Inspired by the following Decamot items: artist, trench, bin man, sewer, chess pieces, phantom, wishing well, a watch, bomb, tattered book
Rodriges was a fine man. He was of Hispanic descent and worked for the Royal Family as the stable master during the 80s and later retired to the East side of London with his wife and only child. After Her Majesty died, he would occasionally visit the palace to greet his beloved horses and to advise the Prince on what to do when he needed guidance.
One day, a rumour started going around that a group wanted to assassinate the Prince at his coronation. Worried, the Prince asked Rodriges what he should do. Rodriges advised the Prince to stay strong and carry on with the coronation. It turned out that it was the Prince’s other advisors who were the ones plotting against him. They thought that the young Prince had been too influenced by what Rodriges advised and taught him, and were angry that he no longer listened them. They wanted another King, one they could manipulate.
One night, while Rodriges was driving home from the palace, he thought that he saw a car tailing him. After a few minutes of him trying to persuade himself it was nothing, he got out of his car to buy cigarettes at a grocery store. When he set foot outside that store again, he saw a phantom-like figure pointing a gun at him. He was shot. That was the night that Rodriges, my father, died.
The Prince was crowned, and with Rodriges out of the way, the advisors could brainwash and manipulate the new King to their liking.
It was hard for my mother and me. We decided to stay out of politics and we tried to live a normal life. It was hard trying to live a normal life without a father. During father’s day, people in my school would create cards to congratulate their fathers for being the “Best Dad in the World”, while I just sat there drawing.
One day, the fathers were invited for lunch with their children. Upset that I had no father to eat lunch with, I ran away from school. I visited a place where my dad used to take me. He used to tell me that he and my mum met at that place. They had wished for a child together after flicking a coin into a wishing well. The area was now covered in roots and thorn bushes. As I had nothing else to do, I decided to clear the area and uncover the old well again. Once complete, I flicked a coin into the wishing well, wishing that I could see my dad again.
I closed my eyes and relaxed, waiting for the sound of my penny to hit the water bottom of the wishing well. I waited. And waited. And waited. Still no sound. I peered into the well to check what had happened to my coin and saw that it was caught by a tattered book suspended in a crack about half way down.
I needed to get it.
I climbed down as far as I could and reached for the book. Not noticing that I was about to fall, I reached further for the book. And fell. I knew I was in danger and adrenaline pumped through my body as fast as light. I put my hands and feet out, scraping along the curved walls of the well, trying to slow my fall. I still landed rapidly at the bottom of the well, but with severe cuts to my hand. Fortunately, the well wasn’t as deep as I had feared and a small circle of daylight travelled down the well providing me with a little illumination. My hands were far too injured and hurt for me to attempt to climb back up. Recognising the trouble I’d got myself into, I waited for someone to come and help me. A few hours went by and I started to fall asleep, as a small child would sleep after being injured.
I awoke after I heard footsteps. I SCREAMED for help and I saw the figure of a bin man looking down. Shocked that a teenager was stuck down a well, he told me to stay calm and that he was calling for help. Those words surprisingly calmed me. Maybe it was the sound of a male figure coming to rescue me that made me think of my father. I sobbed a little as I do each time I’m reminded of his absence. I then remembered the tattered book that got me into this trouble in the first place and I realised that I was sitting on it. The firemen came, helped me out of the well, gave me medical attention, and took me back to my house. They explained what had happed to my mother.
Furious, my mum sent me to my room, shouting and cursing. It was then that I got the chance to read the book for the first time. I opened it. Surprisingly, only the front page was wet. I managed to make out what it said:
“The Young Prince’s Case” by Rodriges
Even though the ink was smudged, I recognised that this was my father’s name written in my father’s handwriting. I knew this was his book.
I wondered why it would be suspended inside the well in the first place. Hoping to find some answers, I started to read the book:
I have a feeling that the Prince’s advisors are plotting something against him. I have noticed that every time we have a conversation, they are waiting outside. As I walk out, they give me these dirty looks as they walk in, like I’m a rat from the sewers. I asked the young prince what they said to him, and he said, after some hesitation, that they told him not to take my advice too seriously because I was just a working class man fit only for sending off to the wars to fight in the trenches. I shouldn’t be in the company of aristocrats, businessmen, celebrated artists and the royal family. I asked him if he felt the same way. He replied with a quick, strong denial. I was pleased to hear this; someday I want my son and the young prince to be good friends, no matter their difference in wealth or class.
