Castle In The Sky

Castle In The Sky

A Story by J.J. Matthews

A realm of my own.


Everyday that passes, I wish I would be king. Don’t we all wish to be a king, emperor, pharaoh, sultan, whichever tickles your fancy. Some of us have a very refined taste, opting for the lavish mansions and silk curtains. The long staircase up to your seven bathrooms and fifteen bedrooms is like the broken legs that you move with the will of a titan, the banister simply a rock solid, wooden crutch that refuses to move for you. All of your comforts and huge pillows are meant to pass for the soft things to cushion each time you fall backwards or keel over and vomit out your insecurities. In truth, they scratch at your skin. Inflaming your cells and giving you more pain than the price you paid for the empty fortress that you so desperately claim is your pride and joy. It only brings you misery.

Well then, what about a tower? Reaching up so high into the heavens that it feels like you could climb to the very top and shake God’s hand. Your very existence is nothing more than a huge slap in the face to all the underlings below you, the ones that climb desperately up your ivory tower like a giant oak tree. Though you don’t extend olive branches, do you? You’re far too busy being their emperor. You cast the long shadow over all others, feeling like the emperor in the sand who built a truly mighty empire to live long in the minds of humankind. How can you forget that the sands of time swallow everything? Nothing and nobody is safe from the constantly looming threat of Father Time, who knows that he can devour your so-called empire within a second. No remorse, no pity. Your tower is gone. Now you are in the sand with the underlings, who tower over you. The sun no longer exists for you and darkness takes hold on your rusting crown. 

Sometimes I wander through the ruins of these self-proclaimed monarchs. These men and women who flew too close to the sun. Defeated by their own architecture. My experience is that the lust for power, royalty and riches is a leviathan. Large and powerful. Tall and threatening. Nobody can command a leviathan, though. They are a law unto themselves and care least of all for the sun and moon that these royals want to grab so badly, they feel every fibre of their being vibrating in excitement to reach the veiled star that makes them desperately believe that they will be one. So goes the faded echo of the triumphant failure. I can hear it across plains of despair that stretch for lifetimes. Statues and paintings buried in the King’s Desert. These cannot be exhumed. Thoughts, dreams and memories fossilised inside their worthless coffins.

But what is it about the people who are capable of building up their mansions and palaces that they consistently fail to stay upright? They appear to have an ego the size of a mountain but a conviction made of mud. Being defeated by their own triumphs is the truly sad reality of their mighty collapse. I see this all the time and yet, I still wish to be king. Not to order servants and berate dogsbodies, enclose myself in jewels or forever seal all that I am within the golden walls. I’m too different for that. I wouldn’t say refined, but more outlandish. Idiosyncratic.

If I were to be king, I'd have my castle in the sky. Nobody can enter my castle without crafting a ladder that could put even the tallest giant to shame. It isn’t your usual castle though. Not the old British Victorian type with stark, black towers and giant battlements that guard all within. It’s more like a giant egg. Solid, strong and protective. It provides me with everything I need, whether it be strength, hope, passion or courage. Each and every time I emerge from my castle, I feel reborn. 

Like  a new person. The castle in the sky is eternal, since the desert of memory cannot reach it for its overbearing height. In the sky it floats carefree and serene, taking in every gust of wind like a healing whisper in the ear, constantly reassuring it that it will fly forever. Everything in the castle glides, softly swimming in the calm air like a swan. Majestic, every table, chair, wardrobe, mirror, all of it is perfectly balanced. My castle in the sky is a life of flawlessness and it is only for me. My castle in the sky does as I ask as well. I want protection, it will arm itself even further with more walls, more defences, perhaps it will even fly higher. I want risk, so the castle in the sky falls for a moment. It’s only pretend because the castle in the sky knows it will never fall. It just floats back up again, mocking all the birds and insects that continue to defy gravity and yet all have their limits. I want creation, so the castle repaints itself. From gold to green, from amber to ruby, the castle changes its shape and structure at my command. Or, more like a request.

Because if there’s one thing I have learned about my castle in the sky, it’s that it has a will of its own. So I wonder, does it yearn for anything? All the other mansions and towers stood silent and steady, only knowing the one life and that was servitude. But my castle in the sky moves here and there all day and all night. Revolving around the world as the world itself turns around. Does it see all the wonders below it and wish to be a part of it all? Does it want to interact with those around it that would give more than life itself to live within it? And float forever. I can say now that it isn’t all sunshine like up there.

That is the pure irony of my castle in the sky. I’m not in it. All I can do is look up at my realm from afar. My perfect star in the sky that I know I will never be able to capture. All I can do is wish upon it every night, hoping one day I’ll wake up and be in my castle. The perfect place tailored just for me. Would my castle ever wish to switch places with me? I have no idea why. What kind of life would that be for a human. Floating lifelessly like a body hung by the noose, forever drifting on the air currents of time. Eternity would be a permanent punishment. The castle would do no better down here. Despite an army of new experiences and a battalion of people accompanying the new life it leads, it will always live knowing it doesn’t truly belong there. It does not conform, therefore it should not be.

We could wish forever until our minds turned to dust but we both know our places. My castle in the sky remains mine alone and forever but we can never meet properly. I will never know the sanctity of its embrace and it will never know the company of another but itself. In a way, we both float endlessly until time takes us both. Neither of us are truly eternal, because if I go, the castle will waste away. We both live and die in memory.

© 2020 J.J. Matthews

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This was a very interesting take on power. I have thought of this type of thing before, where power can only destroy the wielder in an ever-increasing quest for more, but have never been able to articulate it as you did in the first part. I think that in that first part there was a lot to talk about, but I think overall it moved at just the right pace to keep me questioning more and more as well as cleaning up all the questions behind it just enough to leave me wondering but not confused.
In the second part when you talked about the egg I wondered at first how this was different, and kept wondering through reading how this was not a lust for power or conquest or triumph, but by the time you pointed out that you would not be in the egg, I realized what you had meant the whole time. This sudden realization worked really well to contrast your ambitions with normal ambitions.
The entire question of "what does the egg want?" and discussion of how normal castles were servants really made me stop and think. I really truly understand what you were saying there and I think this is a very interesting thought that I have never really heard before. Life is assumed to be animate, and inanimate objects are assumed to have no will. This idea of not only do castles and buildings have wills, but they are moreso secretly resigned to their fate really was an interesting one. Overall I don't know whether the egg would want to trade places. I'm not sure whether castles can want at all. I'm not sure whether the ambitions of the egg are different from normal kingly ambitions. All I know is that now I am thinking about these things, and that is all I can ask from a short story such as this.

Posted 9 Months Ago

J.J. Matthews

8 Months Ago

Thank you for the review, I am glad it was very thought provoking for you! I kinda wrote this story .. read more

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1 Review
Added on August 25, 2020
Last Updated on August 25, 2020
Tags: journey, thought, past, future


J.J. Matthews
J.J. Matthews

United Kingdom

Welcome to my Writer's Café Page. I am also on a number of other writing websites as shown below; Booskie: Wattpad: more..

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