CASTLE IN THE SKY

by Supravo Rahman

The metal man stood at the top of the hill. The green plains spread out beneath him. Far ahead, a mountain rose into the sky. Among the clouds, the metal man could see a castle. A castle in the sky.


His eyes glowed red, then blue, then white. He watched the clouds float around the castle. In all his travels, he had never come across anything like this. Not unexpectedly, no one had ever seen anything like the metal man either. No one knew who he was, who had built him, or where he had come from. Perhaps someone in the castle knew. The metal man decided to climb.


Taller than a house, the metal man rumbled down the hill. His strides were huge but steady. He was never in a rush. He had all the time in the world. As he walked across the plains, the sun moved across the sky, finally vanishing altogether. The sun needed to rest, but the metal man did not. He continued to walk towards the castle in the sky.


The night was dark and quiet. It was cold too, but the metal man could not feel cold. His bright eyes lit up the way in front of him. Occasionally, some critter would approach him, but it would flee immediately.


Eventually, the sun came up again. The mountain was closer now. The metal man stopped near its base. He had never seen a mountain so steep. From where he stood, it looked like a giant pillar holding up the sky.


A deer ran past the metal man, paying no attention to him. The metal man followed it with its eyes. It went into a cave at the side of the mountain. More deer gathered at the mouth of the cave, looking in. The metal man looked in as well.


As he approached, some of the deer moved away, but most stood still. The metal man peeked into the cave. Inside were two deer: one that had just run in and another on the ground. The second one seemed to be in pain. After a while, the second deer was no longer in pain, and a third deer had appeared. Though the metal man did not know where it had come from, he had seen this happen before. The new deer was much smaller than the other two, but they were observing it with all their attention, as were the deer at the entrance. The metal man did not understand, so he decided to move on.


Up, up, went the metal man. His hands and feet dug into the rocky surface of the mountain. He went up higher than the large trees on the plains but did not look back down. His gaze was fixed on the castle in the sky. The sun went down and came back up again, but the metal man went on climbing.


High up on the mountain, there were crevices in the walls. Some of them were large enough to take the metal man in. One of them held the remains of a small airplane. The metal man climbed into the crevice. Had the plane made this crevice? It had been a small red plane, with room for only one person. On its side was the drawing of a red cross. The metal man had seen the sign before but did not know what it meant. He had seen planes before and knew there were supposed to be people in them. He looked around but could not find anyone. Where was the person in the plane? The metal man did not understand, so he decided to move on.


Up, up, went the metal man. His hands and feet could now easily reach nearby crevices. He went up higher than he had ever been before but did not look back down. His gaze was fixed on the castle in the sky. The sun went down but came back up again, but the metal man went on climbing.


Higher up the mountain, there were small plants. They grew in the crevices of the rock. There were also small birds feeding on the plants. The metal man peeked into one of the crevices where the birds lived. Inside were all kinds of trinkets, ranging from small coins to colorful ribbons. What caught the metal man’s eye was a small metal plate. It was a yellow triangle with what looked like a black fan drawn at its center. The metal man had seen the sign before but did not know what it meant. He had seen birds before, but they were always cheerful. These were not. They were slow and sluggish, and seemed perpetually tired. If he could, he would have asked the birds where they had gotten these things. The metal man did not understand, so he decided to move on.


Up, up, went the metal man. The rocky walls of the mountain were getting less steep now and giving way to regular soil. The metal man was as high up as the clouds, but he did not look back down. His gaze was fixed on the castle in the sky. The sun went down and when it came back up again, the metal man had finally finished climbing.


At the top of the mountain, there was a castle. It was made of wood, metal, and stone. The wood had rotten over, and the metal had been rusted and the stone had been eroded but the castle was still there. The metal man walked in. He could not see any people. He walked through the courtyards, he walked through the gardens, he even walked through some of the great hallways, most of which were still too small for him; but he could find no one.


At the center of the castle, there was a huge tree. Beneath the tree, there was a large stone. The metal man looked at the markings on the stone. “HERE LIE THE LAST KING AND QUEEN OF THE CASTLE: MAY THEY REST IN PEACE”. It was too bad the metal man could not read. He had seen markings like this before but did not know what they meant. He did not understand why the castle was empty, so he decided to move on.


The metal man stood at the top of the mountain. His eyes glowed red, then blue, then white. They watched the clouds float around the castle. He reached out for the nearest one, but it dissipated at his touch. He looked at his hand. It was covered in drops of water. The water was cold, but the metal man could not feel cold.

 
by Supravo Rahman.png

SUPRAVO RAHMAN

Supravo Rahman is an aspiring author from Bangladesh, currently an undergraduate student at University College London. He is an avid sci-fi and fantasy reader, and hence most of his stories also fall into that category. Castle in the Sky is his first short story. Apart from writing, he enjoys travelling to new places.

Instagram - @rahmansupravo