I found John under a tree, sharpening an ax.
His hands were covered in soot and ash, his face streaked with dirt.
I used to be so much better at this. Able to clear sixty acres before noon. That was after I met…well, I don’t really remember her name. Or her face. Or her…I just know she was there. A presence in my memory.
He looks down at the ax and starts to sharpen it again.
Next to him are two slices of pie, faint whispers coming from them.
They tell me things, those pies. Now, I’m not crazy. I can see you hear it, too. Every day they tell me secrets, stories about myself, but when I go to sleep I don’t remember them.
Around his neck is an old key, rusted and dirty. His clothes are singed on the back.
I had power once, you know? I think I was even a king once upon a time. But I went home. They say you can’t go home again, which isn’t true…you can, but there is a sacrifice that needs to be made.
I dream about a woman. And the Devil. I dream we are running away and he’s chasing us. We hide but he keeps finding us.
He tests his ax to make sure it’s sharp enough. Nodding, he stands up and begins to work again.
I had power. I’ve lost it. But I feel like it will be found and I will remember everything. I will be a king again.