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 Seven
The girls were still fast asleep in their beds. Leonora knew that the storm was still too strong to escape the estate. With Gerald wandering around, she wasn’t sure he would let them leave; he would know she would alert the authorities. Leonora grabbed a fireplace poker from the stand in front of the fireplace, she had never as much as hit anyone before, but to protect herself and the girls, she may have to if Gerald came for them. Leonora would hole up in the room with the children until the sun came up and then play stupid when Sir Harry didn’t come to see them off. She started to relax a bit, with a plan thought out for their escape.
Leonora’s relaxation was short-lived as a scream rang out through the halls, the shriek of a girl. Agnes and Matilda woke up, screaming, reliving the night their parents were murdered. Leonora dropped the poker on the floor, pulling the girls against her, trying to provide them comfort. “It’s ok, darlings, it’s ok. I won’t let anything happen to you. You must be quiet now.”
Matilda and Agnes clung to her; Leonora could feel their fingers wind into her hair, pulling it by the strand full from her scalp. She wanted to cry out from the pain, but she knew it would scare the children more. Finally, with coaxing the two girls settled down.
Two… I am missing one… where is… Lucy? Oh my sweet Lord, Lucy, does Gerald have her?
Leonora wanted to cry out for the girl, but doing so would lead whoever was causing the screaming to realize they were awake up in the room. It would cause the two girls to go into another screaming frenzy.
“Ok, darlings, we have to find Lucy. I want you to stay close to me, hold on to my skirt. We are going downstairs, and then we are leaving this place. Come along, hold tightly now.” Leonora directed them; bending over to pick up the poker.
As Leonora guided the girls down the stairs, she kicked something with her foot. It skidded from the landing across the foyer, slamming itself into the front door with a bang. Leonora stopped, as Matilda pulled on the back of her skirt. Leonora reached her free hand behind her, giving the little girl comfort. “Shh, girls, hush. Be quiet now. We are ok. We will be out of here before you know it.”
Leonora looked to the right of the foyer, glancing down the corridor that led to the parlor and kitchen as far as she could. It was dark and empty. She looked down the left of the hallway; the light was still on under Sir Harry’s study door, a fact that puzzled her. She left the door to his study open when she fled from it earlier. As the three of them passed by the front door, Leonora noticed a pale green light emitting from the object she had kicked as she stepped onto the landing.
It was a head… Gerald’s head…
Leonora touched it with her toe, the eyes flew open, and for a brief moment, Gerald’s disembodied gaze met hers. Leonora turned her head to check on the girls behind her. They both had her skirt pulled up, covering their faces. Leonora breathed out a heavy breath and proceeded toward the study.
As she entered the corridor that led to the study, a trail of mechanical parts littered the floor. She could feel something on the floor, wet and sticky under her feet. “Don’t slip, children, be careful now.” She whispered back to Agnes and Matilda.
Leonora stood outside of the study, her hand poised to push it open. She hesitated, tightening her grip on the poker.
Ok, I am going to get my child, and then we are off… Right, in we go…
As her fingertips met the panel of wood between her and Lucy, she could smell the overwhelming scent of brimstone. Lucy’s voice replayed in her head the day she had first picked the girls up. “It smelled like tar.” Leonora gasped; did the murderer follow them here?
She pushed the door open and entered the study.
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!