Sisters of String and Glass, Part 104

Chapter Twenty-Three – continued

She walked, trying to make her footfalls as soft as possible, and wincing as her feet crunched against the soft carpets, but Madeline’s footsteps were thundering enough that she hoped it overtook the sound of her own. As soon as she heard a door slam, though, she picked up her skirts in a very unladylike fashion and dashed for Madeline’s door.

Her heart beat rapidly as she knelt down and pressed an ear to the door. She hardly dared to draw breath, not that it would have mattered much; Madeline’s voice was easily heard through the door.

“Are you that afraid of Mistress Lacey?” she heard Muriel ask at the tail end of Madeline’s wordless screech. She could hear amusement in the woman’s voice, as though she were sipping from a cup of tea and was bemused by her daughter’s tantrum.

“Do you know where Abigail is?” Madeline thundered.

“Certainly not in her rooms,” Muriel said serenely. “You asked me to check while you went downstairs. She didn’t answer and her bed hasn’t been slept in.”

Camille couldn’t help the outrage bubbling in her chest. How dare the woman enter Abigail’s rooms! She balled her hands into fists on her thighs as they trembled and threatened to reach for the doorknob and throw Madeline’s door open. Her teeth ground together, but she forced herself to calm. If she couldn’t figure out what these women had up their sleeves, she feared her sister could be in danger. 

“The castle!” Madeline practically shrieked. “Some woman just came by and said Abigail is a guest at the castle.”

“Then, my dear,” Muriel said calmly, “we must find a way to get you in, too.”

That seemed to give Madeline pause. At least, it was silent for several seconds. Camille waited, barely drawing a breath, hoping the bell wouldn’t be rung to announce Mistress Lacey.

“I don’t see how,” Madeline finally said, her voice softer now, calmer.

“Leave the details to me, Madeline. I have a great deal of material to work with. You really should experience movies and television one day. So inspiring!”

Movies? Television? Camille frowned, pressing her ear harder against the door, certain she had misunderstood. She’d never heard either word before, so, surely, Muriel had to be talking about something magical.

She bit her lip, worried. Magic meant the fae. The fae were mercurial. Clarice was the most steadfast of them, but most changed from fun and lighthearted to raging thunderheads within moments if someone said or did the wrong thing. As beautiful as The Spindle sounded, even she wasn’t quite ready to brave a city full of fae. But would the fae help Muriel and Madeline? She wouldn’t be surprised. Some lived to shake up the rest of the world.

“Muriel,” Madeline started.

“Mother,” Muriel snapped, her voice little more than a hiss. “Do not forget yourself. Just because Abigail is not here does not mean we can slip. That wretched sister of hers is still around.”

Camille shoved the growl trying to pry free of her throat back down. She wasn’t going to find out anything more, except maybe how quickly and quietly she could flee before the soft crunch of slippers on carpet in Madeline’s room approached the door.

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