Part 2. If you’d like to read Part 1, click here.
Once I’m back in my bedroom, I take the ampoule from its hiding place and put it in my bedside drawer, tucking it neatly under a pile of knickers and a lavender pot pourri. My hands are shaking.
Climbing into my king-sized bed, I settle under the covers. I clamp my hands over my ears but I can’t shut out the voices in my head, taunting, calling me a failure. Again. My bones ache from tension and stress. I rest my head on the pillow and close my eyes. Sleep takes me quickly.
A noise wakes me. It’s a thud, like a door slamming. My heart skips a beat. I lie still, listening for more sounds. Footsteps clip-clop in the hallway. I glance at the clock: 3.43AM.
‘Henry?’ I ask. There’s no response. ‘Henry, is that you?’
A door slams. I get out of bed, press my ear to my bedroom door. When I hear nothing, I bang my forehead against the wood. The pain splits my head in two, yet somehow numbs the agony I feel everywhere else. I turn to stare at my bedside table, the ampoule calling me from its hiding place. This could be my only chance.
Five minutes later, I am coaching myself through my plan. Go to Henry’s room. Break the tip of the ampoule, and slip the contents into Henry’s gaping mouth. If he wakes, seduce him. Simple. So simple, I wonder why I’d never attempted it this way before.
Opening the door to his room, it takes my eyes seconds to adjust to the moonlight streaming through the window. It’s chilly; the window is open. An owl hoots in the distance. Henry moves in his bed. Groans.
I tremble as I approach. As usual, Henry’s on his back, mouth wide open. I’ve spent enough nights here—in restraints, awake, naked and cold—while he sleeps next to me to know his patterns. His teeth are in a glass next to his bed. I shudder. I lift my breast and pull out the ampoule. I am damp with sweat; the ampoule slides from my grip and lands on Henry’s chest. I wipe my hands on the sheet and gently pick it up. I snap off the tip; slowly tip the poison into Henry’s slack, cavernous mouth.
I’ve done it. I’ve done it!
I creep backwards from the bed, not yet believing it could be that easy. I get to the door; I stand and gaze at him. He was a tyrant, wrapped initially in a charming veneer. It was only after I’d moved in, that the charm faded to black and the tyrant stepped on stage. In his bed, Henry gurgles and chokes. Just as I open the door to begin my race to freedom, I see froth trickling down his chin onto his chest.
Die, mother fucker!
I close the door, grab the bag I’ve left in the hallway and silently leave the mansion. I’m not free yet. I’ll have to scale the brick fence at the edge of the property. But for now, I run across the stone driveway in bare feet, wearing my silk negligee. The bag bangs against my legs, almost trips me. I am heading for the topiary section of the grounds, past the rose garden. Once there, I unzip the bag and change into my T-shirt, Lycra running tights, and rubber-soled sneakers. I am far enough away from the gatehouse not to be seen by Barry, on the night shift. He often lightly sleeps while on duty. I am confident.
Lights flood the garden. I turn back, the house is lit up as well. Henry’s security detail have found him. Damn. I’ve got to do this now. I climb up the wall like a cat burglar. At the top, about seven feet high, I sit astride, listening to the dogs bark, before I jump to freedom.