The Prisoner


He followed the Big Dipper to the edge of its ladle and drew a line up from it with his

eyes, finding Polaris, the north star. He assumed that he ’ d have to go north to find his parents

again, but he didn ’ t know how far it would be until he reached salvation.

Of course, now, sitting in his cell, he was older, but by how much? Kai couldn ’ t say. He

understood now that Heaven couldn ’ t be reached by foot. By ship, maybe, but definitely not by

walking. No matter what had happened, he ’ d see his parents again, despite what the lady had

said. Another memory played behind his shut eyes.

Again, he found himself reliving the night of the storm before he had wound his way

down to the docks.

Kai stood in the fire ’ s glow of the single candle lit in the one-room house. The shutters

had been clamped shut over the windows, blotting out the moonlight. It was then, while facing

the hysterical woman who had somehow become his caretaker, Kai had watched her raise the

glass bottle over her head.

“ You ’ ll never see them again, you cursed boy! ” She hurled the glass she had been

sipping from. It shattered at Kai ’ s feet. “ Don ’ t you get it, they ’ re gone — never coming back!

None of it ’ s real, they ’ re just gone. They ’ re gone, ” she kept repeating the words, choking on sobs

between her delusional rage.

Kai ran. He didn ’ t look back, only where his feet were going, quickly finding himself

standing near the edge of the docks, being pelted by wind and rain, tears drenching his face.

He remembered that it was the day he watched the sunset on the ocean that he had plotted

to run away. The tranquility had allowed him to clear his head and gather his thoughts. He

realized now that there could have been something there for him if only he had looked harder.

Maybe instead of crouching in a cell, he could be sitting on the docks, dangling his feet over the


Instead, Kai had calmly boarded an empty vessel and stowed away.

The fishing boats were coming in, and a small crowd had started to wind its way down

the docks. Having nothing but the clothes on his back, Kai found his way into the ship ’ s hull. He

twisted this way and that, contorting himself to climb over wooden crates until he reached the

very back. There, a crate ’ s lid had been displaced and was tilted on an angle. He shoved it to the

side some more and was delighted to see a great pile of blankets. After taking some in his arms,

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