Metallic hinges groaned open after having been stationary for many years. Shadows shifted in the unlit entryway. A sharp nose and squinted eye appeared from behind the opening door. There was a pause, a sniff at the wet night air, and then Victoria emerged from her hiding spot.
She tightened the ragged shawl that constituted her disguise around her face. Startled by a procession of four wheeled transport carts making their way around the square, she nearly tumbled backwards in to one of the rose bushes that stood sentry outside the entry way.
Victoria composed herself with a heavy sigh, and began shuffling toward the side gate. When she was half way across the courtyard she had another scare. Just around the corner of the long stone wall came laughter. Victoria turned to see a group of men gathered together, enjoying a cigarette in what remained of the night now that the rain had passed.
Victoria turned to continue on her way, but she had already been spotted. She tried to move at a comfortable pace, not wanting to raise immediate suspicion, but still the heavy clap of boots on the cobblestones continued after her.
“Hello there! What business do you have outside of the palace this evening?”
Victoria clasped the shawl over her face and turned to face her pursuer. She tensed as the man came near. “So sorry Sir, I seem to be going daft in my old age and’ve lost my way.”
“But…” the man paused, eyeing Victoria closely, “Grandmother?”
Victoria sighed and dropped her hand from her face. She kicked at a small rock in front of her, “Bugger.”
“Grandmother! What on earth are you doing?”
“George! Hush now, I wish to avoid unwanted attention!”
“But Grandmother, why are you sneaking about at this time of night?”
“I don’t believe I owe any explanation to you young George, but if it must be known I wish to see Mister Cody once more.”
“The man from the Wild West performance? Whatever for?”
“He wished to give me a private showing of something he referred to as his ‘white sheet rodeo’, I was intrigued.”
“Hold your tongue young George, you are family but do not forget that your future is very much in my hands.”
“Now, it appears that the traffic along the carriage path has diminished, be a dear and latch the gate after I’ve gone, will you?”