The Contest

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

Chapter 43 (v.1) - TRUE OR FALSE?

Submitted: October 11, 2018

Reads: 57

Comments: 2

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 11, 2018




Edward shuffled into the sitting room accompanied by a police officer.

“Excuse me Your Majesty, but the Officer here says he needs an urgent word with you and your family.

“Thank you Edward that will be all,” Pop said. “Please take a seat Inspector Baloney, I take it this is about Hugh?”

He again politely removed his helmet and sat down. “Since regaining consciousness, the medical team are now concerned about his state of mind. Apparently he keeps rambling on about The Corridor of Fear, and I have called in, in the hope that you can throw some light on it.”

”Scott looked puzzled, but I suddenly remembered Hugh’s questions about previous ghostly sightings at the palace.

“Pop, please tell the Inspector the story.”

“But what could this have to do with Hugh?

“Please, Pop, just do as I ask, and tell him the whole story.”

He took a deep breath and began.

“The story has its origins way back in time when Cyberia was ruled by a stubborn, short sighted ruler by the name of Cam Plaisant, who almost destroyed the Kingdom.

Believing technological development to be a threat to his power and control, he introduced a ‘Back-to-Basics’ campaign, involving the removal and confiscation of all items of technology from homes, businesses and public services. People were warned that any attempt to obstruct officers in their duty, would be deemed a criminal offence, punishable by law.

The Kingdom descended into chaos as soldiers ransacked homes and businesses, ripping out wifi connections, forcibly removing equipment and mobile devices, and searching for any hidden items. Shops and warehouses, holding stocks of electronic goods were seized, with armed guards keeping round the clock surveillance.

Without the internet, people everywhere wandered aimlessly like zombies, unable to function. Their vacant, glazed eyes staring into space. Clinics and Hospitals were stretched to the limit, forced to set up temporary wards in deserted office blocks and airport terminals, desperately trying to cope with the ever increasing cases of IWT (Internet Withdrawal Trauma). Even specialist staff, trained in treating addiction withdrawal, themselves fell victim to the new mental affliction sweeping the Kingdom like a tidal wave.

With no cyber games or social networking sites to occupy them, gangs of feral children and adolescents resorted to marauding through streets, parks and shopping centres, looting and causing mayhem. Their mindless parents incapable of exercising any control over them.

Just as total destruction seemed inevitable, a small group of senior citizens, previously diagnosed with TOT (Terror of Technology), and unaffected by the enforced campaign, watched in grave disbelief as life ground to a halt.

Unwilling to stand by and watch the imminent destruction of the Kingdom, a spritely senior citizen called for the co-operation of other pensioners, in tracking down Cam Plaisant and his supporters. Eventually, an army of silver haired warriors advanced on the cowering Cam Plaisant, now alone and deserted by both his troops and loyal supporters, who had themselves become casualties of IWT.

A victim of his own destruction, he was captured and thrown into prison.

Aware they lacked the vital skills to restore the Kingdom, and with the majority of the adult population unable to function, the group leader made a heartfelt plea to all the young people of Cyberia, to use their impressive technical know-how, to help reconnect their world

With their fingers itching to be reunited with their beloved games consoles, they did not hesitate. Breaking into secured shops and warehouses, they ransacked premises for products and equipment needed for their task. Their focus and determination so contagious, that soon the crippling hold that IWT had on their parents, lifted and, in a united effort, the Kingdom was eventually restored to its former technological capacity.

With Cam Plaisant locked away, the people voted in a new democratic government, with a monarch appointed as head of state. However, a group of Cam Plaisant’s die hard supporters, known as the Reb Cams, managed to infiltrate the palace, hiding themselves away in the West Wing, with the intention of killing the King, taking over the palace and reclaiming the Kingdom.

In the early hours of one morning, they came out fighting for the freedom of their leader. Outnumbered, they never stood a chance, dying martyrs to their cause.

