GODSPEED is entirely a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Cover Design by Amygdala Design
Copywrite © 2012 by February Grace
All rights reserved.
I was raised in and among the beautiful, well-tended gardens just beyond the city of Fairever, though the residence in which I lived was never mine.
My earliest memories are of spring… of days spent contentedly hiding amidst graceful, gossamer willow branches as they curtsied in the afternoon breeze.
As I grew older, I was often included in activities taking place around me, even to the point of being educated by a proper governess. Not once, however, in all my life, was I allowed to forget or exceed the limits of my station. Never were the consequences of doing so clearer than they became on one particularly freezing Tuesday afternoon, late in my seventeenth winter.
It was on that day, and in a single instant, that life as I’d known it broke into thousands of glimmering pieces, destroyed beyond recognition to the accompanying sound of shattering glass.
My hands shook with such ferocity they slipped from the tray, and the resultant noise proclaimed more clearly than any words that I would pay for my show of weakness.
The slap that followed came as a surprise, but it was no shock. Nastasia Argent glared at me with such disregard — no, a deep, loathsome hatred — that I realized she had wanted to strike me for some time. It was only then she found a reason that would excuse her from the burden of politeness and feigned regard expected of her by society, and imposed upon her as lady of the house.
She shrieked. Fingers barbed by sharpened claws grasped desperately at silk. Finally, she held up the dripping wet skirt of her dress.
The decanter of brandy had bled out its contents after crashing to the ground, spattering them upward across the front of her imported gown, and leaving stains no easier to remove than the lifeblood she seemed to wish she could wring from my shivering form.
“Idiot!” she cried. “Look what you’ve done!”
My heart raced and throbbed so that it seemed to cease any understanding of how to function. I was dizzy, and I wobbled upon unsteady knees. Not here, not now, I thought. Not in front of such important guests…
In that instant, I experienced for the first time what it felt like to die.
My heart stopped just long enough to deprive me of consciousness. The last thing I heard before I fell to the ground was the sound of her shrill voice, as she growled through gritted teeth and twisted my name as a knife in my back.
“You are worthless, Abigail Courage, and you no longer have any place here.”
Slowly, I opened first one, and then a second drooping eyelid. The room faded in and out of focus as my mind tried to connect to some sound, some fragment of an image that it could understand. I barely remembered the moments that led up to such unwelcome sleep, and had no idea how much time had elapsed since I had drifted into it. To me, it seemed merely seconds.
Soon I would learn that it had been more than a day.
A short, round figure of a man hovered over me, and startled me when my mind finally cooperated with hazy senses to complete my return to the present.
“Hello, Miss,” the old man said, craning his neck to look me over. “I didn’t think I would ever see those eyes open again. Such sweet eyes.” He moved closer with great effort, huffing a little. “They’ve always put me in mind of cornflowers.”
I recognized the face and voice as belonging to the Argent family physician, Trevor Andrews. He had been called in on many cold and snowy nights in the past, most often during my childhood, when I thrashed and burned with fever. He always had a kind word and a smile for me, and even though I was nothing more than the butler’s daughter, he never treated me any differently than the children who rightfully called the estate home.
As the years went by, I had learned to read his features, to gather from his expression just how sick I was. As a younger child, this always brought reassurance that the fever would pass, and I would soon be walking again among the flowers in the garden, helping to weed the beds, even as I imagined taking my coloring pigments to paper and recreating each petal, each leaf, each ray of sun shining down from cloudy blue heavens.
|Ewan McGregor||as Quinn Godspeed|
|Dan Stevens||as Schuyler Algernon|
|Zoe Boyle||as Abigail Courage|
|Niall Horan||as Penn|
|Rose Leslie||as Marielle|
|Audra McDonald||as Madame Weatherall|