When she got off the plane, Magi realised that she had entered a special and different world. If during the nine-hour flight she tried to encourage herself, now, in the middle of the crowd, she felt alone, without the support and the safety of the place she got used to for a lifetime. What was waiting for her in this new world, in the new position she had chosen as a nanny? No, nobody obliged her to come here, except that she had to earn money in order to have a better living.
In her native country, after the communism collapsed and its replacement by a kind of ferocious demo-communism, a real rush for getting rich was unbridled, through economic destruction, plunder, and theft legalized by the new leaders, the so-called democrats. In those years, many people left the country to work illegally in the developed countries, otherwise, they would have risked not surviving. Hope for a better life turned into disbelief and despair. After many years of leaving herself to her fate, in a moment of despair that seemed to be extraordinary luck, she accepted to be a nanny for a family in the Land of Promise. She could speak the language, she had a driving license, and a huge desire to get rid of poverty. So, here she was, passing through the crowd, looking for a person who had her name written on a piece of cardboard.
‘I think you are waiting for me. Hello!’
‘Hello, Magi, and welcome. I thought I had lost you.’
‘It took some time until my luggage arrived.’
‘I am Lucy, the mother of the two children you came for.’
Dragging her luggage, Magi managed to get to the car. During the journey, Magi watched her new boss closely. She was around 30 years old. She looked tired but she was like a chatter box, trying to tell Magi some of the secrets of her new job. A hooked nose that arouse suspicion,, two big eyes that looked like they were hypnotising you, and a pretty sensual mouth with a sinister smile that seemed to give you the creeps. Lucy’s brown hair with reddish hues was kept tight around her head, only a few locks of hair fell on her forehead and at the back of her head. With an average height and harmonious body, Lucy seemed like the ideal type of mother and wife. Magi congratulated herself for the choice she had made, confident that finally, she was in the right place at the right time.
Three hours later, they arrived in front of the house but Magi had not realised how the time had passed because she was focused on the future duties that were waiting for her. Because it was evening, all she could see was an isolated house with two floors and a garage. It looked terrifying, bleak, cold, and threatening and the trees around it looked like a shield. It looked like a house out of a fairy tale. They entered directly into the dining room and Lucy invited Magi to go downstairs and see her room with a large smile.
‘We have the basement arranged as a flat. I thought you would feel better and safer here. You have everything you need here, TV, toilet, shower. You can enjoy all the privacy you need. Of course, we have the laundry here and my husband’s small workshop. He is fond of inquisition, medieval prisons and all sorts of devices designed, as he says, for relaxation through suffering. He is a good and understanding man, anyway.’
Magi felt a chill of fear down her spine but as she watched Lucy’s warm and smiling face, she put aside any kind of ill omen.
‘Where are the kids?’
Magi asked her, bewildered by the silence of the house.
‘They spend a lot of time with their grandparents during school time because, you see, our house is far away and I am sure you will find it hard to drive to at the beginning. You will have some time to get used to the house, to us, and the surroundings. Do not worry, you will have plenty to do even if they are not here… I will leave you alone now and when you are ready, come upstairs and meet my husband and see the rest of the house if you are not too tired.’
Finally alone, Magi noticed that the room that was pretty spacious. There was a double bed in the middle with two nightstands on each side and a bed lamp on each. On the opposite side, there was a chest of drawers with many drawers, a cable TV set on it, and beside it a large lumber-room with many pegs and shelves. Everything was simple and functional. She saw the window attached to a kind of ventilation and she felt the air coming from somewhere above where the light was coming through. She was disappointed by this fake window because she thought she could take in the forest at night. The bathroom was a few meters from the room door down a long corridor where two washing machines were placed and a door led to Lucy’s husband’s workshop.
Magi would have liked her bathroom next to her room but she could not have the least pretension. After she had arranged a part of her things in the lumber-room and the drawer, luckily there were not so many things, she thought of taking a shower because she was very tired and had to freshen up a little. The bathroom was small but the shower, the toilet, and the sink did not take too much space, there was space enough to move. What impressed her most was the mirror that took up half of the wall and gave the impression of a window. Everything was bright, the beige tiles with brown spots made one feel fresh and hopeful. However, a strange feeling made her feel awkward about her nudity as if she wanted to draw a curtain over the mirror.
‘God, do not let me feel so suspicious, it is nothing but a mirror and if you do not like your body, do not watch. I took a shower letting myself be caressed by the water stream. I was content at that moment, happy to have taken this step and hopeful that everything was going to be fine. Nothing bad could happen to me.’
