Lady Catherine

Catherine called Katie plugged her ears with headphones and sound, ignoring with frustration the history surrounding her. She didn’t want to be here, nestled in Tudor walls. When her parents had said they were going to England on vacation, she had dreamed of the shopping in London, of partying in the clubs, and maybe even seeing a rugby match. Instead, her parents had declared that the trip would be a good chance to see history. She snorted. History. Yeah, right.
The gallery was a long one, full of paintings and ornately carved wood. It seemed like the sort of place her parents would linger for hours, so Katie picked a spot she hoped was out of the way and waited, idly gazing at a portrait and listening to her music.
The music died suddenly, leaving Kate suspended in a heavy, sorrowing silence. She signed and pulled her headphones off. No point keeping them on if her battery was dead, after all. That was when she heard the footsteps behind her. Turning around, Katie expected to see her mother, maybe her father, maybe even another tourist. She didĀ not expect to be alone.
But a moment later, she wasn’t alone. A young woman burst into the space in frontĀ of her, reaching for Katie almost desperately. She grabbed Katie’s shoulders fiercely, their faces close.
“Please, please you have to help me. I must reach the chapel. I beg you, please.”
Katie tried to pull away and the strange girl’s grip tightened.
“Don’t leave me to their mercy, I beg you. They’ll kill me.” She was crying, tears running down her pale cheeks. “I only need speak with my husband, the king. If I can but speak to him, he’ll understand. He will see my innocence. I’m certain of it. But I must reach the chapel.”
Terror gripped Katie and she labored to breathe. Somehow, she was certain that not all of this fear was her own.
“Who…who are you?”
The young woman rocked back on her heels, surprised.
“I am Lady Catherine Howard.”
For a long moment, the two Catherines merely watched each other and Katie’s hands trembled. It was then that Katie grabbed Catherine’s hand.
“Come on, I’ll take you to the chapel. I guess.”
“Thank you! Oh, thank you. I will never forget your kindness.”
Just as she’d appeared, Catherine Howard was gone again. She didn’t fade, simply vanished. Katie stood there for a moment, trying to catch her breath, to understand what had just happened to her. Footsteps sounded in the hall and she looked up, expecting to see Catherine again.
“Coming, Katie?”
“Uh…yeah, Mom.” Katie paused, looking around curiously. “So…uh… Do you know where the royal chapel is?”