I have worked for Lady Cora for ten years, but today I saw something dark. The lady is into mischief and witchcraft. It was not surprising to me to find parts of animals and vials of blood in her chambers. However, when I went to change the sheets today I almost slipped on the crimson liquid. The floor looked as if it had been mopped with the stuff. Confused, I called out for Lady Cora to be sure of her well-being. There was no answer.
Proceeding forward, I stripped the empty bed. The sheets were dry and white despite the surrounding mess. Keeping the dirty sheets tucked under my arm, I put on the new ones. Then I grabbed the knife from the bedside drawer (she kept it there for ritual purposes) and went into the bathroom to reassure myself. The blood trails continued into the stone bathroom, where the mirror was cracked and the wooden tub appeared full. The beads around the knife blade rubbed against my hand, increasing my anxiety.
I had to get closer to see inside of the tub. Red water sloshed around in the tub. Something bobbed up and down. Two unfamiliar women lay face down in the water, their bodies split in half.
A voice came from behind me, “I don’t see a bed in here. Why do you have my knife?” Lady Cora grabbed the blade and wrenched it away, slicing her hand in the process.
“I’m so sorry, ma’am. I wanted to make sure you weren’t hurt.” I don’t know how I spoke through the fear building in my throat.
Lady Cora, deep blue eyes flaming, ran her bloody hand over her green silk dress. Her raven black hair was piled perfectly on her head. If she killed these women, then it must’ve been sometime in the night.
Lady Cora put her hand on my shoulder. “Do not touch my things. Now go fetch the gardener. Tell him we’re planting today and to get his shovel out.”
“Yes, ma’am.” I started fast for the door.
“And you remember the most important rule here?”
I stopped just beside the bed, taking comfort in being in a different room. “No question. No gossip.”
Lady Cora’s footsteps came up on me. I’d seen Lady Cora handle caged animals, but I’d never empathized with them until now. She stood where she could reach me if she wanted to. “That’s two rules.”
I held my breath, dread filling my heart. Every muscle twitched, waiting for her to grab me and use the knife. Lady Cora was known for cutting servants with or without reason. The only solace (if it could be called that) was her mercy. She never killed servants.
She laughed a little. “You may go.”
It doesn’t take long for lady’s maids to understand that laughter is not a cause for relief. I left her chambers in utter fear, shaking so hard I almost tripped over the sheets. I thought to ask someone for help. The seamstress may take pity on me, but anyone I tell, I endanger. People don’t take too kindly to that. And running means the dogs or the archers or the knights. So I write and I wait.