You and I, we may look the same
But we are very far apart
There's bullet-holes where my compassion used to be
And there is violence in my heart
Into fire you can send us
From the fire we return
You can label us a consequence
Of how much you have to learn
- Nine Inch Nails "My Violent Heart"
All films that venture onto the cinema screen deals with the subject of death, in one way or another. How we fade into nothingness, how we wade into the lonely lakes of darkness, and how the love we once felt dies out. Usually the climax is people knocking on death’s door, but swiftly (and predictably) getting passed it and moves on. Humans are so fascinated with their own mortality, scared, but at the same time drawn to the morbid of dying.
Katarina could blame the rain for being inside, but truth be told she wouldn’t have gone out even if the sun was shining and she knew it. What use was it when she couldn’t get a job because she hadn’t finished her studies and she couldn’t finish her studies unless she got a job and could pay for it, the cycle was endless like this. It all felt so useless, she had been getting no calls back from the ones she searched, and there were all kinds of shitty ones. She was living on the economical verge at this point, and the society is built up around consumerism and making money, so there wasn’t much else to do. The film on her television screen ended, just like everything else, and she found her gaze toward the window instead. It was rather beautiful when it rained in a way, she kind of felt more at home in a world covered by grey clouds than by a blue sky and sunshine. In front of her television was a glass covered black sofa-table which held her cell phone and some old newspapers she hadn’t gotten rid of. The phone suddenly let out a minor vibration and she stretched forward to get a grip on it. She unlocked the phone and noticed a new text-message from an old acquaintance, by the name of Tatiana. She was a nurse and had been in contact with Katarina several times during her time in foster care. Katarina’s father left her mother before she was even born, and when she was 11 her mother disappeared. It was the most terrible thing ever to happen in her life, being betrayed and forgotten by her own mother who she once loved endlessly. She had been sent back and forth between different foster cares, but mostly she lived at a special care home until she turned 18. She never talked about it, nor did she have a friend who knew about her past. She was soon to turn 24, and it felt like ages ago, even though it really wasn’t. Sometimes she wondered if maybe she just wasn’t able to work like normal people after everything, and that’s why she never found an employment. She tried not to dwell on the matter, but it was indeed difficult. It had shaped her entire being from that point and onward. She read the message.
Are you still in need of a job? I might have found something for you. It’s not something fancy, it’s just a cleaning job, but it has a semi-decent payment and I know you really need it
Katarina felt an immediate relief as soon as she read the words. Tatiana had always been helpful to her, they met at the special care home when she was only 15 and they had stayed in contact from time to time since then and just generally got along very well from the beginning. Katarina liked that she didn’t sugar-coat everything and she actually tried to help people instead of just pretending to do something.
Really? That would be great; I haven’t had any success at all… So where is it? I’m down for anything at this point, the bills are piled up... Thanks for helping Tatiana~
She typed and walked over to the window and looked out over the scenery from the 12th floor. This was the first good news she heard in a long time now.
A few days later in the morning the alarm bell rang at 7am, earlier than it had in ages. This would be the first day of her new job. Katarina’s regular evenings the past months were spent with the laptop in her knee and the television as company in the background, and she continued the trend even the night before this one. Usually she slept until early noon and stayed up until early morning, so it was unusual to be up before the sun had even begun to rise. The late autumn had come and the leaves were losing its colour already just as the days were getting darker.
Katarina begun with a quick shower, before she tried to mask her own hideousness with artificial beauty in make-up, and afterwards she begun twisting her intensely black coloured locks of hair with a curling iron. After staring such a long time into the mirror she just felt immensely ugly and tired of it, she looked at the time and noticed it was about time to go. A nervous feeling suddenly washed over her, it had been so long since she had done any kind of work and she was worried it might go bad.
No, I will not give up so easily.
She fought with her dark thoughts and decided not to give up so easily. She would give her all because Tatiana had gotten her this job, and she would not fail her or herself.
The dark haired woman did not own a car, and the bus station was not far from her flat luckily so she could easily walk down there in a matter of fifteen minutes, where a cab would come and pick her up since it was so remote. She had received some information from Tatiana, she was going to clean in a scientist’s house and it was situated way outside of town. It had to be a big house if she was supposed to only clean in one place, but at least it felt better than cleaning at a big business building where thousands of people would work. Hopefully.
