“Block the sea lanes and deploy an airborne force behind their defensive line!” he ordered his phantom military chiefs. “I want airstrikes covering the landings,” he added decisively.
The whithered geriatric issuing orders to an empty room was a decaying relic that had the misfortune of outliving his purpose. His dissolving mind kept him living in a world of memories a waking life closer to a dream than reality. He spent his dwindling existence conversing with ghosts and fighting battles long since won and lost. Empires devoured Emperors, but he had outlived the intrigued and vanquished his foes, and now when it was most apparent he couldn't understand what a misfortune that may have been. The end of his reign was anticlimactic. They merely wheeled away from the throne and deposited in a convalescent home. It was a place where the eternal motion of history could leave him behind and where time could erode his legacy. It was just a temporary tomb for those like him who refused to die.
“I want the 4th fleet immediately diverted to a position where it can support the operation!” The old man said wagging his finger at a barren wall.
A bemused nurse watched from the doorway as the former strongman conducted his imaginary war council.
“Hey I think we could use a volume over here!” she called down the hall.
“Mr. Bartlet I think you might be getting a bit worked up,” she said calmly as she approached the disoriented resident.
He didn’t seem to notice her even as she came within a few inches of him.
“We’re gonna send those fuckers back to the stone age!” he seethed
“Mr. Bartlet try and relax” the nurse suggested soothing
The mumbling commander suddenly stopped and looked at her, and his green eyes glimmered with pooling tears.
“They think I’m too scared to retaliate, but I’ll show them!” he said trying to make his frail frame stand as tall as it could go.
“It’s ok Mr. Bartlet,” the nurse said calmly. “Here take this,” she held out a small paper cup containing two pills.
Bartlet stared at her for a moment, and she lightly shook the cup as if to remind him of what he was supposed to be doing.
He slowly took the cup from her and swallowed the capsules. “Good,” the nurse said with condensing praise and a wide smile. “Now let's sit you down in your chair so you can watch the birds.”
She took him by the arm and lead him to a small rocking chair in front of a window that faces an old oak tree. “There isn't that nice?” She patted him on the head and left the room.
The old man groaned as the drugs dulled his nerves and silenced his shattered mind. The orange and brown leaves on the branches shuddered in the wind. Some of the more wilted ones fell off the branch and were carried away. The sun descending behind the clouds painted the sky with hues to match the fall foliage. It fell from the sky slowly drawing in the empty night sky as it receded from view.
If you like my work, please consider making a donation. I one day hope to have enough to hire some artists to work with and adapt some of these pieces into graphic novels. In the meantime, though most of the money will probably go towards pot and coffee.