The Lion Messenger

By , Homer, AK
For generations to generations, it has been handed down from family. Made out of pure bronze, it is a little rusted, but still the knocker works on the hard, mahogany back door it stands on. From the looks of it, the lion can’t be more than 100 years old, but of course a true Caudel knows it has ‘lived’ over 500. It has always been on the back door of the Caudel Mansion in Monga Bay. The Caudel’s has always been a family of wealth with connections to the royal family. Not immediate connections, but if 42 people die at the same time, then Gunther Caudel will be the next heir to the throne. Gunther himself couldn’t care less if he was second to the throne, let alone 42nd. And being over 80 years old, Gunther only really cares about how successful his nephew, Oliver, is, and if he gets his daily pudding cup.
But unlike Gunther, his sister-in-law Adelaide only remembers that she is an heir to the throne. Adelaide Caudel was, basically, a trophy wife in the later years of their marriage to Gunther’s older brother, Magellan. Adelaide was very beautiful when she was young, which made an impression to Magellan who was 30 years older than her. And now she 85 year old widower, a mother of two middle-aged sons, and suffers with memory loss, and just sits in her loveseat in the drawing room. That loveseat is where she has slept, ate, and rarely gotten up from, in the past 15 years. Phoebe, the 30 year old humble caretaker of the mansion, brings Adelaide her meals. Phoebe is really is the only one who has conversations with her besides Adelaide’s son, which are mostly about how soon they will live in Buckingham Palace and how there will be hundreds of ‘Phoebes’ to wait on their family.
Back in time, Magellan owned the Caudel Mansion where only he, his brother, and their maids and butlers worked. Adelaide and Magellan really loved each other, and started dating. They would have secret knocks on the lion knocker to not wake up Gunther. They would even read old stories about his family are heirs to the throne until they fell asleep still holding historical books and family trees. It really wasn’t until they got married and had children, that they started to lose their spark and Adelaide realized she was just there for her beauty.
Their two sons were raised wealthy. Magellan the 2nd had the personality of blowing off schoolwork from his private teacher, and just sneaking outside to play cricket. Wanting to just have fun, and to with the pretty girls; the personality of his father. When he turned 18 years of age, he left. In the beginning he stopped by occasionally, checking up on everyone. Then when Magellan the 1st died he stopped coming by, until it was appreciated when the mansion got a postcard every year. Magellan’s younger brother of 2 years, Oliver was, in a word, a mother’s son. Oliver was more the complete opposite of his brother. While Magellan had the personality of their father, Oliver had the looks, of the black hair and no bone structure of his round face with a medium build of not working out. His personality was more sensitive, more tentative with his schoolwork, and ridiculed by both his father and uncle. Ask them, and they would say it was so he would toughen up, but it didn’t help Oliver to favor his mother over his male role models. But as the years went on, he still stayed in Monga Bay.
Through his brother leaving and his father dying and Adelaide slowly losing her mind, he stayed in the Caudel Mansion. Oliver soon met a modest, dare-devil, local girl; fell in love, and all those romantic cliché things that usually happened. His bride’s name was Maelizabeth. Her parents were indecisive between May and Elizabeth. The girl, who loved Oliver, was, of course, not approved by Gunther. In his words ‘she spends too many days thinking other than making him sandwiches’. Oliver told her to give him a package of gourmet chocolate pudding, but it didn’t work that much. Adelaide gave her an awkward handshake and told her that she seemed worth of marring into royalty. Anyways, Oliver and Maelizabeth Caudel lived in the Mansion for their lives just how Magellan and Adelaide did. For a nice place to raise a child, for not having a mortgage and all the lovely things that owning your own house that doesn’t have ‘Phoebe’s’. But most important was for Oliver to stay there to take care of his mother.
Slowly after Magellan the 1st died, Adelaide’s mind went. She spent more days in the drawing room then her own bedroom. She talked less and less to Oliver but had more frequent conversations with Gunther unusually. The relationship between Adelaide and her brother-in-law was a rocky one at start. Between her being a protective mother to Oliver, to her always proudly stating that she was 42 people from her being the Queen, Gunther didn’t like spending time with her. But the years went on from her husband’s death, and Gunther tolerated a few meals with her to even come down from his room to the drawing room to eat, then strangely playing the occasional game of chess.
Until one day, she forgot to even how to play chess, or didn’t know the background of the stories Oliver told her every day. Adelaide sat in her loveseat, just repeating to Phoebe of the fact how she was going to be the Queen, or how when Maelizabeth passed by, to tell her how lucky she is that she married into royalty. Gunther stopped coming down for dinner. Oliver was just another ‘Phoebe’ to Adelaide.
Oliver was then in the kitchen late one night, thinking of how it was futile to still be his mother’s son. How Maelizabeth and him should have bought their own house, and to have their future children raised in the suburbs, where every house looked the same. A place where they don’t have a crazy grandmother sitting in the drawing room every night, or they don’t have to worry about little kids run up and down the grand staircases, getting hurt with the slightest slip.
He sighed, and just then, Oliver saw his mother walk across the kitchen floor in the same clothes she had been wearing all week. Paying no attention to him. She went to the dark, mahogany door and knocked a very special knock that lasts about 15 seconds. Then Adelaide put her ear on the door, and waited for a reply by the lion messenger.





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