Late at night, January 12th 2013
Those of you with royal or diplomatic connections have been invited to a gala in support of children's literacy abroad.
However, as the party winds down and many guests leave for home, the news comes in. The King has died en route from Heathrow International Airport in a fiery car explosion. Those immediate members of the royal family will be guarded by security as soon as possible and access to the palace will be severely limited.
“What is going on? Where is Mags?”
I’m alone in my house screaming into the telephone. The other person on the line, my father, isn’t answering nearly as fast as I need him to.
“Why did you send me home? Where was Max? Is everyone ok?”
A response finally comes, but it’s not at all what I want to hear,
“Prince Maximillian was with friends at a different event, he and his sister are safe now. I have to go. Don't wait up for me"
Before I have a chance to fire off more questions I hear the familiar clack of his phone closing. How I got here when just twenty minutes ago I was at a lavish gala is beyond me.
I trust my father more than anyone in this world, but his words just weren't comforting enough for me. He only uses royal titles when there is a serious issue. The one person whose voice could put my mind at ease was Mags'. I try to make my hand stop shaking long enough to punch her number in, it barely works. The idea of having to wait while the phone rings gives me anxiety but, as usual, reality is worse. Straight to voicemail.
My father, head of the royal family's security, is a bit of a technophobe. He's convinced that any phone can be hacked in order to locate the owner. Whenever there's an emergency he forces the most elite members of the family to dismantle their cellular devices in order to prevent their location from being compromised.
I dial Lydia's number in the hopes that she'll know more than I do. Her voice shakes as she lets out a faint hello.
"What's going on?"
"The ki- The worst has happened."
I hang up immediately. There's no time to waste on the phone.
Getting into the palace took using every connection I had. Luckily my father was nowhere to be found.
The hallways that were my childhood play space are now lifeless and foreboding.
I figure that Lydia was probably taken to the left wing, and I'm right. I find her with a group of people that just barely missed the cut of needing top security.
"Where did he take them?"
She nods in the general direction of the right wing.
When I was younger exploring the secret passageways were an endless source of adventure. Tonight they're just a maze leading to misery.
I knock on the door that Mags and her siblings are most likely to be behind. It swings open and I'm suddenly staring down the barrel of a gun.
My dad lowers his weapon,
"I told you to stay home. You could've been anyone trying to come through that door!"
I ignore him and look at the faces around me.
Charlie and Eddie are intertwined. Less than an hour ago they seemed so happy . He wasn't my best friend's moody older brother around Charlotte; he was different, better.
The exact opposite of his brother, Max is standing alone trying to look stronger than he really is.
Then I see Margaret. She's in a chair that looks ten times too big for her. Her feet are bare and her knees are pressed against her chest. I don't start crying until I see her face. Her skin is pale and it makes her bloodshot eyes even more noticeable. I run to her and kneel next to the chair.
There's nothing that I can say. I can't tell her that everything will be ok because it won't. I can't tell her that I understand because my dad is standing in the same room as us. There are only four words that make sense right now,
"Long live the king."
I'm exhausted right now, but I couldn't wait another day to post this. I'll edit and possibly add more tomorrow.