6 Fantasy Stories

6 Fantasy Stories by Robert T. Jeschonek Read Free Book Online

Book: 6 Fantasy Stories by Robert T. Jeschonek Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert T. Jeschonek
hurt myself in this disguise. At first, I'd said no, but then had relented on condition of her restraining her laughter. So far, to my surprise, she'd managed to leave out the hilarity in favor of cool detachment.
    Mostly. "You might just be making a more favorable impression than I am." Lady Crenshaw let out a little giggle. "After all, you got that strapping young attorney's calling card back there, didn't you?"
    I sighed. "Simply the power of suggestion, darling. All we did was set the table, and he filled in the blanks."
    "Is that what they're calling it nowadays?" She giggled again. "Cheeky!"
    "I only hope I shall be so convincing in there. " I gestured with one white-gloved hand at the familiar brick building we were approaching--the Female Protection Society. Three women walked in the front door as I watched, chattering among themselves--none of them my Bess.
    "Just like hiding among the rhinos, dear," said Lady Crenshaw. "Act like you belong here, and hope no one notices the horn's a fake."
    "Ever the font of wisdom." I smiled at a passing businessman in a black suit and bowler, praying he wouldn't recognize me. The both of us were members of the Wanderers' Club. I'd been known to beat him roundly at snooker and darts, and he'd been known to drink me under the table.
    As we drew near the Female Protection Society, two women strode out of a side street ahead of us. Instantly, my heartbeat accelerated, and my palms dampened within my gloves.
    "There they are." Until then, I hadn't been sure they'd return to the same place at the same time two days in a row. "Bess and Mrs. Whitaker-Bunyan. Right on time."
    Lady Crenshaw quickened her pace. "Come along, dear."
    I grabbed at the sleeve of her red velvet jacket. "No, wait! She might recognize me!"
    "The power of context shall set you free. She would never expect to see you here and thus. " Lady Crenshaw tossed her head and fluttered her hands. "But if it makes you feel better, I will do the talking. "
    The shin-high lace-up black boots I wore clattered on the cobblestones. "Slow down! This petticoat is bunching up between my legs. "
    "The things you say, darling." Lady Crenshaw turned and grabbed my elbow. "I do believe you are positively one of our foremost Romantics. "
    *****
    Lady Crenshaw and I caught up with Bess and Mrs. Whitaker-Bunyan just as the panel in the door was sliding open. The nun's familiar gray eyes peered out, darting from one to the other of the four of us in quick succession.
    Then snapping back to fix on me. And linger there as my heart thundered at the prospect of being found out.
    Just then, Bess cleared her throat and spoke. "We've come for the ceremony, Sister. May we enter?"
    The nun's eyes held mine a moment longer, then shifted to Bess. "Has someone told you that patience is a sin? "
    Bess shook her head. "I hadn't heard that, Sister."
    "Because it is a virtue ," said the nun, and then the panel in the door snapped shut. "You'd do well to practice it."
    For a moment, I feared she might not admit us...but the door lock cracked open, and the door swung inward.
    Bess entered first, nodding to the nun as she passed. Mrs. Whitaker-Bunyan did the same, and Lady Crenshaw crossed the threshold behind her.
    I half expected to be barred from entry, so it came as no surprise when the nun caught my elbow in her iron grip. She frowned up at me with a searching gaze of such intensity, I could have sworn I felt the heat of it stinging my face.
    I held my tongue, lest my voice--which was familiar to her--give me away. Disguising it was the one thing we hadn't practiced...but if the nun asked me a direct question, I would have to improvise.
    Lady Crenshaw chose that moment to intervene. "You see it, too, don't you, Sister?" Interposing herself between me and the nun, she hopped up on her toes and stared at my face. "You're not the first to notice her uncanny resemblance to the Virgin Mary. "
    "No, no, no." The nun shook my arm. "It's something else entirely."
    I

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