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The Shadow 12
The rest of the day went by painstakingly slow and Marissa was ready to tear her hair out with impatience both for her midnight trip and for any word from Sean. By dinner time she realized Sean wasn’t coming back or sending word anytime soon so she determined to make good her secondary action and seek out Sarah at Dr. Bering’s house.
She had two regular messages to deliver that night anyway and the last one would take her to that part of town. After everyone had retired for the night she changed into her dark clothing and slipped out the back door.
The first message went without a hitch and she continued on to pick up and deliver the second. The gentlemen was expecting her knock, but he had a new message to convey.
“I need you to go to 22 Halverton Street in Cheapside and tell the Doctor that his package is ready,” the gentleman said nervously.
“22 Halverton Street...” Marissa started to repeat the message back and realized that was where Dr. Bering lived.
Marissa stepped backward. “I’m afraid I can’t deliver your message,” she stated warily.
“Please, Madame, you must,” the gentleman answered desperately. “They will hurt my family if you don’t.”
“Who will hurt your family?” Marissa questioned.
“I...I don’t know.”
She could see the tears on his face.
“I can’t deliver a message there,” Marissa began, but stopped at the feeling of cold metal against her back.
“I think you can, Madame Shadow,” Sarah whispered in her ear. To the gentleman she called, “Thank you kind sir. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.”
“I’m sorry,” the man called to Marissa.
“Come along, my dear. Let’s keep this simple. I would really rather not hurt you, but I will,” Sarah said in a deadly calm voice.
“Sarah wait, I must speak with you,” Marissa said as they walked down the street.
“So you were in the house that night,” Sarah said with a low chuckle. “Those two are fools, but not nearly as foolish as you. Did you think you could continue your regular route without being caught?”
“I wanted to find you, Sarah, please wait,” Marissa cried.
“Quiet!” Sarah hissed.
“But I’m your daughter,” Marissa tried to explain.
Sarah laughed. “My daughter is Lady Edgington, you fool. I’m not so silly as to fall for that. Keep moving.” Sarah pushed her forward.
Marissa had just enough time to stop and turn to face the invisible woman. She pulled the hood from her head and willed herself into visibility.
“I am Lady Edgington,” Marissa declared.
Moments later she heard a gasp in front of her.
“Marissa?” Sarah whispered. Marissa felt a cold hand on her cheek. “You are the Shadow?”
Marissa nodded. “I am also the Shadow.” She was now used to the feeling she got when she turned back and forth.
“How do you control it?” Sarah asked in awe. “And why would you do this sort of thing? You’re a Lady now.”
Marissa shook her head. “It’s a long story. Please, let’s go back to my house and we can talk about it.”
“We can’t go there, it’s not safe,” Sarah whispered.
“It’s perfectly safe at my house. I trust all of my servants,” Marissa said.
“Dr. Bering has someone there, Marissa, someone you can not trust. We can not go there,” Sarah replied shaking her head. “We can’t ever go back there.”
“What do you mean?” Marissa asked suspiciously.
“I was supposed to deliver you to Dr. Bering by tonight or else he was going to have his contact in your house kidnap you,” she said weakly.
Marissa sighed. “Then we have a problem.”
“What about Sean? Can he help us?” Sarah asked hopefully.
“Sean left this morning,” Marissa answered. “We argued about all of this last night and he left. I must have hurt him dreadfully.”
“Sean wouldn’t have left knowing you were in danger,” Sarah said unbelievingly.
“What do you mean?” Marissa asked confused.
“My darling dear, can’t you see how much he loves you?” Sarah returned.
“Loves me? Sean doesn’t love me, we are friends, that’s all,” Marissa argued, but even as she spoke the words she knew they weren’t true. All of his actions and words had bespoken of his growing affection toward her.
“Oh my, this complicates everything,” Marissa finished.
“He was supposed to convince you to go somewhere safe. Apparently he didn’t succeed,” Sarah said wryly.
“I can be a bit stubborn,” Marissa said.
“Something had to have happened to him and I can only imagine Dr. Bering is behind it. His contact must have overheard you arguing last night. Come with me, we have to figure out what to do next.”
Sarah pulled her arm leading Marissa toward a dark side street. Marissa felt odd being pulled by an invisible force. As soon as the darkness enveloped them Sarah stopped.
“I have a place we can go, but it’s not very nice,” she said hesitatingly.
“I don’t really care right now, Sarah. I grew up in the slums of the London orphanages and I worked in a factory for four years,” Marissa replied.
There was silence and then Sarah continued. “All right.”
Marissa felt the tug on her arm again and she followed Sarah’s careful lead.