The Three Lives of Lady Bluebeard: Chapter 2



[II]

            For two months I stayed with the elderly woman and her son. The old woman was Lita; her son Iain was a shepherd. The life that their home was peaceful, I enjoyed the quiet life they shared with me. Lita had a spinning wheel, which she taught me to use. With the spinning, she taught me how to knit, sew and mend clothing. Sometimes I would miss weaving. Although I have seen Lita weave with the wool they harvested to make cloaks, I still could not make myself to weave again for I could not help remembering that horrible room located beneath my private room. Just standing at the loom brought back memories of my connections with Bluebeard.
            One day in thanks for their kindness, I finally decided to weave once more. I borrowed Lita’s loom and made a few attempts to make my cloth. At first it was painful for I could not weave as before. Finally, after practicing with wool, I decided to make the best bolts of silk and satin for them so that they would not be in need for winter. I unfurled my wings and plucked my feathers weaving them into the material for this was going to be my masterpiece. I wove every night until dawn. By the time I finished, I made one bolt of the finest silk and another of satin that even Bluebeard would covet. I nervously looked at myself in the mirror that morning and saw that very few of my feathers remained on my wings. I knew that my time was fast approaching.
            I gave Lita and Iain the bolts of cloth, telling them to sell it to the most respected merchants in the city. They did as they were told. While they were away, I wove one last bolt for them before they returned with my feathers. Just as I wove the last of my feathers into the cloth, I heard the door open. They have returned sooner than expected.
            “So that was how you wove those cloths.” Iain said in wonder for I have not told them of my talents.
            I immediately folded my wings and removed the finished bolt from the loom. “Here is the finest linen I could offer. I must now go for I cannot stay here longer.”
            As I packed my things Lita approached me and gave me a tortoise shell comb. “Thank you for all that you have done, my dear.” She then added, “Would you not consider staying here any longer?”
            I shook my head. “I will be expected home,” I told her. The word “home” tasted dry in my mouth.
            “Take care,” Iain said as he helped me onto a horse-drawn cart that would take me back.
            I told the driver where the mansion was. The horse began to pull the cart as I waved good-bye.

            Back at the mansion, I entered the place with a laden heart. As I passed the mirror in the hall I remembered that something was missing. I stopped. Immediately I went back to the mirror to see what it was. I felt the colour drain from my face. I did not have the lacquered comb or the key with me. I panicked. Where did I lose them? I tried to remember. Then it came to me. The last time I had those with me were when I was at the cellar door.
            I dreaded going back to that place, but I knew that if Bluebeard discovered that I did not have those things with me he would surely kill me. Not wishing my fate to be as those women in that cellar, I ran back to that wing. I stopped in front of the tapestry that covered the door. I prayed that the key would be in the keyhole. I reached over, distancing my body away from the door as I moved the tapestry. Thankfully the door was still closed with the key in the lock and the chain hanging from it. Just beneath the door I saw the lacquered comb, its fine long teeth just caught between the door and the floor. I quickly yanked the comb from the floor door and ran away from that room as fast as I could. I ran into our bedchamber and leaned against the door.
After calming myself for a moment, I looked down at my hands. I felt the floor beneath me give away, for in my hand was the broken chain and the comb with a couple teeth missing. I must have broken the teeth when I yanked the comb from under the door and snapped the chain when I ran from the room. I wanted to cry for I knew that my doom was in evitable.
“Oh, Patron, please help me!” I prayed, hoping that his help would arrive soon.
            That night I could not sleep a wink for I paced around our chamber for hours wringing my hands in agony. Though I was able to fix the chain it still had a section of it missing making it noticeably shorter. I wore it under my dress in hope that Bluebeard would not notice. But the greatest damage of all was the broken comb. The first three teeth were noticeably snapped off and were beyond repair. I had no choice, but hid it from my presence for I could not bear to see it.
            I heard the horses bring the carriage bearing their master home. I decided that I would try to buy as much time as I can, hoping that my help would come soon.
            “Where is my lovely wife?” Bluebeard called.
            I swallowed. I checked myself in the mirror before I made my way to see him.
            “Hello there, pet!” he held out his arms to me for an embrace.
            I smiled and embraced him, praying that he would not notice a change in me.
            “Did you miss me?’ he asked.
            “Of course!” I forced myself to say.
            “How did you fare in my absence?”
            “I kept myself busy.” I told him.
            “That is good to hear.” Then I heard the words I dreaded, “I hope you still have that key I put under your custody.”
            I swallowed. “Yes, yes, I do.” I held up the key to for his inspection.
            “Why is the chain shorter?” he asked.
            “Well, I – I accidentally got it caught and I snapped it. You know how long it was. I did repair it.”
            His eyes narrowed and travelled to my hair. “That is a new comb you have there. Where is the one I gave you?”
            I froze. “I – ” I could not speak.
            “Where is my mother’s comb?” he demanded darkly.
            “I have it. It – ”
            “If so, why do you not wear it? Let me see it.”
            I nervously went to the guestroom and lifted the rug, to my hiding place. From there I retrieved the comb and brought it to my husband, handle first.
            Bluebeard grabbed the comb. Seeing its missing teeth, his face filled with fury and hate. He gripped my wrist and held the broken comb to my face.
            “How did this happen?”
            I felt myself shaking once again.
            “How did this happen!” he roared, gripping my shoulders shaking me.
            “Please don’t hurt me!” I begged.
            “So, you have seen that room have you?” He threw the comb on the floor. I tried to wrestle from his grasp, but he was too strong.
            “Help! Somebody help!” I cried out.
            “They can’t hear you! Those servants cannot hear for I have given them leave for the town festival.”
            I bit his hand and broke away from him. I blindly made my way through the mansion, its halls twisting like a maze. I felt the heat coming from his hands as he reached towards me. I saw a door, praying that it was a way out I opened it. Only to my dismay, the door led to the rooftop.
            “Where are you, wife?” I heard him say.
            I ran from one end of the rooftop to the other, over looking the edge, hoping to see if Patron had sent his rescue as promised.
            “You cannot get away.” I turned and saw Bluebeard with a long knife in his hand.
            I ran away from him, trying to keep a distance. But his size and height seemed to overpower me.
            Suddenly something flew into the air and landed on Bluebeard’s head with smack. He turned furiously.
            “Run, Mitsy! Run!” I heard Iain’s voice say.
            I made a dash for the door. The knife landed deeply, waving on the doorframe, narrowly missing my head.
            I grabbed the knife and held it with both hands in front of me.
            “You think you are good with that?” he lunged at me.
            I ran to the edge and threw the knife far out of his reach.
            “You!” I heard him say as his big hands circled my throat. I felt myself lifted up, or was it because I could not breath.
            “Mitsy!” I heard another voice say.
            A horrible cry, then I felt myself fall caught by a pair of strong arms.
            “Mitsy!” I heard Toki’s voice. Dazed, I coughed and saw Toki cradling my head, while Patron stood over Bluebeard with a bloodied rapier. I heard more footsteps and saw Iain with his leather sling followed by some servants who came back to see what had happened to their master and mistress.


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