Simon Says

There was once a King who reined as ruler of a large land that had once been called Promised.

Now it was called Enslaved.

The people that lived in this land had no agency. Every command their king said was followed without hesitation.

For some reason that no one understood, King Simon had the strange capability to force others under his will.

There seemed to be no limits, as he was able to control a family across the world without even blinking an eye at the age of 12, and that was just the start.

He would simply say, “Simon Says…” and whatever he said next would come to pass.

To ensure that no one else would take his throne, he forced any other men named Simon to kill themselves.

He then controlled other rulers, carefully closing loopholes and blocking countries from protecting themselves, and then, without any bloodshed or battle, he would be their new monarch.

Within ten years the entire planet Earth was under his power. And there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Or so Simon thought.

As time went by and decades passed, the world slowed almost to a halt. Science was all but forgotten, schools were few, and it was not unusual for everyone to suddenly freeze in place, no matter what they were doing, just on a whim from King Simon.

Any activities considered even remotely dangerous were abandoned in the fear that they – the people – be stopped mid-action and harmed or even killed. Swimming, for example. Only a few brave souls still felt free to dive into the water, and even then only with proper equipment, as there was no telling when they might be forced to freeze in place, unable to go back to the surface for oxygen.

Strange occurrences were not unusual, and the only person who ever seemed happy was Simon himself.

But as he got older, he soon realized that he needed to find an heir that would carry on his legacy. As he had never been married and had no children he trusted, he decided to look to other ex-leaders.

So many of his fellow Monarchs or Presidents had been assassinated in his rise to power that there were few left to choose from.

Instead, he turned to his assassins and secret police and other ‘silent’ leaders.

Hundreds of influential people auditioned before him, but no one was satisfactory. Then one day, a young, fragile looking woman walked into the great throne room. She was wearing simple clothes and had her dark hair braided into a thousand tiny strands. She certainly didn’t look like a ruler.

“Hi. I’m Symone.” She smiled.

King Simon leaned forwards in his chair. “Symone? Is that so?”

“Indeed it is. I am here to take the throne.” She stated simply.

Simon laughed, “Sure you are.” He raised a hand, indicating for the guards to escort her to the next room.

But as they moved to capture, her gaze hardened and her voice suddenly grew much stronger, louder, and more commanding. “Simon, King of the Planet Earth, I control you now. I will be placed at your side and reign as Queen until the day you die. Then, I will take your place as sole ruler of this planet. Am I clear?”

The guards laughed and seized her arms roughly, but Simon spoke up.

“Stop,” He ordered them, and to Symone, “I understand and agree to your terms.” His eyes seemed glazed, but suddenly they cleared, and as Symone walked forwards he began yelling.

“How dare you? How can you? What sorcery is this? Begone!”

Symone grinned. “Oh, but darling, I’ve only just gotten here.” She turned, snapping her fingers. “I need a chair. A nice one, cushioned preferably.” The guards hesitated, looking to King Simon for approval.

His face was twisted into an unhappy grimace, but as Symone looked towards him haughtily, he nodded. “Bring it to her.” The guards limbs instantly obeyed this time.

“How?” Simon asked simply, as he sent everyone else from the chamber.

“When my mother was pregnant with me, my parents planned to name me Simon but keep me hidden from you until I was old enough to command you and remove you from your tyrannical position. They did everything they could to ensure a strong, healthy baby, exposing my mother to crystals and incense and herbs…  when I was born a girl, they named me Symone instead.” The King frowned.

“So, you have the same power I do? Because of your name?” He asked.

“Oh no. But what I do have is the power to control you. The whole time my parents raised me, I was trained to stop your tyrannical rule over my country.” She smiled innocently. “See, you rule over the world, and I rule over you.” Her tone became brisk and businesslike. “Now, first things first. I , Queen Symone of Planet Earth, declare that you, King Simon, will nevermore have any power over me. You cannot command me or force me to do anything against my will.”

The king froze for a moment, took a deep breath, and lowered his head. “As you wish.”

From that day on, Symone ruled through her new companion.

