The Cardinal's Sin -Jeanne


Across Paris, at a rather more exclusive residence, the same moon ducked behind the next cloud. From the roof, another rope dropped down two floors, and the end pooled on a small balcony, in front of a set of double glass doors. The black suited thief, who had caused Lamotte such difficulty, slid down silently, soft leather gloves over rope. Landing outside the doors, a quick shake of the rope and it fell down beside him. He gathered it up. Taking a quick look round, the door was eased back, and he slipped inside.

The room was simply decorated, and on the small side. Twin beds sat between two wardrobes with, against the short wall beside the doors, a small dressing table. The thief stood still for several seconds allowing his eyes to become accustomed to the light and watched the figure sleeping in one of the beds. Sure they were asleep and turning to the dressing table he bent down. Eyes swept the few items on the table top. Sitting in front of the mirror he sighed. You could just make out the reflection as the thief grabbed the mask from over his head and pulled. As the mask came away blond hair spilled out round her shoulders as the thief turned into a young woman. Seeing herself in the mirror, she smiled and quickly pulled off the rest of the costume.

Once the black over clothes were off, she folded them tightly, put them into a small bag and stood. Round her chest and waist were wound bandaging, giving her the slight figure of a young lad. These she unpinned and unwound until she was naked and very much not, a young lad. The bandages joined everything else in the bag, before she pulled on a white linen nightdress. Bringing the bag with her, and sliding it under her mattress at the end of the bed, she slipped under the covers and pulled the pillow about. She closed her eyes.

“Can we sleep?”

“Marie-Ann, you’re supposed to be asleep.”

“I was. You’re supposed to be in bed.”

‘I... Needed some fresh air?”

“Do you always dress up in that strange way to take a deep breath?”

Silence followed, for a brief spell.

“You can’t speak of this.”

“Really. I just want to sleep.”

Another silence. Then.

“Jeanne, you’re not doing anything dangerous, are you?”

“Of course not. I wouldn’t.”


And silence descended again. Jeanne waited, before long Her sister’s breathing slowed and became deeper. Jeanne too closed her eyes and slept.

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