“Goodmorning, Ms. Kaspersky. I have been looking forward to meeting you. So you are here for the position of a sales assistant?” asked Cathenne, daughter of the famous Kitticat Girl’s Children Clothing franchise. She continued, “As you see, all is in the style of preschool girls, including what we wear and my office. My grandmother believed that it is best to be the product you sell. Can I offer you a cup of tea while we chat?”
Admiring Lady Cathenne in the high-necked, blouse sleeved, loose flowing, ankle-length, dusty-rose colored chiffon dress with ruffle lace, Mouna replied, “Goodmorning, Lady Cathenne. Yes, I would love a cup of tea, and I think your office is wonderful. Your dress and stockings are just adorable, and I like wearing gloves.”
Just out of the hospital, Mouna had to get away, and selling girls’ clothing in a children’s store far away from the city might end her thoughts and attempts at taking her own life. It was a tremendous struggle to apply for this position and come this morning. Since the incident, she could not get warm enough and not wear enough, and not sleep.
Mouna liked the feel and innocents of the store. All was light and airy in hues of pink, lilac, aqua, and sky blue, all happy children’s colors, and it felt safe. There was everything from dresses, rompers, diapers, prams, cots, pajamas, overalls; everything and almost anything for a newborn to preschooler. In the background, almost imperceptible feel-good music added to the atmosphere. If only she could land this job for a while, perhaps she would have a will to live. It was so difficult reliving the nightmares anytime she slept.
Lady Cathenne returned with the tea. Walking elegantly, her dress flowed cloudlike about her slender body. She made an elegant twist-turn, settling on her knees across a low table, which had her dress settle around her like a falling mist. Mouse could watch Lady Cathenne move around all day.
Placing two delicate cups of tea on the low table, Lady Cathenne suggested, “Give the tea a moment to cool. I hope you like Lady Grey tea. It has a finer taste than Earl Grey, which I like in the mornings. Tell me a bit about yourself, something that you did not have in your CV or application.”
Mouse thought about it then spoke, “W, well, first, please call me Mouse and, well, I did not mention that I was in that bank hostage and shooting incident about a year ago. But aside from that, there is nothing more to me than in my short CV.”
Lady Cathenne sipped the tea, indicating to Mouse that it was drinkable. She tried it, and yes, it was nice, and just at that temperature where you had to sip it. Mouse closed her eyes and sipped the tea enjoying the peace and quiet. But the images and feelings of the incident invaded her mind. Recovering, Mouse had not slept much except during the induced coma in the hospital. No, this was not going to work. She had to apologize to Lady Cathenne and leave quickly.
“Ms. Kaspersky, would you be able to do me a small favor before we make any decisions. I do not expect anyone in the shop this early, and I have to take the weekend income to the bank. Talking about the bank hold-up reminded me that I still have the money unsecured in the store. I should not be too long if you could stay here. Should anyone come in unexpectedly, just tell them I will be back in just over thirty-five minutes? Can you do that?”
Mouse, never really able to say no, not even before the incident, nodded. She felt her anxiety and twitching starting again and just said, “Alright,” so that Lady Cathenne didn’t witness her self-loathing pathetic state.
Lady Cathenne drew on a long padded coat that covered her lovely dress. Mouse focused on that to maintain some semblance of control. Mouse could not wear dresses since the incident and wore only boiler suits and heavy. Gloves preventer her from having to touch anyone or anything with her skin, and usually, she wore a beany under her coat’s hood. Lady Cathenne waved to Mouse and left out the front door.
Mouse stood and was about to run out of the store when, “No, no, no, that will not do, no, no. We can have another pure one hurt by darkness, no, no. Miss, come with me right away, come on, come, come, come, hop hop.” Mouse was about to turn and run out when Whack. She felt a cane hit her well-padded behind.
Startling her no end, not really hurting her, Mouse protested, “Ow, madam, I was about to leave.”
“No, no, no, we can’t have that. Now move along quickly-quickly, up the stairs and into the bedroom. Come along, dear; I only have a limited time available. Up the stairs, miss, up the stairs, quickly, please, quickly.”
Whack, Whack, Whack.
