Her master had laughed, thrown his head back and laughed, when she accidentally called the cook ‘The Blob,’ what Ciila referred to her as in her head. Stupid, stupid! Now she was definitely in for it.
“You cut it up wrong.” His eyes flickered dangerously. “Has she thrown it away yet?”
Cilla quickly shook her head.
“Go and get it. Quick. Cook would have mangled it anyway. Jandarra ceviche,” he scoffed. “She thinks she’s a master chef,” he said to Baikh. Baikh said nothing.
Ciila had already flitted through the door, back to the kitchen. While the cook’s lumpy back was turned, she pilfered a plate and slid the chopped Jandarra on it. When cook turned back to her stove, the plate, the Jandarra, and the girl were already gone.
Ciila returned to Tark Mano, presenting the plate in both hands, her chin low. She couldn’t help it, she winced as he raised his hand, but it was only to pluck a slice of Jandarra from the plate. Mano smirked and watched her as he chewed.
“Hmm. You know. I could use a good hand maid.” Mano plucked another slice from the plate.
Ciila kept her eyes down.
“Are you a good hand maid?”
Ciila shook her head. “No, my master. I d– I don’t know how.” She couldn’t even be a good scullery maid.
Mano cocked his head. “Good then. I will train you, and you will do just as I say. And you will never speak of anything you see or hear in my presence, if you want to keep your tongue in your head.”
Ciila glanced up at him, alarmed. “…y-yes my master.” But she could do that! Stay quiet! She was very good at staying quiet.
And so Ciila found herself as the personal hand maid to Tark Mano. He even gave her a clean dress to wear, with a pretty sash. But there were long slits up the side, all the way to her thighs. It made walking hard sometimes. So when the holo-call came in and she tripped and broke the tray of glasses she was carrying, Tark Mano made her clean it up with her hands. Faster, faster! There was a tiny sliver of glass under her fingernail. It hurt to grasp things, but she had to go faster. The longer she spent, the angrier her master would get.
No! There couldn’t be any blood! Not on the carpet. She stuck her finger in her mouth, continuing to gather glass shards on the tray with her other hand. There was a pretty green glass that was broken. Maybe she could sneak a piece of it under her pillow, to look at later. She carried the tray out of the room and into the kitchen. Cook would box her ears and make her pour more of the sulphurous liquor Tark Mano’s guests were fond of.