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Cat sits on my chest

Cat sits on my chest


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Cat sits on my chest.

I can't feel my legs.

I can't feel anything but this big cat.

And I'm scared to death.

"I'm fine," I say.

"Don't lie to me."

I look at her.

And that's when I remember:

I can't do it anymore.

I can't be the king.

I can't keep the kingdom safe.

And I can't save the people.

It's all too much.

I'm going to do something really stupid.

Really really stupid.

"I'm not," I say.

I can feel her body tense up.

I can see it in her face.

But that's the only thing I can see in her face.

She's not looking at me.

She's looking at that thing on the floor.

The thing I put there.

The thing that's all wrong.

The thing that's not mine.

"It's the only thing I can do," I say.

I'm lying.

I'm being the king.

I'm being a coward.

But at least I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that at least this time I didn't do anything really really stupid.

"What?" the cat says.

"Let me go," I say.

"Go where?"

"The school. The castle."

"Why?"

"I have to talk to them. With my hands. That's all I can do. It's the only thing I can do."

"You can talk to them with your hands?"

"I have to."

"You're lying. You're being a king and you're lying. And I won't let you."

"Yes, you will," I say.

"I'll scratch your eyes out."

"I don't want to lose my eyes," I say.

"You can lose them. If you try and leave. And I'm telling you, if you try to leave I'll scratch your eyes out."

I feel my knees give out.

I fall back on the bed.

I feel her paws on my face.

Her claws agnst my skin.

I can't stop thinking of my father and mother.

Of how they look at me.

Of how they never do anything.

How they just let me do this to myself.

"Let me go," I say.

"No."

I start to cry.

"I don't want to do it anymore."

"You want to keep the kingdom safe. You want to take care of the people. You want to protect them. So let me take care of the people."

"It's all too much. I'm scared."

"Well, I'll protect you."

"You'll protect me?"

"If you trust me."

"How could I not trust you?"

"You want to know the truth? I'm not a good king. Not a good leader."

"You're doing the best you can. You've done a lot more than anyone."

"I'm not doing enough."

"No. You're doing a lot more."

"You don't know what I'm doing."

"I know more than anyone."

"Then you know it's not enough."

"I know."

"The people can't live in fear. They can't live like this."

"They're scared."

"And you know what scares them?"

"What?"

"They're scared of the king. They're scared that when the king goes, there won't be anyone to protect them."

"But they're the king's people."

"They're not my people. They're not your people. You can't protect them. You're not the king."

"What are you saying?"

"The king is a coward. He can't lead. I can."

"I have to protect them."

"You're a coward. You don't know what you're talking about."

"What about when the king goes?"

"You're not the king."

"But I'm the only one. There's only one of me. There's only one of us."

"That's the problem. You're scared to do it. I'm not."

"You want to stay with the people."

"I want to stay with them. And I know how to protect them. I know what they need. And if the king isn't the king, I'll be their king. And they'll be my people. And you'll be my cat."

## CHAPTER 30

"I want to leave," I tell Cat.

"You don't want to stay?"

"No. I don't want to stay. I want to leave. Leave with you."

"But why?"

"Why? Because of my hands. I can't do anything. I can't do anything."

"You can leave."

"Why would I do that?"

"I don't know. Because you're being a coward."

"I can't do anything. I have to leave. I have to do something."

"I have a better plan."

"I don't know what that is."

"You want to know why I don't want to leave?"

"Yes."

"I'm not scared. I'm ready."

"Are you sure you're ready?"

"I know what to do."

"You're going to stay."

"Yes. And I'll stay until you're ready to leave."

"When will that be?"


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