For He Who Must Not Be Named. No, not Voldemort.
February 1856, Southampton, England
“You there. Where do you think you’re off to? And where is your father?”
Miss Mary Chartley came to a stop in the hall, mere steps from escape. The servants’ door was only a few feet away. She silently cursed the board that had let out the telltale creak. Her shoulders ached. Her heart pounded. And behind her eyes, a headache had started, brought on by sleeplessness and unshed—
No. Not tears. She was done with crying.
She gathered her composure and her wits, and turned.
Her father’s one-time business partners had started to ransack the house early that morning. She had heard them come in; the constable who had accompanied them had even questioned her briefly. But they’d busied themselves downstairs, leaving her free to do what needed to be done. She had hoped to simply steal out the back door, with nobody aware of her departure.
“Mr. Lawson.” She gave the nearest man a quick curtsey. “Mr. Frost.” Another dip of her head. Only one of the partners was missing, and she couldn’t let herself think about Mr. John Mason. “Good morning.”