Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Shadow 10

Marissa paced the room until she felt like she had a good course of action. She had to find her mother. Sarah was supposed to be searching for her to turn her in to Dr. Bering and John, but she was doing the things she did to protect Lady Edgington. 
Sarah had approached Sean to tell him that Marissa was in danger, but now that she knew that fact, Marissa could act. All she needed to do was explain to Sarah who she was and then maybe they could work together to find out what Dr. Bering was up to and stop him.
The idea seemed so simple in her head, but she knew finding an invisible woman would be nearly impossible. The only avenue she felt she could pursue was the one she didn’t feel ready to attack: return to Dr. Bering’s house. She squared her shoulders determined to do what needed to be done that night.
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’t trust. We can’t 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 you 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 affections 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. They walked through the streets moving into the most dirty and run-down parts of London. Some of the streets they passed were worse than what Marissa had grown up on. After a quarter hour of walking they came to a door where Sarah stopped. A key appeared out of the air around what must have been Sarah’s head and then fumbled in the lock.
The door opened and Sarah pulled Marissa inside. The one room hovel was the epitome of filth and degradation. Marissa looked around the dim room in horror.
“You live here?” she gasped.
“Not very often,” Sarah replied. Marissa could hear the shame in her voice. “It is difficult to rent a place when no one can see you. I usually stay in the unused rooms of several London inns. I have to stay much cleaner than normal. Everything tends to show up after a while.”
“What is it like being invisible all the time?” Marissa asked, her curiosity getting the better of her.
“Miserable. I just wish I could see myself in the mirror and know what I look like.”
“Do you walk around unclothed all the time? Even in the winter. It must be freezing.”
“No, I usually have a long coat and boots and a few other things that keep me warm except when I am working for Dr. Bering,” Sarah replied. “How is it that you are able to change back and forth?”
“I don’t know,” Marissa began. “I think it has something to do with what I was doing at the time I drank that retched wine.”
“How many doses did they give you?”
“Only one, but I think it was the second one. I heard them talking about testing the second one just before I left. I was silly enough to drink the wine John offered,” Marissa said. “He seemed so harmless and he didn’t put anything in the wine and the wine had been in the room with me the whole time.”
“They laced the cup. That’s how they got me,” Sarah said.
“How many doses did you get?” Marissa asked.
“Two of the first potion. You said it was something you were doing when you drank the wine?” Sarah pressed.
“I think it has to do with the fact that I was Madame Shadow when I drank the potion. After I first turned invisible I noticed that I could change back and forth depending on what my frame of mind was. When I am the Shadow I am invisible and when I am Lady Edgington I’m not. See,” Marissa explained.
She focused on her identity as the Shadow and watched as her hands disappeared.
“What are you thinking right now?” Sarah demanded.
“I am the Shadow and what I do when I am the shadow,” Marissa replied.
Marissa then resumed the Lady Edgington identity and she reappeared. “There I become Lady Edgington again. I think what saved me from your fate was the fact that I had two separate identities and I was completely enveloped in the one when I took the potion.”
“I would give anything to be seen again,” Sarah said sadly.
Marissa didn’t know how to respond so she decided to change the subject back to Sean’s disappearance.
“What do we do about Sean?” Marissa asked.
“I don’t know other than go to Dr. Bering.”
“Perhaps we can go to Dr. Bering. Take me with you and you fulfill your part of the bargain,” Marissa suggested.
“It’s too dangerous, Marissa. We can’t chance him getting a hold of you...”
“But he won’t be able to see me. We can make sure he understands that you fulfilled your part of the bargain. I’m certain he will try to use Sean as the next pawn. Hopefully he will give us some clues to find him and to figure out what he is planning,” Marissa finished.

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