Thursday Photo Prompt – The Chest – #WritePhoto

Sue’s Photo Prompt Challenge this week…

#writephoto

The Chest

scotland trip jan 15 154

I used the photo to continue and finish the story of Wilfred in the tower from last week’s prompt. I hope it makes sense, it might be a little far fetched!

Anna looked quite pleased with herself.
“Master, I think my work is complete. Check for yourself.  I used the wooden chest as you requested, but it was very heavy for us to move. It’s lucky 5 and 8 don’t ask too many questions.”
Her master, a wizened old man, looked on. “Good. I knew I could count on you, Anna. How old is he?”
“I’m not too sure, but I think 18-19 at the most.”
He went over to the chest and opened the three latches. Lifting the lid he gazed down at the body that lay within. Yes, a nice young specimen, perfect for the procedure.  It had been so successful over the many years, he didn’t forsee a problem this time either.
He dismissed Anna and went back to his table to prepare.
Meanwhile, Wilfred’s eyes started to flicker open. Where was he? He was all cramped up in a tiny space.  The last thing he remembered, he had helped to release some young lady from the tower, then… he rubbed the back of his head remembering a bump.
Shifting himself slightly, he was able to peer over the edge of his wooden jail.  He wasn’t in the tower anymore.  This wasn’t somewhere he was familiar with…
It seemed to be some sort of scientific laboratory.  Well, it looked like what he thought one looked like. There was all manner of bottles and tubes, equipment and books strewn around the place. In the far corner of the room was a large wooden table, long enough for a person to lie on. And beside it, there was a desk, where it looked like an old man was sitting.
Maybe he had been brought to a doctor. This bump to the head may have been serious. He went to get out of the box to speak with this doctor when the door opened and in walked a woman with blonde hair… she looked familiar.
“Master, are we ready for the transfer? I just need to get 3 back in his pen, he was cleaning the kitchen.” She indicated to a space just out of the door, and as Wilfred shifted his gaze, he saw a male figure move slowly into the room. He nearly sat bolt upright when he saw the face.  That was Johnny, the next door neighbour’s boy! He had gone missing a couple of years ago. But he wasn’t acting like himself. Johnny was a lively lad, he used to chatter away to everyone. There was never a quiet moment when he was around. But here, he was not even looking around.
The woman turned to Johnny. “3, bedtime,” and Johnny turned and followed her out.
3? Why was this woman calling him 3?
She was back within moments. “Will I need 5 and 8 again, Master,  to lift this one onto the table?”
“Oh yes, I think so Anna.  I am not able to lift, at least not yet, and I don’t expect you to either! He seems a fine specimen.  I think I may get a good 50 years from him if we get to him quickly! You chose well.”
She disappeared again and was back with 2 more figures.  Wilfred couldn’t believe his eyes. He could have sworn they were old Mrs. Mackey’s boys, Tom, and Jack.  Another two of the local lads who had disappeared! Tom went first, and Jack around 6 months later.  Wilfred had been sure as the day is light, that Tom had run away to the city for a better life, and that Jack had followed him. But they both moved in the same languid way that Johnny had. Head down, not really focussing.
“It’s time Anna. 5. 8. Pick him up and bring him to the table.”
They moved slowly to the chest and as they bent over, Wilfred realised they were coming for him! He sat bolt upright, taking them by surprise. Climbing out of the chest he glanced around at the old man, whose eyes had taken on a shocked look. Not wanting to wait to find out anything further, Wilfred ran out of the open door.
“Anna! 13! I need number 13! You have to catch him! My time is running out!”
Wilfred didn’t wait to hear anything else. He ran down a long corridor, passing doors.  There were numbers on the doors, and he slowed to look in through the grills. Each room appeared to have a person in them, just sat silently with an empty look on their face.  Wilfred was horrified to realise he knew almost all the faces…
Hearing footsteps behind him, he sped off again and found what looked like the main door.  Opening it, he burst outside and ran.
He ran for what seemed like forever, and as he looked back, he realised he hadn’t been far from home at all. The building he had left was the old church with the tower where he had come to help some fair maiden in distress originally.
Not wanting to stop, and risk getting caught again, he ran as fast as he could, back to the village.  He almost knocked over PC Smith, the local constable.
In a garbled fashion, he explained that he had seen Johnny, and Tom, and Jack, and several others who had been reported missing, and that he was in fear of his own life. PC Smith was fully aware of the mysterious disappearances. One had been his own nephew a few months back.
“Slow down son. So you say you saw these boys? Where exactly? The old church? Are you sure?”
“Yes PC Smith,” Wilfred panted, “they were there, but they didn’t seem quite… well, themselves. But the man and woman there, I’ve never seen them before.”
Eager to investigate, PC Smith rounded up some other men from the village, and the other Constable, PC Jones, and they trooped over there.
It was a long while before anyone returned.
~
The papers were full of the story over the next couple of weeks.  The discovery of 12 boys who had gone missing over the last few years, all in some kind of stupor. They were not speaking, or even looking at anyone, but they were definitely the missing lads.
It took a lot of questioning, but finally, Anna broke.  Her Master was, in fact, Dr. Blythe, a former local doctor who had apparently left the area.  He had, in actual fact, been researching an anti-aging formula and over the last few years had been hunting for the relevant specimens he needed for his research.
He had found a way to drain the years of life remaining in a person, and then inject them into himself. By doing this, his own body ‘lost’ those years, leaving him looking and feeling many years younger. The process worked for a couple of months before he would start to show his true age again. The person whose life had been drained was left a mere shell. A body that lived on but a shell, with no soul.
At this stage, he had been looking for number 13. The next victim of his testing. Anna had been roped in to help after he had kidnapped her originally. Trying his process on her, he found out that only males would work for him, but Anna decided she wanted to stay. A beautifully vain creature, she wanted to share some of this turning back the clock magic that the Doctor had created, so  he allowed her to stay, as long as she aided him in finding his research victims.  All had been going smoothly, until this one. She had always hated the number 13…
Needless to say, they were both locked up for a long, long time.
The boys were all returned to their homes in the hope that they would regain some of their original liveliness.
Wilfred never went back to that farm to work again.  Instead, he got a job in the local pub. They were happy to employ someone with a little colour in their background, it brought the punters in.
The church and its tower? One night, a mob went over there, and torched it. The whole place burned to the ground, with all its strange pens, the laboratory, and that wooden trunk…

