The Shadow 30
Sunrise over Culver Cliff
The blur passed right by her and with a quick motion she sliced at him cutting the invisible material and the man’s arm. With a muted cry the man swung around and knocked the knife from her hand and lunged for her. She flitted easily from his grasp using the bloody hole in his suit as a gauge.
“Well, well, well, it looks like I have a Shadow. I should have taken care of you the last time we met. I thought you weren’t planning on staying.”
“How could I miss such a lovely party?” Marissa said quietly. “Jarvis’ instructions were fairly clear.”
“He won’t be pleased that you discovered his note. I told him he shouldn’t write anything down, but he thought he was safe. Ha. Safe in a world where he has made people invisible,” the man says sarcastically.
“I never take anything in writing,” Marissa agreed.
The man lunged for her, but she moved easily out of his way.
“Come out of the Shadows, my dear, I’m dying to see your face,” he taunted.
Marissa kept her mouth shut.
“Fine then. I have work to do. It is time your little queen takes a permanent nap,” the man said with an evil laugh.
He started toward Victoria’s room and Marissa knew she had to stop him. She threw herself at his visible arm using all of her strength to knock him over. She could feel his muscles through the thin, invisible suit he wore. As they tumbled to the floor she was grateful she had taken the fabric from John’s lab and made her own suit. Their bodies hit the floor and she scrambled away. She can now see the blood soaked material easily and the hand of the man holding the wound.
“Curse you, Shadow.” The man’s deep, angry voice gains a familiar ring. “You’re going to regret coming here.”
“I’m not going to let you get away with this,” Marissa answered firmly.
He laughed. “You can’t stop this. It is just the beginning of everything. No country’s leader will be safe from my men. We will sweep through the world eliminating anyone who opposes us and no one will ever see any of them coming,” he boasted wickedly.
“You’re mad!” Marissa exclaimed.
“I’m not mad, just a visionary. I can see a future without the ridiculous leaders who know nothing of the power they can wield,” he replied.
Marissa moved cautiously keeping the man’s bloody arm always in sight.
“Once I prove to the world that I can kill England’s Queen, no one will dare oppose me.”
Marissa noticed movement out of the corner of her eye. Sarah was creeping down the hall slowly, moving from shadow to shadow.
“This will never work. I will stop you,” Marissa declared.
“Actually, my dear Shadow, you are some of my inspiration. I wanted men who could live normal lives, men who wouldn’t be suspect, but could still do my bidding. It took me a while to finally realize that you had mastered John’s potion. You alone have been able to will yourself visible and invisible.”
Marissa gasped. How did he know?
“This is a valuable skill indeed. A skill worthy of none other than the amazing Marissa Edgington,” he cried triumphantly.
Marissa stepped back as she felt her invisibility slip. Suddenly the man lunged for her, pinning her arms to her sides and knocking her to the floor. They landed near a full length mirror and the man used his strength to hold her down.
“I am sorry that we couldn’t get more acquainted, Marissa, but you were too smart and suspicious to be of any use to me,” the man laughed wickedly.
Suddenly Marissa knew exactly who he was.
Simon Anderson’s face suddenly appeared as he pulled the hood of his suit back.
“You!” Marissa exclaimed. “It was you the whole time.”
“This really is my greatest investment,” Simon said cheerfully.
“This will never work. The guards are on their way.”
“And how can they fight someone they can’t see? They’ll be dead before they know it and so will your aging queen.”
“I will make sure you don’t succeed!” Marissa declared firmly.
Simon laughed at her. “Ha. You’re nothing more than a woman.” He brought his face close to hers and then roughly pulled her to her feet. He held her arms behind her in a vice-like grip that she couldn’t break. “But I can’t have you alerting the authorities, so I suppose I will have to take you with me. I’m sure you’ll learn to appreciate my place in the alps. It’s very secluded and lonely up there, but I’ll make sure you stay warm. Besides I will need some entertainment on those long cold nights” he said suggestively, running his hand familiarly down her side and thigh.
She was horrified at the thought of what he was insinuating.
“You are a beautiful woman, Lady Edgington,” he said, forcefully kissing her on the lips.