Feeling refreshed, Magi put on a pretty large dress, the kind that lets nothing be seen through and hoped to please her future masters.
The stairs led to a corridor behind the house a door opened into the main house. The hall was bright with stairs leading to the two floors and the kitchen was in front. Magi was guided by the noises and she entered a large kitchen, the kind that she had seen only in movies, which connected to a living room that was decorated in good taste and was extremely elegant.
‘I was just cooking something. You must be hungry and tired. My husband has not finished his job yet so it is only the two of us.’
‘I can help you, just tell me what to do.’
‘Today I want to spoil you because you start your job tomorrow but I will be around you till you learn. In one week at the most you will feel at home.’
Because Magi was rather hungry, she ate the piece of dough filled with something that seemed like meat, cheese, and tomato juice cooked in the microwave really fast.
‘We eat something like this but if you want to cook, tell me to buy what you like.’
‘Thanks, but it is not worth cooking for one person, so I will eat what you do.’
‘As if you are coming from another world. You know, when we tried to find a nanny, my husband strongly wanted to know her name. He says the name always defines the person. He was very surprised by your name and was convinced it would be an extraordinary challenge to have around a nanny with such a strange name. He said she had to have a very strong personality and this excites him. However, you will have time to meet him because I wanted a nanny for at least one year. I will clean up here so good night and sweet dreams in your new home.’
The way Lucy had said the last part,“sweet dreams” seemed so strange to Magi especially because she watched her for so long in an interesting way. Magi was very tired so she started towards her room. When she arrived in front of the workshop, she heard noises of ironmongery. Her attention was drawn towardhis passion for strange things. It was not her business, after all, everyone has their own hobby.
Magi fell into such a deep sleep as if a force was pulling her towards it, not to harm her but to send her a message, to teach her something she was supposed to have known for so long, that was lost together with the last sorcerer. An old man appeared with his eyebrows united. Magi was in an alley inher country and using signs, he urged her to enter the courtyard of a house. He was ill, he was in pain but every time he tried to close his eyes to have a rest, something forced him to stay awake. Magi was scared by the way he was begging her to enter that yard, his eyes were telling her that she had to do what she was told, that only this way she would hear his message. She felt paralysed, her feet did not listen to her as if they were stuck on the ground. She felt the desperation in the old man’s eyes as if wanting to help her get unstuck but his powers were diminishing…
She closed her eyes and tried to think about light. She saw her grandfather passing her by and touching her with his kindness, whispering in her mind. ‘You must do it, only you can help the sorcerer, before death…’
It was something dark that did not let her reach there, she tried to yell but a pair of tongs was squeezing her throat and she slowly began to choke.
Magi woke up drenched in sweat and feeling like she could not breathe. She still felt the pressure of the metal on her chest. The air in the room seemed heavy, a smell of horror, of suffering… Then she reminded the sorcerer. It seemed as though she had not dreamt and he was waiting for her to enter that courtyard but something was hindering her, maybe the air, the smell…
When Magi recovered, she thought it was only a dream, the new house, the new room, new bed. That must have been it, this period would pass too. She looked at the watch which read 6:30 so it was useless to go back to sleep. She inspected the room again, this time more relaxed, and she noticed some new things.
One mirror was in every corner, arranged so that the whole room could be seen. She looked out of the window and saw a metal ladder one meter away from the ground that led up to the top where a glass roof stretched with some empty spaces where the air could enter. The room was cool because of the air conditioner but she was grateful it existed and thought maybe one night she would climb up the roof and watch the silence of the night.
One hour later, she decided she could go upstairs without disturbing anybody. When she reached the corridor at the back of the house, she saw a door that looked out on the yard so she decided to go out and get some fresh air. When Magi opened it, she reached a terrace in what seemed like another realm. The supporting pillars were covered in ivy and climbing roses. The feeling of entering a world of colors and smells flooded her. A few rocking chairs and small tables seemed to be waiting for their guests. All around the grass was tall, weaving with the field flowers, wild roses, and thorns amongst which a few lanes wound. A few meters away the forest began, trembling at each wind blow, like a sigh coming from the earth’s being. Overwhelmed, Magi slipped into the rocking chair but a hand caught her shoulder. She panicked and the spellbound broke.
‘Good morning. I apologise for not meeting you last night but I am so passionate about my hobby that I could forget to eat if Lucy did not bring me some food. My name is Fer and I hope we will get on well together. In fact, you will see only a little of me so I am sure we will get on well together.’
