After that night Madam Sabine had guests every other evening. She also insisted that I cook for her on the nights when she wasn’t entertaining. I didn’t know why at the time, but as the weeks went on the Madam grew weak. Her once lush complexion dulled. Night and day she had me cook for her, and of course, I was bound to lacing her with the serum. As the days progressed I noticed that she also wanted larger and larger servings. She became glutinous as she weakened too, a shuddering lapse from her glorious former self into a waif akin to those I remember from the camp.
One night as the Madam dined alone a violent shiver took her and stayed with her all night. The following morning she did not ask for food, and Peters was absent from sight. I had never accounted for the dangers of prolonged use of the serums. I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I was foolish. After a few days of the her illness starving her, Madam Sabine appeared to recuperate some, but as she lay stricken I knew that I had to move on. Her illness could be written off as incidental, but if I fed her one more time and she were to worsen then my guilt would be all too obvious.
Forged letters from my so-called home begged me to retuned and dispatched me with the very utmost pristine gratitude for the opportunity that the Madam had provided me. I can still remember her face as we parted. She had begun to return to herself, but there in a luxurious reclining chair in her study she was a wretch, her skin grey and the whites of her eyes a horrid shade of yellow. She was so thankful to me and genuine in her sadness that I was leaving. She understood that I would not have left if it were anything but a family matter. And so she waved goodbye, coughing an ugly smile – staining my memory of her.
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey