How it all Began
How it all Began
Sophia was a maid in the household of a count. Her parents had died many years before, leaving her with no home, no family, and no future. Before anything else could be done, the count took the orphaned, frightened child into his home. He brought tutors to teach her and educate her. When she was older, he gave her a job as a maid.
Sophia was very obedient which made her a good maid. She did not seem to mind the endless work in the count’s household. She had found friends among the other maids and was able to talk with them when she wanted to, but she felt very alone at night when the other maids when home to their mothers and their fathers and their husbands and their sons and daughters leaving her by herself in her little bedroom.
Her only friend, besides the other maids, was the count. The count had become very fond of Sophia. He had begun to think of her as a daughter. He thought highly of her and whenever guests came, he took the liberty of introducing her to them. However, lately there hadn’t been as many guests. A few came now and then, but always seemed to be in a rush. Soon, they stopped coming all together. One night she found out why.
The last of the maids was heading for home.
“Good night Sophia,” she said. “Get a good night’s sleep and I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Good night Evelyn,” Sophia replied.
Evelyn was in her mid thirties. She was slender and trim with straight blonde hair and stunning hazel eyes. A few freckles dotted her nose.
“Give my sympathies to the countess will you dear?” Evelyn pulled on her coat.
“Why,” question Sophia. “Is something wrong?”
“Haven’t you heard darling? The count is awfully ill. I thought you of all people would have heard. I mean, you are the count’s favorite.”
“The count’s favorite? Me? Oh, no, no, I’m not his favorite, it’s just that he—“
“He took you in after your parents died, raised you, taught you, and gave you work. Yes, yes, we’ve all heard the story deary. And now, if you’ll excuse me, if I stay any longer, Harold will worry. Ta, ta!” Evelyn walked out the giant French doors and vanished into the dark night.
Sophia had always thought of Evelyn as too elegant and sophisticated to be a mere maid. She carried the countenance of a duchess.
Sophia continued to bed, but not before giving Evelyn’s sympathies to the countess.
What happened the next day or the day after that, or the day after that isn’t important. What is important is what happened the following week, which brings us to the events of this evening.
Sophia had been asleep until the sound of footsteps and voices down the hall from her room woke her.
“Thank you for coming at such a late hour doctor,” came the voice of the countess. “My husband’s condition has only grown worse since you last visit and I felt in necessary for you to examine him.”
“No trouble at all milady,” answered a voice Sophia assumed to be the doctor. “You made a wise decision calling for me.”
Sophia swung her feet out of bed and onto the wooden floor before she listened to anymore of the conversation. Her door was already opened a crack, but she opened it more anyway. Peering though the doorway, she could finally see the doctor.
He was a short man with long lanky limbs. The dim candle light shone against his short black hair. His bag hung loosely from his left hand. His back was turned to the servant girl so Sophia couldn’t see his face.
Sophia crept out of her room and followed the two as the countess led the doctor down the hall to the count’s chambers. As he turned to address the countess, the doctor caught sight of Sophia out of the corner of his eye.
“Well hello there little one,” he said turning to Sophia. She could now see his soft rounded and clean shaven face. He then turned to the countess. “Your daughter I assume.”
“Heavens no,” replied the countess. “She’s just a little orphaned servant girl,” she turned to Sophia. “Who shouldn’t be out of bed.” She growled.
“I just wanted to know what was wrong,” Sophia said innocently.
“Nothing is wrong, now go back to bed.” The countess said stiffly. The last words were almost sneers. She and the doctor entered the count’s chambers and shut the door behind them.
Sophia waited and waited. No words reached her ears, not even a hint of a voice. The clock chimed one, still no sign from within. She waited more. The only way she could pass the time without worrying too much was by playing with the fringe on the cuff of her white nightgown.
Another half an hour passed and the fringe was not worth playing with anymore. The hallway remained silent aside from the constant ticking of the clock. Sophia turned to the chamber door. It remained closed. She curled and uncurled her bare toes nervously and waited some more.
As the clock struck two, the doctor finally reemerged. Sophia approached him.
“Well,” she asked glancing down to look him in the eye. “Is the count going to be alright?”
“The count,” he replied gravely. “Is dead.”