By Rowan Clark

Shattered Glass

 

It was strange being cold despite the fire, flickering like a dying candle. The iceman sat as his desk, looking out through the frost-coated glass window. He was writing a letter, pressing his quill firmly, as if he was engraving his sins into his flesh. The man I worked for was heartless.

If ever a colleague or a distant family member wrote to him about his or her morrow, he would simply ignore their feelings. Rarely he writes his family or colleagues back, but whenever he did, he would criticize his or her feelings. Never in his letters would one find any reference of his personal life. He was a locked chest with nay key to open. Surprisingly, he can be awfully forthright, but only when his son made trouble. When he usually talks, it is so quiet; it could pass as a whisper. He is as dark as the shadows playing on his weary face; his eyes deep and bruised with fatigue.

His woman–sorry, Milady–is colder than winter wind. Strong as granite, and is stubborn as pulling teeth. She is prim, prissy, and prude like any other woman I meet. Shockingly, she hardly has a voice of opinion. My Master is weak, but he is strong and violent.

She lies in her bed now, propped up on three feather pillows; her back was straighter than the surface of the dining table. She was knitting a quilt of red and auburn colors. Her hobby seemed to be the only thing occupying her from her day-to-day worries.

What worries? I do a majority of their house chores, I run the errands, and I raise her children!

I watched as her needle stroke hard through the fabric. I can only think that she is imagining the needle a knife and the cloth the skin of her husband.

The wind howled as if someone blew into an empty jug. The trees creaked and cracked succumbing to the force of the wind. The house squealed, fighting with all of its power to stay whole. Nay matter where we would live, east, west, south, north, I would always feel cold around them.

The room itself felt eerie haunted by the gloomy, sinful eyes in every ancestral portrait that hung on the walls. What was it about white with these people? All they ever wore was white, all of the rooms guests come in are white, the mansion is white, and their skin is ghostly white. Even the glass china on the mantle is white, with hardly any colorful patterns decorated on them. Art they trying to resemble some angelic appearance? Art they using this pure color to cover the sins I must bear to witness? They make me wear black! Black is a dark color, wherefore must I wear Lucifer’s color if I have done less wrong than they?

The youngest son of my Master whined like an annoying babe as I cleansed his wounded hand with red wine. The boy only said nay to his father, and for that his hand was lashed. The boy should have obeyed his father. It does not matter how cruel and icy his parents art; they would not hurt him if he just simply followed the good word of the Lord to honor thy mother and father. All the boy wants is attention; I can see the yearning for love in his eager eyes. He never gets it however; in fact his parents never so much has muttered the words ‘I love you’.

I let the blood and alcohol stained cloth soak in a bowl of crystal clear cold water. With a new cloth, I soaked it in another bowl of warm water, and then gently patted the tear-stained face of the boy. I then folded the cloth into a rectangle and rested it on the nape of his neck. I brushed his damp hair back and quirked my lips. The enervate of his body could not give him the willingness the make expression towards me.

“Off to bed now boy,” said the father sternly. Without hesitation, the boy gloomily went off. Just as the boy left, I began to collect the supplies I used.

“Leave Samantha,” ordered Milady.

What do you think I was doing, is what I wanted to say? Instead, I kept my mouth shut; I made a quick curtsy and departed with haste. Once in the kitchen, after climbing down the squeaking stairs, I began to scrub at the bloodstained cloth in the laundry tub I had set aside while attending to my young Master. I scrubbed slowly and gently.

How can that woman keep her back so straight? She must be wearing her corset to bed. I slouch my back when I get the chance because my back aches everyday with fatigue, but when I see my Master I have to keep my back straight or I get a licking. I must be presentable. That must be why Milady keeps her back so straight.

I abruptly stopped scrubbing. Apparently, I had been scrubbing so hard my fingers had turned red and swollen. I sighed irksome. I rolled my eyes knowing no matter how hard I would scrub these stains would never disappear.

I scoffed and muttered, “Out darn spot. Out I say.” I remember that quote from Macbeth. Blood and red wine stains never go away. Wherefore keep trying? Wherefore not leave it as it is? Wherefore must this spot be as stubborn as my Master and Milady?

CRACK! There was a cry out for God upstairs. More screaming. CRACK! I knew whose blood-curdling screams they belonged to. It may not be until morning then I would be called to mend her wounds and sweep up what is left of the shattered glass.

I clutched my besom. Pain. All I can feel is pain. A deep, knife cutting pain, that gets deeper and sharper as the crying continues. Regret. Regret so heavy, it weighs me towards the floor. It makes me weak in the knees. It makes my blood warm and stomach turn.

…I am no saint…Saints save lives. Saints never back down from doing His work. They would never allow such evil tortures to occur. I am no saint…but I can try. Knowing that I might fail, like failing to get the stains out, I can still try. The eldest sons of the Master…I allowed them to be cruel because I never taught them right from wrong. I raised those boys to be cold! Not this boy. I cannot let my young Master to be like them. As much it is my desire to leave this place, I cannot take the boy and I cannot leave him. I will teach…like the prophets, I will teach this boy the grace of God and make him a better man…he will be a better man.

I laughed joyously. I felt illuminated. Touched by light for the first time emerging from the dark. I felt absolutely weightless standing on my feet. “Praise God, I have resurrected! Amen.”

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