Phoenix Tail

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Can a school trip to Hampton Court get any more dull? When an unexpected creature flies out of the ceiling, one boy's perception of history changes forever.

Submitted: July 18, 2015

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Submitted: July 18, 2015

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Phoenix Tail

This was going to be the dullest day of my life. Another boring old school trip. I had gone ahead of the others, because who cares about some stupid chapel.

I find myself alone in a large room with a strangely lively atmosphere. Am I alone? The walls are covered in tapestries, which I swear are shuffling around. They give me the creeps. Gold plated beams decorate the ceiling. A faint fluttering. Wings beating? My head tilts upwards, and to my amazement, from Jane Seymour’s emblem, emerges a phoenix. Not the kind in fairytales, but a real life one. Gingerly, I reach out a hand to stroke the creature, but it recoils in horror. My eyes (again) are drawn to Jane’s emblem. Beside the phoenix is a castle, and almost on cue, a grey outline begins to materialise right before my eyes.

“You, like so many before you, have found me, or rather, been found.” All I can do is gape in disbelief. A phoenix is one thing, but a talking phoenix? “The last person to be found was Catherine Howard. I would often see her roam the corridors; every day she would stop by. But one day, she didn’t pass here. Nor the next day. It is said that she haunts that corridor. She hasn’t been seen for centuries now.”

“You can talk?" I manage to stutter.

“Well obviously.” He or she sounds frustrated, “and I’ll ask you not to ask me to repeat that, thank you very much.”

“I see everything from here,” it continues, “Henry VII’s painting is going for a stroll down to the chapel to admire his replica crown. So vain.”

“Where are we?” I ask, curiously.

“It’s called the watching room.”

“Oh, oh,” I interrupt, “is that because you watch everything from here?”

The fiery creature sighs in disappointment.

“No, dear child. Down there is the King’s Banqueting Hall. He would employ men to sit up here and watch everything that went on, and was said in there. They were like human CCTV cameras.”

If I could see its face, I’m sure it would be wearing a smug smirk.

A sudden babble of voices floods the room like a wave. In amongst them, I can hear my teacher’s distinctive foghorn voice, bellowing my name.

“Where have you been?”

“We thought you’d got lost.”

“Were you trying to escape?”

“Who were you talking to?”

This avalanche of questions is overwhelming. I have never had so many people talk to me at one time!

“Who were you talking to?”  The question keeps coming, like a persistent toddler.

“No-one,” I stammer.

“Liar,” comes a distant, angry retort.

“This room’s boring, let’s go.” Murmurs of agreement ripple across the room, like a smell diffusing. “Are you coming or what?”

“Yeah, ok. Let me just quickly tie my laces. You go on ahead; I’ll catch you up in a minute.” I hate lying. I don’t even know why I do it sometimes. It feels all wrong. It is wrong. Silence is restored once more, although the stampede in the next corridor is still audible. I glance up at the phoenix, emerging once more from the ceiling.

“I’m sorry about their behaviour…” I begin to say, apologetically, but then to my surprise, he or she is nodding.

“Yes, I completely agree. One thing I have learnt about you children is that you are ever so ignorant. No respect for your peers, let alone your elders.”

He, (I will assume it’s male) tuts disappointedly. This golden, fiery creature is making me feel extremely guilty, for I have to admit, he’s right. I am ignorant: I take far too much for granted. In my head, I make a mental not to be more careful with how I spend my years. Time is like a currency: you have to give more to receive more, which enables you to accomplish more. It is complicated, yet makes so much sense without having to be explained. It’s an instinctive habit to the human race, which so many times out of ten will be dissolved and destroyed forever without a second thought.


© Copyright 2020 Phoenix Phonson. All rights reserved.

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