Becoming Sophia (94)

I hurriedly wrapped the shawl that Elsebeth has hidden in the wood beams around my shoulders as large boots trampled down the stairs above me. My neck burned still where the noose had nearly broken it. I had no time to take off the rough hemp. I tucked my bright red locks over the rope and put them under the shawl, holding it closed at my neck. I heard Elsebeth call out, “There she goes! That way!”

The guards fled into the crowd and I slipped from my safety out behind them, crawled around to the back of the gallows. A guard was waiting there for me, leaning casually against the gallows as if hiding criminals was a common practice for him.

“Gerard?” I wondered, praying that this actually was the man I was meant to meet.

“Miss Lennon,” he greeted me. He held up a ratty old shift that could pass as a commoner’s dress and I took it quickly without shame. I turned so that my back was to the man and stripped off my mother’s wedding dress, putting on the grimy clothes I had been supplied.

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