“And the racers pull into the the canyon pass; Number 9 pulling into an amazing barrel roll to sweep through the canyon needle OVER Number 4! We’ve never seen Rolan make moves like these before, but he’s certainly brought his best game out today as he moves into second place!”

The dull voice in the back of the massive audience chamber loosely pawed at the Queen’s attention, her eyes drifting lazily across the far monitor. The image was blurry, but looked to be a closeup of a pair of swoop bikes as the one in the rear swept over the other.

Her eyes perked up a little, her attention momentarily restored as there was something about the blurry image and the armored rider that seemed to bring about something… something….

And there she was again… The room of marble and jade, filled with gold filigree crowning on the intricate pillars and ceilings. A large fire burned in the center within a bronze and gold brazier, the warmth complimented only by the very faintest tint of cinnamon in the air from the cracking of the logs.

Their estate was far from the largest or the richest, but Baroness M’Jest felt wealthy beyond her years as she crept up on her son who was presently imitating what she could only imagine to be the most epic of races between a pair of toy swoop bikes that his father had sent back from the capital city.

The boy; completely enraptured by his imagination huffed and burred excitedly as the bikes in his outstretched hands weaved left and right in tight formation, their lifeless riders locked in an eternal dogfight of skill and valor.

Larissa M’Jest moved and sat across from him, her eyes transfixed on her six year old son, his hair in soft gentle curls as he wished himself to a different life. Sessiesh’s father was away often and it was easy to see that the boy was becoming aimless in his pursuits. Larissa had the company of other nobles and did not lack for attention; but she loved her first born son and to watch his infinite futures unfold without a father was… troubling for her.

Without warning, Sessiesh looked back into her eyes; pools of dark hazel with a hint of green like his father, holding one of his swoop bikes up triumphantly.

“One day I’m going to be the greatest racer ever mama” he proclaimed with a certainty that could only be mustered by a child who knew little of what laid beyond their skies.

She held out her arms and the boy took the instinctual cue to run into her, swoop bikes outstretched as she scooped him up and twirled him around, already marveling at how much he weighed than when he was a baby.

“And you shall my child… One day, you shall be anything you want to be”

And suddenly the moment was gone. Larissa Mjest was standing in a different sort of audience chamber, a pair of faded swoop bikes in her hands and a portrait of her now dead family staring at her with their dead eyes and forgotten smiles.

Her attendants rushed to her, their mouths moving and chattering a foreign tongue that she thought she remembered once. She began turning back for the throne, a minor note of surprise at how heavy her feet felt and how she’d walked so far away from it in the first place.

“The Mad Queen walks” she thought she heard, but the words had no meaning to her and she took back her seat upon her throne that suddenly looked like a hover chair for the infirm.

She looked at the swoop bikes in her hand, mimicking the movements that her son had once performed as the attendants looked upon her with snickering and judgement. Distantly, she knew that they laughed at their queen as they returned their attention to their monitors; but she didn’t care.

Larissa felt her arms moving, the two toy bikes held aloft in a fight for position, and in doing so she felt something in her past scream and cry without explanation, and was surprised to find her throat hoarse, her face warm and wet, and her breathing ragged.

A Little Bit of Red

SeanScott Raezyr PipMonkey Ravenfeld morbid0ne