Elaine: Chapter Four
Location: London, England
Elaine awakens in her bed, her night gown and sheets soaked with sweat. William lay on his side next to her. She gazes at herself to find that she is still pregnant, her plump stomach bulging from beneath the blankets. She grabs her forehead, as if trying to erase the memory of what she thought was a nightmare, only to feel four rugged scars across her face. Stifling a scream, she rises from her bed and scrambles to her mirror. Looking over her face, she sees the harsh lines that now cover her face. Her beauty now marred by the gruesome lines that now cover her.
She rushes over to William, who lay on the bed. Trying to wake him, she realizes that he isn’t breathing. With the lack of movement of William’s chest, everything hits her at once. It wasn’t a dream and it really did happen. She pulls herself into a fetal position, rocking herself back and forth as she cries.
As an hour goes by, Elaine pulls herself together.
‘I need to get out of here!’
She darts around the house looking for some sort of way out of this situation. She recalls the two women that had helped her earlier. She heads back up the stair and starts to look for the little black slip of paper that they had given her. She finally finds it sitting on her vanity mirror. With a slight sigh of relief, she started to dress herself. Finding the darkest colored clothes that she could find and a vail, something to cover her face. She doesn’t want people to see her new-found hideousness.
Elaine grabs her black winter-cloak and all the money she could find in the house. As she leaves her home, she walks away from the only place she has known for the last three years, she only looks back once. Maybe it was out of nostalgia or maybe it was some part of her that wished this was all a dream. She walks directly to the stables that sit just on the edge of the city. Walking up to the wooden structure, there is a single oil lamp that burns on one of the post that holds up the thatch roof. Reaching the door of the stable house, she knocks. The door cracks ever so slightly as an older gentleman answers the door.
“Aye, ‘o’s there,” the man asks in a shushed tone, “Do you have any idea what hour it is?”
“My apologies sir, but I am desperate for your help,” Elaine replies.
Realizing that it is a woman calling, the older man opens the door fully. “Oh, excuse me rudeness. What brings ye to me doorstep?”
Not having given it much thought on what to say, Elaine simply lifts her vail and says; “Please sir, my husband did this to me. I need to leave and get to my family in Plymouth.”
“Oh my, o’ course, come in. Come in.”
“I’m sorry sir but I don’t have the time. I mustn’t stay to long or he’ll come looking for me. I have money to pay you.”
“Oh no, I ain’t askin’. I just need to ready a horse for ye.”
“Oh, thank you, sir. Thank you.”
Elaine gives the man quite a few coins from her pouch and hurries inside. It takes only half an hour for the man to saddle a horse for her. Combing back inside, he says;
“Alright, I got a nice black one out there all saddled up for ye,” he says, “’Er name is Maria, af’er the queen.”
“Yes, Sir. I can’t thank you enough for your kindness.”
“Yes, yes. Ye best be gone now. A storms a brewin’. Me old bones tell me so.”
“Yes, Sir. Thank you again.”
And with that, Elaine mounted the horse and took off toward Plymouth, toward the address on the slip of paper. Through many days and nights, she rode as hard as she could, without killing the horse. It rained almost every day she traveled. She stops at villages and towns along the way to eat. But she never stays the night. Her escape is much more important. After a long sixteen days of travel she finally makes it. She is starving and frozen to the bone.