Lyyta’s heartbeat pulsed in the fresh welts as she pressed her back against the stucco wall. A spring breeze wafted through the open window, raising goosebumps on her tanned arms.
“How did it all go so wrong?” she thought, a solitary tear trickling down her cheek.
The bell rang.
Lyyta raised herself from the knotty pine floor and entered the bedroom.
“How may I serve?” she asked, head bowed.
“Tea, woman.” he intoned, without even looking up.
Lyyta retreated to the kitchen, her face a stony mask.
Lyyta brewed the tea in his porcelain mug, adding three drops of liquid from her crystal vial. She returned to the bedroom door, knocked, and waited for permission to enter.
“Come,” he replied.
“Your tea,” she said, placing it on his bedside table. “Anything else?”
“Leave,” he said, waving his hand.
Lyyta left, closing the door. She stood in the hallway, her insides knotted with anxiety.
Porcelain shattering on stone slates startled her. Resting her ear on the door, she listened to the uneven, raspy breathing. Deafening silence soon replaced the breaths.