The resemblance between the two of them was so obvious that Magi was stunned. He was taller and his eyes looked like copper in the sunlight. He had a strange beauty, something warned me not to stay defenseless but Magi could hardly move in his presence.
‘I can see how amased you are by the resemblance between me and Lucy. You are right but they say that when couples have many things in common, sometimes they start with physical resemblance. I think the two of us have something in common. Glad to meet you, I will leave you in Lucy’s company.’
Without waiting for her reply, he turned his back and left. Magi was too troubled by this appearance so she remained still in the rocking chair. Suddenly, she felt the same smell in the room that she smelled when she woke up from her dream. It was the smell of horror and suffering. And then she saw the sorcerer pleading with her to enter the yard.
‘Hey… I can see you woke up early and discovered the paradise. This place looks like a mystery, something beyond death. If you want to eat something or drink a cup of coffee, come with me to the kitchen to show you where the world starts.
I followed her still under the powerful impression of what I had seen. I was like in a dream where the sublime mingles with pain, a place that urges you to stay but also warns you to run away.’
‘Everything starts in the kitchen, all the domestic appliances come to life in skillful hands but they can also bring destruction.’
Lucy started to show Magi how the coffee maker and the dishwasher worked, everything that belonged to a fully-equipped kitchen. After Magi ate something and drank a cup of coffee, Lucy showed her the house.
‘You are familiar with the basement already so we shall start on the second floor. This belongs to my husband with a bedroom, a study, a small room for meditation that looks onto a terrace where you have a view of the whole estate. You must come here only when I tell you to because Fer likes to be isolated. That is why he has a kitchen here too. There is a bathroom next to his bedroom and another door that goes to a secret room where nobody else is allowed. On the first floor, there are three bedrooms in an old style, beds with canopy, all with bathrooms, and one is occupied by me.’
Magi was surprised she did not see the children’s rooms but maybe they did not need them because they spent most of the time with their grandparents. There should be some little things belonging to them in case they came home. It was natural to ask herself why they needed a nanny. Magi left this question for some other time, convinced there was an explanation. So far, she realized that her work would be that of a housekeeper.
‘As long as we are without kids, you will be a housekeeper, I hope you do not mind that. It is not hard at all especially as there is nobody to make dirt. You will enter the bedrooms every day. In mine, you will make the bed and clean the bathroom. As for the rest you will dust the furniture and keep everything clean.’
‘I do not find it difficult at all, on the contrary, I feel it is too little to do.’
‘I do not want you to have much to do, a little but good quality, that is my slogan. By the way, once a week you have to vacuum the whole house and on another day you will have to do all the laundry you find in the baskets in our rooms. Yours, when you program it. I hope I did not scare you but if you make a program things go easier. Today you can start on the second floor because Fer will be gone for a while. In the morning when you wake up, you can make coffee and eat what you want, because I never know what I shall eat so I will not put another burden on you.’
The first day passed quickly and focused on her work, Lucy did not realise when the evening fell. She was alone most of the day. She cooked something and went out on the mysterious terrace that sent her into another world. It was so quiet in that rustle of nature, Magi felt closed and free at the same time as if she got swept up in the flower petals that blew in the wind among the trees. Magi forgot about myself, her eyes closed and she fell asleep like a log.
‘Because you were born under the sign of Magic, only you can defeat the Evil.’
‘But I cannot see any evil anywhere!’
‘Not yet, not yet, the time has not come yet… But when it comes, you must be ready, otherwise, another life will be lost…’
‘Who is the sorcerer and what does he want from me?’
‘He is the sorcerer that died and still, he is before death, he is not received in the afterlife until he transmits the magic spell. We, the Great, that will help you face the Evil.’
Horrified, Magi wanted to answer him but somebody was shaking her so hard that she woke up.
‘I am glad you woke up because you were tossing in your sleep and speaking to somebody in your language. Maybe the position and the fatigue are the cause. I know the place is wonderful but it is not good to sleep in the rocking chair. Good night and sweeter dreams.’
Although Lucy was trying to hide it, Magi felt a little anger and discontent in her voice for what had happened. Maybe Lucy did not like the fact Magi had fallen asleep on the terrace or maybe it was Lucy’s refuge and she felt Magi had invaded it. Magi would be more attentive in the future, she said to myself and she left for my room, thinking about the shower she was going to take.
Once in her room, Lucy was as nervous as hell. She was dropping things everywhere, kicking everything in her way.
‘The whore, she found the place to sleep, on the spot where the spirits of good are strong and can not reach her. They may show themselves in her sleep and help her. I must keep her away from this place as much as I can, to find all my powers to destroy the sign of magic.