The Shadow 9
Marissa immediately knew who Sean was talking about. The only thing that could shake Sean enough to dress him up and dance with her at a ball would be a visit from the invisible Sarah
“And,” Marissa encouraged. “What did she say?”
Sean looked at her and she knew her question had confirmed some suspicions in his mind. “She warned me that you might be in danger. In fact, that you had been in danger for some time and she wanted me to keep a close eye on you. She said not to trust any of the staff because someone is being paid to harm you if she doesn’t accomplish certain things.”
Marissa stared at Sean as understanding dawned. Sarah was her mother! The invisible woman was the mother she had searched for for years. The reality shocked and frightened her.
“Marissa what is going on?” Sean demanded. “I know you’ve been keeping something from me. Who is this woman? Does she have anything to do with Minister Cherington’s death?”
It was Marissa’s turn to take a deep breath. This was much more complicated than she had thought.
“I have something to tell you, or show you rather, but not here. Some place private where we won’t be observed or overheard,” Marissa began.
Sean opened his mouth, but she put up her hand to stop him.
“The woman, she’s invisible, correct?” Marissa confirmed.
“Her name is Sarah Clarence and she is my mother.”
Sean’s eyes widened.
“The rest has to wait until I can show you my secret,” Marissa finished.
“How do you know she’s your mother?” he asked skeptically.
“I overheard a conversation between her and some gentlemen,” Marissa stated simply. “Her visit to you just clarified everything.”
“I think you should start at the beginning,” Sean demanded.
Marissa opened her mouth, but the carriage pulled to a stop at the house. The coachman opened the door and helped her out and Sean followed her up to the house. Most of the staff was in bed or gone for the night and Marissa felt certain they would be safe in her personal study. No one ever went in there, including Sean.
He paused at the door and she rolled her eyes and pulled him in and closing the door firmly behind her. She checked everything around to make sure there wasn’t anyone hiding or listening and then poured herself a class of scotch and sat down.
“Well,” Sean said waiting patiently.
Marissa sighed. “It all started with my late night visit last week, the one I told you about that you scolded me for. Well you were right, the Doctor and his friend slipped something into the glass of wine that I drank.”
Sean started up looking alarmed, but Marissa held up her hand to stop him.
“It wasn’t poison, it was a potion of sorts. I don’t know all the particulars, but what I do know is that it changed something in my body. That was the pain I felt the next morning.”
“What change?” Sean asked looking her over suspiciously.
Marissa smiled at the ideas that were probably running through his head.
“This change,” she said getting to her feet. She stood in front of the mirror hanging over the hearth and mentally put on her Shadow persona. She watched with satisfaction as her visible skin disappeared.
Sean gasped and then made choking sounds. Marissa turned to see him standing white-faced and shaking. She rushed to his side returning to the Lady Edgington persona and her skin reappeared. She helped him sit down and gave him a glass of scotch which he downed with one gulp.
“How did you do that?” he gasped, touching her arms, hands and face to make sure she was really there, even though she was clearly visible.
“It had to be something in the potion,” Marissa said after he had calmed down a bit. “I think they gave the same potion to Sarah and she disappeared completely, but when they gave it to me it wasn’t me, it was the Shadow, so now I have control over when I change.”
“What do you think of when you change?”
“I become the Shadow,” Marissa said simply. She began pacing the room. “I would give anything to be able to turn my clothes invisible, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. It’s a little uncomfortable, but you get used to it.”
“You go out that way without any clothes?” Sean gasped turning several shades of red, green and white. He shook his head muttering something that sounded like ‘utterly inappropriate.’
Marissa smiled. “Only once. I just think of my invisibility as a skin tight suit. I had to be that way to get back into Dr. Bering’s house and see what he was up to. That’s when I overheard Sarah talking to the Doctor and John about an antidote.”
Marissa went to Sean’s side. “Oh Sean, they are making her do awful things because she is invisible,” she cried.
“Why doesn’t she just...disappear?” he asked incredulously.
“Because of me,” Marissa sighed. “They know I am her daughter. How they know I am not certain, but they have threatened to harm me if she doesn’t do what they ask.”
“Did they mention you by name?”
“No, but Sarah’s visit to you to warn about my safety just confirmed it.”
“She said not to trust anyone in the house,” Sean said thinking. “I want to take you away from here. It’s not safe.”
He gets to his feet and starts for the door.
“It’s not that easy, Sean, besides I think there is something more,” Marissa said firmly. “I think they are planning something and I need to find out what it is.”
“You don’t need to do anything, Marissa. These men have already harmed you and I won’t give them another chance,” Sean declared firmly.
Marissa stood angrily. How dare he tell her what to do? “You can’t force me to leave,” she declared hotly. “Remember I can disappear very easily.”
Sean’s face went white with anger and frustration and then finally worry. “Marissa please,” he begged. “I’m trying to protect you. Look at what they’ve already done to you.”
He gestured toward her and she could see that her skin was translucent and fading. She shook her head.
“I did this to myself when I drank that wine like an idiot,” she muttered. “I need to find out what they are up to.”
“You are an idiot if you continue down this path,” Sean said angrily. “And I refuse to be a part of your destruction, you arrogant woman.”
She stared at him with surprise. He had never spoken to her like that. He had crossed a line with his last statement. She instantly regretted ever telling him anything. She stiffly moved toward the door.
“I think we are done here, Mr. Doveday,” she said icily.
She left him standing in the middle of the room. She knew he cared about her, but she was also a grown woman and very capable of managing her life on her own. She had done very well before she became Lady Edgington. Nothing in her behavior since could even remotely point to her being arrogant, in fact, she had always laughed with Sean about the arrogance of the English upper classes and their silly ways. He had always shown pride in her ability to take on the role that had been given her with as much grace and stature as her father had portrayed.
For Sean to call her arrogant was like calling her trash and it hurt her deeply. She went to her room and shut the door locking it behind her. She wasn’t doing this to be prideful in her situation. She really wanted to know what the men were up to. Everything about them seemed sinister and wrong.
She had been given a gift of sorts that would allow her to help and she desperately wanted to help. As Lady Edgington she was just another rich, privileged woman who spent her time attending useless aid meetings and dances and parties with other useless women. As the Shadow she could actually help people.
She paced the room letting the tears she had held back fall down her cheeks and stain the soft satin skirts. Finally she lay down exhausted on the bed and fell asleep.