The Prisoner


On some nights, Kai was kept awake by his memories. Sometimes he relieved the

sickness that had descended upon his village. Other times, the shattering of a glass bottle echoed

and rattled around in his head until he was swept into a restless sleep. His favorite nights were

the ones where he was sailing on a grand ship, wind whipping his hair as he scurried around the

deck, adjusting rigs and pulleys as needed at his captain ’ s command. And in the morning, when

he ’ d wake up, he ’ d sigh and drag himself out of bed, still hoping that Captain Ellsworth would

need to set sail again. Then, and only then, would he have a chance of getting on one of those


For now, Kai was content with being patient and grateful for the life he ’ d built for

himself, with the help of a few friends.

Now and then, he saw Arty. They spoke as if they were old friends. Once Kai told him of

his dreams, Arty got this gleam in his eyes and began teaching him how to sail and tie knots. He

told stories of all the places he had sailed to before settling down here. Arty never mentioned

what he did in his past, but his stories sparked tales of pirates and naval battles in Kai ’ s mind.

Each time the pair met, Kai was left with a sense of inspiration and an even stronger sense of

determination to live his dream, and continue Arty ’ s.

“ It is one of my deepest regrets that I quit sailing. ” Arty had said one evening as the pair

sat on the docks. “ Once you start, don ’ t ever stop, Kai. You ’ ll regret it bitterly. ”

The only problem was that Kai hadn ’ t been able to start and his chances were getting

slimmer as he grew older into young adulthood. Captain Ellsworth had sailed many times for a

few days at a time or a week or two, leaving Kai behind for some reason or another.

Kai began to think it was hopeless and slowly, his fire faded and, with it, his dreams. The

sea still gave him hope, though he didn ’ t soar with it any longer. It became a symbol of all that

could be out there, waiting to be discovered, while he was tethered to the castle and his new


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