Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Through Morning Fog

by I.J. Albright

Through morning fog
beat horses' hooves,
their riders in a hurry.
They passed through woods
along lonely roads
to set the leaves a flurry.
With purpose did
the horsemen ride
into the new day's dawning.
They brought their news
of foreign wars
unto their high king Brauning.
Racing through the
village streets
they rode into the castle.
Dismissed their mounts
and winter cloaks
amidst a hurried hassle.
Into the hall
of Brauning's court
their voices rang out loudly.
Cried to their lord
of battles lost,
baring bad news proudly.
The king he took
the news in stride,
he knew his lands were falling.
His only chance
to rally men
and send his foe back crawling.
His gold all spent
his food used up
he knew their was no winning.
Yet at the army's
front he road,
his face was all a grinning.
A gambler will
not be a king
yet a king still may gamble.
Good Brauning did
the very same,
a thorn torn from a bramble.
He took the generals
from their jobs
and oversaw the fighting.
And like a fool,
lost good men
to battle's claws and biting.
But like the valiant
fool he was
his sword arm went down swinging.
The good king died
at battle's heart
his blade was still a singing.
All for vain was
this king's death,
his side it ended losing.
His body in a
common grave
fit for a pauper's choosing.
A tossed up pile
of fresh dug earth
was the lord's new holding.
His subjects were
beetles and worms
and heeded not his scolding.
Now time itself
became his friend
it finished him most quickly.
A yellowed skull
and brittle bones,
he left looking quite sickly.
Here my little tale
will end
the good king is no more now.
A memory perhaps
he'll be,
a fool for always and how....

© 2001 I.J. Albright

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