The Queen
Maxim Loskutoff

Once there was a queen who refused to rule. She would not uphold the laws, collect taxes, or control her vast army. Some believed it was a matter of principle: she had come to realize that no person is above another. Others muttered that it was because she was a woman, weak and unfit to rule. Still others believed she had fallen under the control of a sorcerer sent by a rival king in the west. Whatever the cause, the land fell into limbo. Small laws were broken but the general order was maintained by the prefects and constables of each province, and the people waited to see what would become of them.

My concern, however, is not with the people, for they always find a way to carry on.

Did the queen take pleasure in ignoring the scrolls that piled up on her desk, sending away her advisors, her generals? Was she so brave as to step out of her life and let the world quake? Or did she feel trapped, paralyzed, and rather than change, begin to hack away the arms of her responsibility, as a doctor will bleed you to death if he knows no cure?

Maxim Loskutoff is from Montana. He has stories in or coming from The Southern Review, Hobart, Willow Springs and others.

Detail of drawing on main page courtesy of Jeff Gill.

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