Updated: Feb 1
The king was exhausted, and so were the people. His jolly face slowly morphed into that of a sad old man throughout the years. He was a good ruler; thus his sadness affected the people too. Bags under their eyes, hollows in their cheeks, grease in their hair. The only time they could muster any sort of energy was to send a disgusted look towards the reason behind all the despair- Princess Kyro.
Beautiful and dark, Princess Kyro. She had skin the colour of night, hair darker. But what a shame, oh what a shame, that she was filled with gloom. Never in her life had she ever smiled or ever laughed. She assessed the world through heavy lids and lips pulled downwards. King Keagan took her to various comedians and doctors and what not, just to see a smile on her face. To be such a jolly ruler of such a jolly country and yet have a daughter like Princess Kyro was truly a tragedy.
So one fine day, King Keagan had an announcement to make. “Whoever makes my daughter laugh can have her hand in marriage, and unimaginable fortune.”
The people got to work. Princess Kyro watched as the queues of people got shorter and shorter, all while her face remained blank. King Keagan had his heavy head on his hands, ready to admit defeat. Everyone in the whole country had tried their part in making Princess Kyro laugh. All except Jyke, a poor and troublesome boy who lived most of his life in prison. Not that he’d ever succeed, of course-
A soft melodious laugh spiraled and echoed across the entire castle. The king stood up in shock- no way could it be what he thought!
The princess was standing by the window in her room, her focus on something below, something the king had yet to see. She had her hand clasped on her mouth as small laughs racked her petite body. Upon hearing her father’s footsteps, she turned to him.
“Daddy!” She pointed out the window in between giggles. “L-look, the d-donkey just wouldn’t move, so he...!”
King Keagan looked below, and he felt his heart stop. Jyke was pulling at his donkey with all his might, trying his hardest, sweating thoroughly. But that was not all, oh no. The donkey was lying on the ground, its insides open for the entire world to see. Blood spurted upwards on Jyke’s face as he continued his attempt at getting the body across. Princess Kyro’s laughs rang in the background.
Artyficial (Adair Knox) is the winner of November 2020's microfiction contest.