Today's Reading

PROLOGUE

Amy Robsart, Cumnor Village

They came for me one night in the winter of 1752 when the ice was on the pond and the trees bowed under the weight of the hoar frost. There were nine priests out of Oxford, garbed all in white with tapers in hand. Some looked fearful, others burned with a righteous fervour because they thought they were doing the Lord's work. All of them looked cold, huddled within their cassocks, the one out ahead gripping the golden crucifix as though it were all that stood between him and the devil himself.

The villagers came out to watch for a while, standing around in uneasy groups, their breath like smoke on the night air, then the lure of the warm alehouse called them back and they went eagerly, talking of uneasy ghosts and the folly of the holy men in thinking they could trap my spirit.

The hunt was long. I ran through the lost passageways of Cumnor Hall with the priests snapping at my heels and in the end, exhausted and vanquished, my ghost sank into the dark pool. They said their prayers over me and returned to their cloisters and believed the haunting to be at an end.

Yet an unquiet ghost is not so easily laid to rest. They had trapped my wandering spirit but I was not at peace. When the truth is concealed the pattern will repeat. The first victim was Amyas Latimer, the poor boy who fell to his death from the tower of the church where my body was buried. Then there was the little serving girl, Amethyst Green, who tumbled from the roof of Oakhangar Hall. Soon there will be another. If no one prevents it, I know there will be a fourth death and a fifth, and on into an endless future, the same pattern, yet different each time, a shifting magic lantern projecting the horror of that day centuries ago.

There is only one hope.

I sense her presence beside me through the dark. Each time it happens she is there too, in a different guise, like me. She is my nemesis, the arch-enemy. Yet she is the only one who can free me and break this curse. In the end it all depends on her and in freeing my spirit I sense she will also free her own.

Elizabeth.

I met her only a handful of times in my life. She was little but she was fierce, always, fierce enough to survive against the odds, a fighter, clever, ruthless, destined always to be alone. We could never have been friends yet we are locked together in this endless dance through time.

I possessed the one thing she wanted and could not have and in my dying I denied it to her forever. For a little while I thought that would be enough to satisfy me. Yet revenge sours and diminishes through the years. All I wish now is to be released from my pain and to ensure this can never happen again.

Elizabeth, my enemy, you are the only one who can help me now but to do that you must change, you must see that the truth needs to be told. Open your eyes. Find the light.


1

Lizzie: Amelia and Dudley's Wedding, 2010

Everyone was drunk. They had broken into the wedding favour boxes early and were downing champagne directly from the quarter-bottles, lobbing chocolates at each other and throwing the beribboned scented teabags into the swimming pool. Amelia, the bride, who had personally chosen the Rose Pouchong and Green Jasmine teabags to match the scented candles, had stormed off in tears. Dudley, instead of going after his new wife, had jumped fully clothed into the pool, laughing maniacally.

Lizzie thought boy bands were the pits, especially Dudley's band, Call Back Summer, whom she secretly believed were just talentless entitled rich boys. She would never say that to Dudley, of course. He was her friend. But she wrote and played her own music and before they'd split up, her band had been way more successful than Dudley's.
...

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Today's Reading

PROLOGUE

Amy Robsart, Cumnor Village

They came for me one night in the winter of 1752 when the ice was on the pond and the trees bowed under the weight of the hoar frost. There were nine priests out of Oxford, garbed all in white with tapers in hand. Some looked fearful, others burned with a righteous fervour because they thought they were doing the Lord's work. All of them looked cold, huddled within their cassocks, the one out ahead gripping the golden crucifix as though it were all that stood between him and the devil himself.

The villagers came out to watch for a while, standing around in uneasy groups, their breath like smoke on the night air, then the lure of the warm alehouse called them back and they went eagerly, talking of uneasy ghosts and the folly of the holy men in thinking they could trap my spirit.

The hunt was long. I ran through the lost passageways of Cumnor Hall with the priests snapping at my heels and in the end, exhausted and vanquished, my ghost sank into the dark pool. They said their prayers over me and returned to their cloisters and believed the haunting to be at an end.

Yet an unquiet ghost is not so easily laid to rest. They had trapped my wandering spirit but I was not at peace. When the truth is concealed the pattern will repeat. The first victim was Amyas Latimer, the poor boy who fell to his death from the tower of the church where my body was buried. Then there was the little serving girl, Amethyst Green, who tumbled from the roof of Oakhangar Hall. Soon there will be another. If no one prevents it, I know there will be a fourth death and a fifth, and on into an endless future, the same pattern, yet different each time, a shifting magic lantern projecting the horror of that day centuries ago.

There is only one hope.

I sense her presence beside me through the dark. Each time it happens she is there too, in a different guise, like me. She is my nemesis, the arch-enemy. Yet she is the only one who can free me and break this curse. In the end it all depends on her and in freeing my spirit I sense she will also free her own.

Elizabeth.

I met her only a handful of times in my life. She was little but she was fierce, always, fierce enough to survive against the odds, a fighter, clever, ruthless, destined always to be alone. We could never have been friends yet we are locked together in this endless dance through time.

I possessed the one thing she wanted and could not have and in my dying I denied it to her forever. For a little while I thought that would be enough to satisfy me. Yet revenge sours and diminishes through the years. All I wish now is to be released from my pain and to ensure this can never happen again.

Elizabeth, my enemy, you are the only one who can help me now but to do that you must change, you must see that the truth needs to be told. Open your eyes. Find the light.


1

Lizzie: Amelia and Dudley's Wedding, 2010

Everyone was drunk. They had broken into the wedding favour boxes early and were downing champagne directly from the quarter-bottles, lobbing chocolates at each other and throwing the beribboned scented teabags into the swimming pool. Amelia, the bride, who had personally chosen the Rose Pouchong and Green Jasmine teabags to match the scented candles, had stormed off in tears. Dudley, instead of going after his new wife, had jumped fully clothed into the pool, laughing maniacally.

Lizzie thought boy bands were the pits, especially Dudley's band, Call Back Summer, whom she secretly believed were just talentless entitled rich boys. She would never say that to Dudley, of course. He was her friend. But she wrote and played her own music and before they'd split up, her band had been way more successful than Dudley's.
...

Join the Library's Online Book Clubs and start receiving chapters from popular books in your daily email. Every day, Monday through Friday, we'll send you a portion of a book that takes only five minutes to read. Each Monday we begin a new book and by Friday you will have the chance to read 2 or 3 chapters, enough to know if it's a book you want to finish. You can read a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, romance, business, teen and mystery books. Just give us your email address and five minutes a day, and we'll give you an exciting world of reading.

What our readers think...