Friday, September 11, 2009

The King's Tent

There is a barren valley of soft dry earth. Surrounding the flat land are short jagged hillsides covered in dry yellow grass. The sun is out, undisturbed by a single cloud. The light is extremely bright, reflecting off the hillsides with tremendous force and sending up wavering transparent waves from the hot ground. The hillsides are undisturbed by man, not a house or a planted tree rest on its surface. In the valley, a narrow blue river tumbles by, finding its way over small rocks and large boulders.
The singular structure on the flat valley floor is a simple rectangular tent. The temporary structure is 200 feet long and twenty feet wide. The walls, made from a mixture of pale linen and canvas are twenty feet high and meet at a point in the center of the tent, creating a long peak that stretches the length of the tent. The smaller sides of the tent have two open spaces in the shape of an over-sized door. A cool breeze runs between the two ends.
Inside the tent is the warm yellow light of the diffused sun, it is calm and quiet within. Cut from the fabric on the long sides are square holes for windows, there are fifteen on each side of the long structure. The windows are wide open to the elements outside. Along both long walls is a single row of wooden chairs that face each other. The arrangement leaves plenty of room in the center, creating a wide aisle of fine dirt that has been covered in maroon rugs with intricate patterns of blue and yellow.
In the chairs are women and men, most of them under thirty, their skin taut and pale. The women are wearing dresses made of silk and satin. Their skirts are fluffy and their necklines dip deep, revealing cleavage and bare soft necks that are caressed in fallen curls. The men among them wear tailored pants in pale patterns and small form-fitting vests and flowing white shirts with ruffled collars and cuffs.
One third of the way down from the front entrance, a king of the people sits in the simple wooden chair. He is built like a large bear. He is wide and tall and is formidable in his thick dark cloak made of fur and velvet. He sits looking forward and stoic, his left hand is on his knee, the other hand is on the armrest. A young woman to his left repeatedly nudges her long Semitic nose into his chest.
In the distance, by the river, the sound of townspeople creates a murmur. There are the sounds of excited women and men and screeching young children. Only their voices reveal their location. They shout their jeers and insults at no one in particular.

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