Through the glass, a blurry city rose. Clouds kissed its topless towers. This steel menagerie was Ilium, and her face launched a thousand ships.
Thrusters burned, illuminating the sky as the fleet set off into the black. Standing on the parapet, watching as they rise, I wonder if she’s worth it. I’m still woozy from the headshot. It dropped me to the tiled floor. Was she kidnapped? Or did she elope with her beau?
When I fell, I landed on a poem she’d penned. It argues for the elopement theory:
Summers fade, but Autumn stayed.
My bed’s made, where I’m laid
to wait as seasons trade.
The wife I played.
Through leaves I wade, my vows I mislaid.
With a blade, I cut marriage’s braid.
It was frayed when, from my bed, you strayed,
It’s over, but I’m afraid.
The phone rings, but I ignore it. Ilium’s coming into focus. Is she silhouetted on the parapet there? The sun rises before me, one king greeting another, passing a bright baton or perhaps a blessing. Why did her face launch a thousand ships? I forget now as I see the city extruding from the silt. On thrusters it hovers, flying higher, a city in the clouds. And the sun gilds it, revealing my destiny. I will conquer it. It shall be the jewel in my crown.
Light glimmers in the east, but I see no city. Mermaids circle our craft, swimming in the starry soup between worlds. They ram portholes seeking entrance. One kiss is all they need to steal our legs and trade their scales. I fire point blank at the fishy hoes.
It was a mirage. Enraged, I throw a crystal decanter, watch it shatter. No spiderweb of cracks forms on the lying window. Through its aperture, a sea tosses its foam, mocking me. I hear its sirens taunting me:
spindrift arcs, skyward bending
while below the depths are sending
word to Ilium, gods defend thee
move thou city, or he’ll end thee
go ‘fore armies come to rend thee
fly you fools, your lives are pending
only mad Kings dream of endings
from the starred-dark he’s descending
escape by swiftly ascending
go while he dreams of ending.
The hunt for Ilium continues.
For A Month of Mini Writing Challenges, days 1-6.