The shadowy army Mr Carlyle took from Edna Sharrow were ghostly shells cast off by people during moments of extreme emotion. Knots of terror and fear she’d used to intimidate and frighten and control. So it’s only fair, she thinks, to strip her enemy of his familiars and take from him everything he sheds in his last moments. To make what’s his hers.
She drifts south and east through Clerkenwell towards Smithfield Market. If he’s tracking her, she’ll lose him there, in the echoes of the charnel house it once was. Blindside him.
She’s so occupied with her plans that she doesn’t see the girl until she steps out of the shadow under St John’s Gate, as if from one world to another. Calling to Edna, apologising for sending her away, saying that she should have dealt with her at once.
Edna Sharrow draws on her last reserves, but the girl stands her ground. Black light beats around her, a hearth-heat that withers the laces that bind Edna’s soul, and Edna runs from it in a blind panic towards the sanctuary of the shambles.