a broken crown: tree on the run - 842 words

Chapter 1: tree on the run - 842 words

A screamingly bright red, decorative ball with a loop of string attached to it flew across the air, hitting a branch of a fake fir tree. Not surprisingly to anyone, the loop didn't land correctly, and the ball fell to the ground.

No matter. Caspian picked up a string of silver tinsel from the cardboard box beside him. He carefully draped it on top of one branch of the worn tree, continuing to hastily circle the tree to wrap the tinsel around it.

"Sir," Steve tried to get his attention, but failed miserably. The Athos picked up another long strip of tinsel, this time gold in color. He repeated the process just as before.

"Sir," the interface repeated in turn, yet again getting no response. Caspian proceeded to pick up more decorative balls, one into each hand.




The eternal froze in place, as his shoulder rose into his ears. He could hear Steve sighing.

"Sir," she repeated yet again, waiting for a response. Caspian turned his eyes to a random spot on the ceiling.

"Yes?" He inquired, just like the artificial intelligence wanted.

"Please be careful."


Caspian rolled his eyes and groaned loudly, stepping closer to the tree to continue decorating it. Same song, every year. It wasn't like he hadn't done this a million times. What was she still worried about? He wasn't born yesterd-

A rug placed over the metal floor greeted Caspian's shoulder quicker than he would've liked it to, as he tripped on a string of silver tinsel, and fell. Steve had warned him about those tinsels being way too long for his tree, but did he listen? Of course not. The fake tree, enveloped by that same string of tinsel, followed it loyally to the ground, collapsing right on top of the eternal, decorations and all. Steve was silent, for the best of her abilities, and a short, electric snort echoed lightly around the room.

Frustrated, Caspian grabbed the tree, and threw it somewhere in anger. Huffing and puffing as he got up, he dusted himself off, and searched for a screen to blame.

"I told you to be careful," Steve pointed out.

"You distracted me!" Caspian answered, but only got a soft chuckle as a reply. Whatever. He had better things to do than pick a fight with her right now. He looked around, and did a twirl to make sure he didn't miss a spot. He scratched his head.

"Did you see where the tree went?"

"The Eastern hallway, Sir. Seemed to run North from there."

Caspian turned his puzzled gaze to the nearest screen. Static appeared in it as if it was commanded to.

"What do you mean run? It's a fake tree!"

"I would shrug if I had shoulders, Sir," Steve replied, and Caspian turned away with a groan. There was no way to find that cursed tree before the end of the year, now. Whether it actually ran around like a headless chicken, or not.


"Maybe it would be better, if you just went out to see the decorations, Sir," the interface suggested. Caspian huffed, and leaned against a supporting pole as he crossed his arms.

"It's not the same," he protested in a childish manner, but almost immediately calmed down. Grief washed over him, and tamed down his inner toddler in an instant. The eternal moved his eyes to the side.

"Outside has people. People happy with their families and whatever." Caspian's head drooped slowly, as he fought back the tears. He loved the decorations - all the lights and colors, shops competing with each other to have the most extravagant holiday decorations than the rest. But he was alone. Always alone. People around him having something he so badly yearned, only emphasized the oppressing feeling in his chest. No one should be alone, go to your family, they all said. He didn't have that. No one ever invited him anywhere. There never was a knock on the door. All he could do was to isolate himself into his ship as tightly as he could, every year. Go somewhere, where no one could even find the door. No TV, no radio, no internet, no maginet  - just stay away from everyone, and everything. Even Steve went silent during that annual week. The silence became so damn loud, Caspian was sure he'd go deaf, every time. But it was the one thing he knew to do. Even if it made him more miserable, the more he did it.


Caspian turned his eyes to the Eastern hallway.

"Fuck it," he cursed, and grabbed his coat. "I'm getting something to eat." Maybe try to find a job or something for a few days, if anyone even wants me. They don't, usually. But that part he left unsaid. Like a malicious storm, he burst out the door, and it slowly closed behind him. The cameras littered across the ship's lobby watched after him, until they could no more. The interface turned off the lights to save power. Only an uneven hum of the various machinery remained.

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