The houses were getting fewer and further in between and the forest was claiming more and more land as they rode forward. It was as time shifted when they turned into a smaller road and a big pointy black fence was seen in the distant as the forest started clearing up. The fence had a sharp and gothic style to it, she couldn’t quite tell how tall it was but it seemed to be at least 2 metres. The road led to a huge gate in the middle of the fence that looked extraordinary high-technical even through its gothic architecture. There was a sharp steel V-engraved in the middle where the gate parted. V as in Victoriano. There were also three separate cogwheels on the gate leading up to three syringe-shaped mechanics that somehow controlled the gate and made it open by turning. It was a fascinating piece of equipment, she wondered how it was built. Katarina had never seen anything like it before, and she didn’t have time to grasp their function as the car started rolling through the now open gate. They continued on the road forward for a few minutes until a house started shaping on top of a hill. The whole plot of land was huge. The car stopped on top of the hill before the house, where there was a big round fountain where the small gravel road went in a circle around it, so you could turn around and go back. Katarina looked up at the mansion trying to make an estimated size guess but she had no idea. It was huge, dark and very Victorian, fitting to the name. It felt as if this was a separate bubble where time had stopped long ago where the rest of the world had moved on. It reminded her of a haunted house that had been neglected, at least on the outside, with its scary windows and worn façade. It was beautiful. There were a few steps that led up to the big double entrance door, and she walked toward it and rang the doorbell. It echoed harshly throughout the building, she could hear it from the outside even. She waited, and heard the wind blow through the rattling bushes on her side, which made for the haunted house feeling even more imminent, like taken from a horror film. As the door finally was opening her heart felt a sharp sting of anticipation, as she was met with the scientist standing there in a white cloth robe. His shining light grey eyes only met hers for a second before he looked away. His gaze was cold and it felt like he stared through her shallow veil covering her soul, if she now had believed in souls. There was nothing scientific about them, and she found them to be made up by people trying to convince themselves they were important and had a purpose. In her mind it was hilarious how people always try and flee the facts of meaninglessness. Wandering through her own mind again she snapped out of it and greeted the man.
“Hello sir” she began and tried not to stare at the bandages on the left side of his face, but questions begun to arise in her mind already. “I’m the new cleaner.”
“I figured” he said, and still avoided looking directly in her eyes, and it made her feel intimidated as if he was already annoyed by her, but then again she didn't really care. She was there to work and not socialise anyway.
He left the door open as he turned around and went back into the house. In a confused state Katarina entered the building and was met with a huge hall. It had two stairs on each side, both covered in a bright red carpet all the way down to the entry level. It was beautiful and filled with different artworks; it almost felt like she had entered a mansion from the 18th century for a while.
“So… where do I...”
“You can find what you need in the cupboard next to the bathroom over there” he interrupted her and nodded towards the left side, where a door was located behind one of the stairs. He didn’t stop however and was ready to keep walking up the stairs again, but on the right side.
“Uhm, sir?” she asked carefully, feeling daunted by looking at his back. He was tall, she thought to herself. He was almost an entire head taller than she was, she felt like a tiny punch bag next to him but that didn't make her falter.
He abruptly stopped and looked back at her, as if waiting for her to continue. She wasn't scared of him, he could tell. It was unusual, most people were intimated by him and admittedly the man liked that, it made people keep their distance. He didn't have time for them anyway. When she didn’t say anything he spurted out a cold sounding, “What?”
“You can't expect to just leave me, I don't know what this place looks like… What do you want me to do first for example?”
Silence fell over them and she didn’t say anything when he didn’t reply immediately, instead she kept her eyes on him so he knew he could not simply ignore her. Well he could ignore her, but then it wasn't her fault if she didn't get anything done.
“Clean everything. I’ll be working so I won’t be in the way.”
He looked at her for yet another second before he turned around and kept walking the path he was supposed to go the first time. Katarina saw the scientist disappear beyond a door on the second floor. There was an eerie feeling in the entire building, and she did not want to impose on the scientist further in case he would get angry, not that she was scared she was mostly trying to be rational with keeping her job. With her bag over her shoulder she ventured into the kitchen and found the way to the cleaning cupboard. Not shaken by the size of the house, she took a deep breath and begun cleaning, she was determined to surprise by her good work.
Ruben did not want to have strangers at his house, but Tatiana had insisted she would get him help with the house since he kept avoiding doing any kind of cleaning on the property and living in such a big space it couldn't simply be neglected. Why would he clean though, he had much bigger things to take care of than a simple house. He was working on something remarkable, something revolutionary. When the cleaner arrived he became short on words. He always knew what to say and what to do, but her dauntless mannerism had really caught him off guard. He would have to be careful so she wouldn't case trouble, then he would have to deal with her whether he wanted to or not.
The sun was turning into one with the horizontal line and the darkness was brought over the city. Katarina found a chair and just fell down on it. She was waiting for her cab to come and take her back home, and was she eager to get home to her bed. Her energy was completely depleted; there was just no end to the rooms in this house. Her entire first day had been filled with hard work but she had only gotten half-way. The scientist had not been seen since this morning, and in one way he kept his word of not being in her way. He was so mysterious, a weird scientist living in a remote scary house like this covered in odd bandages just lit her imagination with horror stories, but she liked horror stories. She was keen on finding something interesting out. Maybe he had a weird collection of dead animals he experimented on, it didn't matter, she was sure to find out. She could relate to the misanthropy of his life-style, as it seemed anyhow, the longing for complete solitude although she would never be able to handle it for an extended period of time without beginning to question what was even real any more. Well, she wasn't sure but she guessed. With the last bits of energy she managed to get up next to the entrance to check if the cab had arrived yet. An approaching light was seen from the car as it drove up in front of the building. As she sat in the car she glanced up toward the second floor of the mansion and felt the presence of a sharp gaze in one of the windows. It was just a feeling, she didn't actually see anybody, just a sense of being watched came upon her. The feeling did however diminish as the car rolled distant to the mansion. First day was complete, it was a huge relief.