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The King

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Terrifying. Inappropriate. Unwanted. Intrusive. Disruptive. Creativity replayed these words in his mind several times over. It was not uncommon for him to be shot down every once and a while by the other sides. Most commonly, these words came from Anxiety. But now these insults grew more frequent and became more attacking in tone. Goddamn Anxiety. He might as well be called ‘paranoia’ with the way he treats Thomas.

Anxiety’s presence had become more and more prominent over the last few years. By the age of fifteen, the King believed he held more sway over Thomas than any other side. Despite Logic doing his best to overrule any negative feedback that was presented by the other side, Anxiety worked his hardest to make Thomas feel more alone than ever before. Now, the King of Creativity must do his best to work Thomas out of this grave Anxiety has dug.

As he used his skills to aid Thomas in conjuring fictional worlds, he found the other side would retreat into his room. When the King would exercise his rights to fully take over. He could send Thomas into daydream mode and allow him to be free of whatever would trouble him.

Daydream mode, however, sometimes came with side effects. Once daydream mode began to fade out, toward the ends of Thomas’s day, vivid nightmares would occur. As Anxiety was able to re-emerge into the mind palace, the visions of fairytale creatures would morph into horrific alternate versions of reality. Realities in which Thomas did things that would have dangerous consequences. Visions where Thomas hurt those he held dear and had always been kind to him. Fear and paranoia would take the wheel and lead Thomas into late-night spirals that were difficult to escape.

As the night would go on with Thomas losing precious hours of sleep daydream mode could finally fully dissipate. Leaving the King vulnerable to whatever criticism he would soon face. The sides could finally retire to their rooms after Thomas finally fell soundly asleep. But sometimes the King would overhear things said by the other sides.

“I feel terrible for the poor kid, honestly.” He heard Morality say once. “He can escape for a little while and is then thrown into a spiral of terrifying visions.”

Terrifying, The King thought. Morality thinks what I can do is terrifying. A rush of guilt came flooding over the side. His purpose was to be Thomas’s creative center. He was supposed to help Thomas, not become a hindrance to his everyday life.

He flashed back to a time when Thomas was quite young. Elementary school, you would write a story and illustrate it. Thomas was never excellent at drawing but, as The King of Creativity, he would try his hardest. The details of the story were fuzzy to him but he remembered an illustration of Thomas electrocuting one of his older brothers. The King had imagined it as a funny joke, which is what Thomas’s classmates saw it as. Unfortunately, Morality did not see it that way. The King was told that it was inappropriate and terrible to even joke about hurting a loved one.

Despite this warning, years later, Thomas would be faced with nightmares worse than what his innocent third-grade sketches could ever predict. The thoughts of performing a heinous crime that he had read about in a crime-novel or speaking about his deepest secrets to those who would use it against them. Fear of alienation would stop Thomas from speaking about what he thought about.

Soon, a day would come when Anxiety would approach Creativity after a daydream mode experience gone awry. He had said to the King, “I heard Logic use a term to describe what happens to you toward the end of your little brainstorming sessions,” He had begun. There was a harshness in his voice, he also sounded mildly taunting, like he was going to say something the King wouldn’t like. “He called them Intrusive Thoughts.”

Intrusive Thoughts. The King looked at the darkly dressed side in front of him. “What does that mean?” He had asked. He knew that, if it were important enough for Anxiety to tell him this, these words did not have pleasant meanings.

“To my knowledge, the word ‘Intrusive’ means something along the lines of disruptive or unwanted.” Anxiety replied, his voice was eerily calm.

It was disconcerting to see the side that was responsible for Thomas’s fears speaking with such a mild tone. From an outside perspective, it was obvious Anxiety was trying to get under Creativity’s skin. From the perspective of the King, it was working.

“Take that as you will, your Highness.” Anxiety shrugged and walked away from Creativity. Leaving him alone with his thoughts.

Anxiety’s words ran through the King’s mind for a long time. Even as he prepared to go to sleep, the remarks haunted him. Now, as Thomas faced another restless night, so did the King of Creativity. As time passed, the King heard the other sides express their concerns about Thomas’s wellbeing. They blamed Creativity for the ways Thomas’s mind would sway to writing something unpleasant or dark. They would tell Creativity that they needed to have positivity and happiness in order to cancel out the effects of Anxiety’s fear. And despite some very good brainstorming sessions in daydream-mode, there was also the stray few that would end in disaster.

