Downton Abbey meets Night of the Living Dead in this gothic tale of secrets, romance, and suspense delicately laced with sly humor.
In the 19th century England, the auspicious Edward Dorchester invites several families for a party to his estate to celebrate his goddaughter’s engagement. But his guests soon realize that protecting their hearts and reputations from scandal are the least of their concern when they’re overrun by a hoard of the undead.
Mr. Edward Dorchester: the disillusioned host, desperate to seize his last chance for happiness,
Miss Sophie Dorchester: his foreign ward, struggling to pass herself off as a Blushing English Rose.
Anne Sommerset: the governess, pining for her employer and seeking to free him from blackmail
Miss Rosemary Helgram: a local beauty raised to marry well is awakening to her true character,
Georgie Bottlesworth: the young gentleman finding great satisfaction in playing the indispensable manservant.
William Poole: the reclusive apothecary, working there under false pretenses, hiding more than one secret.
A scream, high in pitch, erupted out of the twilit grounds of Romero Park, filling the air with a piercing shrillness of the kind to stiffen limbs and turn heads. It most certainly pierced the ears of one Miss Sophie Dorchester, a young woman of barely seventeen, traversing the rough path from the great house of Romero Park to a cluster of mean abodes housing its more humble tenants.
A full harvest moon was rising even as the sun sank behind rolling hills to the east beyond her destination. Discolored as if by sickness, a hint of yellowish green tinged the soft white light.
When the scream ended, she could hear her own breathing.
The horrific sound had set her heart racing as well, whose amplified beats now rang almost as loud as the outcry in the silence that followed. In the resulting surge of fear, she stumbled on a patch of uneven ground in the path ahead, nearly dropping the basket she carried.
A thing dark and heavy rolled off the top of it, escaping a draping cloth covering the basket, which—upon impact with the ground—broke open, displaying glistening guts held previously in check by a tight surrounding skin.
Clutching the rough wicker basket closer to her, Miss Dorchester halted, unwilling to proceed, oblivious to the loss of one of her charges.
The scream had come from a place off to the left, and in that direction she turned, straining eyes and ears vainly in the low light of a sky darkening into night.
It was followed by another outcry, this one louder than the first—less shrill but more protracted. The effect on Sophie was that her hands relaxed involuntarily, such that she did, this time, allow the bulky basket to slip from her grasp.
Even as she backed away, the second cry was echoed by sundry squawks and honks as geese and chickens scattered not far from her in the poultry yard.
Screams, frightened fowl, and running footsteps—as she now heard from the yard—together conspired to overcome the call of duty and she was just of a mind to retreat back to the safety of the thick and reassuring stone walls of her guardian’s family manse, when a figure stepped out onto the path in front of her.
Sophie Dorchester froze.
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