The maids came into the room to prepare me for supper. I thought that if I just hung out I’d eventually wake up from whatever this is.
While I slept during the day I had a dream about a pale blue door with golden sunflowers painted all over it. I go to open this door but it’s locked from the other side and I can hear someone crying. I usually have dreams about fire. My dreams have never strayed away from that. I’m always at the center as a child, surrounded by wild flames, but they never touch me. Part of me believes that I survived a fire. That maybe as a child I experienced some sort of traumatic event I attempted to bury deep inside.
After being escorted to the dining room, Jeffery informed me that the Duke wouldn’t be joining me. I guess this is a loveless marriage then. Maybe it’s a political marriage? That’s common in this sort of period.
“Just indulge me once,” I said. “Sit at this table and eat with me.”
“We just can’t change things, the rules, our customs,” said Abigail. She appeared to be upset.
“Then don’t join me,” I say without batting an eyelid.
As Abigail stood flabbergasted, the remaining staff joined me at the table. Cassandra and Pearl appeared to be elated.
“I want everyone to tell me about themselves,” I ordered.
The first to speak was Cassandra. If I could describe her, she’s like a bubble; a head filled with air but it’s so pure you want to keep looking at the translucent sphere and play with it. Cassandra says that she and I are close. Whatever that means? She spoke as if our relationship was something to boast about. She lost me when she started talking about coming from a different galaxy within another parallel universe. Apparently, her and Pearl hail from another place like Earth and came here to reunite with me. And then Jeffrey and Joan have served the Duke the longest. They too hail from the same place as Cassandra and Pearl. Overall, I’ve concluded that everyone here is batshit crazy.
I learned that Abigail is originally from this planet and so is her brother, Thomas. The siblings look alike, Thomas is more like what most would describe as an intimidating tower. Joan appears to be just as old as Jeffery with fading red hair. Despite their age they are both really fit and good looking.
“Should we drop our glamour?” Joan asked while smiling at me.
“Sure,” I reply. Whatever that means. Before my eyes, Joan morphed into a younger woman. Brilliant red hair, gorgeous golden eyes, statuesque, and skin like caramel. Jeffery appeared before me as a young deeply tanned prince. His features were so sharp with golden eyes and long black hair. He looks like an Egyptian god.
“Okay?” I say leaning back into my chair. “So this is what you guys really look like?”
“Of course,” replied Joan.
“And what about you guys?” I ask while looking at Cassandra, Pearl, and Thomas.
“We may just scare the mortals in this room,” Pearl says as she stands.
“We’re your subordinates after all. We were made to do our jobs effectively,” Cassandra chipped in.
“Please, show me,” I smiled.
Pearl backed away from the table. Her skin that was once brown was now the color of the night sky. Her hair grew, wrapping threads around her torso and legs. Limbs emerged from her sides, an extra set of arms. Pearl now had eight eyes matching the color of her skin.
“Holy shit,” I look around the table. This can’t be real, but I can’t deny that this is sort of cool. I can’t deny this feeling of familiarity either.
“Does everyone get taller when they transform?” I laughed. I didn’t even notice Thomas’ discomfort nor did I care. I could smell the fear he emitted. “You’re beautiful, Pearl.” And I meant those words.
“Thank you milady. I Pearl am your sword and gatekeeper of hell.”
“What?” I asked, dumbfounded by her statement.
Everyone at the table gave a worried expression but I quickly changed the subject, pushing Cassandra to also change. I didn’t expect her to go bald as she morphed, but she was just as gorgeous with her round doll-like face. Those large brown eyes were now red. Her skin a dark red and what sat upon her head was a delicate golden wired crown. Cassandra opened her mouth to show sharp teeth with long golden canines.
“I Cassandra am your sword and rule hell in your place as it’s king.”
“How interesting,” I laughed. “You’re so cute.” Both Cassandra and Pearl looked to be pleased. I was sure to compliment Joan and Jeffrey. I’m convinced that Pearl and Cassandra are supposed to look scary but they just look like models who cosplay.
“ I haven’t forgotten about you Thomas,” I looked in his direction.
