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 Six
A loud crash downstairs pulled Leonora out of her slumber. Hurrying from her bed, Leonora ran out of the bedroom. She stood in the hallway at the door Abigail had told her was Harry's room earlier that evening. After seeing the coffin, she was worried about his safety.
"Sir Harry?" She called out, gently knocking on the door to his bed-chamber. She was greeted with silence. She felt wrong in invading his privacy as she searched for him. He was after all kind enough to take her and the children in from the storm. Leonora twisted the handle and pushed the door to a crack, just enough to see inside the room. His bed was empty.
Leonora dashed down the stairs, remembering he had paperwork and a brandy to finish. Her heart pounded deeply in her chest, the dull thud of her heart expanding and contracting rang through her ears. She could see the light flickering under his door as she approached it. As she reached for the knob, she noticed the door was ajar.
"Sir Harry?" Leonora pushed the door open.
The Lord of the manor sat at his desk, his hand still clutching his pen. Eyes wide and mouth agape as stuck in a scream, his face twisted in horror. Leonora approached him, reaching her hand out to shake him. He did not move, nor did he show any signs of life. Not yet cold to the touch, he was dead.
Leonora pulled her hand away from his corpse. She could feel her heart thudding louder in her ears as her arms instinctively wrapped around her. She held herself, trying to catch her breath; trying not to scream and give herself away to his killer. Leonora backed away slowly from Sir Harry's body, a crunch under her feet. She looked down to the floor; his brandy snifter lay broken under her foot.
Footsteps coming from down the hallway caused her to hunch over, trying to hide from anyone passing by or entering the room. As the steps paused outside of the study door, she rocked back and forth, a small whimper escaping her lips. Her body began to quake in terror as she heard the sound of the person turning towards the door. As the crash of metal hit the floor farther down the hallway, the footsteps moved away from the door and thudded down the corridor.
Leonora jumped up and scampered to the door. She stuck her head out of it in time to see Gerald at the end of the hallway. Leonora ducked her head back into the study as Gerald turned back to look at the doorway. She heard the creak of hinges as they were pulled open. Leonora looked back down the hall in time to see Gerald disappear through a door behind a bookcase.
The thought of the girls upstairs asleep in their beds with a killer lurking about forced Leonora to pull her muddled thoughts together. She dashed up the stairs, hoping to remain unnoticed before Gerald came back.
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!