One
The New Arrival

My mistress's call jerks me from my sleep. My eyes snap open, taking in my familiar surroundings. The sunny yellow walls and bright wooden floor are a sharp contrast to my much darker mood.

I throw back the warm blankets of my bed and sit up. My bare feet hit the cold wood floor as I get up.

I don't have time to change from my simple, knee-length white nightgown or to run a brush through my tangled black hair. Over the years I've learned that when my mistress says she wants me now, she wanted me five minutes ago.

I open the door and bolt down the hall, my feet hitting the hard wooden floor as I rush to find her. I pass several doors, none of which she lies behind.

"Cassandra!" she shrieks.

Downstairs. She's decidedly downstairs.

I reach the staircase, but decide I don't have time to actually use it. I vault over the railing, landing in a crouch. I wince at the pain that shoots up my legs, but keep moving.

I find the tall figure of my mistress at the back door, struggling to drag some poor, struggling soul into this nightmarish house.

Her cold gray eyes spot my disheveled figure standing in the kitchen entryway.

"Damn it, Cassandra. Don't just stand there! Help me!"

I sigh but move over to the door. I grasp the arm of the unfortunate person, pulling with all the strength my petite figure has to offer. With a final tug, the three of us tumble onto the kitchen floor.

My mistress is rapidly on her feet, slamming and locking the door. She whirls on the young man she has dragged into this hell, the full force of her furry on him. I do not envy the unlucky gentleman.

He scrambles to his feet while I stand gracefully to my own. His pale green eyes dart around the room, searching for an exit.

"Miss Cassandra," she hisses, her usage of a title letting me know she is truly annoyed, "please go wake Mr. Richard and let him know that I require his assistance."

"Yes, Miss Venus," I reply with a bow. I bolt out of there quickly, before Venus's wrath is turned on me. Richard's room is not far from my own. It's up on the second floor and nearer the staircase than the other rooms.

I enter his room and gently shake him awake. He instantly opens his hazel eyes and sighs upon seeing me. "You're like an angel of doom, you know that? What am I dealing with?"

"Eighteen to nineteen year old boy. It took both Venus and myself to get him into the house and I'm fairly certain he'll try fighting his way out. Judging from this, I'd say his parents damned him and he didn't do it himself, but one never knows."

Richard sighs again and climbs out of bed, moaning a bit. He runs a hand through his graying, once brown hair. "I'm getting too old for this crap. You can go now, Cassie."

I nod appreciatively and head back into my own room. I change out of my white nightgown and into the bland gray dress that is my work uniform. The sounds of the struggle going on in the kitchen echo up the stairs, reaching me even here. I'm clasping the final button on the dress and still haven't brushed my hair when Venus calls me again. I sigh and rush back to the kitchen in a manner similar to the earlier one.

"Go! Fetch Miss Emily, tell her she's playing the role of surgeon," Venus snaps at me as I stand in the doorway.

"Yes, Miss Venus," I reply with a curtsy this time. I can see the boy trying to stop Richard from dragging him down to the basement. I worry about Richard, knowing that he's right. He's getting to old for this. He's going to hurt himself one of these days and we all know Venus won't care. This kid is clearly stronger as well and it would seem Venus has given up on helping Richard with his task.

Emily's room is beside my own. I enter to wake her only to find her already getting ready. The racket from downstairs has probably awoken the entire household.

"Hello, honey," she greets with a small smile. Emily should have been a mom. Every time I see her, I can't help but think it. She just has a very nurturing nature. "What does Venus want with me today?"

She pulls her blonde hair back into a ponytail with a pink ribbon. I can spot a few gray strands in her hair, saddening me. Richard's older, at forty-two, so it doesn't bother me much. Em's only twenty-nine. She shouldn't have gray hair.

"She says you're, 'playing the role of surgeon,' today."

Her hands pause in the middle of tying the ribbon and her face pales.

"What's wrong with who?"

I shrug. "Sorry, Em. I've got no details for you."

She sighs and finishes the knot. "It's alright. I just hope it isn't anything too bad."

"Do you need any help?"

She shakes her head. "No, honey. You can go take care of your normal duties. Venus will holler if we need you."

"Okay then. I'll see you later, Emily."

I go back to my room, finally managing to brush my hair. I'm pulling my long black hair back with a faded green ribbon when an agonized shriek echoes through the house. I shudder at the sound, but don't even bother wondering why it occurred. After all these years of being a slave to a demon, I've learned not to ask. We all have.

I meet my dull, baby blue eyes in the mirror and sigh. Much like Emily's faded brown eyes and Richard's muted hazel ones, my own look haunted. Like I've seen far too many horrible things in my seventeen years of life. Unfortunately, I have. I sigh again and exit the room.

The house is expansive, three stories high and four thousand square feet, plus the basement. I start from the top and begin to work my way down. The house is almost always spotless, thanks to myself and a few others.

I'm moping the sixth room on the third floor when Venus's shouts reach my ears. I drop the mop and bolt like a lapdog to find her. This time I find her in her bedroom, down on the first floor. She sits in front of her vanity, running a comb through luscious brown hair. A thick case file rests in front of her.

She glances up at me with disdain. I hold her gaze briefly before my eyes move over to the file. She tosses it at me with very little warning. I barely manage to catch it without spilling its contents all over the floor.

"The new kid is your charge, Cassandra. Do you understand what this means?"

I nod. "Any trouble he causes is my fault and I will be punished for his actions. Any rules he breaks are my fault with the same result. I am responsible for everything he does."

She nods. "It's also your job to explain everything to him. As this is a rather…unique… instance, you also have to make sure he doesn't die. If he dies, Cassandra, I will be very unhappy with you. I think you understand what this means."

I shudder, having felt her wrath plenty for one lifetime, for all lifetimes. "Yes, Miss Venus."

"Good, child. Now, go keep an eye on him and read that file."

"Yes, Miss Venus." I curtsy again and excuse myself.

Out in the hall, I realize I have no idea where the boy is and go to ask Emily. She's in the kitchen cooking meatball soup, a horrified look in her eyes.

"Em, are you alright?"

She shudders. "Yes, but I never want to do something that horrible again, honey. The next time Venus asks this of me, I want you to bring me a knife. I'd rather kill myself and damn my soul to eternal hell than do that again."

My eyes widen, wondering exactly what Venus had her do. We all know that suicide is pointless. Venus owns our souls. Alive or dead, we can't escape her. The only difference between the two states is that once we're dead we can no longer do Venus's bidding.

"Did you need something, Cassie?"

"Do you know where the new guys is?"

"He's in the room across the hall from mine. Brace yourself though, he's unconscious and in pretty bad shape." She spots the file in my hands and cringes. "Good luck with him as a charge. He's going to cause you endless problems."

I sigh. "I know. He'll break though. We all break eventually…"

She nods in sad agreement.

We exchange brief parting phrases and I go to the room she specified.

He lies in a bed on his stomach, occasionally whimpering in pain like a frightened puppy. His dark, bluish black hair hangs in his face. His back is bloody, seeping through the baggy shirt he has on.

I pull a chair up to the right side of the bed and plop down, cracking open the file. I glance over at the guy's sleeping figure. "Let's see who you are and how you ended up in this living nightmare, shall we?"


I will try to update this story twice a week, but it's not a top priority on my list of stories. Plus, I have to be in the mood. That's about it for my A/N.

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