“The Heart is A Mirror for Sinners” has been finished and sent off. This was a difficult story to write because I’ve been doing so much longer fiction – I had to remember (with much reminding from Lisa) how to write a short, sharp tale. But I got there in the end!
The Heart is a Mirror for Sinners
By Angela Slatter
The crypt of St Bride’s is cold, colder than the air outside, and I welcome it, find it invigorating, for I did not sleep well, nor have I done since my return. Florie, long gone, chose last night to haunt my dreams. Her face and figure – not as I saw them that final occasion – were perfect and pink and plump and whole. We spoke of old times, all the childish play we’d shared, hide’n’seek in the empty rooms and dusty attics of Norwood Hall, the tarts and pies and treats we’d stolen and eaten beneath the great oak in Mathilda’s Wood, not far from the churchyard. We chatted as friends, but when, moved and ecstatic, I reached out to touch her hand, she changed, her beauty gone and ripped, and she appeared to me the way I’d left her.
I’d woken with a start to find my room flooded with daylight and Florie herself pulling back the blue velvet drapes around my bed. I screamed, I admit it, and scrambled away from what I thought to be a phantasm, only to blink and realise it was the little maid, poor Mary, shaking with fright.
‘I brought your breakfast, sir. I’m sorry. I heard you speaking and thought you were awake already, otherwise I’d never have-’
I waved a hand. ‘Not to worry. I dreamed is all. A nightmare.’ I sat up, propped myself against the pillows and shooed her when she tried to help me. The thought of her touch instilled as much strange dread as intense arousal, and the dark voice in my mind threatened to sing. ‘Go, leave me.’