Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

The Mark of Cain 3

In Writing on December 11, 2009 at 1:46 am

By:  Ben Pollard

I stood in front of my door gasping, as a fresh wave of loss washed over me, tears rolling unheeded off my chin.  Time passed unchecked, unwanted, in miniscule segments of frivolity, flittering away as I caught my breath.  Slowly, as if afraid of what might be on the other side of the door, I set my hand to the latch and turned the handle.  Nothing.  I shook my head and pulled out my passkey, swiping it, hearing the loud click as the lock opened.  Pushing my way though roughly, I heard,

“Mister Devereux?  Señor, is that you?” said a middle-aged Hispanic woman.  Dark brown hair up in a neat bun, she looked crisp, sharp.

“Eh?  Yeah, it’s me.  Who are you?”

“Housekeeping!”  Her stark white uniform screamed that she was the paragon of industry, and not to be trifled with.

“Alright, should I come back?”

“No, no!  Come in, you must be getting ready for party Señor.”

“What party?  I don’t want to go to any party, I wanna go to bed.”

“Well is up to you señor, but you wanted be reminded so you not late.”

“What?”

“Is what they told me.”

“Who, who told you, why?”

At this, she gave me a strange look.  I could have sworn I read her mind at that moment.  It was not a pleasant feeling, knowing someone thought you were a complete idiot.

“Wait, I’m sorry.  I completely forgot.”

Which could have been true.  My previous state did not lend itself to remembering much of anything, let alone appointments.

“Is ok, your costume is ready on bed Señor.”

“Costume?”

“Sí Señor, for party upstairs.”

“Upstairs?”

“Sí, you won’t be too late if you hurry Señor.”

“Late?”  Now I really felt like an imbecile, parroting her accented words for lack of any of my own.

“Señor,” she said slowly, so I might understand: because at this point and I had to agree, that I might just be a little dim-witted, “your Lady is waiting upstairs, in the Ballroom, for you to arrive at the Halloween costume party.  Señor.”

I was so close!  I had opened my mouth and almost proved my stupidity, but instead, I took in a deep breath, and let it out, slowly.  It was at that moment I decided to just play along.  I was also of a mind to hire her services: someone who could keep up this kind of professionalism in the face of my continued lack of comprehension, I simply could not live without, but as she had said, my Lady—whoever she was—was waiting.  I took another deep breath and said,

“Thank you ma’ am.”

Those simple words transformed her plain face into a beautiful glowing smile.  They were not treating her very well here, I supposed.

“You welcome Señor.”

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