The Contest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: All Star Story Writers

Chapter 30 (v.1) - THE INVESTIGATION

Submitted: October 11, 2018

Reads: 64

Comments: 2

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Submitted: October 11, 2018

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Scott's little button nose appeared around the far side of my bed and he greeted me with obvious delight, wagging madly with a happy grin on his cute little face. “Has anyone tried to open the door while I was out?”

He instantly barked twice, in reply.

“Great, now I need to tell you my plans.”

I sat down on the bed and he jumped up beside me, listening intently as I repeated the plans made with Pen earlier, including the need for him to stay in kennels out of harm’s way, until it was safe for him to be released.

“I have managed to talk Hugh into meeting up with his friends later, and the taxi is calling for him at seven thirty, so we can then search his room together.

A sudden and urgent thumping on my bedroom door, made my heart miss a beat. I shooed Scott out of sight and opened the door. Pop stood there, with a face like thunder.

“Eemay have you got that dog in there, because he isn’t in the kitchen with Nettie.” He stormed into my room, searching for Scott. “What on earth do you think you’re doing?” he bellowed, when he finally found him, hiding in a corner.

“Pop, please don’t be angry, I will do as promised first thing in the morning.”

His eyes were full of doubt, as they scrutinised my face. “I don’t trust you Eemay, I know how fond you are of him, and I find it more than a bit suspicious, that you decided to hide him away up here. That dog has inflicted a serious injury on Hugh, and has apparently threatened him on previous occasions. I suspect you’re planning to save him from his fate, which I cannot condone.”

With every muscle in my body rigid with tension, I continued. “Pop, I’m not planning anything, I know what has to be done. Icon would never turn on me and the least I can do is to make sure he has a safe and comfortable last night, surely you can’t deny him that! I gave you my word, which I fully intend to keep.”

The tightness in his face softened slightly. “Eemay, believe me, we have no alternative. If the animal’s life is spared, Hugh will undoubtedly report the matter to the Police, and then it will be taken out of our hands.”

In a final bid to sound convincing, I added, “Pop, believe me, I know how serious the situation is. You’re absolutely right, we have no choice. If I don’t take him to be destroyed, I know the Police will.”

“Well, hmm,” he muttered. “At least the dog is being kept out of harm’s way. First thing in the morning then,” he repeated, and left the room.

“That was a close call!”

Scott looked up at me through worried eyes, whimpering. “Scott, you’re going to have to trust me,” I said, stroking him gently to calm him.

When he had settled, I went down to the kitchen to get us both some food. There was some lasagne in the fridge that had been left over from the bistro and while I fed Nettie, Roxie offered to heat it up for me. “Will you be eating in the kitchen,” she asked.

“No Roxie, I think I’ll take it up to my room, I’m still upset and need some space.”

She plonked a tray down on the table with a bang and waddled off. “Suit yourself.”

I put some lasagne on a plate for Scott, and set it on the floor, then tucked into the remainder myself. Scott gobbled up the food hungrily, licking his lips with satisfaction.

“Just another thirty minutes to go, and Hugh will be gone,” I said, glancing at my watch.

At exactly seven thirty, Harry arrived to drive Hugh to the restaurant. From my hiding place behind the curtain, I continued to stare through the window, biting my lip with apprehension, while I waited for Hugh to emerge. Ten minutes later, and with a sigh of relief, he finally jumped into the waiting cab.

“At last, he’s gone,” I said, watching the car move slowly down the driveway.

“You will have to wait here, while I try the door to his room. I expect it to be locked, and if it is, I’ll have to fetch the master key from Edward.”

As expected, the door was locked.

Edward was sitting at the kitchen table, just about to tuck into his lavish supper.

“Sorry to bother you Edward, but with all the upset with Hugh and Icon I seem to have lost my key. Can I borrow the master key?

He looked up at me with an angry scowl, gave a loud sigh and heaved himself out of his chair digging deep into his pocket.

Being a stickler for rules, he then insisted. “For security reasons, I’m not allowed to give the key to anyone else, so I’ll have to come with you to unlock it.”

“But that doesn’t include me, and I really don't want to disturb your supper.”

His face darkened, and he started to shake violently. “I will lose my job if your father ever finds out that I have deliberately broken his rules. You do realise the master key opens every internal door in the palace?”

“Of course I do and I take full responsibility for my actions, now, please just do as I say and give me the key. I’ll return it to you shortly, I promise.”

He huffed and puffed, before slowly handing it over with a trembling hand. “Be it on your own head, young lady,” he warned, before returning to his mountainous plate of food.

Looking furtively around, I unlocked the door to Hugh’s room, then went back for Scott. Once inside we locked the heavy door behind us.

Hugh’s room was immaculate, not a thing out of place. He had even lined up his many hair products in the centre of the dressing table, with obsessive precision.