Soon, agency was restored to the many citizens under the royalty’s jurisdiction. Simon was no longer able to control them with a flick of his wrist, and schools, science, and other ways for the masses to gain knowledge were encouraged greatly, construction was started within a few months of Symone’s coronation, and children happily skipped off to school rather than to factories.

Within another five years, Symone had created a new, clean regime. She made states out of continents, and placed trusted citizens as Mentors to maintain Freedom.

And yet, no matter how hard she tried, Simon still had a lot of power, and he was still a tyrant.

One week, on their two year anniversary, he tongue tied her through a loophole in her commands, and she was unable to speak for almost a month before she found her own loophole to get past the curse.

After that Symone doubled her efforts to learn how Simon had such power, and how she had power over him. She studied through books and the internet and consulted experts on all things strange, and yet it was all to no avail, and she ended up more confused than she had started.

As science progressed after having been halted for so long under King Simon’s rule, she turned to a friend who worked with NASA.

“Alex, help me, please. I have to learn how to destroy this, no one should be able to do things like this to other humans.”

Alex adjusted his glasses. “I’m sorry Symone, but I don’t know anything about that.”

Symone took out her frustration on the piece of paper she was holding, tearing it up into tiny pieces.

“That was kind of important…” Alex looked at the floor, scuffing his shoe across a spot of paint.

Symone looked down at the mess in her hands. “Oh. Sorry about that.”

Alex cleared his throat nervously, “It’s fine, um, so I was wondering if maybe I could do some more research and then we could get lunch sometime and and I’ll tell you what I find….If you want…Maybe….”

“Sure, that sounds fun.” The Queen grabbed her purse and coat. “I’ll see you Tuesday, meet me at Au’ Bon Pain over your lunch break.” She left.

Alex took a deep breath, and turned back to his desk, knocking over a jar of pencils on accident as he went. As he bent down to gather them, he heard a loud, consistent beeping. He jerked his head up, and lunged towards his screens in shocked eagerness.

Colors and numbers and codes flashed across in patterns only he understood. His eyes got wider and wider, and he pulled off his glasses, leaning in, writing quickly on sticky notes. His pencil broke and he grabbed the next closest thing, a ruler, and attempted continuing his notes with that for a minute before realizing his mistake.

“Symone! Symone, come back! You have to see this!” He shouted over his shoulder, but she was already long gone.So instead Alex focused on his work, and for the rest of the weekend he barely moved from his chair, studying in old dusty books, and unraveling complicated, alien codes.

Tuesday couldn’t come fast enough. He was in the cafe almost a half hour early, tapping out a loud tattoo on the table with his hands.

Finally, she stepped inside, accompanied by her ever-present, ever-silent bodyguards, who had muscles that always made Alex rather self-conscious about his small frame.

“Your Highness!” He jumped up and helped pull her slide into hr seat. “I found something.”

Her deep blue eyes glinted excitedly. “What is it?” They leaned towards each other, and Symone waved her guards away to a nearby table.

“Well?”

“I received a transmission. From an unknown part of space.”

Symone frowned, pushing herslef away from him in disbelief.. “Are you sure? It wasn’t just the Domino’s guy letting you know he had your combo ready?”

Alex shook his head. “Of course I’m sure, I wouldn’t be telling the Queen of my planet if I wasn’t.”

Symone still seemed unconvinced. “What did it say?”

“You should read it for yourself. Come to my office tonight at eight, I’ll make sure the buildings empty so we can talk more openly.” Alex stood up. “Enjoy your lunch, Your Highness. Give my regards to your husband, long live King Simon.” He walked out of the cafe, leaving the Queen uncertain.

She wanted badly to believe him but it seemed so unlikely…her guards walked over.

“Ma’am, are you ready to leave?”

She nodded. “As soon as I order my Broccoli Cheese soup.”

The two bulky men squeezed into the booth across from her and waved over a waitress.

Symone smiled and ordered, as a thousand thoughts raced through her head. She was so close to knowing the answers she’d been looking for for so long…

 

 

 

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