The warm bitterness of the coffee matched my mood. I took it black now. Black like the darkness looming outside, ominous and harsh. I had missed it terribly. Tea had always seemed weak and patronizing, even more so now that the world had shifted.
I sat down the cup on the small lace covered table beside me. My hands shook a fair bit and there was a slight rattle as the cup came to rest again on the saucer.
A letter lay on my lap. It had arrived the day before, forwarded to the boarding house that was my home for the time being.
I smoothed out the paper again and stared at the flowering script, letting the effect of the coffee and the words wash over me.
The instructions were detailed. I was to meet Mrs. Brierly at the New Calton burial ground in Edinburgh in a fortnight exactly at sunrise. There was an arched gravestone in the far northeast corner where she would be waiting. Bring no one. Tell no one. Wear black, full mourning, complete with veil.
My mind raced.
I would have to wait to purchase the clothing as I got closer to Edinburgh. There was no way to do that here without arousing suspicion. I was too well known. The train tickets to Scotland. Should I purchase early to guarantee passage? Or wait until the last minute to minimize the risk of being found out?
There was the matter of Anne that must be addressed.
Timing was key. I would not be able to take her with me, at least not yet, but I also could not leave her here in that awful place with the Greers.
I had gone there, begging to see my daughter. The farmhouse was in frightening condition. The red faced woman, rotund woman who answered the door looked puzzled until it dawned on her who I was. I caught a glimpse of Anne being dragged to a back room before the door was slammed shut. There was recognition in her sad eyes. I could hear her screams for me from the other side of the warped wood. Shouting. A slap. Silence.
How could one feel this much hate and not be consumed by it?
No. She would not stay there much longer. I would see just how much love was willing to compromise and sacrifice for the sake of love.