Lennie could no longer contain her agitation.
"Whoever you are," she spat, "I'd appreciate it greatly if you'd show yourself."
She planted herself firmly in the middle of a soaring marble-floored room. The walls were guarded by rows of gilt-framed mirrors set between gessoed pilasters above which a frescoed barrel-arch dripped with rock-crystal chandeliers. Even though the candles were unlit, the chandeliers glittered softly in the misty light which filtered through the slits in the heavy drapes which masked the long windows at the farthest end of the long room--some sort of reception hall or ballroom which Punch had yet to show her.
"Fine--" Lennie snapped. "You've led me here and you've annoyed me. Now, what is it exactly that you wish to prove?"
"Ellen..." The hissing voice repeated.
"I haven't time for games, Miss Blessum." She intoned, waiting for a response. "Don't you think I realize it's you wishing to taunt me. We know of the bizarre secret that you and Jackson share. Just what did you intend to do with our mother's remains?"
"Show yourself!" Lennie demanded.
"Ellen...." The voice whispered.
Lennie looked around the room. Where could the speaker be hiding? No evident recess could be seen. In fact, where could she have been hiding throughout the trek she'd just had through the great house? Of course these stately homes all had hidden passages and...
Lennie squinted as a chill overtook her.
"Miss Blessum?" She called out. "What do you want of me?"
Curling her fingers into the palms of her hands, Lennie began to feel that she should flee.
"You're not Miss Blessum." Lennie shook her head. She took several steps backwards.
As she did, the drapery at the far end of the room opened, flooding the room with an almost blinding light.
Lennie closed her eyes quickly and blinked.
Through her lashes, she saw a woman approaching her. As her eyes adjusted she could see the woman's face--familiar and foreign at once.
It was the face of her mother.
Did you miss Chapters 1-57 of A Recipe for Punch? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 59.