Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Maid

The new maid Inday had been terribly ill, too ill that it kept her completely unable to do anything but lie down the whole day she couldn't even pull herself out of bed. She was throwing up all over the place, spilling out the contents of her guts, her eyes at times bloodshot and at times glassy, her body seemingly threatening to burst into flames because of a horrendous incomprehensible fever. But the thing that disturbed Mabel the most was her vital signs. From years of experience as a former nursing attendant, she has yet to encounter anything like this, that's why it's difficult to explain the events she observed during the last couple of hours.

She would take her pulse and find great trouble detecting anything. And then at last when she did feel the very faint beating, it was like electricity would flow through her, sapping away her energy. And afterwards, a few minutes of not feeling anything would transpire before yet again, a strange sensation comes creeping in. It was weird. Simply weird. Mabel would have liked to continue checking the maid's pulse at regular intervals and then perhaps clean up the mess but she started feeling dizzy herself, her strength beginning to ebb. It was physically draining.

To make matters worse, the phone had just went dead. There was no one to call for help in this bad weather and terrible situation, considering the distance between their new town house where they have just transferred last week, and the nearest occupied unit five blocks away. She didn't like the way the ailing maid looked at this stage, like the blood had been systematically drained from her frail body but at least she had already fallen asleep although she was still breathing heavily and with apparent difficulty. The medicine she administered was hopefully beginning to take effect. Mabel wondered to herself when would Paolo be coming back?

She left the maid's bedside and walked into their bedroom to catch her breath and wait for her husband there. But she fell asleep. A slight drizzle had started again, the wet pavement glistening under the moonlight. The grass on their lawn gathered dew as the hours passed while a stray dog howled at the moon from faraway.

Paolo honked twice the moment he approached the house, and almost immediately, the heavy iron gate parted in the middle revealing against the glare of the headlight, a woman in flimsy sleeping dress, her flowing black hair accentuating the round radiant face that seemed to reflect the glow of the moonlight. Inday greeted him with a wide smile and watched while Paolo backed the car up into the garage.

"Where's your Ate Mabel?", he inquired.

"She fell asleep waiting for you Sir". The maid answered still smiling broadly, as she walked on bouncy legs, humming enthusiastically while heading back to her room upstairs, the exuberant strides almost a bizarre dance. Paolo wanted to ask why she is up this late and how come not a single light was on inside or outside the house but the maid was gone in an instant and he was just too tired to ask.

Mabel couldn't believe her eyes the moment she awakened late in the morning in which she almost instinctively rushed downstairs without bothering to fix herself. The bathroom had already been scrubbed clean, while the clothesline in the backyard strained under the weight of the still dripping laundry, the smell of freshly-cooked breakfast permeated the morning air from the kitchen, while Paolo sat beside the dining table, his attention torn between a late breakfast and the newspaper in his hands. He noticed her presence and gave Mabel a look of concern and a half-smile.

"You overslept, honey, come on now and let's have brunch."

But with a million questions racing through her mind, food was the last thing that mattered for the perplexed young housewife. "How is Inday? She was sick to death last night, what happened to her? And where is she now? Her words came in rapid succession, desperately craving for answers.

"What do you mean sick? That woman's a machine, Belle, working non-stop. I'm exhausted just watching her go at it. I just had to beg her to please stop, to take it easy, my God. She's upstairs now, resting I hope... Looks like we lucked out on this one, Belle... she's worth every single cent we're paying."

Mabel was incredulous. She had been with many sick people at the hospital, she had personally witnessed how some of them would sink so dangerously close to death only to come back from the brink, but never in the miraculous manner her husband was trying to suggest in the case of the maid. The stench of vomit seemed to return as she recalled how it was last night and so with the feeling of dread that swept her in anticipation of a terrible tragedy and almost instantly Mabel felt nauseous. It all seemed surreal now in retrospect, and maybe it is. She must have been dreaming all along last night. Yes, it could not have been anything but a dream, a very bad dream indeed.

That night as they laid together in bed, she felt Paolo put his arms around her and teasingly nipped at her ear, before gently whispering "So, when are you making the big announcement? I've been waiting for you to say it the whole day, the waiting is killing me, Honey".

"What announcement?" she asked, trying to stay awake.

"Oh don't you play innocent with me, you little liar, Inday told me about it at dinner tonight".

"Told you what?", she was visibly agitated now and this time Mabel made no effort to conceal it.

"Hey, wait a minute, Belle, didn't you tell her you were pregnant?"

"What?" she fought the urge to curse. "The hell with that... I don't even know it myself. Me, pregnant? How dare her say that?"

"You mean?"

"Hell, no. And if this is a joke, it isn't funny. She's making up stories, that miserable bitch. She'll have some explaining tomorrow. We'll see about that."

For several hours, and long after her husband had began snoring the night away, Mabel was still seething. It was impossible to sleep with that kind of temper. Finally she decided she can't wait for morning to come. She rose and instinctively reached for the switch only to find to her shock that the light wouldn't turn on, no matter how many times and in which direction she pressed. Slowly, she found her way to the maid's room, the door unexpectedly unlocked. The stench of vomit assaulted her the moment she walked inside, and because of moonlight coming in from the open window, she could see that the bed where Inday had been lying in horrible condition the night before has remained in disarray reeking of vomit. But the maid was nowhere to be found.

Mabel looked outside the window, into the moonlit night and across the street until she noticed the familiar outline of their roof cast against the vacant lot below. On its slope right above the exact spot where she was standing loomed a shadow that was almost unrecognizable, almost imperceptible at first until slowly it rose, revealing the unmistakable figure of a woman, her long hair drifting in the direction of the wind, Mabel could tell that she was stark naked when the shadow stood still, and then the silhouette started moving, leaping and crawling on all fours, then pacing about and walking on seemingly bouncy legs, the exuberant strides almost a bizarre dance. A stray dog howled at the moon from faraway...

6 comments:

Dr. Nicole said...

Wow looks like you are quite the writer here! I like the name of your blog but didn't see too many hyphens in this post!

Online Money Buzz said...

Very interesting. It was like reading a book and a poem in one. Very nice work.

Clarisse Teagen said...

are you saying she's a werewolf?? wow.. nice story :D

timethief said...

Wow! I was absolutely mesmerized by this story. You had me hanging in until the very end and now I want to read more of your stories.

Sahar said...

wow, you have skills. I couldn't stop reading that.

So...just wondering, was she pregnant?

Karissa said...

nice one..gave me goosebumps whaaaa!
Happy 2010! Continue doing what you love..coz ur so good at it!
- KariSsa :)