Chapter 4: Count the Stars

Mabelle carried the empty bowl on the silver tray down the flight of steps humming to herself, but immediately took notice of Farrow exiting the kitchen area with two wooden trays holding soup and a wheat bread sandwich each.

“Mr. Ackley, do you need some assistance?” asked Mabelle as she practically flew down the stairs in a graceful manner.

“Ah yes, I need to have this delivered to Curtis and Rylan. They should both be in the stables, but I would hate to take away your meal time.”

“Nonsense,” stated Mabelle taking the trays from Farrow and stated, “I will gladly take on this errand, so you get yourself a meal.”

“But what about your…”

“I am just dandy Mr. Ackley and your soup was quite superb,” stated Mabelle and then left out the door to head toward the stables, but Farrow had to pause to register her words, but when he, his eyes widened realizing that Mabelle had eaten the Madam’s meal.

“She is an outrageous maid…and lived to tell the tale,” stated Farrow with a raised eyebrow and then headed into the kitchen to eat his meal.

Mabelle walked across the front yard until she made a turn to the stables and caught sight of both Curtis and Rylan talking and laughing to one another about a topic she was not aware of.

“Curtis, Mr. Rutherford, I have your supper ready for you.”

Rylan smiled at Mabelle saying his thanks and then grabbed his tray from her, while Mabelle placed Curtis’s tray in front of him gently.

“You must have been starving, Mr. Rutherford.”

“You bet, Miss. Winchester, but not as hungry as Curtis boy. He eats like a pig.”

“RYLAN!” exclaimed Curtis with a light blush. Mabelle giggled and then turned away from the men saying, “I did my part in delivering your meals, so I should return to my duties.”

“Ah come on, Miss. Winchester. Why not stay a while and enjoy the company of the smell of men?”

“You mean the smell of a horse’s waste. I pass dear Mr. Rutherford,” stated Mabelle with a smirk, but then glanced at Curtis saying, “But I do not mind the smell of roses, so if you would like to dine together then make it in the garden in the future.” Mabelle gave a wink and then left.

When she was out of sight, Rylan chuckled and then glanced at his blushing friend saying, “She is quite the dame. She obviously took a fancy to you, so make it work boy.”

“Rylan, please don’t speak such nonsense.”

Curtis lowered his friend as his friend, Rylan, tried to “cheer” him on.

Mabelle returned into the mansion and just as she said, she grabbed a duster and continued her cleaning of the large mansion. The moment she began to clean a vase, she heard the door to the dining hall open and glanced back making the vase wobble and nearly fall to the ground. Without looking at the falling vase, she caught it with her foot, balancing the vase, and then kicked it up grabbing it with her free hand and placing it back on the table like it was never moved and then bowed in greeting toward Frederick, who walked pass her.

“Are you going to retire to your quarters, Master?” asked Mabelle. Frederick nodded and stated, “Please inform the others that I am not to be disturbed for the night.”

“As you wish, Master,” stated Mabelle with a curtsy, but faced her master when he suddenly asked, “My wife didn’t harm you did she?”

“Not at all. She does have a temper, but this maid can handle her.”

Frederick raised an eyebrow at Mabelle’s self-confident tone, but then shook his head and stated, “I hope you find your time here restful, but also please support my wife.”

“As you wish, Master.”

Frederick ascended the stairs the rest of the way and out of sight. Mabelle smiled and continued her cleaning until it was finally time to retire to her chambers.

That night, Mabelle changed into her nightgown and then looked at the pistol in her luggage. She lifted it up cocking it to test out that the bullets and the gun were in good shape and then placed it under her pillow.

Mabelle stared at the pillow that now held a gun under it and sighed.

I still can’t get rid of this habit.

Mabelle looked ready to remove the gun from under her pillow, but then shook her head and headed toward the only window of her room. She pushed it open allowing the cool breeze of the night to leak in. She stared up at the night sky and saw that the sky was littered with shining stars that were not yet named. She leaned her elbow on the window sill of the window and then rested her chin on her hand.

So many stars in the sky…they can’t compare to how many lives I have ended just for the money.

One star twinkled brightly than the others and Mabelle reached out toward it pretending to grasp it in her hands.

Does that star belong to you?

Mabelle then noticed that many stars began to twinkle as if calling out to her. Mabelle smiled as she looked up at the stars.

I can’t do anything to bring back the lives that were lost, so maybe…just maybe…I can somehow atone for my sins.

Mabelle shut the window and then laid on her bed to go into slumber, so she can be ready for her maid duties the next day.

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