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The Shadow 28
The walk back to her house was quiet and she spent the time pondering what she could do to stop the invisible man. Determined to discuss it with Sarah she made her way to the kitchen door and slipped inside. As soon as she did she felt the hairs prick on her neck.
“I thought you might come here, my dear Shadow,” the dark voice said from the corner of the kitchen.
Marissa froze in place, but remained silent.
“I was certain either Sarah would come or she would send you in her place. Tell me is she visible now or dead?” he asked, with uncaring coldness.
Marissa marked where he spoke from and moved silently to keep something between them. “She’s dead. John’s antidote did the trick,” she murmured, keeping her voice low. “I’d love to have you try some and see how well you do.”
The man laughed. He was moving toward her slowly. She scanned the dark room, looking for the blur of movement she had noticed when Sarah put on the suit. The dark room hid him well until she noticed the faintest shimmer of something to her right. She immediately placed the working counter between them.
“Well if Sarah is dead, then perhaps I can convince you to join me,” he finally answered.
“I doubt it.”
“I truly do not wish to harm the lady of this house, but I will if you refuse your assistance.”
“The lady is of no concern to me. I’m only checking on her per Sarah’s final request. I do have a little bit of honor,” Marissa said, her voice filled with condescension.
“Then perhaps I will focus on the Lady’s dear friend Catherine,” the man replied. Marissa could hear the annoyance in his voice.
“Do as you wish. I think it is time for me to return to London anyways,” Marissa said, keeping her voice even. She could now see the blur as he adjusted his position to block her exit outside.
“I hardly believe that,” he scoffed. “You’ve been a busy little mouse, poking your head where it doesn’t belong. How else would you know to be here at this time? Don’t try to stop me, Shadow, or I will end your miserable life.”
Marissa froze when she heard voices from the hallway.
“I know I heard something,” Angela, the housekeeper said quietly.
The outside door opened just as Angela entered the room followed by Charles, the butler. Marissa stepped out of their path. Angela held a candle up and scanned the room suspiciously.
“See, there’s no one here,” Charles said.
“The door’s open,” Angela exclaimed.
They both went to examine the open door and Marissa stepped into the hall. Her nerves were tight. She knew the invisible man would be here, but having him find her and confront her made everything worse. She headed upstairs to her room. After searching it to make sure she was alone she allowed herself to become visible and changed from the suit into her dressing gown. She was brushing her hair out when Sarah knocked on her door.
“How did it go?” she asked, after Marissa called her in.
“I’m fairly certain where and when this man will strike,” Marissa answered. “He’s here on the Isle, as we knew he would be.”
“You saw him?”
“He was in the kitchen when I returned a bit ago,” Marissa said calmly.
“Here?” Sarah gasped.
“He was waiting for me. He knew I would come here and that worries me. I told him I didn’t care about the ladies of the house, but that won’t necessarily stop him from trying to harm either of us.”
“We will have to be extra careful over the next few days,” Sarah said.
“Sarah, how did you carry weapons with you when you moved around?” Marissa asked suddenly. “I won’t have the strength to confront this man, so I’m going to need something I can attack him with.”
Sarah reached up behind her head and swiftly pulled out a narrow dagger and held it out to Marissa. “It’s kind of a habit now. I don’t go anywhere with out it,” she said chagrined.
Marissa took the knife and examined it. The handle was short enough that it wouldn’t get caught in the pinned up curls and narrow enough that if seen it would appear to be a hair pin.
“I used to have a pair, but I lost one on a job for Jarvis,” Sarah said sadly. “I’ll show you how to put it in and pull it out without stabbing yourself or cutting your hair.”
Marissa set the knife on her dressing table. “Thank you.”
“I’m worried about this plan, Marissa. Even with the dagger, you’re still no match for this man, especially if he is bent on harming the Queen.”
“We don’t have much of a choice. No one is going to believe me if I tell them an invisible man is going to try and hurt the Queen. Maybe if he is wounded they will see him and capture him.”
“Is your blood visible if you cut yourself?” Sarah asked. “I never noticed.”
Marissa looked down at her hands. “I don’t know. I suppose we should find out.”
She willed the Shadow persona in and waited until her hands disappeared completely and then she took the knife and cut her palm. Red liquid blossomed out of thin air and outlined her invisible hand. Marissa stared at it for a few moments before pressing a handkerchief against the wound.
“I guess that answers that question,” she said, returning to visibility.
“I’ll get something for the cut,” Sarah clucked. She left the room and returned moments later with a bandage and iodine. “You could have just pricked your finger,” she said as she cleaned the cut and wrapped it.
“I don’t plan to prick him,” Marissa said matter-of-factly.
“You should get some rest. I’m certain Simon will be wanting to take you somewhere else for the day.”
Marissa groaned. “This is definitely not a holiday. As soon as we are finished with our business on Friday, I want to go home.”
“It’s just a week away. You can put up with Simon’s attentions until then,” Sarah chided. “You did allow him to find you this lovely house and you have graciously accepted his overtures. What do you expect?”
“I expect I’ll eat humble pie when this is all over,” Marissa said petulantly.
Marissa got up from the dressing table and headed for bed. “I think I’ll have a headache in the morning,” she grumbled.
Sarah tucked her into bed and left her alone. Marissa dreaded the thought of having to deal with Simon’s attentions for another week and she couldn’t help wondering what Sean was doing and if he missed her at all.