Vacant - a Castle and a Boy's Heart

     Ellis was feeling two things. The first was confusion. He wondered where in the world he could be. He felt cool stone against his back and could see lots of bright candles, yet he couldn't figure out where he was. The second thing he was feeling was a grumbling stomach; the only morsel of food the boy had eaten was a small loaf of bread for dinner but he couldn't remember anything after that.

Ellis' confusion was starting to turn into fear by the minute. The boy got up off the cold stone floor and looked around. He seemed to be in the dining hall of a castle and it was massive. Larger than he could've imagined. There were plates of steaming hot turkey on the table, glasses full of wine, even a half eaten turkey leg on a plate. It was like everyone had disappeared just minutes before.

The boy continued to take everything in, the enormous chandelier on the ceiling, the beautiful red and yellow satin rug. One look at this room would inform a person that this castle was made for no one less than royalty.

Ellis started walking around the castle, exploring each room as he walked by. The bathroom consisted of a toilet, made of pure silver and an extremely spacious shower.

Then he looked in the mirror; staring back at him was a blonde haired, skinny boy with emerald green eyes – his mother had always said they were his most handsome trait. While physically Ellis took after his mother, his character was a spitting image of his late father. A caring, loving person who always put others before himself.

Looking in the mirror caused him to think about these things, and his reflection had tears in his eyes. Thinking about his late father reminded Ellis of all the things his father had taught him. Learning to fish, hunt and all the normal activities boys his age were doing at the time. The boy longed for his father dearly and felt a deep pain for the selfless man who used to sing him to sleep, the man who protected him when there was a thunderstorm, the man who scolded him every once in a while, but only for a good reason.

The reflection in the mirror continued to cry even as Ellis left the bathroom to continue exploring. The pain in the boy's heart was immeasurable; it had taken so much strength to watch his father pass away in bed, knowing he couldn't do anything to save him.

Ellis continued on through the house. He explored the bedrooms next and in attempt to lighten his mood, he searched through the drawer at the foot of the bed. He scavenged through the drawer and found old toys that he would play with at home, then he found a shirt. The shirt. The shirt was one his father was wearing in their painted family portrait. It was navy blue with a green stripe across the middle and a patch with his father's initials LP. Leonard Putney. Just thinking about his father's name caused him distress. Ellis couldn't take it anymore.

The yearning for his father was insurmountable and the tears fell down Ellis' cheeks like a flood. The boy decided to lie down in the bed that was in the room. He wanted to see his father, he wanted to talk to him, he wanted to hug him. The vacant castle was causing the boy too much grief. As he lay in the empty fortress, he wondered why it was so empty. Had everyone left? Had they all turned invisible like the books he would read; the Invisible Kids? Then he heard footsteps, and he saw a shadow pass by the door. A yelp escaped Ellis' mouth, yet the figure continued on. The boy heard doors slam throughout the castle, then heard a sound that froze his body with chills. 

     "Ellis? Where'd you go?" It was voice he recognized as soon as he heard the first syallable: his father. 

     "Father, I'm right here!" Ellis lept from the bed and sprinted toward the doorway; he peeked his head out and stared at the person. The figure was wearing brown leather boots, pants that were custom fit, and a navy coat with a green stripe across the middle with a patch that read LP. The shadowy figure turned toward Ellis and started to make his way over to the boy with tears splattering the beautiful shirt. Ellis ran toward his father, and all his worries were gone. The pain he had felt for years vanished, Ellis felt his father's rough hands on the side of his face. Ellis' father looked him right in the eyes. He could feel the connection between them now, it was a bond stronger than anything imaginable. 

     "Ellis, I've been meaning to tell you this for a long time, I-"

     "Ellis! Time to wake up and get ready for your schooling!"  

     The boy's eyes shot open as Ellis woke up, and as they did, the shadow figure evaporated into dust. Ellis screamed in horror. The bed, the dining hall, the silver toilet, the mirror, the dining hall. Everything vanished into thin air. The castle was disappearing right before Ellis' eyes. Then the boy's body started to feel numb. Ellis was still confused and screaming, too occupied to notice the tingling he was sensing. The boy took one last ear piecing scream and vanished along with the rest of the empty castle. 

Xander Oshoniyi


16 years old

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