A half hour later, the girls ran back to the house and found their father working in his study. “Papa, Thunder got out!”
Their father set aside the papers he’d been studying. “Slow down girls. What happened?” He moved out from behind his desk to stand in front of them, his hands clasped behind his back.
“We were playing out by the barn and we say a gypsy by the doors of the barn. And then Thunder neighed really loud. And then we saw him running across the field. And we thought we saw someone riding him. Probably the gypsy we saw.”
Her father arched an eyebrow and pursed his lips. “These are very serious allegations, Beatrice.” He placed his hands on his hips and paced. “You say that all three of you saw this?” He bent down and studied his girls.
Amelia gulped, for her father’s assessing eyes saw inside to the truth of what she and her sisters had done, but she pushed down the rising panic, swallowed and forced her gaze to her father’s. “Yes, father,” she whispered before cowardice forced her to look away.
Evie stuffed her thumb into her mouth and nodded.
“If what you say is the truth, then this is a very serious problem indeed.” Walking back to his desk, he sat down. “Thank you, ladies, for telling the truth. I will see that this is taken care of.” He waved his hands and shooed them from his study.
The girls hurried upstairs to the nursery, grateful to have escaped unscathed. Once inside, nurse took Evie to her cot for a nap. Amelia was tired, too, from the day’s events and crawled into her bed, pulled her covers up to her chin, and curled up onto her side. Beatrice plopped down on the bed next to Amelia.
“I told you papa would believe us.” Amelia, sick with guilt scrunched her eyes shut and pretended to sleep. Beatrice yawned and snuggled behind her sister. She threw her arm around her body and hugged her close. “There’s nothing to worry about, Mimi. Everything is going to be fine. You’ll see.”
Nestled against her sister safe in her bed, Amelia shuddered when icy cold fingers licked up her spine. She pulled her covers higher around her ears. Despite Beatrice’s reassuring words, somehow she knew everything wasn’t going to be fine.
© Sara Ackerman 2016