I could not read this for much longer. Not only was I tired because of my injuries, I was also crying at the thought of my father still alive and introducing me to the young prince. I didn’t want to make the book even wetter with my tears, so I hid it under my bed and went to sleep.
Next day, I had to go back to school, but I brought the book with me. Every opportunity I had, I read the book. During break and lunchtime, I would hide in the cleaner’s closet or the toilets so I could read in secret. However, I saw a group of new faces, around 30-40 years old observing me while I entered the toilets. I didn’t want anyone to find out about this, at least not yet.
I am getting a little concerned about the current situation. There are rumours going around that the young prince will be assassinated. Most people here think it is either the French or the Spanish wanting to claim the throne for themselves. Some people think they are planning to abduct him and hold him for ransom. I would agree with them if I didn’t know better. But, as before, I have a strong feeling that his advisors are the ones behind all this. But I cannot simply accuse them without strong evidence. Not only would it ruin my reputation and image, it would also put my family in danger.
After careful thought, I have decided to ask an old friend to spy on the advisors, and to uncover their plans. I cannot let the young prince, with whose wellbeing Her Late Majesty entrusted me on her deathbed, simply be manipulated and moved like a chess piece on a board. I understand that this is dangerous, but on my honour I will make sure that the advisors WILL be exposed.
There were lots of empty pages after this page, so I tried to find the next entry but my mum called for me downstairs. I rushed downstairs, wanting to get it over with. Then I saw my mum crying, holding an old leather box in her hand. She gave it to me, saying that it was my birthday present. I was so caught up with what was currently happening that I had forgotten my own birthday. But why would she be crying? Aren’t birthdays supposed to be happy?
I opened the box to find inside a watch. But it wasn’t a watch that working-class or even middle-class people could afford. It was gold, and what seemed to be platinum, with black diamonds and blue sapphires generously embedded. I knew we could not afford such a watch, so when she told me to sit down, I happily obliged, wanting to know how she’d got hold of it.
She explained that the watch was a gift from the late queen for my father’s 25 years of service to the royal family. By this time, my father and the late queen had become good friends and she trusted him more than any of her advisors. I asked how this could possibly be, since from what I knew, my father had no experience in dealing with problems regarding politics or the economy. And he was just a stable master, so how did they end up talking in the first place?
My mother gave a brief, but satisfying, story about how the late queen was riding her horse when suddenly a large gust of wind knocked her out of the saddle. In an attempt to save her, my father threw himself on the ground, preventing her from coming in contact with the dirty floor, and to act as a cushion for the late queen. However, this was not the best idea because my father was covered in dirt himself and, even worse, horse poo. So the late queen smelt horrible, and her white dress was ruined. But she appreciated the effort and to thank him, she invited him and my mother for dinner. It was there that the trust started to gradually build. Anyway, my mother explained that my father wanted to give me the watch on my 16th birthday. This was also the time when he wanted to bring me to the palace to introduce me to everyone there, especially the young prince. He wanted me to look as good as I possibly could. My mother and I both cried, and embraced each other tightly. I thanked her for the gift.
I slowly walked upstairs and got out my father’s book. I was still crying as I absentmindedly flipped through the book, and a few tears fell onto the open pages. I suddenly realised that the tears were revealing some words that had not been there before. I had learnt in my chemistry class once that there are some substances that would only be visible when certain conditions were met. The ink my dad used for this page must be one such substance. In this case, the ink reacted to the salt in my tears. But why would he go to all this trouble to hide the words on these pages when he had not done the same for the other pages?
If you are reading this, you must have found the note inside the leather watch box that I put in there just in case a moment like this arose.
I checked the box, and removed the watch, revealing a note. I carried on reading, putting the note to one side.
I have found some REAL evidence that could lead to the advisors’ downfall, but I am afraid that they already know that I know what they are up to. If you are reading this, please ensure that my family’s safety is secure before you turn in this evidence.
I am currently writing this in a grocery store because I have a feeling that I am being followed (and my feelings and gut instincts are never wrong). The basement of this grocery store is the place I told my old friend to come to if ever I was in trouble or disappeared suddenly. I gave him specific instructions about what to do with this book, hiding it somewhere where only the right person can find it. I knew there was always a possibility of this happening, so in the note I have prepared a set of instructions about what to do next.
It should be you, my son, who is reading this note. Know that I love you and I did not want to leave you so early on in your life. But know this also: We must all stand up for the right thing. In this case, unfortunately, I must give up my life to ensure that the right thing is done, and to ensure you have a good future.
