Milk Carton

        "I know not my liege. He simply insisted that you must see him immediately."         "But now page? It's the middle of the night! That old wizard has been living as a hermit on the other side of the forest for 4 years, you would think that whatever it is could wait until the break of dawn."

        The King slowly made his way down the dark corridor behind the page, careful to stay in the light of his lantern. On any other night, the King would have lead the way himself, holding the lantern before him and swinging it back and forth as he walked. He liked to pretend that he was Apollo, guiding the sun across the sky in his charriot, bringing light to every nook and cranny of the hallway as he passed. Knowing the King's flair for the dramatic, the page was usually glad to indulge him, after all, he was the King, but the insistence with with the old wizard had sent him to fetch the King made the page uneasy, and he was determined to finish this errand as quickly as his King would allow.

        "This way my liege, the stable has sent up your horse."

        The King passed through the archway of the keep's main gaits and walked up to his horse, giving it a gentle pat on the nose. The horse gave a snort, and shook his head.

        "Well, at least I'm not the only one unhappy to be up at this ungodly hour. Page, let's make haste, if I'm lucky I can be back in bed before morning."

        "You'll get no argument from me sire. This way, the wizard has claimed the old stables as his laboratory, he has asked that you meet him there."

        The King quickly mounted his horse and the two men were off into the night. As they approached the old stables, they could see a large column of smoke and steam rising from its roof, illuminated an odd orange and green color by the fires feeding it from below.

        "Show yourself old man. I hope for your sake this is worth disturbing my dreams," shouted the King.

        "Ahh my friend, I was beginning to think you weren't coming. Tell me, do you still dream of pies."

        "Aye, pies," sighed the King.

        The old wizard laughed, "Well, we'll see if we can get you some pie while we talk. Come in, come in." The old wizard lead the two men into the stables. They passed tables and shelves filled with old books and papers covered in numerological scrawling. They came to a large box, about as tall as a man, and twice as wide, with a color so back that not even the shadows cast from the boiling fires could be seen on its surface.

        The page stared at the box as he had earlier when the wizard had called him to bring a message to the King. It had still been light then, but the box had been no more light than it was now. The page could see however the markings in the dirt around the box where it had moved this way and that a few inches or so.

        The page was a young man, no more than 12, and the way he looked at the box reminded the King of how he must had looked peering at the old wizards creations when he was that age. Even now, despite his experience in such things, the old wizard never failed to pique the Kings curiosity, though the King's weathered face told more of the late hour than of his boyish interest in the box.