Amy C over at Romance Book Wyrm and Dottie over at Tink's Place
have come up with the idea for a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate - you post your story on Friday - 350 words, give or take.
And here is picture prompt #27:
Beggars Can’t Be Choosers
Choices Made in Haste
By Michelle Greathouse
It had been three months since Charlotte and Hannah arrived at Castle Killymoon and things could not be going better.
Lord Niall, being the sole guardian of his young niece Elizabeth, employed Charlotte as the child’s governess and was even kind enough to make a place for Hannah in the kitchen.
A routine was established and everyone was getting along swimmingly, until he arrived.
One week ago Jonathon Monroe arrived at Castle Killymoon and Lord Niall’s demeanor changed completely. He introduced Mr. Monroe as a distant cousin and dismissed the man to one of the upper floor rooms.
Several nights later Mr. Monroe joined them in the dining room and Charlotte was surprised at the anger Lord Niall displayed towards Mr. Monroe - who, despite his chilly reception, appeared to be enjoying his dinner with gusto.
“Mr. Monroe, where are you from?” Charlotte inquired between small bites of fish stew. Hannah had outdone herself with this evenings meal.
“Lass, I’m from Inverness. You’re familiar with the place?” Mr. Monroe missed the pointed look Lord Niall sent his way - but Charlotte did not.
“Of course I have heard of Inverness, but have not had the pleasure of visiting.”
“We shall have to remedy that at the earliest convenience.” Mr. Monroe smiled charmingly and then laughed aloud as Charlotte blushed.
“We shall retire for the evening. Monroe, follow me to the library.” Lord Niall pushed his chair from the table and strode from the room, not doubting for a moment that Monroe would follow him.
“Sleep well Lass.” Monroe winked and left the table.
Charlotte sat alone at the table and wondered what had caused the animosity Lord Niall felt for Mr. Monroe. And why, if he disliked the man so much, he allowed Monroe to stay in his home.
Mr. Monroe was not an unattractive man. Fair hair and eyes as green as grass. Broad shoulders and straight, even teeth. His appearance was pleasing to the eye - but his demeanor left a lot to be desired. He was too bold, too brash. Not at all like Lord Niall who never appeared ruffled - well, until now.
Charlotte rose from her seat and helped Hannah clear the table. “Hannah, can I help you clean the kitchen?”
Hannah patted Charlotte on the arm, “No lass. I’ve got the young lassies cleaning. Go on to bed. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Charlotte made her way up the stairs and paused to check on Elizabeth who was sleeping soundly. As she closed the door to Elizabeth’s room she was startled to find Lord Niall standing in the shadows.
“Charlotte, you must stay away from Monroe. He is not..a fit companion for one such as you. And while he is here, you are not to leave the Castle on your own or with him- especially at night.”
“Good grief. If the man is dangerous why would you allow him to stay here in the first place. Think of Elizabeth.” Charlotte’s tongue was loosened by anger and her outburst caught Lord Niall off guard.
“Do not presume to question me madam, you are but a guest in my home yourself and you’ll do well to remember that.” Lord Niall left Charlotte standing in the corridor fuming at his arrogance.
Charlotte went to her room and readied for bed - but the more she thought about it, the angrier she became. How dare he dictate to her. She was a woman grown and this was not a prison. If she wanted to befriend Mr. Monroe, she would. If she wanted to go for a walk in the moonlight - well, she’d do that too.
Tonight. Right Now.
Grabbing her wrap and pushing her feet into her slippers Charlotte eased open her door and headed for the stairwell that would take her to the kitchen. No sense in announcing her plans to Lord Niall.
She reached the kitchen without running into anyone and gently lifted the latch on the door, careful to make sure it did not catch behind her - or she would be locked out for the rest of the night.
The moon hung full and round in the sky, so near Charlotte thought she could touch it if she stood on tiptoe. The path from the kitchen to the small dock on the backside of the Castle was well worn and the moon made it easy for Charlotte to avoid any hazards along the way. She climbed down the wooden stairs and stood at the edge of the water, just enjoying the night air.
Suddenly the birds in the trees took flight and Charlotte jumped in surprise. Something had scared them - and in turn, scared Charlotte.
A growl came from her left and Charlotte turned at the sound. She was surprised to see a pair of green eyes looking out from the trees.
Charlotte slowly backed towards the stairs. From her right another growl shot across the rocky expanse of shore and Charlotte watched as a huge wolf stepped out of the trees, blue eyes glowing in the moon light.
A longer growl came from the trees on her left and Charlotte could not believe her eyes when another wolf emerged from the trees.
She was stuck between two huge wolves. She lunged for the stairs just as the two wolves left the trees. Charlotte could see the staircase, could almost feel the wood under her feet - when a wolf hit her on the right side, knocking her to the sand and raking its claws from shoulder to waist.
Her scream was drowned out by the sound of the wolves fighting and the rushing of the blood in her ears.
Everything dimmed and then went black.
Word Count: 985
Okay, I went way over in my word count - hope you will forgive me. :)
Have a great weekend.