Bitter Demons

Bitter Demons by Sarra Cannon

Book: Bitter Demons by Sarra Cannon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sarra Cannon
enforcing, but it didn’t sound like fun.
    “I’m tired,” I said, holding my voice steady. “I’m going to go to bed.”
    I turned to leave, but the door slammed shut so fast, I could feel the rush of air blow my hair off my shoulders. Slowly, I turned back to her. Mrs. Shadowford’s wrinkled hand was raised high in the air. She balled up her fist and brought it down on top of her desk with a smack. I jumped as several items in the room began to shake.
    “You will not turn your back on me like I am some servant,” she said. Her anger radiated out through the room. Picture frames vibrated against the wall. The beads on a small lampshade on her desk began to shake. “Until you become Prima, you are still under my supervision in this household. Do you understand me?”
    I nodded and took a step back.
    “You will go up to your room and not come down until you are called for,” she said. Her fist was still clutched tight, her wrist shaking from tension. “Your meals will be brought up to you. Now go.”
    The door opened on its own, and I pushed through as fast as I could. I ran up the stairs and down the hall to my room. Courtney must have been waiting for me, because the second I hit the top step, she came rushing from her room.
    “What happened?” she asked, breathless and wide-eyed.
    I threw a glance over my shoulder. I couldn’t afford to stand around in the hall talking, but I wasn’t sure I was allowed to have visitors in my room either. The last thing I wanted to do was piss Mrs. Shadowford off more than she already was.
    “I can’t talk about it,” I said. I slipped into my room, but left the door open.
    Courtney started to follow, and I put my hand up to stop her. “What?” she asked.
    “I’m not sure you’re allowed in here with me,” I whispered. “Mrs. Shadowford’s really upset with me, and I don’t want to risk making it worse.”
    “Gosh, what did you do?” She leaned forward, matching my tone of voice.
    Across the hall, Mary Anne’s door opened a small crack. Courtney and I both turned at the sound of the squeaking hinges. She was dressed all in black, as usual. Her black hair fell across her face, and her eyes were ringed with red, as if she’d been crying. Her eyes locked on mine. She gasped.
    “Harper?”
    She looked surprised to see me.
    “Yes?” I said.
    She slapped her hand across her mouth and shook her head, then slammed her door shut.
    “What was that about?” Courtney asked. “Harper, what’s going on?”
    “I’m not sure,” I said. I stared dumbly at Mary Anne’s closed door. The way she looked at me when our eyes met… Did Mary Anne know something about what happened tonight? Why would she have been surprised to see me, unless she never expected me to come home? She wasn’t at the party, so how would she have heard? If Courtney didn’t know, I assumed Mary Anne didn’t either. But now, I wasn’t so sure.
    “Is there anything I can do to help? Can I get you something to drink or anything?”
    I shook my head. “It’s been a long night. I think I just want to get some rest. But can you do me a favor?”
    “Just name it,” she said.
    “Come by my room in the morning,” I said. “I might need you to deliver a note to Jackson.”
    I sat down at my desk once she was gone and wrote a short note to Jackson.
    What do you know about Mary Anne?

Motive
     
    I couldn’t sleep. All I could think about was Caroline, scared and alone, possibly being tortured. And it was all my fault. I tossed and turned until the sun rose outside my window.
    I decided to run a hot bath when there was a knock on my door. I threw on my faded robe and opened the door, unsure who to expect.
    “Good morning.” Courtney moved past me, carrying a tray full of food. “I convinced Ella Mae to let me bring up some breakfast for you.”
    “Thanks,” I said. The fresh fruit and yogurt looked delicious, but my stomach was still in knots from the night before. “Just set it down on the

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