Mouse rushed to comply; the dame in the old style gown with bonnet and gloves indicated a door and gave another wack on Mouna’s coat and boiler suit-covered bottom. It did not hurt, but Mouse did not have the strength to resist. She knew the consequences of resisting and spent a year in hospital paying for them. Rushing up the stairs, the dame encouraged her with more whacks and directed her into a children’s bedroom.
Hardly inside, the elderly dame urged, “Come on, come on, strip down so that we can dress you properly so that you can rest.”
She continued, “Hurry, hurry, my time is short. Aside, you look tired enough to fall over as you stand.”
When Mouse hesitated, the dame whacked her again, urging Mouse to hurry. She complied, removing her coat, beany, boilersuit, tights, jumper, another set of tights, another jumper, and then she stood in her oversized knickers over her incontinence knickers. She leaked when she was stressed like always. With another wack on her legs, the dame pointed her to the bathroom and told her to strip naked and hurry back, quickly, quickly. This time, the Whack on her bared legs stung.
When she returned, the dame prodded her onto the bed and then, like a baby, put her into a soft lavender smelling diaper, then another! As she did, Mouse shivered and wept and felt so helpless. With strength and coordination that belied her frail and small frame, the very elderly dame dressed Mouse into a pair of white latex tights from a chest of draws by the bed. She had Mouse stand up and pulled a latex leotard up and over her hands and head. It was gloved and hooded and covered everything except her face.
The dame stepped Mouse into a pair of fluffy pink tights, then another, and then, she had Mouse step into a soft pink woolen leotard, also with hood, but with mittened hands. Still feeling cold, Mouse suppressed a shiver.
The dame tisked-tisked, “They did a job on you, miss. A month of sleep and care will help, but you need more warmth,” and she dressed Mouse into another layer of soft pink tights and leotard. Mouse felt packed but also started to warm up.
“Chop, chop, girl, into the sleep onesie, quickly. My time is almost over,” demanded the dame handing Mouse a pink onesie pajama with fluffy white clouds, footed and mittened hands, and hood. She quickly dressed into it, as quickly as possible, but with her hands in latex-gloved covered by two layers of woolen mittens, she could not zip it closed. Almost briskly and hurridly, the dame zipped Mouna closed and told her to lay on the bed. Resigned, Mouse complied.
The dame positioned Mouna’s hands beside her, then wrapped first the one side of the doon around Mouse, tucking it under her than the other, cocooning Mouse. Then, as if this incapacitation was not enough, the dame removed three-wide belts from the chest of draws and put them around the doona, around Mouse’s legs, waist and chest, tightly. Helpless again, like then, Mouse closed her eyes and wept.
The dame smiled, kissed Mouse on the forehead, fluffed the pillows, and spoke, “This is good, very good, you will see. This is a good place, not like the other.” She kissed her on the forehead, asked for Mouse to open wide, and inserted a huge, mouth-filling pacifier into Mouse’s mouth. It hurt, but it all did not matter. In a way, being helpless again, utterly controlled by another, was cathartic. She was afraid but did not feel endangered. Even the woolen hood slipped over her head was okay. At least she would not thrash around when the dreams came.
More in her head than with her ears, Mouse heard the dame reading, “Once, there was an evil king who was so disappointed when his Queen bore him a girl instead of a boy. Livid, he beat and raped his Queen for it almost weakly, but the Queen did not complain. Instead, she focused all her energies on her beautiful, fragile daughter. So, when the Queen became pregnant with a second child, the beatings and rape stopped, and for a period, there was unity.
But then the Queen came back with a second baby girl, and the King went mad with rage. When the King came home after drinking all day and all night and the following day, he beat his Queen and savaged her like not before.
When the eldest daughter, now aged four, tried to protect her mother from the evil King, he grabbed the girl by her hair and threw her across the room. Smashing into the wardrobe mirror, the Princesses body broke, but her spirit and soul continued through into the world of mirrors and reflections.
The Princes, only a young lass of near four, lost her way in the Mirror World made up of reflective surfaces mirroring and remirroring the world outside. Frantic, she sought to find her home, but there was no up or down, left or right, back and forth as she knew, and the Princes became lost in the mirror world. Years and years passed before the Princess learned to navigate the Mirror Universe. She knew how to find people and places. She also learned that she could interact with the outside world, but only for a limited time, under certain circumstances, and only through reflective surfaces...”