what needs to be said!"

When she spoke again
The boy could swear her voice contained a smile.
"When you leave me, the castle will come to an end
And this part of me will be dead.
Though I'd love for you to stay a while
So we could become better acquainted
I'm afraid that would be against the rules
And the prophecy would be tainted.
So, clever boy
For now, I'll bid you adieu.
You deserve to be given joy
And I hope that is what the box will do."

No sooner than she spoke
Did the castle vanish
In a puff of smoke.
Once again, the boy stood in the field.
In his hands rested the box
The closed lid keeping its powers concealed.
Somewhere between satisfied and sad.

He gave her a eulogy
However unorthodox.
"Goodbye, Castle Lady Dear, I enjoyed our little talks.
Maybe we'll meet in another world...
Oh, and thank you for the box!"
Having said all he needed to say
The boy knew he should be leaving soon.
He turned to walk the other way.
Walking home, his fingers snapped a tune.

It wasn't long before the whole town
Knew about his treasured box.
The boy made sure all his friend knew.
In school, he stopped all of the clocks.

He provided his class with great delight.
As a school day
Melted away
Into a Friday night.
The grown-ups none the wiser
He pulled off the perfect crime.
Forever the improvisor
He also did away with bedtime.

He gave his family money
As the Castle Lady said he could.
Though his old bullies looked at him funny
His clothes had never looked so good.

He gave himself popularity
A Labrador puppy
A brand new bike.
The ones who teased him
Spoke apologetically
And there wasn't a single girl
By whom he wasn't liked.

It wasn't long, however
Before the fun began to fade.
As much power as he had, he never intended
To share his gift with his whole grade.

"Can you tell me
If my pet goldfish is really watching from above?"
"Can you please help me
Make my parents fall back in love?"
"Can you make it so that
My grandpa isn't sick anymore?"
"Can you invent a robot
To help me do my chores?"
"Can you make sure
That my family keeps our home?"
"Oh-- and while you're at it
Help me write my girlfriend a nice poem?"

Alas, the boy paid no mind
To their wants and needs.
He had left his charitable days behind
In favor of his newfound greed.
Though his box could do anything
It really wasn't his job.
No matter what happiness to others it might bring
Of his power, he'd feel robbed.

He didn't know that at night
His friends went home to cry
Asking their nonexistent treasured boxes
"If he can have something special
Why can't I?"

Life went on like this
Until one day, he was greeted by a bird.
It landed on his shoulder
And hissed,
"You'll never guess what I heard."

The boy was quite frightened
Both by the bird's familiar voice
And what it said.
Still, his eyes brightened
When he shouted
"Castle Lady?
I thought that you were dead!"

"Too bad," the bird crowed.
"For I'm very much alive.
And I figure you should know
I won't allow you to continue to connive."

At her choice of words
The boy sputtered.
"What do you mean, bird?"
He nervously stuttered.

The Bird Lady stared at him
With beady black eyes.
"I mean, I saw what you've done with your gift
And I was unpleasantly surprised.
You didn't disrupt any tradition.
I told you to do what you would.
It was just that I had the premonition
That you'd use your power for good.
You're no better than any of your classmates
You silly sap!
Did it ever occur to you
That you were only picked
Because you can snap?
When my last life came to an end
You thanked me for the box
And ran home to your mother.
My spirit would have been able to rest
If you had used the box to help others.
I am older than most earthly things
And some sights I've seen are hellish.
This in mind
It's beyond me
Why you'd choose to be so selfish.
See, this box was once mine
Changing owners as it does
And when it fell into my hands I wished
To be anything but the girl I was.
From then on, I've been trapped
In the form of many objects
And, whenever I try to go from this world to the next
Fate always interjects.
I'm the keeper of this box
Until it falls into the hands of someone good enough
And I'm here to say, dear boy
I'm afraid you must give it up."

Without warning
The boy broke down
Dropping to his knees.
For the first time since that fateful day
His sense of superiority ceased
And truth began to reign.
Head in his hands, he grieved
For those he had caused pain.

The Bird Lady remained by his side
Trying her hardest to soothe.
"Now, clever boy, you need not cry
But the box does need to move.
Now, I need you to calm down and listen to me
And let me make myself clear.
I need you to go to the sea
And that's the last wish you will make here."

Suddenly, the boy understood.
When it was far too late, he used his powers for good.
So he wished for the ocean, heeding the Bird Lady's advice.
The two of them were at the beach
Before he could think twice.

"Very good," the Bird Lady praised.
"All you have to do now is let go.
Don't worry, my dear boy
When the box finds its forever home
I'll be sure to let you know."

The boy nodded.
With shaking hands, he looked down.
Taking a deep breath, he dropped the box
And all his wrongdoings drowned.

"Thank you very much," the Bird Lady chirped.
"Now, relax, and let your conscience be cleared.
You can go home
And I'll take it from here.
One last thing
I should tell you, my friend.
All this can be fixed
If you just have an ear to lend.
No matter how heartfelt
Apologies only take you so far.
What you should do now
Is fix your regrets with actions
To show them what a lovely boy you are."

With that
The Bird Lady dove
Picking up the box with her magnificent beak.
The boy returned home
With redemption to seek.

All these years later
Our nameless boy is now a man.
He's ordinary, yes
But ordinary is good enough.
He doesn't look down on others
Or even try to act tough.
Though he's no longer a heartthrob
One girl remained by his side.
When she is there
He never has to hide.
When a friend has a problem
He is there to listen.
And, though he holds no glowing box
His eyes still glisten.


Meanwhile, our Lady's soul
Now rests within a spaniel dog.
Though the box still has no permanant owner
She doesn't think it will be long.
Though that might seem unlikely
Divine beings do know all
Though everyone makes mistakes
Both big and small.
She may chastise others
For poor choices and self-control
But in the end, she knows the box only needs one thing:
To be cared for by a beautiful soul.
Madison
Written by
Madison  F
(F)   
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