The ringtone of the phone wakes me up.
I snap my eyes open and immediately jump to my feet.
Heck, I lay down a moment after my bath and fell asleep right away, this bed really do wonders. And… WOW, I feel like someone first gave me a massage and then filled me with sugar. I have so much energy and will to live that I would feel ready to work even if I had to do it in some ugly mine.
I take the phone in my hand to see who is calling me, but is an alarm from the home application the one emitting the ringtone, warning me that the children have already returned home some time ago.
Oh man! How long have I slept?
I absolutely have to get dressed! With my eyes I quickly look for the pants but… where are they? Did I leave them here…? No, maybe in the bathroom.
I run into the bathroom, but I don’t see them there either. In fact, it looks like I’ve never been here. The tub I used is clean and shiny just like the others and the humidity has completely disappeared … there is no trace of my passage, not even a half a drop of water.
Damn, I’m only wearing my underwear, I can’t let children see me in this state! What happened to my things? And why does this have to happen to me on the very first day of work?
Wait a minute …
I go back to the dormitory and moving towards my closet the latter opens showing me a series of gray suits: t-shirt, elegant jacket, trousers, socks, gloves … everything in here is tailor-made for me.
These must be the suits Hanna told me about.
I get dressed hastily, and once the suit is put on the bottom drawer of the wardrobe opens showing me a gray smartwatch; I don’t need any indications to understand that I have to wear it because by now I understand how this house works.
As soon as I have it on my wrist, the smartwatch vibrates, and looking at it I notice that the house has a job for me to do: it wants me to go to the kitchen and start preparing lunch for the children.
Hell, I’d love to introduce myself before I get to work!
Oh well, I hope they don’t get scared if they see me there.
I leave the dormitory and walk towards the kitchen.
The clothes I’m wearing are weird though … socks, pants and t-shirt are super tight, so much that they seem to stick to my skin, but they don’t bother me, I like the feeling they are leaving on me, and every step I take this feeling increases my desire to get to work.
I feel… charged. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I feel like I can run for hours without stopping, especially with these clothes on. I do not know why … maybe it’s the good smell they have.
I reach the kitchen.
There is no one here.
I really want to go upstairs to see if the kids are in their rooms, but the smartwatch vibrates reminding me of my work.
I move towards the stove, and I notice that there are already the pots and pans I will have to use; next to them there are many ingredients, all fresh and ready to use.
Who prepared this stuff ? The children? Or some other servant?
No, impossible … I should be the only servant in here, mine is the only bed with blankets after all.
A shiver runs through my entire body and I take another look around; the kitchen is totally empty, not even flys are in here, nothing makes noise. It’s all still and silent … so who is the guy that moves things?
My suitcase, my clothes, the pots, the ingredients… who moved all these things? A relative of the children?
The smartwatch vibrates again, so I get to work right away.
The house tells me what to do, it gives me the recipes. This does not bother me, on the contrary the house is very helpful to me. But … there is something wrong. Many ingredients were already out of the pantry and ready to use, but for some of them I am having doubts.
I just used some eggs for example. Touching them I realized that they are very cold, as if they had just come out of the fridge, and thinking about it I don’t remember having seen them before, so… maybe they were in the fridge. And if they were in the fridge, who brought them out? Certainly not me, and I have not even heard the fridge open itself.
It’s so weird … I feel confused.
I finish preparing the first course and place it on the counter behind me, starting to work on the second; the smartwatch vibrates every time I get distracted and always keeps me busy with something to do, so busy that when I finish the second course I turn around and notice that… the first one has disappeared?
Someone took it.
Now I’m starting to get worried. Now I have no more doubts. There is someone in here … someone besides the children.
And speaking of the little ones … where are they? I haven’t seen or heard them yet.
The smartwatch vibrates.
I go back to concentrating on the stove. I finish preparing the second course, and turning to place it on the counter behind me I notice that the first is back… but empty; the dishes are clean however, and the cutlery has not been used.
My heart is beating hard.
Has anyone eaten and then… washed the dishes?
I put the second course on the counter, after which I put the dishes of the first course back in their place and at that point the smartwatch vibrates more intensely.
“Well done! You just gained a twenty-five minute break! You can use them as you want! ” it’s written on the screen, and a 25-minute countdown appears instead of the usual time.
When I look up I notice that the second course has disappeared exactly like the first one.
What is going on? Who’s stealing the dishes right under my nose? Are the children playing some kind of joke on me?
I instinctively move my gaze to the road that leads to the atrium. From there I can reach the stairs leading to the upper floors, where the children are supposed to sleep, but Hanna was clear about it: I can’t go up there.
So what can I do?
Well … I have a 25 minute break, I could use it to find my things. They must be somewhere in the house.
I run towards the servant’s cottage and once inside I inspect it from top to bottom, also looking under the beds and over the wardrobes, but despite this I find neither my suitcase nor my clothes.
When I finally give up, I realize one last thing … perhaps the worst.
My phone has also disappeared.