Chapter Thirty-Six – continued
“Who are you?” Her words were hushed, nearly strangled in her throat.
In answer, the man finally shifted into the moonlight, the knife glinting coldly in the pale light just before a cloud scuttled across, plunging the room into a darkness that had her catching a gasp in her throat. She drew her knees to her chest, pressing herself into as small a bundle as she could.
“You’re the man from the kitchens,” she finally whispered.
“It was rather difficult to track you down here as well.” He sighed. “You do not make things easy, and my friend grows impatient.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She couldn’t stop the waver in her voice, but she was certain Ephraim knew she was terrified.
The man sighed again and lowered his arms, but kept the knife out. Abigail’s eyes were drawn to it, horror mounting in her chest. Her heart felt ready to jump out of her body, and she wouldn’t blame it. Part of her wished she were the fainting kind, but she was also terrified of what Epharim would do to her.
“My friend remembers the kindness you extended, the help you provided, but my friend did not get what they wanted. Now they’ve decided to take it.”
Abigail couldn’t speak. Her tongue felt large and heavy. Her breath was coming too quickly. Her heart was pounding too hard. He couldn’t possibly be talking about James or Poppy, could he?
“My friend has given me the sign,” he went on. “You are to come with me.”
“Come with you?” she stuttered as her body began to shake under the covers.
Ephraim let out a frustrated noise. “Yes. My friend does not want you to be killed.” One side of his mouth quirked. “I argued it would be easier, but my friend has their own plans, does not condone bloodshed, and poison has already been used. It would get suspicious.” He motioned with the knife, making her jump. “Out of bed, my Lady.”
Abigail shook her head, shrinking back further against the pillows.
Ephraim huffed out a breath. “I did tell my friend you wouldn’t make this easy.”
With measured steps, he walked towards her, making her heart stutter. With his knife dangerously close to her, he motioned for her to get up.
“I won’t kill you, but I might hurt you,” he said, his voice altogether too friendly. He glanced around, caught sight of her dressing gown, and reached out to grab it. His knife still pointed at her, he tossed it in her direction. “I won’t be too cruel. Keep warm, my Lady. We’re venturing outside of the castle.”
“No,” she whispered.
The knife was suddenly at her throat, the point all too sharp against her skin. Tears sprang to her eyes and she had to fight to stay still.
“I’ll come,” she whispered.
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