The castle in Antarctica wasn’t nearly as impressive as its sister in London, but it was nothing to scoff at. Years of hard work and secrecy brought it to life and now it served as a base of operation for the Missing Family. That was how they referred to themselves. Years ago, before she was queen, Elizabeth had a wild period that produced a son from a not too reputable father. The child was taken in secrecy and fostered and never told who he was. At least that was the plan. On his sixteenth birthday he found out who his mother was and, being somewhat pompous already, determined it was his right to sit on the throne. And so he began his campaign to achieve that.
Now, almost seventy years later, he knew his chance was nearing an end. There were others that had better claims to the throne, others in much better positions. He had done a good job of removing Diana and making it look like an accident, but there was only so much that could be done in a given timeframe without arousing suspicion. It still galled him that he wasn’t able to kill Prince Harry while he was on tour in Afghanistan. It would have been an easy cover up, people died all the time there. But luck was against him. And so it was that he found himself seated at the head of the large oak table in the great hall, his scions seated before him in order of succession, ready to hear what direction they needed to take. Once he had looked at them with pride, but now he was disgusted. It was his own fault he knew, but before him sat a bunch of yesmen who only had ambition to please him. All other ambition he had smothered in their youth. They grew up knowing their father or grandfather or, as of a couple years ago, great-grandfather would someday be king, and it was their job to see it done. They were a bunch of empty heads.
When the last one was seated he turned around as a projector displayed a crude map of the world. Nearly a dozen images of castles occupied the different continents, each one representing a stronghold he had created. Most were in strategic locations, places the royal family liked to frequent, and some were in more secluded locales in case of the need to lie low. They weren’t as grand or well kept as the Antarctica castle, but they were more than adequate for temporary living if the need rose. He pointed up to one in Florence.
“Here is where Harry will be next week. Here is where we will finally nail that bastard.” Chattering started up around the table. Harry had been a target for a good many years and everyone knew he was next on the hit list. You can’t go in order down the line, that would be too obvious. With Harry’s tendencies to go off and be reckless it would be no surprise if something ill happened. He pointed a wrinkled hand toward two of his grandchildren, each in their twenties.
“You two. You are to meet him there and befriend him. He is set to appear on a television show, a celebrity game show of sorts, and you will be contestants as well. Once the show is done you are to lure him away and kill him. Each of you will be provided with details on the means and I will accept no failure. Are we clear?” Both nodded, knowing better than to talk.
“Good. Everyone leave me. Except Charlotte. You stay.” One by the one the family left, each one with a lingering gaze toward Charlotte. She was the favorite, that was no secret, but these one on one meetings were growing more and more frequent of late. Charlotte was mum as to what went on and no one had a good guess as to what it could be, but they were all curious.
When the door shut Charlotte walked slowly over to him and laid a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and smiled. Like him, she was born out of wedlock. His daughter’s husband had been less than faithful and one of the maids soon became pregnant. He’d had the husband killed for that. But the maid was told to keep the child. He raised her like one of the family even though there was no blood in common. And she grew up to be very beautiful.
He raised his bony arm up and slid a hand into her blouse, felling for her breast. To her credit she looked straight ahead as if nothing was happening. He groped for a few minutes and then gestured between his legs. She knelt down in front of him.
He stared at the map for the next ten minutes in perfect bliss. Soon Harry would be dead, soon his years of planning would bear fruit. Things could not be any better.
To be continued…