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Abigail cover

That night I woke up suddenly with my heart racing, sweat pouring down my neck. The feeling that something was not right throbbed in every pore of my skin, every cell in my body. My eyes tried in vain to adjust, to distinguish shapes in the room, but gone were the usual glow coming through the windows, the fire in the hearth. It was pitch black. I rose, disoriented. What on earth was happening? The wood floor felt frozen on the soles of my feet, and I groped around for my slippers and robe and hurriedly put them on.

Suddenly, a wild slamming, clattering, and banging erupted from somewhere.

It sounded as though it came from the room next to mine, but there was no room there. On one side was the back garden, and on the other side was the servants’ staircase. I whirled around, bewildered, as the house began to sway, creak and groan, and the sounds of heavy objects thudding against walls and windows being smashed ripped through the walls. There was a roar that made my blood curdle. It was the sound of someone trapped in torment. And rage. It sliced through me, burning, searing, and all the while the roaring went on and on.

Abruptly, all the sounds ceased, and a deathly silence swelled in the room, followed by the faint sound of a woman keening. My eyes frantically searched the dark, but I could see nothing. The sound became louder and louder until it turned into a deafening wail that rang and quivered in my ears, my heart, my limbs. I covered my ears and squeezed my eyes shut, then opened them and gasped.

My childhood tutor, Miss Wilkins stood in front of me.

Lit by an eerie glow in the blackness, she held out her hand, eyes beseeching, and kept moaning and wailing. A scream rose in my throat, and I opened my mouth to let it out. But it gurgled and spewed, making me gag. Feeling as though I were drowning in my own spit, I lurched towards the bedroom door and found the handle. The wailing behind me became even more intense, as though in protest at my leaving, as I yanked the door open and stumbled into what should have been my study. But it was the hallway. The study had disappeared as though it had never existed. I staggered through the hallway toward where I hoped the kitchen would be…and ran headlong into a figure in the dark. Now the scream broke out of my throat and I struggled furiously as I felt someone’s hands grip my shoulders…


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