This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2018 by Inara Reynolds - All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Book cover by Inara Reynolds
Iniquitous Part Five
Sleep didn't come to Leonora. Sir Harry's words of how he saved Gerald's heart and brain and put them into metal swirled through her mind. She tossed and turned trying to lull herself into slumber to no avail. Her thoughts were consumed with getting the children out of this hell house. She lay in bed, listening to the rattle of the wind against the window above her head.
"Did I make a mistake bringing the children into this house?" She muttered to herself as she rolled onto her back staring at the ceiling. "We will leave first thing in the morning. I hope that the storm will let up. We won't stay for breakfast, up and out of the door."
A loud clatter outside of her window forced her to sit up. She reached for the curtains and pulled them back to see what was going on in the yard. A tree branch hit the window again as it fought off the wind. Leonora breathed a sigh of relief and lay back down.
Only the wind and nothing more. She told herself as she closed her eyes.
Leonora woke up with a start, as the casement window above her head flew open. The wind blew freely around her acting as a smothering pillow across her face. She could hear the sound of a shovel digging into the mud. She stood up out of bed and peered out the window. The sound of digging had stopped.
The only sound she heard was the sound of the rain plummeting to the ground. She turned to lie back down as Gerald came into view. He was dragging something across the yard. Leonora peered out the window, following his path to get a glimpse of what Gerald was pulling. She could hear the scrape of the object in the mud, telling her it was something heavy. As she watched, the item came into view. Gerald was dragging a long box behind him.
"A casket," she gasped aloud. "Can it be? I must still be dreaming."
Lenora tiptoed down the stairs, stopping to look behind her as the stairs creaked under her weight. As she made her way to the landing, she could see a light flickering underneath Sir Harry's study door. He was still awake.
Leonora made her way to the front door. Looking behind her, she turned the knob, pushing the door open enough for her to slip outside to the porch. From the porch, the barn was in full view. As she walked down the stairs to the driveway, she could see Gerald round the corner going into the barn.
When he was out of sight, Leonora skulked to where Gerald left the box. Her first instinct had been right. Gerald's item was a casket. She ran her hands across the wooden top, now wet from the falling rain. She wondered who was meant to take their final slumber in the coffin. Surely she wasn't to be their victim.
The sound of voices whispering directed her to the barn. She crept to the side of it as silent as she could despite almost slipping the wood. She poked her head around the corner, trying to get a glimpse of the speakers. As she poked her head around the side of the barn to see who was speaking, no one was there except for Octavius. Leonora stood tight against the building, trying to catch her breath. Her shaking hands flew up to her neck, rubbing her nape in an attempt to calm her emotions. She took another deep breath and bolted for the front door. She slipped inside the house unseen and went back to her room.
Leonora climbed into her bed, despite her soaked clothes. Shivering, she pulled the blanket up to her chin trying to get warm. Leonora contemplated grabbing the girls and leaving tonight, hoping the river had not risen too far from its bed. She pushed her covers back and tried to sit up. She felt herself being held down by an unseen force, but she felt comforted by whoever it was.
"Go to sleep. You only had a bad dream," A soft feminine voice whispered to Leonora, coaxing her to close her eyes. She could feel a hand stroke her hair. Leonora tried to open her eyes to see who the woman was; they were too heavy. Try as she may, she couldn't force them open. She felt herself falling into slumber, sweet, needed, and soothing.
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on this part? Creative and helpful criticism is welcome! See a typo on this first draft? Let me know!