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Yearning and Burning
His eyes beat down with the hunger and lust of an emaciated stray dog staring down his precious prey. He'd been sitting there quite some time; licking his lips, wiping his brow with an embroidered handkerchief, taking an occasional drink of his watered down scotch. I begin to squirm under his gaze. Much like a specimen under the burning light of a microscope. He takes so long to determine me that I doze softly for a second in a land without thought. I'm not awoken with the gentle nudge of the elder maid's kind and knotted hand, but by one loud pounding of my master's fist against the hard oak wood of his desk.
'Damn you! You--' He takes a loud slurp of his scotch. 'You are a test sent from God! One of temptation and sin! And I will not submit to this test!' He throws his scotch upon me and it pours down me, making my sleeping gown cling to me tightly. As a frightened child would to their mother.
This makes my master even more excited, which makes him even more angry. He gives a loud cry of rage and takes hold of the back of my neck. He stares deeply and lovingly into my eyes as a lover would do, and for a second I think he's going to kiss me. And for a second he probably thought he would too.
But instead he shoves me toward the door and up the stairs. All the while I struggle for air as the neck of my sleeping gown sinks deeply into the flesh of my neck as if it had fangs.
'Please...' I manage to gasp but still he charges up the stairs, now dragging me behind him.
We come to the door of the attic and instead of immediately thrusting me into the dark room behind that door he turns to me. His gaze is compassionate and apologetic and his fingers twitch with something more deep and yearning than I could imagine. He licks his lips,'I'm sorry about this...' he whispers in a whisper so desperately quiet I can barely hear him, even though the house is silent other than both of our ragged breaths.
He looks down the front of my sleeping gown and I pull it close around my throbbing neck and shiver, pretending to only be cold. But he simply pries my fingers from the thin fabric and holds them, looking down the gown at my naked breasts. I look down the long stretch of stairs below me, trying to imagine myself somewhere else. Back somewhere in my now dead mother's arms.
She's rocking me gently and stroking my hair, kissing my forehead, telling me everything's going to be alright. But that memory is snuffed out by my master's cold hand stroking my neck. Goose bumps speckle my entire body and I choke down sobs, wondering what I did to deserve such a life. A life of uncertainty and fear. A life of physical and mental abuse.
He grips one side of my neck hard and I feel it throb all over again. Then he kisses me, deeply, and I let him. Because somewhere deep down I do love my master. But never in the way he wants me to.
He pulls away from me, wide eyed and gasping, as if I, without warning, attacked him. Then he shoves me into the room and bolts me in.
Darkness envelopes me. Closing around me like the air has suddenly turned to black cotton. I go straight for the table in the corner, knowing this place well. This isn't the first time he's shoved me in here, and it won't be the last. He puts me up here, in this dim attic room, to control his lustful cravings.
It builds up inside of him, I can tell. It starts with him sitting... watching me, then he makes excuses to touch me then the dreaded night comes when he calls me into his study. Then the next thing I know I'm up here. Struggling in the dark for the table in the corner, containing a candlestick in it's holder, matches, and a few poorly aged books.
It's not the dark that startles me, it's the deafening silence, the hours and hours on end, hearing only the wind blow through the cracks in the boards from all around until he comes to get me. The unsettling, mind-numbing, bone achingly unpredictable hours.
I wonder when the day will come when he actually does it. Just takes out all the fantasies, the lust, the rage, the sexual frustration. Just takes it all out on me until I scream. Well, this is one thing I'm certain will happen. Unless I take drastic measures.
The Idea materialized a while back, Shooting in and out of my brain while I do the cleaning in Master's house alone at night. (As you may have guessed, I am the one Master has selected to arrive the earliest, and retire thelastest.) Anyway, the idea was a stubborn one, every time I'd wish it away it'd come back just as fast. Just as strong if not stronger.
I look from the book I'm reading in the candlelight to the window, the moon illuminates big and friendly and I smile at it. It beckons me.
Run away from here Vanessa, It says. You don't have to take this another day. You can be free with me.
But I always reject It's kind and persistent request. Too frightened, for up until now, I was only a dreamer.
But now I look at this same window with different eyes. Before I looked at it with a cocked head and an expression of faint agony. But now I look at this window as the only option.
I take the candlestick and the matches and slip them gently into the pocket of my slightly damp sleeping gown and go for the window. Pausing for a minute to dull the slow but hard beat of my heart. Then I take a deep breath and open the window. The night air slips and burns it's way down my throat and I say one last goodbye to thefamiliar house. Looking back at the room I found to be both a sanctuary and a hell and letting one single tear slip down my cheek before drying it and forgetting this place.
But the most terrifying sound came from behind me when I had one leg carelessly dangling out of the window with one perched upon the wooden floor of the attic, waiting patiently but apprehensively for it's turn. I freeze, right there in mid escape and wait...
It all went very slowly and painlessly, considering I was doing my best with trying not to be there. Like those nights he'd call me into the study.
He shouted things during the beating. Angry things, things you yell at people who have wronged you to make them feel terrible. But I didn't hear any distinct words, yet the nature and tone of his voice burned deep all on it's own. And I knew they were nasty and outrageous things. Things that may have been true only to him. All I know is that when I come to, the first thing I see is the flame...slowly...slowly creeping up the side of his pant leg.
I feel a scream building up my throat, but doesn't burst out to warn him until he is already encased and trapped in a wall of orange and red and other colors that I didn't know fire could make. Our screams, that pierce the air in unison, are, individually, frightening. But together like that, in perfect sync and harmony, is the most terrifying sound ever to pierce my ear drums.
Now that It's over I sit here. Replaying the sickening hallow thud of his body hitting wood and the sickening scents coming from his now charred body.
I shed tears for him briefly, then slip silently into the night when panicked voices slowly crescendo on the first floor.