Chapter 39: SURPLUS TO REQUIREMENTS

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

Reads: 122
Comments: 2

 

Preparations for the wedding were in overdrive. Dress designers were competing for the chance to design and make the royal wedding gown, and several of them had been invited to bring along a selection of their designs to the palace. Despite so much to do in so little time, as usual, the Queen remained calm, composed and organised, unlike the King, who had become agitated and impatient, running around making impulsive decisions, and generally causing chaos.

Unwilling to tolerate his interference a second longer, the Queen sent him packing. “My dear, please leave things to me, I know you mean well, but you’re just not helping. I have everything under control.”

The King stormed out in a strop. As he made his way over to the produce shop he met Hugh, who was just returning from a jog, and stopped to vent his frustration. “Do you get the feeling we’re surplus to requirements,” the King asked. “Can’t seem to do right from wrong.”

“I know exactly what you mean. I decided to go for a jog to keep out of the way.” Hugh replied, wiping sweat from his forehead with his wrist-band.

“She’s always been the same, highly organised and resentful of other people trying to help. You’d think I’d be used to it by now,” he laughed. “Best let her get on with it.”

The King turned to walk away, but hesitated. “You OK young man? You’re looking worn out if you don’t mind my saying. I’d slow down a bit if I were you, need to be in fine form for the wedding.”

“Thank you for asking, but I’m fine, in fact I’ve never felt better”

“I’d still take it easy if I were you, you’ve been looking really pale and tired lately. Anyway, I’ll catch up with you later.”

Always proud of his stamina and physical fitness, Hugh found the King’s observation offensive. What does he know about health and fitness and who is he to tell me to slow down. At that moment a nerve began to quiver below his right eye and a nagging voice crept into his mind, The Corridor of Fear.

In the distance he could hear squeals of delight coming from the Zip Wire Circuit and to distract himself, decided it was the perfect time for an adrenal rush

As usual, because of Health & Safety rules, a long queue had formed. It was the responsibility of the trained Zip Wire Operator to make sure that every participant was wearing a safety helmet and securely strapped into a safety harness before being allowed on to the circuit. But, Hugh was impatient, and arrogantly pushed his way to the front of the queue, boasting that he was the Princess’s fiancé and was not prepared to wait.

Despite disgruntled murmurs from the waiting crowd, the operator was just about to go through Health & Safety procedures when Hugh raised a defiant hand in the air. “I don’t need a pep talk from anyone, and you’ve got to be kidding if you think for one minute I’m going to wear a safety helmet that’s been worn by lots of other people.”

“I’m sorry Sir, but I cannot allow you on to the platform without the appropriate safety equipment.”

“At the risk of repeating myself, I am the Princess’s fiancé and certainly don’t have to take orders from the likes of you.”

Hugh climbed up on to the platform like a monkey, grabbed the safety harness and wriggled his body into it, before launching himself spectacularly from the platform. But in his haste, had not fastened the straps correctly, and just as he reached maximum speed, suddenly dropped like a stone to the ground with an almighty thud!

There was a collective gasp from the waiting crowd and the King ran over to find out what had happened. He pushed his way through the crowd of onlookers, shocked to see Hugh lying unconscious with blood trickling from his ear. He immediately rang for assistance and a few minutes later, Hugh was being carefully manoeuvred on to a stretcher, and on his way to Cyber Hospital by emergency ambulance, with sirens blaring.

The Zip Wire Operator was clearly upset, standing with his head in his hands in a state of absolute despair. “It all happened in a second, it was his own fault he just wouldn’t wait,” he stuttered.

The King set off for the hospital, but in his haste had not thought to inform anyone else of the accident, and in any event, he wanted to share the shocking news in person, rather than by phone.

At the Accident and Emergency Department the medical team were ready and waiting to receive Hugh, who was wheeled straight through to the assessment unit, where he was hooked up to an intravenous drip, while the emergency team attached monitors and carried out tests and examinations.

The King waited in a communal area in silent anticipation, distractedly running his fingers through his hair and wondering what to do. He consulted his watch, paced the floor and repeatedly checked his cyPhone for messages, before slumping into an uncomfortable plastic chair. He chewed anxiously on his lip as he waited for news, which he hoped would be good, but feared the worst.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Sipping distractedly at a tasteless cup of coffee purchased from the vending machine, the King looked up to see the doctor striding towards him.

“Your Majesty, I need to speak to you in private, please follow me.”

They walked in silence along the long corridor and into a private consultation room.

“Please take a seat Your Majesty, he invited, with calm respect.

“I am afraid the Prince is in a critical condition. He sustained both a broken arm and leg, but his most life threatening injury is a fractured skull, which I am sorry to have to inform you, has left him in a coma. We have done everything medically possible, and have tried to relieve the pressure on his brain with surgical intervention. But at the moment all we can do is wait. He could regain consciousness at any moment, but it may take much longer. At the very worst he may never recover at all. He is currently on a life support machine and only time will tell if recovery is likely. Unfortunately, I cannot predict the outcome at this stage."

Feeling stunned, The King made his way into the side ward where Hugh lay motionless and silent, except for the rhythmic bleeping of the ventilator keeping him alive.

“Hugh can you hear me?” he asked, crouching down beside his bed, hoping for a reaction. “If you can, give me a sign, move your finger or flicker your eyelids.” But Hugh just lay, still and unresponsive.

With a heavy heart and an overwhelming sense of despair, the King knew he could put it off no longer. He now had to return to reveal the extent of the shocking news.

The palace, which had been throbbing with activity and excitement in readiness for the forthcoming wedding, came to a sudden standstill, everyone shocked and stunned into silence.


Submitted: October 11, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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Comments

KathrynAcacia

The last sentence is really creepy and chilling... I liked the focus on the King in this chapter, it was an interesting perspective, especially since there's so much dramatic irony going on... I certainly didn't feel much sympathy for Hugh (to be fair, I feel very little sympathy for anyone who pulls the "do you know who I am" card to get what they want, or generally anyone who thinks they can get away with whatever they want just because they're rich and powerful and famous) but the King doesn't know everything that Hugh's done and I'm sure he thinks Eemay will be devastated... this certainly throws a wrench in the plans!

Sat, October 20th, 2018 6:42am

Author
Reply

I agree, I hate people who expect VIP treatment just because of an overblown sense of superiority! But this is the dastardly Hugh we're dealing with here! Lol.

Sat, October 20th, 2018 2:11am

Keke Serene

Wow, stupidity deseves to hurt they say. And so does arrogance, I mean, cmon dude. You didn't even fasten it correctly?! XD Can't say I'm crying.... though why his parents weren't notified by the dad was a shock to me! They should know at the least, right away. It was interesting seeing the King's perspective, though. Even with all Hugh's done he doesn't deserve to be dead... right? Who's to say lol!

Wed, October 24th, 2018 12:29am

Author
Reply

Thanks for returning to it, Stars and for your feedback. Yes his arrogance is his achilles heel!

Wed, October 24th, 2018 1:22am

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