THE PRELUDE TO ACTION

10 1 0

1929

Clara had not been recalled in years, so the request from the Reverend Mother herself surprised her. Mind you, the fact she was to have a private audience with the Reverend Mother really threw her for a loop.

While Clara walked up the staircase all of her memories came back in a rush. The mischief she had caused as a girl put a smile on her face, one which was sure to make the staff cringe.

There were very few from the staff that Clara recognised. The Great War had severely depleted their numbers. Clara could not recognise any of the students, but that was to be expected. A lot had changed since her time here.

Fortunately, the Tower and its architecture were immutable. Clara guessed that the Tower being tied to a specific point in time prevented change.

An older student saw Clara approach and opened the doors leading to the Reverend Mother's chambers. Clara beamed a smile at this awestruck girl in hopes that it would ease her excitement. Alas, it only made things worse and left her worried that the child was about to suffer a case of the vapours.

Had Clara become a legend over the years? In her mind, there was nothing worse than living up to the ideals of being famous. Then again, it might have been innocuous, nothing more than Clara being fashionably dressed, which reminded the student of some starlette of the silver screen. Appearance did much to set the stage, especially when she was fresh out of the hen coop.

"Reverend Mother," Clara said with a slight flourish and bow. "It is an honour to be in your presence once again."

"Oh stop it," the Reverend Mother said with a chuckle. "You could barely remember to use marks of respect as a student."

"True," Clara said with a smile.

The matron motioned her to take a seat by an oversized fireplace. While a fire crackled happily within, it lacked sufficient size to warm up the room.

The Tower's secrets never ceased to amaze Clara. With a wave of the Reverend Mother's hand, stone blocks slid away to reveal windows and a view of that washed out landscape. Windows? That explained how the Reverend Mother could catch the scent of students exploring the city.

Clara sat down as directed, crossing her silky smooth gams, and pulled out a compact with a mirror. She used the opportunity to powder her nose and fix up her lipstick. It was all for show; Clara sensed that the Reverend Mother needed more time to prepare.

"Thank you for coming in so quickly," Augustine said.

"Anytime," Clara replied.

"How have you been?" Augustine countered.

"As best as one can expect I suppose," Clara said. "I am certainly enjoying these new fashions. So liberating!"

Clara enjoyed the freedom to live her life as she saw fit. She had her own clothes; possessions and lived out of a flat in the city that she used as a base of operations. Independence turned out to be a powerful motivator for her.

"Anyone of interest in your life?" the Reverend Mother asked.

Now that surprised Clara, but she kept it hidden beneath the veneer of cultivated sophistication. She supposed that if her mother were still alive, that particular question would come up nauseatingly often.

"No," Clara said flatly.

There were flings. After all, men did have their uses. For one, they could scratch that itch better than she could by hand. They were also handy for the occasional free meal or when she needed to get into exclusive venues.

The Van Helsing ParadoxRead this story for FREE!