The Orb above me was crafted from old Persian glass, in the cool morning light it scattered bright shards of light on the cobwebs across my bed sheets. Ever since I was young we were told the glass was red, the colour of fire and blood, to signify the power of Our Saviour. The Elders however, must not have time to lie below and watch the swirling light spill downwards, to see the yellows and oranges and purples and browns, and know it was these which truly gave life to the passionate red. Long tendrils of blood reaching downwards, forever seeping through lifeless veins. I reach out for the small, brass bell beside my bed and shake it. There was something strange about the air today which made it feel different. Crisper, almost lighter; spring was coming. Winter had brought much death and loss to these halls, and I was glad it wold finally be coming to an end. With spring came birth and new beginning. With spring perhaps my father would finally finish his mourning. New beginning.
Soon enough, I heard the light tap on the door. A small woman in the grey garb shuffled in. Her head stooped, her eyes fixed on the plain stone floor as she came in to give me my breakfast tray – how I hated the way these people would walk. Slow and battered, as if barely worthy of being regarded human, too helpless to become anything like the rest of us. Feeble and impotent, seemingly crippled by the world. I vow not say anything to her as she lay my tray next to me, simply a flick of my wrist indicating her to leave. How I also hated this rotten food they forced upon us. This time it was different, the zombie maid paused. She stood stooped, barely a metre away, not moving. I had never looked at her before, never bothered. Her skin was papery brown, like old parchment that had been left in the sun, mottled as though gone to mould. I did not like being this close, it made me feel pungent, she smelt of sour milk and memories of Sundays spent wandering alone through the crypt.
“Be gone, now”. I spoke in the same tone my father spoke to me in. Emotionless and unnerving, I would never go against my father, just as she would never, could never, go against me. She lifted her head slightly, enough for me to see into her grey, icy eyes. Never before had I seen such age in a person, not with the new system, yet I realised this woman had seen thousands of days before my time.
“It’s only in sorrow bad weather masters us. In joy we face the storm and defy it”. She spoke in an exhausted whisper, like memories of autumn wind rustling in the willow leaves. A flow of rage burns through my veins, she is not allowed. I turn my back and face the bare grey wall, not to see her there, hunched over at my bedside. I wanted to scream in rage. She had done the forbidden.
“Do not speak. Be gone”. I said firmly. There again, I heard myself as my father, calm and in control, opposing my entire being as it seemed to spit and burn at the hatred this woman had installed in me. She cannot speak to me. I wanted to scream and lash at her, but my throat empty and my body frozen in shock.The anger inside me felt like hurling my morning breakfast tray right where she had stood. This rotten old maid is unworthy, she is not allowed. NOT allowed. Always, the Elders had told us. No communication from lower dwellers like her to higher class.
“Simply stand them, as we must”. My father would say. I felt like fainting. My fists clenched tight in anger as the rotten old maid silently shuffled away towards the door. Away, away and back to the darkness where she belonged. As she left I felt shattered. She had done the un-thinkable, worthy of death.
Darkness came before my closed, teary eyes; such comfort this view brought. Monochrome, silent. I had said the words. It was only a matter of time now. Trembling with happiness, a wide grin emerged on my damaged face, so many years since joy of this kind had burst forth. Everything has come to an end, sometime, and this day would be the day it came for some. A new, brighter future for us all. I hurried away, as fast as my old legs could take me. Feet barely touching the ground, a new age finally uplifting the borrowed time of old bones.