Mask of the Highwaywoman - Short

Evelyn, the bored daughter of a rich aristocrat, is on her way home when her stagecoach is attacked by a gang of vicious outlaws. Terrified at first, she is soon fascinated by the captivating Highwaywoman

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4. Chapter Four: The Locket

“No, wait.” Evelyn stepped forward, lowering the poker. “Why did you come here?” The woman glanced back at the necklace, and then to Evelyn, her dark, brown eyes were soft in the firelight.

“I could see how important it was to you.”

“Thank you.” Said Evelyn, for the second time that evening.

“And you were right, it is worthless.” She smiled, and again they stared at one another for a moment. “I should go” she said “I’m sure there are search parties on the lookout for me this evening.”

“Why did you do that?” Evelyn still held the poker firmly in her grasp.

“I told you, I could see how important it was to you.” Evelyn stepped forward and picked up the necklace. “And I was sorry.” Her hand drifted towards Evelyn’s cheek, who winced as the woman stroked the bruised and tender flesh.

“I actually meant; why did you rob me in the first place?” The woman lowered her hand, “and scare those helpless people? That child could have died of the cold, and that poor mother…”

“Oh.” She said. “That.”                     

“Yes that! As if it isn’t hard enough getting by in this world, without people like you riding in, and taking from those who can barely afford to get by—”

“That isn’t true.” She said, and Evelyn rounded on her.

“So it wasn’t you gallivanting in the woods with your band of merry men!”

“Keep it down!”

“Keep it down? Keep it down?! I have a good mind to hand you in myself.” She said “There is likely fifty pounds on your head, and I could do with the money!”

“You won’t hand me in” Said the woman.

“Won’t I?”

“No. And I do not take from those who can’t afford it. Only those who travel in the luxury of a stage coach.”

“You wouldn’t call it luxury if you had to travel in one.” The woman laughed.

“Possibly not” she said “But I am truly sorry that you were hurt.”

“You’ve taken everything I have.” Said Evelyn, defeated “and I have to be in Bristol by tomorrow.”

“Yes. You mentioned that before, why Bristol?”

“Does it matter?” Evelyn replaced the poker, and turned back to the woman. “The fact is I cannot get there, and there is no-one in Harrow I can turn to for help.” The woman pulled a purse from her waistcoat, and dropped it, with a clunk, on the side table. “I can’t take that.”

“Why not? It’s your money” Evelyn snatched up the purse, and counted the contents, before carefully replacing it in her trunk.

“Who are you anyway?” she asked, turning back to the thief.

She smiled, but shook her head “I can’t tell you that.”

“Why not? You trust me enough to come to my room late at night, you’ve rescued my locket, and paid for my journey, why can’t I know your name? Or see your face for that matter.” The woman paused for a moment. Then, in the same flourish as before, she removed her coat, followed by her hat, and untied her mask. Evelyn stared at the woman, her face was young, light-skinned, more of a girl than a woman, her hair was dark, and tied in a black ribbon, complimenting the rest of her black outfit, she was tall, and her clothes were tailored, hugging at her waist.

“All is revealed.” She said smiling.

“Not quite all.”

The girl raised an eyebrow.

“I want your name?” Evelyn repeated.

“Oh… I really can’t. I mean I shouldn’t even be here I—”

“Give me your name or I shan’t let you leave.”

Evelyn wielded the poker once again and the highwaywoman smiled.

“Then I should never speak again.” She whispered.

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