Mr Howard examined the building before him, with it’s dirty windows. He led Theodore’s horse into the stable to rest, ensuring that she had oats, water and a blanket. He took a long breath, as he meandered up the path, grasping the door knocker and tapped it. No answer. Mr Howard waited a moment before knocking again. There came no reply. He turned the door knob, to his surprise the property was open. His eyes averted to the dust. There was plenty of it, it clung to the velvet curtains and thick woollen carpets, creating a sea of fur.
“Hello? I am sorry to intrude, but is there anybody there?”
There came no answer. He stared up the staircase, trying to catch a glimpse of any apparent movement. Wait; in the darkness, there was a beam of light coming from a gap under one of the doors. He grasped the banister, ascending the green-carpeted staircase and tapped upon the door.
“Go away!” It was indeed the king. “I can still tell that you are there! Are you completely stupid, I do not care who it is, but leave!”
“It is Mr Howard. I wish to speak with you.”
“Please go.”
“Your Majesty, I do not want to go without speaking to you face to face. Why did you not respond to the letter the Queen sent?”
“Out I say!”
Mr Howard sighed and tried the door handle, which he assumed would have been locked. He gazed around the room, noticing an exhausted figure sitting upon the bed.
“Ah your Grace, there you are!”
“Kindly leave.”
“No. I am afraid that I must disobey you just this once. I have to speak with you. Why did you ignore your wife’s letter, I assume that you received it?”
“I did.”
“You did not reply?”
“No I did not! How could I when I had no clue what to say in return!”
“All she wanted was for you to return.”
“I don’t think I can go back!”
“Your son wanted to see you more than anything.”
King Rupert gasped. “My son is dead?”
“No, not yet.”
“You spoke in the past tense!”
“He is alive, but the horrible truth is; he will die and far sooner than we all anticipated, which is why it is so important that you return promptly, otherwise you may have a lifetime of regret.”
“Prince Theodore is seriously ill. His heart is weak and we do not know how long it will hold out.”
“Who cares for him?”
“Myself ,Miss McGrath and now your wife.”
“No physician! Who is this Miss McGrath?”
“Your Physician was of no use to him. You employed her your Grace as your Son’s reader.”
“Oh, that little Scottish reader?”
“Yes, your Grace. I think she should like to meet you.”
“Well… well, I do not want to meet her!”
“I do not know what else to say.”
“Say nothing! My son hates me, he loathes and despises me!”
“Why would you think that?”
“I-I just assumed that he would.”
“We often argued and never talked in much detail. We are both strong characters and I think that we are better off without each other”
“He  has changed a great deal. His manner is softer. Yes you will think him to be a more amiable person now, but you must give him chance. Will you come?”
“What can I do to make you change your mind? The time we have left is oh so precious. You are wasting time, his life is like an hour-glass, each day a small part of him slips away, never to return. You will only have a lifetime of regret if you do not see him. This could be the very last time. At least let me find you some clean clothes and run you a hot bath.”
“If you must.”
“You are hungry, I can tell your Grace, where would I find some food, when did you last eat? I will look when you are having your bath, and your bath will allow you to have some quiet thinking time.”
“A reflection?”
“On the way I have behaved?”
“Oh dear, I do not like the sound of that at all. But yes, I will have a bath. I suppose that I should, thank you.”
Mr Howard nodded, going to fetch toiletries a dressing gown and a towel.
“Have you other clothes?”
“Ah, that is good your Grace. Your bath is ready now, I will leave you in peace and find something suitable for you to eat.”

Mr Howard s cowered the pantry cupboard, but they were as bare as can be. He stepped into the larder, stumbling across a little salted pork and 2 large potatoes. He lit the fire in the kitchen and boiled the potatoes, warming the cooked meat in a separate pan, it was not much, but it would do for now. The king emerged with damp hair, dressed in the clean clothes with a towel draped around his shoulders, looking tired but refreshed. Mr Howard placed the plate of food in front of him, he wasted no time, eating hungrily.
“This is decent Howard, I am impressed.”
“So am I.” Mr Howard laughed. “Considering what little ingredients you had. I think we should go right away, once you have eaten. You needn’t pack sir, we must return, as I said, time is very precious.”
“He might not be so ill.”
“I assure you that Prince Theodore is. He eats next to nothing and has been forced to stay in his bed, for that is the safest place for him. In spirit he is quite well though, he has Miss McGrath and her cat for company and the Queen has been understanding of late.”
“Oh, that is good then. I do not see why he needs me.”
“You are his Father, all he desires now, is to be with his family and without you, it is not complete. Please come your Grace we must go.”
“I am yet to make up my mind.”

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014


11 thoughts on “Theodore- Chapter 42

  1. Well done, Sophie. (Quibble: in the very first line, you’ve got a typo: the it’s should be “its” as a possessive pronoun doesn’t use an apostrophe.) Good work!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s