The pursuit -for the Secret Keeper.

Eve hadn’t been told much at the briefing, but in fact, there wasn’t much to tell. She’d been issued with one gilt-edged invitation card, one standard issue revolver with (check them) 6 silver bullets, and a chitty to hand over at Maison Amande in return for one pink and cream ball gown. Mandy (sole prop. of Maison Amande), adjusted the waist and hem herself, added a cascade of rosebuds and demonstrated the pocket where Eve should keep the revolver hidden – well disguised by the voluminous skirt.

They both rolled their eyes at the sight of Eve’s reflection in the mirror. Bright eyed and innocent – perfect prey.

“Try not to rip it this time”, Mandy advised. “Bring something back within 48 hours and they won’t be able to dock your pay. And hope that next time you get assigned to a century you can run in.”

That was eight hours ago. Now Eve was standing on the terrace, breathing pure night air into her lungs. The ballroom smelled of sweat, perfume and hothouse flowers, and she’d done her best to dance and flirt and make polite conversation. Out here the sky was clear and the moon was rising over the woodland that marked the edge of the formal garden.

She heard a noise and leaned forward to catch a glimpse of a young woman sitting on the ground, struggling to get up. An elegantly dressed man bent over her, to tend to her exposed ankle. The woman whimpered, and Eve heard him reassure her.

“That’s my brave girl. There, how’s that?”

And then she saw him take her hand and lead her towards the woodland. The girl was giggling now, and hardly limping at all.

Eve barely hesitated. She glanced quickly round to make sure she wasn’t observed, then threw herself over the parapet, landing in a soft flower bed. She gathered up her massive skirt, cursing softly as it ripped on a rosebush, and set off in pursuit.

Even that short time had been too long. They were lost in the shadows. She stood still, holding her breath and listening. Then she heard it – a scream of pure terror – and was off at a run, heading towards the woods.

She realised she was too late when she found the body, and cursed more loudly looking at it. Still elegantly dressed, but with his throat ripped open, and a great jagged wound from breastbone to pelvis, the man lay lifeless across the herbaceous border.  And there was no sign of the werewolf – she had got away.

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