I hope you like your gift. I never once wore it. I wanted you to be its first wearer.
Take care of your mother for me and grow up to be a great man.
Rodriges (Your loving Father)
I quickly read the note. It told me that I needed to get to the basement of the grocery store while wearing the watch. I would then have to wait there until someone said the words “Horses are nice” to which I should respond: “Yes, especially the royal ones”. I thought it was odd, but so was this whole situation.
It was hard for me to fully understand what was happening. If my mother had given me this watch before I was 16, I could have avenged my father earlier. Incensed, I went to my mother’s bedroom and expressed my anger. I lost my temper and started shouting and throwing things at her. Still angry, I stormed out of the house, heading towards the grocery store.
There I had to wait around 3 hours for it to open. After it was open, I entered. The shopkeeper noticed my watch, leaned close to my ear, and whispered under his breath “Horses are nice”.
I realised now that it was the shopkeeper who was my dad’s “old friend”. He had stopped here briefly to see him on that fateful night when he was being followed. And was shot shortly thereafter.
I replied tersely: “Yes, especially the royal ones”. He beckoned me to come into a room at the back of the shop. There he took the watch from my wrist and gently pulled on the crown normally used to change the time. I was surprised to see that it extended to about 10 cm. I started to say something, but he put his finger to his lips, urging me to remain silent.
He then shoved aside some boxes piled against the wall to reveal a narrow keyhole hole. He gently slid the extended crown into the keyhole and rotated the watch a quarter turn. The wall moved inwards to reveal a secret room behind the storeroom. We both entered. The wall moved back into place behind us.
He returned my watch and finally spoke again: “Welcome”.
I angrily demanded to know why he hadn’t stopped my father from leaving the shop. He explained that he had wanted to do just that, but it would have blown his cover. It was my father’s final wish to keep his friend safe.
He handed me a camera and showed me how to find the recorded file inside it. I viewed it. It contained secretly filmed footage of the advisors surrounded by armed guards admitting that they wanted to either kill the prince and get an alternative person on the throne who they can easily control, or to kill my father who they felt had too strong an influence on the prince.
This was the evidence that proved their guilt.
We suddenly heard some people make a lot of noise in the grocery store, like they were looking for something, clearing the shelves as they went. The shopkeeper signalled for me to be quiet. They entered the back room and started clearing the shelves there too. We could see them on the security monitors in the room we were in. It took a good 10 minutes for them to finally finish, then leave empty-handed.
After that, he said that it was no longer safe for me to stay here and that these people were after us. He told me to find a way, no matter what I had to do, to show the film evidence to prince without the advisors finding out. He said he needed to do something else before he could help me. He then forced me out of the shop.
I had never been to Buckingham Palace before, so I asked a passer-by to help me find my way there on the Tube. I made sure that I was not seen in the open for too long. I reached the gates and tried to find a way inside. I found nothing. I had to get to the King somehow.
I made a commotion, shouting and screaming. Eventually the Royal Guards called the police. I told the Chief of Police that the King was in danger and that there were people near him right now who wanted to kill him. I was extremely vague, but he seemed to understand that I wasn’t lying and so told the royal guards to let me in. The Royal Butler came down minutes later, surrounded by armed royal guards. He led us to a room where the King was. I showed him and the Chief of Police the video and they were both shocked frozen.
An advisor came rushing in, and screamed that the King should not listen to whatever I was telling him. But he realised that the King had already seen the video and pulled a gun towards the King.
The Chief of Police tried to call for backup, but was instructed to put the walkie-talkie away or the King would be shot on the spot. The Royal Guards were told to back away and close the door. That was when he lectured the King on how he should have listened to him instead of my father. The King then realised who I was and he looked at me surprised.
At that moment, the shopkeeper burst into the room, with what seemed to be a bomb vest attached to his chest. The advisor turned his gun and pointed it towards the shopkeeper and fired. But this gave the Chief of Police enough time to knock him out from behind. I quickly ran over to the shopkeeper. It turned out the vest he was wearing was bulletproof with an inactive bomb just placed above it. He was unscathed.
Later that day, the King had all the advisors arrested and put in prison for life for treason. The King and I talked about the case, filling each other in on the details that the other did not know. To show his gratitude, he knighted me, the shopkeeper and the Chief of Police. He also had my father’s coffin transferred to St Paul’s Cathedral, commemorating him as a national hero.