Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Golden Cube: Chapter One

Deep in the opulent heart of Buckingham Palace, the Queen tossed and turned in her sleep. A film of perspiration coated her forehead, her breathing was heavy and laboured, in and out, in and out, in and out, and out and out, until suddenly it stopped altogether.
With no-one in the bedroom, no alarm was raised.  The guard outside was none the wiser. A spider that casually tiptoed across her bedside cabinet was the only witness to the Queen's deathly silence. 
Five seconds, 10 seconds, the Queen wasn’t breathing, 15, 20, 30, how long can one survive without one taking a breath?
Then a sudden convulsion, as if a soul had taken possession of it, brought life back to her body.
With a deep suck of air, her back arched and her eyes wide open, she sat up and slowly became conscious of her surroundings.
She pressed the red button on her bedside cabinet to summon the guard.
Yes, Ma’am,” he answered, poking his head around the door.
Get Percy for me, tell him it’s time.”
Yes Ma’am.”

Five minutes later, Percy knocked at her door.
Enter,” she beckoned.
Your Majesty, you called,” he answered, stepping into the room.
It’s time.”
Yes ma’am,” he replied with a sincere smile and a hint of genuine concern in his eyes.
Escort me to the jewel room,” the Queen commanded.

Percy had lived and worked in the palace all his life as the Queen's unofficial chauffeur. Service to the Queen was all he knew and he loved it. His father held the job before him and his father before him. 
Three generations of the Spinner family had been in the service of the British Royal family past and present. His mother, Margaret, was the Queen’s personal assistant or Gatekeeper as she was otherwise known. Working for the Queen was a family business, in which the Spinners found themselves privy to the Windsor family's most secret of secrets. 
This loyalty and sterling service shown by every member of the Spinner Family past and present was recognised by their appointment to the Royal Victorian Order.
Percy had been in paid employment as a chauffeur since he was 14 years old, driving her around the private estates of Sandringham, Windsor, Frogmore, Holyroodhouse and Balmoral. Twenty years on he knew every crook and cranny of all the Royal Palaces, except the one place he was about to go, The Royal Jewel Room in Buckingham Palace. The Queen knew the way better than anyone, having visited it on more than one occasion.
With a zest in her step, which Percy noted and found unusual, she put her purple velvet dressing gown on and slotted her feet into her purple velvet slippers.
Let's go,” she said as she slipped her arm through his, causing a sudden moment of shock to rock Percy from head to toe; never before had the Queen been so friendly.  

With the corridors of Buckingham Palace empty, the Queen led the way along the west wing to the escalator.
They went down, down to the basement, to take another escalator even further, deep into the bowels of the Palace.

Contra to popular belief, the Queen’s private collection of royal jewels, her gold, gifts and other treasures, were not kept in the Tower of London, instead they were stored securely within the depths of Buckingham Palace. Underneath the sub-basements, underneath the nuclear bunker, the ritual sacrifice rooms and Masonic lodge sat a vault. This vault stored treasures of incalculable wealth: The Ark of the Covenant, King Solomon’s Treasures, golden armaments of the Egyptian Pharaohs, jewels and diamonds beyond value, works of art lost to mankind, books from the beginning of time, and artefacts of tremendous significance.
This was the Queen’s guilty pleasure and her most secret of secrets. 
Wait for me Percy,” she said as they approached the entrance.
She took off her necklace and used the ring attached to unlock the control panel. 
I am Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor,” she said into a microphone set in the door.
Clearance granted,” replied a computerised voice from overhead.
The Queen then looked into an eye piece set into the wall.
A green beam scanned her eye.
Clearance granted.”
She then placed her right hand on a piece of glass on the door, and waited for  a green beam to scan it.
Clearance granted. You may enter.”
She looked at Percy one last time and gave him a smile, stepping  back as a the meter-thick steel door slowly opened before her.
Wait for me Percy, I won’t be long,” she said stepping over the threshold.
Percy stood his ground and watched her walk into the darkness, disappearing from sight.

As the Queen walked forward individual spotlights turned on to illuminate the way ahead. Ignoring the splendours coming into view, she walked 20 meters, up to a stone altar built by the biblical hero, Aaron. The very same altar on which the Golden Calf once stood, according to the legend, the very same Golden Calf that angered Moses so much. 
So much for the story of Moses burning it, turning it to powder and throwing it into the river, she thought to herself, as she looked upon the golden surface of the calf’s backside.
The overhead light shone brightly, light bouncing off the solid gold casting. She ran her hand along the altar’s side until her fingers felt a slight indentation. Upon pressing it, a concealed panel extended out from the solid rock, revealing a shallow panel lined with black silk. In the centre lay a golden cube, shining and illuminating the air around it. 
About a quarter the size of a common Rubik's Cube, it appeared similar in every way. About 3cm in diameter, the cube comprised of 3x3x3 blocks with a total of 27 individual squares. It looked like one of the novelty Rubik's Cubes on a key-ring found in move and grab machines on seaside piers and arcades across the country. It rotated as would a common Rubik cube, though for its small size it weighed the same as a large packet of sugar, a kilo at least. Holding it in your hand would have given you a strange, confused feeling, as if it contained more than its outward appearance. It had a mystical and magical quality that was hard to explain. 
The Queen stretched out her hand and picked up the Golden Cube. As the weight was released from the pressure-sensitive pads, an alarm sounded 10,000 miles away.
She turned and departed the way she had come holding the Golden Cube in the palm of her hand.

Finding Percy where she had left him, she said in a hushed tone “Dark forces are at work in this country.” Taking Percy’s hand and placing the Golden Cube in the centre of his palm, closing his fingers around it, she said “Take this, you know what to do. The time has come. Remember what your father told you and what his father told him. I know my secret is safe with you. Hurry Percy and let God be with you.”

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