Pain wasn’t something she knew well; tolerance was a necessity. Living as a drudge in a delicate shamble of a home, Mara had lost all sense of touch and sympathy. Each morning she would wake to the sounds of the city clamoring for cleanliness. She would force herself to emerge from beneath the sheets and complete her tasks. Over time, she no longer felt the need to convince her mind to do the menial.
“Clean it better, or don’t bother returning tomorrow,” Phillip would scorn. He was a shorter man with clean hair and bright eyes; she couldn’t bring herself to stare into those globes anymore. She would nod and scrub harder. He would leave her, then return to criticize again later.
Months became years and the poor girl kept working, kept cleaning the things people wouldn’t speak of. Her nails were black and brittle, her hair a mess in a knotted tie. She never dressed well, and the scent of her skin was quite callous. Before long, her face sunk inward and her eyes grew dark.
“Clean it better,” Phillip forced with his hands on his hips as he gawked over her. “Or don’t—”
“What?” she said with a clarity he had not heard before. Her voice was soft and unused. “Will you tell me to stay home?” she pressed with a cocked head. “Will you fire me?”
Phillip, staring to her with big eyes, found her seriousness highly frightening. Mara’s eyes turned completely black and her lips curled into a wild grin. She stood, with the brush in her hand, and approached the man as he coiled into himself. The bristles, thick and rough, went straight into his throat, blocking his air completely. Not to mention the sludge on the tip.
Mara, tearing her apron off, walked out the door as her eyes brightened.