“I’m not some demonic entity,” Thomas scoffed. “I don’t shapeshift or have some sort of Divine power like you all. I am good with swords. I surpass many.” Thomas looked a little insecure.
“I look forward to seeing you wield a weapon,” I said.
“Can I do anything?” I asked.
They all looked a little baffled by my question. As if the answer should be obvious.
“Well, milady has many abilities but some of them may not be accessible to you,” said Jeffrey.
“Isn’t it more like all of them?” Pearl asked as her eyebrows furrowed.
“At least the major ones,” Joan said with a stern expression.
And there it was, stronger than ever, the scent of vanilla.
“Am I broken or something?” I asked as I looked at everyone. The room fell silent. “So I must be. I was in a coma after all, right?” That sucks but I’m not burdened by not having abilities at the moment. Broken things can be fixed.
“Fragments can always be placed back together,” Said Cassandra.
With the conclusion of dinner I was escorted back to my room by Thomas. I insisted it be him as he seemed wary of me and I can’t say that I am comfortable around him who seems to be skeptical of me. I can tell that I wasn’t what he imagined. He looked at me like I’m supposed to be someone else. It’s like everyone realizes there is something off with me, but they accept this except for Thomas and Abigail. As if I’m in some sort of wrong.
I pause in front of my bedroom door and lock eyes with Thomas. While I sat at the dinner table I realized that though everyone is a servant of this house, everyone has a side. Cassandra and Pearl or obviously bias towards me. They cater more to me and actively seek out conversation. Jeffrey and Joan seem to cater more to the Duke but they don’t mind me. There’s a long relationship between us that I don’t understand. However, the strange ones are Thomas and Abigail. They don’t blend in at all and I want to know why.
“Thomas, you and your sister don’t seem to like me,” I pause. “For some reason everyone else makes sense but you guys are kind of odd.”
He looks at me with hesitation in his eyes and then looks away. His smell is constantly changing but what lingers the most is the smell of oranges. Something has piqued his interest.
“That’s because my sister and I are mortals living amongst demons, angels, and actual gods,” He was serious.
“Isn’t that just magic?” I asked.
“That is beyond magic!”
“Ah, well, I don’t really understand what’s going on,” I admit. “I’m just enjoying the ride.”
“Milady, I don’t understand what is happening or what you’re becoming but I am concerned.”
“What am I becoming?” I approached him, invading his personal space. He still smells excited and curious.
“I guess a god. You clearly were not paying attention.”
“I was paying attention. I just don’t believe that this is real.”
“But it is,” he blushed as he began backing away from me.
“Is that so? Then can you explain what’s going on?”
“That is not my place and even if I tried to, I am bound by magic. Only the Duke may tell you.”
“And I thought you were the weakest link?” I laughed.
Thomas became offended.
“You just seem like you can’t keep secrets,” I clarified.
“Your right. I could never keep secrets from milady, but I don’t even know if you're the woman I serve anymore.”
“What does that mean?” I paused. “Everyone here says something weird and backs away from explaining. As cools as magic or gods may be, I want to go back to where things make sense.”
Thomas stiffened and he became worried, his eyebrows furrowed, he looked perplexed. He opened his mouth only to think better of it and let out a sigh.
“This whole time I thought he was being unfair just to her,” he winced a little and covered his mouth.
“What’s wrong?” I pulled at his hands to see. Blood is dripping from his mouth. Not only could I smell the emotions that emitted off of others but blood has its own smell too. The scent of blood is telling of someone’s character. Thomas is pure, younger than I thought, gets jealous often, and is always curious.
Even though he pretended to be upset and dismissed the others except his sister, he was fascinated by them. There was a longing there that he continues to hide. I may have misunderstood him.
“This is the work of the Duke’s magic. Everyone wants to tell you everything. I want to tell you what I know. Honestly, too much was already said during dinner.”
“So you’ll bite your tongue off if you tell me too much?”
Thomas explained that saying too much could do some damage mentally. And I was supposed to be eased into the world of magic and gods. He was surprised that I handled this so well and I reiterated that I believe this to be some sort of dream. Thomas laughed and wished me a good night.