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Listen to the Sea

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You've always wanted to see this room before, haven't you?

You sit and she pours you a glass of milk. You reach for it, then hesitate. You know what's in there. You know what you're giving up by drinking it.

She stares at you, eyes sharp and still, until you pick up the glass.

You swallow it all in three long gulps. It's cool and it tastes like relief. You don't have to worry anymore. She will take care of everything from now on.

Now that the milk is gone, you pour the tea while she prepares the toast. There's the sound of the knife against the jam jar, and spoons stirring the tea. But when you eat, you eat in silence.

You've always hated raspberry jam, the way the seeds get stuck in your teeth, and how it leaves bitterness on your tongue. You open the sugar bowl at the center of the table, but there's no sugar, only little white candies. You spoon them onto your toast and take a bite. Yes, that's better. The taste is sweet and the seeds seem to melt away.

She primly wipes her mouth with her napkin after each bite or sip. Soon, you find yourself doing the same thing. There was a time when you gazed at your reflection. Once, you were your own mirror image. Now, you are hers.

The tea is gone and your plates are empty. You move for the dishes, to take them to the sink. To clean up after everyone as you always have, but she takes your hand. She pulls you away, leaving the table dirty and covered with crumbs. You leave the room unfinished, but it's not your choice. You gave up your choices long ago. Now, there is only the will of your mistress.

She leads you through a crowd. There is a great feast with an entranced audience. You've never been invited to the table, but you long for it all the same.

She unlocks a door and takes you into a room you've never been before. You thought you knew every room, but there are always secrets behind locked doors.

"You look tired," she says. "Why don't you stay here and rest."

It's a question, but it's not a question. You hadn't felt tired until she said the words, but now you feel your eyelids drooping. You can barely stay on your feet. You remove your jacket and drape it over the back of a chair, careful not to let it wrinkle.

There's a bed. You climb into it and let unconsciousness overtake you. There will be blood in the morning, as there has been blood tonight, but for now, you only want to sleep. You want to let the horrors go, to let them pass over you like the hand of a ghost on your face.

"Listen to the sea," she whispers in your ear. "Listen to the sea."

Yes, you can hear it. You sink within. You drift away.