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Photo prompt round up– The Chest… #writephoto | Sue Vincent – Daily Echo
  2. macjam47
    May 17, 2016 @ 16:34:32

    I was completely engrossed in reading this. Fabulous take on the chest.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Alka Girdhar
    May 17, 2016 @ 13:40:28

    Loved the story and the way you write, Ritu! Got totally engrossed reading it! For a moment, that constable reminded me of Mr Goon from Enid Blyton series. No similarity there but he did.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Ali Isaac
    May 17, 2016 @ 08:16:18

    Well done Ritu! Entertaining and fun read!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  5. reocochran
    May 17, 2016 @ 03:11:42

    Ritu, this one held me in suspense despite its science fiction, it held elements of possible anti-aging and the fountain of youth. Very interesting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      May 17, 2016 @ 06:55:25

      Thank you! I’m not really a science fiction reader or writer, but that’s where the twists and turns of my mind ended up taking me!!!

      Like

      Reply

  6. Lori Greer
    May 17, 2016 @ 03:09:51

    Fun story that I enjoyed readying!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      May 17, 2016 @ 06:53:41

      I was determined to connect it to the previous week. It got a bit ‘mad scientist’ but at least we reached a conclusion!! Thank you for reading !!!

      Like

      Reply

  7. Trackback: Thursday Photo Prompt – The Chest – by Ritu Bhathal #WritePhoto | Sue Vincent – Daily Echo
  8. Hugh's Views and News
    May 15, 2016 @ 12:54:19

    A nice little short story, Ritu. Far-Fetched? Yes, but isn’t that what writing stories is all about. I think you did a great job in matching up both prompts and making this into a very enjoyable read.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. Erika Kind
    May 15, 2016 @ 11:31:02

    Yes, you did it! Fantastic sequel, Sis! I admire your amazing fantasy. I think that is one thing which makes you such a dedicated and engaged teacher!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  10. Morgan M Byers
    May 14, 2016 @ 21:13:51

    Reply

  11. jacquelineobyikocha
    May 14, 2016 @ 19:17:45

    What a delightful spin out of the box.. There’s always one mad Doc somewhere trying nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  12. Sue Vincent
    May 14, 2016 @ 01:35:30

    I enjoyed it too… a convoluted tale, Ritu!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  13. vanbytheriver
    May 13, 2016 @ 22:57:43

    Wow…that was amazing, Ritu. Great story telling. And did you use the number 13 in honor of today, Friday the 13th ??

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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