Prologue

 
 

“Can you explain again what happened?” the police constable said from the sidewalk flanking the cobbled street. Various residents were gawking out their windows or beyond the cordoned off neighborhood block immune to the rain splattering the ground. They were far more interested in the accident.

“Master and Mistress Stevyns were having a disagreement,” Mylon said, dressed in black formal wear with a mute gray tie and a silver tie-clip. An apron was also around his waist, having been in the middle of cooking breakfast when the argument started. “The Master left the house. He presumably crossed the street as he always did to catch a coach to the harbor.”

“And that’s when the other coach hit him,” the police constable finished evenly.

“Correct,” Mylon said. He avoided looking at the covered body atop the stretcher on the ground nearby. The rain soaked through the white sheet and accented the lifeless features of his former master.

The constable jotted something in his notebook. “And where were you when it happened?”

“Tending to the Mistress inside. She had an episode.”

The constable looked up in surprise. “What sort of episode?”

“A fainting spell due to the lateness of her morning meal. Something I was working on remedying when you summoned me.” He gestured to the apron.

“I see,” the constable said and jotted something else down. He didn’t sound convinced. “What was the argument about?”

“It was between the Master and Mistress.”

“But surely you overheard it?”

“Servants do not pry, and they certainly don’t gossip.”

Another note. “Do you recall whether the Mistress fainted before or after you heard the sound of the crash?”

Mylon didn’t like where this line of questioning was headed. “Forgive me, but I must see to my mistress and then make arrangements for the funeral.”

The constable closed the notebook. “Of course. Please wish Mistress Stevyns a speedy recovery and let her know we wish to hear her account once she is well.”

Mylon gave a bow of his head and ascended the steps to the front door. He took ahold of the handle while gazing out at the scene before him: the diagonal facing stagecoach blocking all traffic; the euthanized horse with its shattered leg; the white shrouded body on the stretcher a few meters beyond the fallen horse. Noticeably absent was the blood from the impact; the rain had mercifully washed it away.

Mylon shut the door and returned to the sofa where his mistress was resting. He took the compress from a bowl of water and wrung it out before placing it on the teen’s forehead.

A frown creased his lips as he gazed at her innocent face. “My poor Kell, what have you done?”