Thomas and Tribell appeared at the top of the stairs.
"As you wish," Thomas said as he raised a gun and aimed it at her.
The female turned and rushed toward him, her hands shaped into claws.
He fired the gun. The bullet struck her in the chest. She exploded in a cloud of dust. Her dress fell to the floor forming a puddle of rotting cloth.
"See what you've made me do?" he said to Clarice.
He turned to Tribell. "That's what happens when we get too involved with torturing Robert."
* * *
The Indulgent was tossed on turbulent waves. Its masts creaked as the ship rocked back and forth. Waves crashed over the bow and onto the deck walkway outside the cabins. Heavy rain slashed sideways, instantly drenching Clarice as she stepped out onto the deck. She was flung to the railing where she clung on as the ship leaned almost horizontal with the water. When the boat was righted, she wrapped her arms around a column, kicked off her shoes, and laughed with glee as the waves drenched her.
Edward came out the door, stepped onto the deck, and immediately grasped onto a rope attached to the wall as the boat rocked violently on a large wave. “Clarice, you fool, come back inside before you're drowned. We can talk things over.”
"There's nothing to talk over, Edward," she said. "I'm glad its finally out in the open, our marriage is over. I'm in love with someone else."
"You don't mean that," he said.
Clarice stood back from the column and removed her diamond wedding ring. "This is what I think of our marriage," she said as she raised her hand to toss the ring into the sea.
Suddenly the ship lurched to the port side. Clarice dropped the ring. She watched it slide off the deck and into the water just before she lost her footing and went over the railing.
* * *
"That suits you just fine," Tribell said, standing beside Clarice's bed.
Suddenly aware of a voice, Clarice opened her eyes. "I remember now," she said. "I know who I was and what happened to me."
"You may have been better off not remembering that," Tribell said.
"I have to remember, to figure it out. I can't swim, you see, and I was tossed into the ocean. I knew I was drowning. The saltwater filled my lungs." She clutched her throat. "I sank to the bottom. I know I did."
Tribell said, "There's no time for all that now anyway. Your betrothed, the lord of this manor, is waiting."
Clarice sat up and stared in horror at the tattered wedding dress that she had been dressed in.
"My betrothed?" she said. "I've promised myself to someone else, and besides, I'm already married."