The Contest

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

Chapter 40 (v.1) - RETURN OF THE PRINCE

Submitted: October 11, 2018

Reads: 52

Comments: 2

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Submitted: October 11, 2018

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The white, glittering, strapless floor length gown was simple but extraordinarily beautiful, straight and sleek, skimming the contours of my body. I had chosen it from a selection of wedding gowns delivered to the palace, as it had instantly caught my eye.

From knee-height, the back of the gown fell in delicate pleats to the floor, and to cover my arms and shoulders during the ceremony, I had chosen a matching short cape, fastened at the high neck with tiny pearl buttons. The tiara Mum gave me for my birthday twinkled brightly over a short shoulder length veil. The last thing I wanted was an over fussy wedding gown, and this one was perfect.

“I think this is the one,” I said to Mum, who stood dabbing her eyes with a tissue, too overwhelmed with emotion to speak.

At that moment Pop burst through the door. “You might not be needing that. Hugh fell from the Zip Wire and is unconscious in Cyber Hospital.”

Mum gasped, covering her mouth with her hand, stunned into silence, her brimming eyes wide with shock as she struggled to take it in.

“When? How? Is he going to die?” I stuttered, completely stunned at the sudden news.

“I’m sorry Eemay, but we must prepare ourselves for the worst. I think you need to get to the hospital as a matter of urgency while I contact his family.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I gazed down at Hugh’s handsome face. For the first time in weeks, the anxiety that had been so deeply etched had melted away, he look peaceful and calm, almost childlike. There was no doubt that I had wanted justice to be done, he was after all, my worst enemy, but I would never have wished for this tragic turn of events.

Unexpected tears suddenly flowed, not just for Hugh’s critical condition, but for the whole sorry situation that had arisen because of The Contest.

“Any change?” Mum asked, peering round the door.”

Seeing my tearstained face, she came over and took my hand. “We must hope and pray that he will recover, and be here to talk to and reassure him. You never know, he may be able to hear us, and aware of what’s going on around him.”

“I wish The Contest had never happened. It has brought nothing but misery and heartache.”

“There is no point in blaming The Contest for Hugh’s accident. You father says it was entirely his own fault. He took the risk and is now paying for it. But we must remain positive, there’s still a chance he will recover.”

From the recess of my mind came the recurring thought. You get back what you give out.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -- -- - - - - - - - -

Back at the palace I took the dogs for their walk, taking the opportunity to bring Scott up to date with everything that had happened.

I could tell he was agitated, turning round in circles and barking incessantly. “Oh Scott, what am I going to do?”

He sat down and fastened me with his dark trusting eyes, whimpering continuously.

“Scott, I need you back to be with me.”

He barked in agreement.

At midnight I crept down to the kitchen to prepare the spell, sprinkling the powder over some dog food and mixing it well in. I left a track suit for him to pull on afterwards, threw my arms around his neck and planted a kiss on top of his huge head.

“Come up to me when you’re ready, I’ll be waiting.”

I lay on the top of my bed and waited patiently for him, too anxious to sleep. My mind raced, What if goes wrong again? .Can his body stand the trauma of another spell? How can I face my parents?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Scott wasted no time and gobbled up the food. He looked fondly over at Nettie sound asleep in her basket. My time as a dog hasn’t been so bad after all, he thought.

He braced himself once again and waited expectantly for the effects of the spell to begin, and soon became aware of the first subtle changes.

As a dog he had loved the delicious smell of Nettie, her own special glorious scent that he desperately wanted to savour. He moved closer, sniffing and snuffling around her, but sadly his heightened sense of smell was no more. Likewise his sharpened hearing, he could no longer hear the clicking of his claws on the stone floor or hear the sound of Nettie’s soft breathing as she slept, a sound he had always found so comforting.

He then began to experience the sensation of his tail folding telescopically into his body until it finally disappeared. Without it he felt unbalanced and incomplete, as if he had lost an arm or a leg. Thankfully he did not have time to dwell, because his back legs began to extend at a violent pace, forcing him upright. At the same time his head started to change shape rapidly, and he could hear the now familiar, but still shocking, sound of his bones cracking and crunching.

By now he had developed feet and toes, as well as hands and fingers. He shivered involuntarily, and realised that he had shed his thick fur coat which lay strewn across the kitchen floor in great shaggy piles.

He became aware of his human features starting to take shape, as if being moulded and shaped by unseen hands and finally, his scalp tingling and burning as hair follicles sprung through at lightning speed.

A sense of peace and calmness suddenly washed over him, and he knew the transformation was complete. Feeling cold he reached for the track suit, grateful for the warmth it provided.

Unaccustomed to his height and feeling slightly giddy and unsteady, he sat down at the kitchen table examining his hands and fingers, flexing them with glorious satisfaction and delighting in the texture of his skin, his hair and his features.

Feeling more composed, he made himself a cup of tea, savouring every delicious mouthful of the hot sweet liquid.

He glanced over at Nettie, who had miraculously slept through the whole transformation, and again felt a profound sense of loss at the relationship they had shared as the beloved palace pets.

Staring long and hard into the mirror, he punched a victorious fist into the air, I’m back, he thought, with joyful relief. He then set about cleaning up the kitchen, filling bag after bag with the thick fur that had once been his coat.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I eventually fell into an exhausted sleep, from which I was stirred by a soft kiss on my forehead. As I opened my eyes, Scott’s handsome face beamed down at me. Tears filled my eyes, tears of relief and joy.

“Are you sure you’re alright?”

He held me tightly to him. “Yes, I’m absolutely fine, and just so happy to be me again. It’s been quite an experience and I’m just so grateful to have survived the ordeal. Without your help and determination, I have no doubt it would have been a very different outcome.

We now need to focus on the future, our future together.”


© Copyright 2020 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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