“Unhand my daughter!” Sarah called, from behind them. Marissa saw the vase just before it crashed over Simon’s head. With a cry of fury Simon turned on Sarah and shoved her into the mirror, shattering it. Marissa moved away but he quickly caught her and dragged her back to see her mother. Sarah had slumped to the ground, shattered glass littering the floor around her.
“And you have outlived your usefulness, Sarah Clarence,” Simon growled.
He pulled a pistol from his suit and aimed it at Sarah’s unmoving form.
“No! Marissa screamed as the gun went off.
Simon’s grip loosened immediately and she broke away from him. She stared at Sarah’s unmoving body for several seconds before she realized there was no blood. Moments later Simon turned to face her. Crimson liquid spread quickly across his chest as he crumpled to the floor without a sound. Just a few feet down the passageway she could see a man holding a smoking pistol. It took her several moments before she realized who it was. Marisa stared in shock and disbelief and then crumpled in a swoon.
“Is she all right?” Marissa heard Sarah ask in a worried voice.
“She just fainted. After all of this she finally acts like a proper woman,” Sean says sardonically.
Marissa eyes fluttered open in annoyance. She was lying on a couch in an ornately decorated sitting room.
“She certainly is a brave, young thing,” an older woman added.
“To a fault, Your Majesty,” Sean replied.
Victoria was there. Marissa groaned. Sean was at her side immediately.
“Are you all right, Marissa?” he asked gently.
“You said you were never coming back,” Marissa accused, avoiding his question.
Sean looked chagrined. “I could never leave you, Marissa. I love you too much to ever leave you,” he declared. “Besides, Sarah sent me a message in London telling me what you were planning.”
Marissa blushed and sat up. “You saved us both,” she said, looking around for her mother.
Sarah came over to the couch. “And your actions saved the Queen, Marissa.”
Marissa’s mind reviewed the events of the past few hours and with a blush she realized she was still in the invisible suit, but someone had wrapped a cloak around her.
“You’ve done me a great service Lady Edgington. How I can repay you,” Victoria said kindly, coming over.
Marissa quickly got to her feet and curtsied before her Queen. She looked from one face to another and then settled on Sean’s. He had finally declared his feelings and she knew that she would never be content without him. She loved him too.
“Order him to marry me,” Marissa told the Queen simply.
“What could possibly be stopping him?” Victoria asked.
“He’s much too proper to ask me himself and he won’t act out of respect for my father’s good name,” Marissa grumbled.
“Your Majesty, it’s time for you to return to bed. You’ll have no strength if you stay up any longer,” a stately looking gentleman said from the doorway.
“Well, I have been summoned my dears. The guard will escort you out and I’m sure they will have questions for you as well. Thank you again my dear,” Victoria said patting Marissa’s cheek. She moved on to Sean, glancing back at Marissa, and ordered. “Marry her. She needs to be kept busy.”
Sean smiled and Marissa blushed. They all bowed as Victoria left and then two guards appeared at the door. Sean spent the next hour explaining what had happened to the head of Victoria’s security and he in turn promised to have the police arrest Jarvis and John. Marissa felt worn out and ready for her own comfortable bed.
“Let’s get you home,” Sean said putting an arm around her slender shoulders. She could feel the bruises where Simon had grabbed her. “And I want a doctor to look at Sarah’s head where she hit the mirror.”
“I’ll be fine, Sean,” Sarah murmured.
“I think you should take a rest from the social scene of London for a while, Marissa. Maybe it’s time you vacationed at the country estate. I could join you in a few weeks after we wrap up this mess,” Sean said matter-of-factly.
Marissa gripped his arm, feeling the same sensation of loneliness at his suggestion. “Don’t leave me, Sean,” she said urgently.
He looked into her eyes and smiled. “It will only be a fortnight and then I’ll come out. That should be plenty of time for you to plan a wedding, don’t you think?”
Her eyes widened at his words. “Are you sure?” she asked hopefully.
“Marissa, I’ve loved you for so long that I can’t imagine living without you. It killed me inside to walk away from you and as soon as I did I knew it was a mistake.” He wrapped his arms around her waist. “It gave me time to consider just how foolish my ideas of what was proper were. If you’ll have me...if you love me, I want to marry you.”
“Oh Sean, I do love you,” she declared throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him soundly.
“And besides, Victoria commanded me to marry you. I can’t disappoint the Queen,” he murmured with a smile.