Intrusive...disruptive...unwanted. Anxiety’s words, once again, ran through his mind. The King was now feeling shameful and guilty about how he was trying to help Thomas. This time was different from the others, however. This time, the feeling was not gone in the morning.

As the sides began their days, the King woke up still feeling guilty about the night before. He began growing afraid to engage in daydream mode for fear of the consequences. This, however, left both himself and Thomas feeling worse than usual. Soon, his only form of escapism for Thomas was gone. He began growing more distant from the other sides and was unconsciously isolating himself. His insecurities began to get the best of him. There would be times when he would duck out entirely, in order to avoid judgment.

Thomas’s imagination was stuck in a slump. Normally, he was incredibly creative and could write a story with ease. Writing was one of the ways he escaped his anxieties and the rest of his troubles. Now, he was stuck in a place where he couldn’t think of anything to write and was falling deeper into his fears and worries.

One night, the King had come out in order to alleviate Thomas’s stress, after a particularly difficult day. He had hoped that emerging in dire circumstances would lessen the chances of things going wrong toward the end of daydreaming. The King saw the look of surprise on Logic’s face as he asked to enter daydream mode. He never asked for permission, however, he had thought that asking for permission would be less disruptive.

Everything was seemingly going according to plan until daydream-mode began to fade out. Thomas’s ideas of drafting villainous characters began to shift into thoughts of himself as the villain; wreaking havoc on the relationships he had worked so hard to build up.

As Creativity saw what was happening, he panicked and retreated into his room. He abandoned daydream mode without hesitation. Leaving the other sides to deal with the aftermath of another disaster. As he disappeared into his room, the King broke down. He heard the words of the other sides running through his mind. Terrifying. Inappropriate. Unwanted. Intrusive. Disruptive. The King paced back and forth throughout his room. Thoughts were rattling inside his brain.

Am I hurting Thomas? How can I get rid of all of these horrific ideas? I can’t keep putting Thomas through all of this. What is the point of trying to help? Would it be better for everyone if I just was gone for good? His mind raced with questions and fear. How ironic, the King thought. I have now become the anxious and insecure side.

With that thought, the King collapsed to the floor. Gripping at his bedframe for stability, began to sob with his thoughts becoming even more frantic. What is wrong with me? How do I fix this? How...? Why...? What...?

Without any warning, he was enveloped in darkness.

He was alone, standing by himself, in a void. His head was ringing and he felt like the world was spinning around him.

“Get rid of the bad creativity.” He heard his own voice echoing throughout his mind. “Fix yourself.” It now echoed.

Suddenly, the King felt a sharp pain go through his entire body. Almost as if he was being ripped apart. He screamed in pain and fell to the ground.

He was still surrounded by darkness, thus causing the pain to be even more concerning. What is happening to me? The agony continued, as the colors of red and green flashed in his vision causing him blacked out again.

Two boys woke up on the floor of the King’s bedroom. One dressed in white with a red sash. The other dressed in black with a green sash. The looked at each other with the same fearful expression.

“Who are you?” They both asked at the same time.

“I’m Creativity.” They both responded. They both talked about the memories that they had leading up to that point. The pain and then waking up to the sight of each other. They talked about who most likely represented good creativity and who represented bad creativity. They decided that they were twins and a result of the King’s breakdown.

“Does this mean that we’re both the King?” The side in black and green asked.

“I think I’m more of a prince now,” the red and white side responded. “Since neither of us is fully the King anymore.”

“Well, if you’re a prince the I’ll be a duke!” Exclaimed the boy in green and black.

The Prince decided to call himself Roman. He decided that the Duke would be called Remus. Their names were similar to the twins Romulus and Remus, in Roman myth. Because the prince represented “good” creativity and Romulus was who Rome was named for, the prince decided that Roman was a good fit.

As time would go on, Roman would become the prized brother. He was “Good Creativity” after all. Remus became rejected, taken in by Deceit, and the other sides that were considered to be bad or harmful to Thomas. The Prince seemed to forget the trauma that caused the King’s split. The Duke, however, would harbor those memories for a long time after being shut out by the “good sides.”

Later in Thomas’s life, Anxiety would become one of the “good sides” too. The side that caused Creativity the most pain before the split. Soon, Remus would grow aggravated by the amount of attention Anxiety was getting by the good sides. As Deceit would also make more frequent appearances in Thomas’s decision making, Remus grew more fearful that he was becoming the only rejected side left.

Remus decided that sooner or later he was going to get the attention he craved. He didn’t give a damn if he was considered a “bad side,” he just wanted to be heard and have his voice be listened to. He decided to use his own daydream mode.