The steps up to the third floor of the Goode Mansion seemed longer than ever. I could hear the music drifting down the stairs, the murmur of people. Each step was harder than the last. It wasn’t just the pain. Yes, there was still a bit of pain left over from the four broken ribs, the broken right arm, bruises and a bruised bone on the left arm, bruises and a bruised bone on my left leg and, well all of those other injuries from being struck several times by a heavy iron bar. For the most part, they had healed, but there was still a bit of pain and tightness when I pushed it. But, no, it wasn’t just the pain.
It was as much the fear.
Fear? OK, maybe nervousness would be a better word.
I stopped at the landing on the third floor and took a few deep breaths, ignoring my complaining ribs. In some ways this took more courage than entering the carriage house on that dark April night.
The ballroom was filled with people. I walked to the front, the area were Abigail kept court, and turned. I smiled at my parents, who were up from their retirement home in Arizona. I nodded to my sister and a few friends. I noticed Kunhal and other work colleagues. Continue reading