Saturday, August 15, 2015

The New Maid

Linked with Master Class Monday at EatSleepWrite
I chose the prompt: Maid for Murder

"Here's your room, there's a bathroom room with shower. The bed sheets are fresh and the dresser's been emptied." Janice said while pointing out the specifics.

Carly nodded, the single room apartment was surprisingly roomy. Following Janice up the steep stairs, she'd expected a cramped space. Though the ceiling sloped dramatically on either side, the completely furnished area was arranged for minimal head bumping. 

The long room featured sitting and sleeping space, the bathroom centered on one side. Each area had a large window as well as a skylight. The sleeping area also held a desk pushed against a small door in a knee wall. Puzzled, she asked, "What's that for?"

"Attic access, we don't use it." Janice replied then quickly recited the terms of employment. "Room and board for regular housekeeping. You'll be expected to start your duties at eight. You're shift ends after the evening meal, about six. You are free to do what you wish after that." Janice continued, "We lock up at ten o'clock, if you're not home, you're not getting in until seven next morning."

Carly nodded her understanding.

The first week flew by in a flurry of activity; working, and shopping for necessities. Worn out she was in bed well before the ten o'clock lock up.

Several weeks later she woke to find her bed bathed in light. After a moment of disoriented panic, she realized the full moon was shining through the skylight. 

Mummbling to herself, Carly slid her feet into slippers and shuffled downstairs. Hopefully, Janice was still awake and had something she could use to cover the window. She was disturbed to find the door was locked. 

Irritated, she knocked, "Janice? It's Carly, I need a blind for the skylight." No sound came from the other side. "Janice! Open the door, Janice!" She pounded on the door.

As she considered screaming, she heard footsteps followed by the scrape of a key. Janice opened the door in her nightgown, sleep tousled hair, and an angry frown. 

Carly was confused, "Why is this door locked?"

"It is after ten, I told you, we lock up at ten."

"I didn't know I'd be locked in."

Janice glared at her. "It's the middle of the night. What is so important that it couldn't wait until morning?"

"I need a blind for the skylight, the moon is making it daylight up there." Carly said.

"Moonlight, this is about the moon? Go to bed. We'll discuss this in the morning." Janice waited for Carly to climb the steps.


"I said, in the morning!"

Janice slammed the door. Carly heard the scrape of the key, relocking her exit. She raised a fist, about to pound again. Reconsidering with a sigh of annoyance, she stomped, loudly, back upstairs. 

After several minutes of pacing, she finally returned the bed, rolling to the edge, she turned her back to the moonlight only to find its reflection on the wall. As she lay staring at the offending light a shadow slowly appeared. Carly spun around seeking the skylight. She caught a glimpse of something pass over the upper edge of the window. 

She leapt out of bed, hitting her head on the low cieling. Her thud was echoed by the sound of footsteps from beyond the skylight, crossing the roof and down the other side. After a short silence there was scratching behind the small attic door. 

Carly raced down the steps. Pounding on the door and rattling the knob, she screamed for her employer once again.

She realized Janice wasn't coming. She perched on the bottom step and huddled against the solid wood of the door. 

She heard something dragging across the carpet in the sleeping area. Padded footsteps approached the darkened stairwell.

Refusing to look, she pounded the door, begging for release.

Janice unlocked the door at precisely seven o'clock the next morning. When Carly didn't come down to attend her duties, Janice climbed the stairs. The room was tidy, though the bed was unmade. And a small can containing assorted pens and pencils lay scattered in front of the desk that stood against the attic door.

"Harumph, third one in six months. Afraid of a little work."