The New Arrival
My mistress’s call jerks me from my sleep. My eyes snap open, taking in my familiar surroundings. The sunny yellow walls and bright wooden floor are a sharp contrast to my much darker mood.
I throw back the warm blankets of my bed and sit up. My bare feet hit the cold wood floor as I get up.
I don’t have time to change from my simple, knee-length white nightgown or to run a brush through my tangled black hair. Over the years I’ve learned that when my mistress says she wants me now, she wanted me five minutes ago.
I open the door and bolt down the hall, my feet hitting the hard wooden floor as I rush to find her. I pass several doors, none of which she lies behind.
“Cassandra!” she shrieks.
Downstairs. She’s decidedly downstairs.
I reach the staircase, but decide I don’t have time to actually use it. I vault over the railing, landing in a crouch. I wince at the pain that shoots up my legs, but keep moving.
I find the tall figure of my mistress at the back door, struggling to drag some poor, fighting soul into this nightmarish house.
Her cold grey eyes spot my disheveled figure standing in the kitchen entryway.
“Damn it, Cassandra. Don’t just stand there! Help me!”
I sigh but move over to the door. I grasp the arm of the unfortunate person, pulling with all the strength my petite figure has to offer. With a final tug, the three of us tumble onto the kitchen floor.
My mistress is rapidly on her feet, slamming and locking the door. She whirls on the young man she has dragged into this hell, the full force of her fury on him. I do not envy the unlucky gentleman.
He scrambles to his feet while I stand gracefully to my own. His pale green eyes dart around the room, searching for an exit.
“Miss Cassandra,” she hisses, her usage of a title letting me know she is truly annoyed, “please go wake Mr. Richard and let him know that I require his assistance.”
“Yes, Miss Venus,” I reply with a bow. I bolt out of there quickly, before Venus’s wrath is turned on me. Richard’s room is not far from my own. It’s up on the second floor and nearer the staircase than the other rooms.
I enter his room and gently shake him awake. He instantly opens his hazel eyes and sighs upon seeing me. “You’re like an angel of doom, you know that? What am I dealing with?”
“Eighteen to nineteen year old boy. It took both Venus and myself to get him into the house and I’m fairly certain he’ll try fighting his way out. Judging from this, I’d say his parents damned him and he didn’t do it himself, but one never knows.”
Richard sighs again and climbs out of bed, moaning a bit. He runs a hand through his graying, once brown hair. “I’m getting too old for this crap. You can go now, Cassie.”
I nod appreciatively and head back into my own room. I change out of my white nightgown and into the bland grey dress that is my work uniform. The sounds of the struggle going on in the kitchen echo up the stairs, reaching me even here. I’m clasping the final button on the dress and still haven’t brushed my hair when Venus calls me again. I sigh and rush back to the kitchen in a manner similar to the earlier one.
“Go! Fetch Miss Emily, tell her she’s playing the role of surgeon,” Venus snaps at me as I stand in the doorway.
“Yes, Miss Venus,” I reply with a curtsy this time. I can see the boy trying to stop Richard from dragging him down to the basement. I worry about Richard, knowing that he’s right. He’s getting too old for this. He’s going to hurt himself one of these days and we all know Venus won’t care. This kid is clearly stronger as well and it would seem Venus has given up on helping Richard with his task.
Emily’s room is beside my own. I enter to wake her only to find her already getting ready. The racket from downstairs has probably awoken the entire household.
“Hello, honey,” she greets with a small smile. Emily should have been a mom. Every time I see her, I can’t help but think it. She just has a very nurturing nature. “What does Venus want with me today?”
She pulls her blonde hair back into a ponytail with a pink ribbon. I can spot a few grey strands in her hair, saddening me. Richard’s older, at forty-two, so it doesn’t bother me much. Em’s only twenty-nine. She shouldn’t have grey hair.