Once there was a boy who came to power. But it wasn’t enough.
The boy led his followers to the mouth of the cave where he’d originally sought refuge. No one questioned why they were going there. They were content to do as they boy said.
“Here it is,” he told them. “The cave that I shared with the Bear King. The cave that made me a leader of men.”
The assembled people looked at the mouth of the cave. Some of them had already been aware it was there. All of them were, by now, familiar with the boy’s story, which relied on the cave’s existence.
“Just inside are bats,” he told them. “You can see them hanging from the ceiling. There are hundreds of them — maybe thousands. Walk too loud and you’re sure to wake them. They’ll fly at your face and bite you.”
It was implicit that the boy himself hadn’t walked too loud. Some of the people looked at him while he spoke, while others looked at the entrance to the cave, trying to imagine the bats or to hear them moving around in the dark, rustling their wings or licking their fangs.
“Beyond the bats is the bear,” the boy told them. “The Bear King. He’s huge — immense. The biggest bear you’ll ever seen. When I found him he was sleeping, so I slept, too. I learned everything I needed to know from the Bear King. And now I’m back to kill him.”
As if summoned by the boy’s words, the Bear King lumbered to the mouth of the cave. The assembled people gasped. They collectively retreated a step. He was immense.
“Good,” the boy declared. “I won’t have to come inside find you.”
It was a brave sentiment. It was also the last thing he ever said.
The Bear King looked at the crowd of people. He looked at the boy. He didn’t seem to be very distressed. Reaching out, the Bear King swatted at the boy’s face — though the two stood a distance apart he was easily able to reach, his nails leaving the boy’s cheeks in tatters. The weight of his paw instantly broke the boy’s neck. The child was flung to the ground, far from where he’d initially stood, a corpse before the dust had settled.
The crowd stared in amazement, some at the boy, some at the bear.
“He was only a boy,” the Bear King told them. “He was never a bear.”
With these words, the Bear King returned to his cave, and the people returned to their village. It was a long time before another child would lead them.
This is a repository for JY's original content that's yet to be bound in a book -- essays, short fiction, etc. There's little rhyme or reason, so jump in!