The old woman knelt by the kings deathbed. She said a prayer, clutched her rosary, and listened to the old man rattle in his sleep. Her prayer was said swiftly and from heart, the only sound in the room other than the old kings dying purrs, were quick spanish wishpers, silently spoken though her thin wrinkled lips.
The Kings chest rose and fell, occasionally he moaned through his dreams.
The country slept with their king just as deeply, just as lost to the cause of immortality. The webs were frail. A heavy rain beat down on them, daring the strands of silver and grey to stop clinging just for a moment. But despite the health of the country and of the lives of wood, the towns, the trees, the king had a strong heart, and he would cling, he would hold, for the very sake of nobility, for the sake of existence.
The King woke with a startling and wretchind cough and the old woman hurried to his bed with a glass of cool water.
The old man's cough rattled his body and came from six feet in the earth of his bones. The woman listened and heard in his sickness, the ticking of the clock. There was little time, oh yes, little time. The King coughed in circles and waved the water away. When he finally stopped coughing he reached for the old woman, she lowered herself down to him, intimately close, and waited for any indication of what she should do, as if one wrong gesture, a single miscommunication between them would end the Kings life instantly.
"I had a very important dream." whispered the King.
"Yes" The woman waited for him to continue and for a long moment it seemed the King would not speak again, his eyes grew still and his body rigid beneath the thick heavy mounds of quilts. The woman held her breath and the silence in the room, the silence in the Kings eyes, froze her, demanded that she mustn't move, compelled her fears to catch in her throat and suffocate her, binding her own short life to the king, as if he were gone too soon all hope for life would be gone with him.
The King's eyes finally moved, and they looked at her. ACKNOWLEDGED her. SPOKE to her.
SPEAK! The woman urged, hoped, clung to. Oh please speak.
The Kings words, every dear one he spoke held existence. He was the father of the last country, the first country. If he could tell her, if the LORD almighty had ordained him as their savior, salvation lay in his every word. He had the brain, he had the knowledge, he had life. And yet, here he lay dying. And his last words may be, "I had a very important dream."
The King's lips did not part, the woman was so close to him, and she still almost did not hear it. With his eyes pouring into hers, the King spoke only four words before the effort was too much and his body relaxed into the pillows and he was deep into another full night of sleep.
"I carried a heavy load."