The Wolf Mirror
Publication date: February 14th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Changing places doesn’t always help you see things differently.
Cassie throws the first punch in a brawl at Winchester Abbey Girl’s School. Her subsequent suspension is a glitch in Cassie’s master plan; Finish School/Get Job/Leave Home (and never come back). As punishment her mother banishes her to Ludlow Park, their creepy ancestral home. In the dark of a stormy night Cassie finds herself transported to 1714, the beginning of the Georgian period.
With the help of a lady’s maid and an obnoxious gentleman, Mr Charles Stafford, Cassie must unravel the mysterious illness afflicting Lord Miller. If Lord Miller kicks the bucket the house goes to Reginald Huxley, the brainless cousin from London.
Cassie’s task is to figure out who is poisoning the Lord of Ludlow without exposing herself to the ridicule of her peers, getting herself committed to the asylum or worse, married off to the first man who will have her.
Cassie must learn to hold her tongue, keep her pride in check and reign in her rebellious nature – because the fate of her entire family, for generations, rests on her shoulders.
Meanwhile, Lady Cassandra Miller frantically searches for her smelling salts or her trusted governess Miss. Blythe, whose soothing advice she would dearly love. Instead Cassandra finds some woman and a boy squatting in the Ludlow mansion; her father, her lady’s maid and all the servants have magically disappeared.
Tell-a-vision, the In-her-net, horseless carriages and women wearing pantaloons; Cassandra is afraid that she might have inhaled fowl air causing her to temporarily lose her senses.
Only when both girls can get over their pride, societal prejudices and self-importance will they be able to return to their rightful century. Until then, they are free to wreak maximum damage on their respective centuries.
Caroline Healy is a writer and community arts facilitator. She recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University. She alternates her time between procrastination and making art.
In 2012 her award winning short story collection A Stitch in Time was published by Doire Press. Fiction and commentary has been featured in publications across Ireland, the U.K. and more recently in the U.S. Caroline’s work can be found in journals such as Wordlegs,The Bohemyth, Short Story Ireland, Short Stop U.K., Five Stop Story, Prole, Literary Orphans and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice
Her debut Y.A. novel, Blood Entwines was published by Bloomsbury Spark in August 2014 and she is in the process of writing the second book in the series, Blood Betrayal, as well as a short story collection, The House of Water.
She has a fondness for dark chocolate, cups of tea and winter woollies.
(More details can be found on her website www.carolinehealy.com)
Cassie rounded the corner to the east wing and stopped in her tracks. The out-of-place, modern door was as she remembered it. Made from pine, it sat in a makeshift door frame that the carpenter had cobbled together. Cassie tutted, there would be no going down the east wing any time soon. So what was Mrs Rivers going on about?
A crack of lightening lit the dark sky outside. Cassie jumped, a spike of adrenaline coursing through her. The storm sounded like it was getting worse. She should get back to her bedroom before the electricity... The pale lamp shade in the middle of the corridor flickered, once, twice, then died, plunging Cassie into complete darkness.
She stood perfectly still for a minute to let her eyes adjust. The corridor was dark, the shapes and shadows indecipherable. The tips of Cassie’s fingers reached forward as she tried to feel her way slowly to something more solid. She touched the cold pine of the door in front of her, her other hand brushed against the stainless steel handle. She paused for a minute and pushed downwards. The door did not budge. Cassie shook her head and was just about to move away when she thought she heard a noise from the other side, a sound like soft footfall. She tried the handle again, pushing down more forcefully. The door opened, a loud creaking sound filling the hallway.
Cassie hesitated for a split second before stepping through into the east wing, her desire to smoke forgotten.
It was darker here, the boarded windows blocking any light from illuminating the hallway. Cassie used her hands to pat her way slowly along the wall. She could feel the softness of the old wallpaper as she moved tentatively along the corridor. There was a patch of less dark a little further along. Cassie moved towards it. One of the shutters had come undone, hanging precariously from its hinge. There was a little light coming from outside but it was enough for her to distinguish an old style lamp, bracketed to the wall. She assumed that there would be many of these lamps along the hallway, just as there were in the main section of the house. She took a few more steps, keeping her fingers in contact with the wall. Suddenly they brushed against something hard, something gilded, timber perhaps, before sliding onto smooth, cool glass.
Another crack of lightning; the corridor lit in brilliant brightness. Cassie stifled a scream. The light illuminated two wolves, carved in relief on either side of her, as if they were stalking prey. They snarled silently before being plunging back into darkness. Cassie whimpered, her brain trying to compute.
As if to prove to herself that she was not scared Cassie took a step forward. ‘It’s just a mirror,’ she said out loud, ‘It’s just the carving on the mirror.’
She took a few deep breaths and reached her hand out again, searching for the cold surface of the glass. Another roll of thunder rippled around the house. Cassie held her breath. A flash erupted and she stared at the mirror, illuminated for the briefest of moments by the lightning.
Her reflection, except she was wearing a ridiculous nightdress of mammoth proportions.
Two seconds passed then darkness enfolded her again as the lightning ceased.
‘Don’t be stupid,’ she told herself as she stretched out her fingers to feel for the smooth glass. She reached over, leaning her body. She must be further away than she thought. She stretched forward.‘Stupid mirror,’ she hissed. ‘Where are…’
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