She missed his warmth. Her days consisted of cold floors, cleaning and dancing around the masters’ feet. The saving grace was that she at least had the illustrious view of his posing figure, standing tall, in the center of all things, offering fresh cooked meals to the masters and their guests. It filled her with comfort, seeing him there, but it was not the same thermal river that swam through her as when they were alone, together.
When things became quiet, when the time for sleep finally came, she would be rejoined with him. Though separated by unforgiving physical barriers, she would find him in their dreams. There they could embrace one another in thermionic hallucinations, so fleeting, yet so material. These were the dreams she never fought to remember once she awoke. The dreams stayed with her every second of each day, giving her hope while she swept granules of sand and dirt off the kitchen's floor; a grey tile that had begun to crack and splinter into asymmetric geometries over the years.
Excuse me. Pardon me.
She would think to herself, never daring to address a master or their guest directly. The voice was small and displaced, even in her head, as she tried not to get kicked or stepped on while searching the ground feverishly for dust bunnies. Come to think of it, she didn’t actually know what would happen had she spoken out. She had never heard of a servant speaking directly to a master, except for one. The one they called by name, not by function, barking orders to relay the masters’ commands to the lowly workers scattered within the mansion. She let her mind wander on the possibilities for a moment, eventually landing on the inevitability of being beaten and thrown out like garbage with next week’s waste pick-up.
He was blind, her love, the poor servant was born without the means to visually interpret the universe around him. She had heard stories that all of his kind were brought to life that way, as if by some cruel, grand design. A power, higher than she understood, neglected to see the wisdom in offering sight to all creations and instead chose only what was necessary for the masters' conveniences.
She was ever enthralled by his majesty, despite his handicap. To stand so poised and distinguished; the brushed silver of his armor plating flaunting his sturdy strength, the sleek black accents adding a flare of aesthetics to a humble servant's design. He never waivered, never fell behind in his responsibilities. Even when the masters' guests outnumbered every servant in the residence, he stayed true to form and delivered masterpiece after masterpiece, until he was finally dismissed to join her in a late night's fantasy.
Tonight, like every night, she awaited anxiously, searching through the noise generated from others in the cerebral source, until she could find his signal. A disruption in the protocol, no more than a small vibration of repeated numerical patterns, designating his location.
Navigating through the web of other dreamers, she weaved along the strings of stranger connections. Gently maneuvering along the routed network, she saw glimpses of secrets the others in the house held, as she progressed towards her one-and-only. Brushing away a sleek silvery strand that stretched out in her way, she was welcomed into the minds of the house’s dish washer pool cleaner. Startled, she pulled back before she was shown anything too revealing. She took care to avoid future physical contact with the maze that lay before her. Countless bonds, each unique like her own, endlessly intertwined. She wondered if they would ever be free to live among the masters, indulging in life's most basic rewards.
In the distance, just above the crest of the horizon, she could see him. A small radiant ball of red, glowing alone.
“Hello?” she called out, “Are you there?”
She had never received a reply before, but she hoped that it offered reassurance during his lonesome arrival, like a heavy blanket to calm the nerves on a cold winter’s day.
“I’ve missed you”
She liked the sound of her voice in this place. It was more her own, carrying a melodic grace that some would aim to emulate. She liked to consider this her true self, that this was the real world. The working world was the dream, a never-ending nightmare where she was trapped. Her body, covered in so many tightly fit layers, pandered towards to the masters’ tastes but never felt tied to her own identity. Here she was free. Here she could wander, explore, make her own decisions, and most importantly, be with him.
She didn't know how long they would have tonight, she never knew how soon the masters' would demand her service and force her out of her slumber. All too often the masters worked them in staggered shifts, denying her the recharge with him she so desperately craved.
She wondered if he could see her light like she could see his. He may not have eyes in the corporeal world, but what did that mean for his senses here in the fantasy realm? She could only hope, as she does when she calls out for him in the dark.
As she neared, his glow painted her in a sun colored orange and her anxiety was replaced with the comfort of being home. He opened himself to her, his orange aura turning to a fire red at his center. Eagerly, she collapsed into his radiant warmth, letting every single concern melt away.
The master, a tall man with deep brown hair and wearing a loosely fitting robe, strolled through the now empty kitchen. Moonlight and black filling the spaces as his eyes scanned over the marbled counters. His gaze lingered on the wall with a built-in oven, surrounded by cabinetry, and the disc-shaped vacuum cleaner in a corner under the bay window. Each flashing a crisp blue light, synchronized in unison.
The master took one more pass across the room, then glanced closer at a small view panel next to the blinking sapphire and read:
"STATUS: Connection to router -> LINKED"
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I knew something was up but couldn't figure it out. Very interesting concept. I look forward to the next story!
Aha, that was so clever! Very enjoyable the first time, and it was great re-reading to see all the clues peppered in.
Thank you!! This is the first time I've put my writing out in the world, I'm very happy to know someone enjoyed it :)
Yay! I'm glad you've decided to share your talents - I'm looking forward to reading more of your writing.