Cordelia Bright and the Headless Orphans Chapter Ten – An Uncomfortable Atmosphere

The Story so far…. Cordelia Bright has agreed to marry the wicked Sir Jasper De Jasper rather than see him close down the St Justus Home, condemning the headless orphans to the workhouse, where they will be fed processed sludge until the end of their days. Sir Jasper has laughed in the face and scorned Sister Odium when she offered herself as a more suitable bride…

In the days that followed Sister Odium was in an even worse mood than usual. She would not even look at Cordelia, let alone speak to her. In fact the only way she acknowledged Cordelia’s presence was by tutting loudly and rolling her eyes at everything the young girl said or did.
Not that Cordelia felt very happy herself. She could hardly believe that she had agreed to marry Sir Jasper. The thought of spending the rest of her life with such a terrible man filled her with dread, but she felt an even greater dread at the idea of the poor little headless orphans being condemned to a miserable existence in the workhouse if she refused to go ahead with the wedding.
Matron Blessed seemed very awkward in Cordelia’s presence. Perhaps she felt guilty that she knew no other way to save the orphans than to allow Sir Jasper to have his evil way with her young charge.
It really seemed to Cordelia that the only true friends she had in the whole world were the headless orphans themselves. The flocked around her at every opportunity, holding her hand, brushing her hair, giving her a re-assuring squeeze, or playing her a gentle tune on a flute stuck into one of their neck top blow holes. Their constant presence gave her the strength to go on and make her preparations for the wedding which was to be held that Saturday.
But one orphan seemed more sullen than the others, spending less time with Cordelia than his little headless chums. Matthew sat in the corner of the room, alone, playing idly with the blowpipe that he had used at the charity concert just a few nights before. It was a bamboo, pipe, about six inches long. It fitted perfectly into his blowhole, and, as he had shown at the concert, he was an excellent marksman with it. However, he had not taken a single shot with it since the wedding was announced. He merely sat tapping it against the small tin in which he kept the little darts which he could fire from it with such remarkable accuracy. “Tap…tap….tap…”
Occasionally he shook the tin so that the darts inside made a rattling noise “chick”.
Tap… Tap… Tap…. Chick! Tap… Tap… Tap…. Chick! Tap… Tap… Tap…. Chick!
It was a solemn little rhythm, and after a while it began to get on the nerves of Sister Odium, who snatched at the stick. “Give it here you headless scamp – you are driving me insane with your incessant rattling and tapping.” But Matthew was too quick for her. He was out of the room in a flash, clutching the precious items to his breast, only to return within an hour and resume his strange rhythm.
No matter how many times, Sister Odium tried to prise the pipe and darts from the boy, he was always too quick for her. And as a result, her mood got steadily worse. The lad kept it up right up until the day of the wedding.

Just how angry is Sister Odium? Will she strike out at Matthew? Will she do something to Cordelia? Will she try and sabotage the wedding? Read tomorrows thrilling episode… Same time, same place!

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