The Moon Goblet

Prologue

1692…

The smoke and ash ripped apart my parched throat. Blistering pain crept up my body as the fire grew. I looked at the ghostly faces staring at me, and tried to find a sympathetic face, but I saw none. I had never experienced such hate before; so many faces looked at me with venom and fear in their eyes. What did I do to scare them so? As I scanned the many faces, I saw him. We locked eyes and he lowered his and slowly, ever so slowly, turned away. I could feel my last breath coming, and my vision blurred. In my despair, I heard myself screaming at HIM.

"I CURSE YOU! I CURSE YOU FOR ETERNITY, FOR WHAT YOU DID NOT DO FOR ME!"

Then, the darkness took me from the evil world forever....

Chapter 1

1865…

The girl servant arrived at the large mansion late at night, so she could only see the outline of the dark house. The mud splashed upon her skirt as she continued her way through the sludge. She had with an effort, pushed one of the large black gates of the fence that surrounded the perimeter. Her left arm screamed to have a break from the water-logged bag that she carried. As the rain hit harder, the girl tightened the thin shawl around her delicate figure. Although there was the multi-colored stone steps that led to the front door, she heaved herself to the side of the mansion. There, she found the servant's entrance. With a white but labored hand, she slowly pushed the small, round doorbell. Helena nervously smoothed her skirts and patted her black, strewn about hair as she waited apprehensively on the doorstep. After a few moments, the small door opened slightly and an elderly woman looked out suspiciously.

"My name is Helena Andreas and I am the new servant," Helena introduced herself clearly.

"Ah, yes. Well, wipe your feet before coming in," the woman said, warily looking at Helena's pitiful form. "I wasn't expecting you until morning, but since you're here, you might as well come in," the woman closed the door abruptly behind Helena.

Helena blinked, her eyes slowly adjusting to the dark house.

"This house has fifty-four rooms and three floors," the woman continued tartly. "My name is Mrs. Thompson and I am the Housekeeper. This is an old house with valuable antiques, if you break anything, nothing will be happening to your wages cuz you'll be going back to wherever you came from. That is the kitchen, and here is the walk-in ice box," she said, pointing to a large room and a wooden structure next to Helena. Mrs. Thompson gestured Helena to follow her. They walked past the kitchen, and through a gathering room.

"This is the servant's dining room." Mrs. Thompson showed Helena a room that had a round wooden table and chairs. There was a small fireplace on the side. "Since we have no time, and seeing that you came early," Mrs. Thompson gave Helena a sharp look, "I don't have a room set up for you. You will sleep with half of the lot." Mrs. Thompson turned left and led Helena to a wooden door. "Here is your room. Your wage will be 16 pounds annually."

As Helena walked into the room, she was immediately confronted with five wooden beds-- four of which were taken. The empty one was at the back of the room next to a large window. The room was cramped, but livable. The small window next to the empty bed looked across the grounds of the mansion. Except for the individual trunks under the beds, there was no other furniture in the room. Helena walked quietly to the empty bed and took off her shawl. She gave up with the attempted hairstyle and just took out the few strands that were secure. She set her traveling bag next to her bed. As soon as the door closed sharply, and Mrs. Thompson's footsteps became fainter, the four "sleeping" bundles sprang up.

"Hello, my name is Elizabeth," a girl across from Helena's bed whispered.

"My name is Sandra," a girl with brown hair said excitedly. "You are the last one to be hired. I just got here not too long ago."

"You can call me Helena," Helena said smiling.

"If you need anything, just ask us! My name is Jill and this is my sister, Pam," a girl introduced herself and her brown-haired sister.

"I was wondering if there is a place where I can hang my clothes. They are soaked."

"Don't worry. You can hang them there," Sandra said, pointing to a makeshift clothesline. "Your uniform is under your bed."

Jill, who was near the door, whispered loudly, "Shh! Mrs. is coming."

In a flurry, everyone scrambled under their sheets. Helena could hear the tapping of footsteps coming up the stairs, and then they stopped. Helena held her breath; she did not want to be in trouble the first night. Luckily, the footsteps retreated.

"That was close! We better turn in for the night," Elizabeth whispered in the dark. "Goodnight, everyone!"

Everyone said goodnight quietly and then fell asleep. Helena, however, continued to unpack her soaked bag. A brush, a small mirror, and some coins were her belongings. The last object she took from the wet bag was a brown leather case with string wrapped around it. Odd belonging indeed, but it was the most important. Laying the case down on her bed, she stole a glance at the small silver mirror.

I look terrible. Her pale face was whiter than usual and her waist-length hair was in terrible disarray. Her freakish purple eyes glittered even in the dark. Placing the mirror back on the bed, she changed out of her stained dress and into the nightgown that was provided. Hanging the traveling dress on the wire, she tried to wipe the dirt off with her bruised, calloused hands.

Helena looked around the room; she could hear the slight breathing of the other girls. To Helena, this was just another new house that she had to become acquainted with. New people, new rooms to look after, and once she got used to them, she would probably have to leave for the next house.

It was then that she thought she felt movement outside her window. Jumping up from her bed, Helena looked out into the night. She saw two white figures running from the mansion. Both of them looked back, but they were too far away for Helena to see their faces. Helena shrugged and yawned. Snuggling up in the scratchy sheets, she wondered what new adventures she would have during her stay at Greenville Manor.