(My theme is an on-going story, each chapter title being a word starting with the day's letter of the alphabet. The word will either be used in the tale itself, or I'll use some form of its definition. Happy reading and thanks for stopping by! ~Jen)
She could feel it in her gut. The gut that was still mildly burning from gun shot wounds was telling her something was wrong. Imogene had learned to trust her gut, ever since she failed to do so in third grade and that kid got hit by a truck.
The coffee had not treated her well and she'd been lying away in bed for the past two hours listening to the ceiling fan. Now all her nerves were on alert and it wasn't just the caffeine.
Someone was in her apartment.
Thankful her mother had insisted she sleep with a baseball bat next to her bed, Imogene clutched the old wooden thing and eased her way to her bedroom door. Yes, someone was most definitely in her apartment and they were making themselves at home in her kitchen.
Frowning, choking the bat so hard she'd never get a decent swing out of it, Imogene crept into her kitchen, careful to avoid the spot in the center of the living room that would let out a loud groan if stepped upon. She could hear someone clanking dishes around on the counter. And was that the tea kettle beginning to sing?
As she leaned into the kitchen door, what she saw confused her more than it alarmed. A woman, dressed in what appeared to be late Victorian garb, was brewing tea and eating a scone. A blueberry scone. Imogene's favorite.
Imogene did the only thing she could do at a moment like this:
"What are you doing?"
The woman turned around and smiled. She actually had the nerve to smile. She licked the crumbs off her fingers and pushed her glasses up her long yet elegant nose.
"Ah! Good. I don't have to wake you. Hate doing that. So intrusive."
"Intrusive? You're rummaging through my cabinets! What are you doing here? Who are you?" Imogene gripped the bat tighter (if that was possible) and took the best batting stance she could conjure up at 3 am.
"Put that thing down. What are you, a barbarian? Sit. Tea will be ready shortly."
Imogene was too tired, too confused, too annoyed to disobey. She sat, bat in her lap, and watched the strange women make tea and put scones on two plates. The woman brought it all over to the table and sat across from Imogene.
"I've come to warn you that you're in danger."
Imogene just stared.
"Those men will return and they'll come with nastier weapons than firearms."
Her accent was British and the way she talked: it was like something out of a Dickens' novel. Only not as annoying.
Imogene just nodded.
"Drink your tea, dear. It will help to calm the nerves."
Surprisingly, it did. She felt the warmth running through her, all the way to her stomach, right to where the dull burn was. Suddenly it was gone.
"What is this?"
"Tea." The women took a bite of scone. She sat ramrod straight. Imogene thought she could be beautiful if she tried but her hair was tied back a bit too tight, like an old-time school teacher. "Now then." She sat her cup down with a clink. "Do you have the key?"
"Key?" Imogene frowned. "What key."
"Oh dear. It IS as bad as I thought. I told him but no, he wouldn't listen. Never does..." The woman stood up with a swish of skirts. "You need to pack."
"Pack. What? I'm not going anywhere."
"You are unless of course you wish to die." The light from the kitchen gleamed in her glasses. "Again."