Hidden By Fog: Elaine: Chapter One

This is the first chapter in my horror/thriller/mystery novel. I put a lot of hard work into it and am really hoping you enjoy. So bear with me for this is going to be a long road as I upload a chapter at a time as I complete them.

Hidden by Fog

By: K. E. Oskold

Elaine: Chapter One

Year: 1651

Location: London, England

 

Elaine sat by her bed, at her vanity mirror, combing her long crimson hair. Staring at herself, she can tell that she’s not happy, even with the bulge in her abdomen of her yet born child. She feels trapped by forces that she can’t control, living with a man whom her parents forced her to wed. They only had her marry him for the dowry he offered.After years of marriage, she came to find her husband to be a sweet man but she could not come to love him. Especially since she has feelings for another but he has gone, off somewhere with the Royal Cavalry, last she heard.

She is beginning to worry about the baby; something isn’t right with it. She can’t tell exactly what is wrong, but she knows something is amiss. This is when William, her husband, walks in wearing his full daily attire; top-hat, coat, vest, watch, and the such.

“William,” Elaine begins to say, “I think I need to go and see a doctor in the morning.”

“Whatever for, Love?” he asks in a surprised voice.

“I’m not sure, actually, but I think something might be wrong with the baby.”

“All right, we shall go in the morning,” he says as he begins to get changed into night wear. His short black hair sitting loosely, he scratches at his head as if combating with some sort of line of thinking. Elaine picks herself up from the vanity mirror and hobbles over to the bed. Both her and William climbing in bed, almost in sync, and with a brief kiss goodnight they both begin to sleep.

The next morning comes with ease, as the night passes without trouble. Elaine wakes to find herself in the bed alone. William’s clothes from yesterday are gone and his night wear lay across the footboard. Getting out of the covers she begins to dress herself. She can hear William in the next room chatting with someone, probably the local delivery boy. William has herbs delivered to make tea for her. Despite her opposition to her current marriage, William is a kind man. He’s always cared for her and their baby. After hearing the door close behind the delivery boy, she enters the room.

“Was that the chamomile delivery?” Elaine asks in a hushed tone.

“Aye, it was,” William responds, “I’m sorry, Love, but I have to head to the office today. Could you possibly go to the doctor on your own?”

“Oh, yes of course,” she replied, slightly disheartened, “I think I can manage.”

“Thank you, Love,” He says as he puts on his coat, “I really appreciate it. Apparently, there’s something wrong with the books and they need me to figure it out.”

“All is good, go figure it out. You always do,” she says as he rushes out the door.

William had left the chamomile on the counter next to the door. Elaine picking it up, heads to the kitchen to make a cup of tea with it. After the tea was made she had a cup, drinking it over the next hour or so. Her head began to spin, and there was a sharp pain in her abdomen. Knowing that something was wrong, and that it had to have been something in the chamomile, she grabbed what remained of it and started to walk to the door. The walls of her home began to warp and the hallway to the door appeared to be growing in length. ‘What was in that herb, it had never done this to her when William made it,’ she thought to herself, ‘What did I do wrong? Had I put too much in?’

She couldn’t know this for sure. All she knew was that she needed a doctor, herbalist, or anything immediately. Finally making it to her front door, Elaine trips and falls as she exits the house. It is a rather young-looking woman, maybe around the same age as Elaine, catches her as she falls out. Before Elaine finishes her fall onto the young woman she is out cold.

“Miss! Miss!” the young woman begins, “Are you all right? Miss!”

“Oh my. Poor thing.” says a hag of a woman standing next to the younger. “Come on Sarah, let’s get her back into her home.”

“Yes ma’am.” Sarah replies, trying to weave Elaine’s body into the house. “Shall I fetch a doctor, ma’am?”

“Yes, and we shall stay with her till…” The hag stops abruptly as something appears in her peripheral vision, a small plant that is resting in Elaine’s palm. “That plant… Sarah do you know what kind of plant this is?”

“Umm…I’m not sure, ma’am, but it looks like Hedera Helix.”

“That’s it exactly. I fear this woman may have consumed some.”