It was directly after this incident that the first ghostly sightings were reported. Written records at the time suggest that the spirits of those who died, remained to haunt the corridor, lying dormant until awakened.

By what you might ask?

The spirits are roused by human energy. Specifically, energy that is generated by a sudden surge in adrenalin that occurs when a person is carrying out a malicious or evil act. It is also said, that those who witness The Corridor of Fear, are so traumatised, they become transformed into dark, sinister, tormented individuals, unable to find future happiness or peace of mind, leading to complete and permanent insanity. Some have said it is only what they deserve. That is the story, my friends, but is it true?”

There was a long silent pause before he continued.

“In actual fact, I came across the truth quite by accident, which I have never before disclosed to anyone, but I think the time has come to put the record straight.

Over the years, there were many more attempts by invaders to take over the palace, scaling the walls of the remote West Wing.

Guarded throughout the day and night, the invaders were regularly driven back. However, the minority who did manage to break in, soon fled for their lives in terror, after witnessing the ghostly sightings in the Corridor of Fear. As the story spread, the phenomenon became notorious, and the attempted invasions eventually stopped.

One night, unable to sleep and reading into the early hours, I decided to go down to the kitchen to make myself a drink. As I opened the door I heard a noise, a loud and frantic beating. Curious, I walked towards it and, in the shadowy moonlight, saw a large white dove beating its wings maniacally against a closed window, in a futile attempt to escape. My attempts to open the jammed window to free the poor thing, only freaked it further and, as a result, it fled into the deeper recesses of the palace. So engrossed in my rescue mission, I followed its luminous form, and before I knew it, had entered the Corridor of Fear, where the infamous ghostly apparitions suddenly manifested before me. Petrified and rigid with fear, I stood as still as a statue, as the terrifying phenomenon continued leap around me, becoming ever more frenzied.

Through the ghostly flashes of light, I caught a glimpse of the terrorised bird, perched on the gilt frame of an ancient painting. As the eerie whispers and flashes gathered momentum, it began beating its powerful wings wildly, dislodging the painting, which crashed to the floor. As the bird flew away, coincidentally, the ghostly crescendo suddenly stopped, but still in the grip of panic, I ran for my life, back to the safety of my room.

Still shaking and nauseous with pure terror, I remained convinced that I, like all the others before me, would be permanently scarred by my ghostly encounter. But I began to wonder why I had become a victim, as I had not been about to commit some dastardly deed, but quite the reverse.

When daylight dawned, I returned to the scene, when all was revealed.

To my absolute astonishment, the painting lay in a tangle of electrical cables and sensors, ripped from the wall as it had crashed to the floor. On the wall where the painting had hung, a recess had been cut out containing an electrical circuit box, remotely linked to hidden lighting and sound waves. You see my friends, it was nothing mor than a very sophisticated and effective burglar alarm system, designed to pick up sound and movement, activating a series of flashing lights that grow in intensity, which the terrorised bird had unwittingly triggered.

With the help of Edward, who I would trust with my life, we set about reconnecting the intricate system and rehung the painting in its original position on the wall.

For years the Corridor of Fear had been a successful deterrent to invaders, and with Edward sworn to secrecy, I had no intention of compromising the security of the palace by revealing the truth. So now you know, there never was, or is, any truth in the ghostly tale, it’s just a fascinating story.”

“It all makes sense now” I shrilled. “I couldn’t work out how Hugh had managed to get a strand of Scott’s hair for the spell, but now I know what happened. While Scott and everyone else in the palace slept, he crept along the corridor to his room to snip off a lock of hair, and as he did, must have set off the alarm system. He witnessed what he believed to be a terrifying, ghostly display. It’s all about mind over matter, if you genuinely believe what you have seen and heard, even if it’s a hoax, the consequence is the same.

When I first met Hugh, he was dynamic and confident. But gradually I saw a change in him, he became nervous, edgy, seemed tormented and intense. I really thought it must be his evil ways finally catching up with him, and in a way, perhaps it’s true!”

© Copyright 2020 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.


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