I searched through the dressing table drawers, but found only underwear and socks, neatly arranged, then looked under the bed and in the bathroom, but there was nothing untoward.

In the ancient, huge wardrobe, all his pristine shirts hung on coat hangers, along with several jackets and numerous pairs of trousers, all protected with individual plastic covers, to keep them clean and tidy. His T-shirts and jumpers had been carefully folded and placed in a neat pile on the top shelf and his highly polished shoes, were lined up, as if standing to attention.

Sliding the coat hangers along the rack, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a black shape at the back of the wardrobe, as if something had been deliberately hidden.

Reaching deep inside, my hand touched what felt like a plastic bag, which I dragged out.

“Scott, I’ve found your clothes, lap-tab and cyPhone.” I said, emptying the contents of the bag on to the floor. He bounded over and started yapping hysterically.

“Be quiet Scott, stop yapping at me. Please try to control yourself before someone hears you.”

He looked up at me with hurt, remorseful eyes.

“I’m Sorry for snapping Scott, but we daren’t take any risks. Luckily, most of the rooms along this corridor are empty, but we need to keep the noise down.”

I picked up his cyPhone. “Is this what you’re so excited about?”

He responded with two short soft squeaks, rather than his usual high pitched penetrating bark.

“That’s more like it. Okay, so let’s try again”. I then picked up his lap-tab and repeated the question.

This time he squeaked once.

Placing it on the bed, I opened the lid and pressed the ‘on’ key, but the battery was dead. I began searching frantically through Scott’s scattered belongings for the charger, when I heard a whimper behind me. When I looked round, he was just sitting there like a little statue, with the cable dangling from his mouth.

I quickly plugged it in, but the next barrier was his password. With frustration and anger boiling up inside me, I wailed, “Oh Scott, If only you could talk!”

He jumped up on the bed and sat beside me, staring at the lap-tab, and as my fingers hovered over the keyboard, I had an idea.

“Listen to me Scott, when my finger reaches the first letter of your password I need you to bark, no I mean squeak.”

I began by positioning my index finger over the letter ‘q’, moving it slowly across. When I reached the letter ‘e’, he released his funny little squeak.

“So, are you telling me your password begins with ‘e’?”

He replied with another squeak, and I keyed in ‘e’.

We continued, using the same system of recognition, until we had formed the word ‘eureka’ - his password.

“We make a brilliant team,” I praised. “All I can say is, I’m grateful you didn’t use fingerprint recognition.”

When I clicked on to his inbox, he whimpered excitedly. There were hundreds of new unopened cymail messages, but as I scrolled down, I noticed the last one to be opened was one from me, headed “It’s a dog’s life”.

How strange, I didn’t send that.

When I looked at the date and time it had been sent, I realised it was the night before Scott had supposedly left.

Scott was now whimpering and turning in agitated circles around the bed.

“What is it Scott?” I asked, opening the message, but it was blank. I was now totally confused, but from Scott’s reaction, it was obvious we were on to something!

“Please calm down Scott, am I right in assuming that your transformation has something to do with this message?”

Scott looked intently into my face, and this time he couldn’t help himself and released one loud, bark in response.

“Right, so now we’re getting somewhere. I’ve heard about cyber witchcraft, is this how you were transformed?”

Again I was answered by one shrill bark.

I keyed in the words ‘Cyber Witchcraft’, and ran a search.

Numerous options appeared on the screen. Scott was sitting by my side staring intently as I scrolled down, and when I came to Vilelet’s Witchcraft Workshop, he resumed his agitated circling, and began whimpering frantically.

“It’s Ok Scott. Is this the one?”

His one quick bark gave me the answer I needed.

As if on cue, my mobile started to ring.

“I’m just on my way to pick up Hugh,” Harry said. “He should be back at the palace in about twenty minutes.”

Thanks Harry that’s really useful, we’re almost ready for him. But don’t forget it’s a surprise, so please don’t say anything to him.”

“Don’t worry Eemay, I won’t. Sounds like a lucky chap to me.”

After putting everything back into the plastic bag and carefully hiding it in the wardrobe, behind his clothes, I smoothed out the crumpled duvet and left the room, exactly as we had found it. After locking the door with the master key, I shut Scott in my room, while I returned it to Edward, who appeared greatly relieved to be reunited with it.

Back in my room, I opened my cyPhone and searched for ‘Vilelets Witchcraft Workshop’, and with Scott curled up on my lap, I read through the advert with interest.

“I need to get tomorrow’s plan out of the way, and will contact her as soon as I know you’re safely tucked away at Baskerville Kennels.”

“You know Scott, they say you get back what you give out. Justice will be done, you’ll see.”


© Copyright 2020 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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