As they carry Elaine, unconscious, back into her home, they lay her on her couch. The hag goes through the house in search of any more Hedera Helix. She doesn’t find any throughout the house except for in the kitchen. Sitting on the counter, next to an empty cup is a small bag. When the hag looks inside the bag she is disturbed by how much of the plant is in the bag.

Pulling a strange vial from within her black velvet dress, she uncorks the glass container and places it under Elaine’s nose. With almost an immediate response, Elaine wakes with a severe headache. Seeing the two strange women looming over her like vultures, she begins to panic and almost lashes out at the both of them.

“Hold on there now Dearie,” the hag says as she grabs Elaine by the wrists, surprisingly strong despite her appearance, “We’re only here to see if you’re all right.”

“What happened,” Elaine began, “Where am I? And who are you?”

“One: you passed out while on your way out of this house and nearly landed on Sarah here,” The hag started, trying to calm her, “Two: this is your home… I believe it is anyway. And three: I am Ms. Millicent Payne and this is Sarah Payne, my daughter.”

Finally calming down from her moment of hysteria, “I’m not sure what to say, but thank you for your help. This has never happened to me before.”

“You’re very welcome Miss,” Sarah states.

“Call me Elaine, Elaine Morrison.”

“We found this when you fell,” Millicent says, as she holds up one of the leaves of Hedera Helix.

“Yes, that’s chamomile, at least that’s what my husband says. He always puts some in my tea. It helps me relax, with the baby and all,” Elaine mentions, as she rubs her hand over her stomach.

“I’m sorry to say this, ma’am, but this is not chamomile. This is Hedera helix, incredibly toxic to consume,” says Millicent, as both Sarah and Elaine look at her, watching the gears in her head turn over and over.

“That’s not possible, William is so kind and sweet, and I don’t believe that he would do anything of the sort.”

“Have you had any miscarriages, ma’am?”

“How dare you…” Elaine begins.

“This plant is exceptionally toxic, especially to infants and pregnant women,” Millicent says, quickly interrupting Elaine mid-sentence. Her voice is very clear in its intent to discern between harm or mistake, “So forgive my boldness, but it is imperative that you tell me.”

Quickly hushed by the hag, Elaine is slightly hesitant to tell. But there is something within her, from the lowest depth of her gut that wants her to tell this strange and rude woman what she wants to know.

“Umm…three, in the last two years. But…,” Cutting herself off, the thought finally comes through her mind. The hag must think that William is trying to kill their children.

“It appears that she’s realized where you were going with that, ma’am,” Sarah says, chiming in.

“It does indeed.”

Elaine, grasping at her head as if to hold onto the straws of her mind just to stay sane, starts thinking over and over; ‘That can’t be true!’

“Listen, Mrs. Morrison, we may have a way to help you out.”

“But I need proof that he’s been poisoning me and our child!”

“All right, that I can understand,” says the old hag, “but that is something you will have to do on your own. Come and find us if you ever find proof.”

“But how will I find you?”

“Here take this,” Millicent says while pulling a black sheet of paper, two inches wide and one-inch high.

Taking the slip from the woman, Elaine looks it over curiously. It is a solid black piece of thick paper with white letters stamped into it. The letters appear to be an address in Plymouth.

“Alright, but I doubt I will need this and I refuse to believe what you two are insinuating.”

After that both of the women leave Elaine’s home, leaving Elaine to sit there in the silence, her mind wandering through all the possible betrayals that William could have put her through.

That’s impossible, He would never do such a thing,’ she thought to herself.

Slowly but surely, in the back of her mind something comes crawling out of the deepest and darkest parts of her mind. Doubt starts to set in and is ever so slowly taking over her mind.

‘It can’t be possible…can it?’

Only a few hours later, it becomes too much to bare. Frantically, she starts searching through the house, meticulously checking everywhere, for some shred of proof of his innocence. She hopes with all her heart she won’t find anything incriminating. Having checked every place in the house that she could think of, she had turned up empty, whether it be proof of innocence or guilt. This gave her some comfort. However, there was one room she had yet to check: his study. And that is when she heard the door opening and closing. William is home. She lets a sly sigh release from her lungs and proceeds downstairs to greet her husband. If he is innocent, then asking him about it will only worsen their relationship, and if he were guilty he would only deny it.

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