Please Kill Me Vol. 1 Chapter 2.1 - Me, the Blooming Dahlia
<Me, the Blooming Dahlia>
I don’t know how long I was asleep for. I felt myself being immersed in warm water, but I couldn’t open my eyes. Whether in sleep or in a dream, still wearing dirty clothes, I was slowly submerged in a bathtub filled with warm water as someone held me close.
“I will wash you. I will make you clean again. No one will dirty you again.”
That voice. A voice filled with conviction.
Ah, I knew who he was. From the moment he called me Dahlia, I knew.
The warm water gently touches my shoulders and cheeks. I know that the water I’m submerged in will quickly become dirty. Even without the blindfold, I couldn’t bring myself to open my eyes. I couldn’t open my mouth either. It felt like another bout of crying was about to burst forth. I can only grit my teeth.
He wrapped me in a fluffy towel and sent a maid to empty the bathtub, which must already be dirty, and fill it with fresh, hot water. I drift slowly through sleep, following the lingering tiredness in my mind.
He held me as if I were the most precious thing, supporting my head. Then he laid me somewhere and tirelessly changed countless towels, wiping me clean. I feel it all. I simply wait for all my dirtiness to be washed away.
Back in the warm water. I hear the sound of water splashing against my ears. I can’t open my eyes, but it’s bright. The light made me crease my eyebrows.
Gradually, the brightness subsides. Something is being placed on top of my eyelids.
Before going through several more cycles of being soaked and wiped clean, something lighter and more delicate than velvet, perhaps lace woven by hand, is draped around my eyes. I want to touch it, but I can only imagine. Now, within my eyes, many things come to mind again. Things I thought I had long forgotten. No, things that I had deeply, deeply hidden in the depths of my heart and mind, vowing never to forget no matter what happened. Things that I couldn’t even dare to long for. I retrace those times and memories.
All of it comes back to life within my closed eyes. Even without seeing, I can still perceive that many things are being washed away and erased beyond my eyelids.
“Dahlia, drink this. Take small sips slowly.”
Soupe à l’oignon.
Yes, that sweet oniony smell. A soup that will warm you up.
“It’s your favorite, Dahlia. I’m going to put it in your mouth, so just drink it. I’ve slightly cooled it to the right temperature.”
He says as he brings the soup bowl to my lips. Ah, indeed, as the warm and savory liquid enters my mouth and travels down my throat, a complete warmth spreads within me.
Gulp, gulp. I hear the sound of the soup passing through my throat. Aside from the rich flavor of the onion soup, there’s a faint alluring aroma that brushes past the tip of my nose, but it lasts only for a brief moment.
“Slowly. Soon, I’ll give you other foods. I’ll provide you with foods that will help your body recover little by little after being starved for so long. Don’t push yourself too hard.”
Then he gently strokes my head. His hands are gentle as he runs his fingers through my damp hair, which had started to peel off and has now barely removed some dirt. His hands soon find their way to my petite shoulders. For some reason, my chest tightens. I flinch, and he removes his hand.
“Don’t worry, Dahlia. Don’t worry anymore. You’ve returned home. It’s okay. I won’t do anything you hate. Never.”
Throughout, my eyes were veiled, but I could still perceive. This is Count Hinddleton’s estate, and the owner of this voice is Lambert Hinddleton. The most beautiful and lonely young master in the world. My only childhood sweetheart whom I could only meet in dreams.
Yes, at last, I have returned. To this place where we first met.
To this accursed mansion.
I will never go hungry again.
I’ll never be roughly beaten or have myself kicked.
No one will spit on me or insult me recklessly.
I don’t have to be covered in filth or endure all sorts of scorn and mockery. My Lambert would never allow that to happen to me.
But my mother sold her milk here, and her whole body was violated. On a night when the days of being endlessly devoured continued, the Countess, who could no longer tolerate all the madness, set fire to the place. No, they said it was unclear who set the fire. Who could it have been?
Apparently, the entire huge estate had burned down, or so they say. Somehow, the air and all the scents that embraced me in this place felt excessively familiar, just like before. I wonder if they’ve rebuilt the mansion. However, for now, just swallowing and digesting this soup alone overwhelms me.
Fatigue washes over me once again. I’m so tired. Just like that distant night when I first came to this place.
For a moment, I closed my eyes. I want to forget all the past memories, but perhaps in the swamp of my subconscious, I will return to those days struggling again.
* * *
My father was a serf. No, it didn’t really matter if he was or not. He died as soon as the famine began. The vast potato fields were no longer lush with green leaves. Instead of potatoes, the ground was thick with the tangled bones of those who had died of starvation and were buried shallow. Since the famine struck, new life was no longer a blessing; days came without fear or sadness of death.
Fear and sorrow vanished, but the most vivid sensation that remained until the end was hunger. We were determined to do anything to eat, even if it meant resorting to desperate measures. My pregnant mother struggling to move and me, a fragile young girl. There was no one to cry for us or bury us, no one to mourn for us.
The last thing my father did before he died was to impregnate my mother. Despite barely having anything to eat, he kept calling for her to relieve himself, doing it fiercely until he died.
In the end, the tiny thing that was finally born couldn’t even take a breath and died. Having come into the world already dead, can it even be said that it was born? As soon as we buried the small lifeless body, my mother, who had lost consciousness, suddenly got up. Each time my mother’s sagging chest dangled, her clothes would get wet and the scent of sour milk emanated.
“Now that I can be a wet nurse, we won’t go hungry anymore.”
My mother, who had just finished expelling everything from her stomach, kept walking with faltering steps, leaving bloodstains with every step. I nibbled at my parched lips as she trudged on to the nobleman’s mansion where someone would buy her milk. If we could reach that place, we could finally have something to eat. That hope, that cruel yet fervent hope, fluttered my short legs like butterfly wings.
On that night when us, mother and daughter, pierced through the dark night and knocked on the door of the Count Hinddleton’s gate. Even the night sky itself, which didn’t offer a single ray of light, was not the least bit merciful.
As she walked, her bosom swelled at an uncanny rate, making her parched face look smaller and more gaunt in comparison to her bursting breasts. Despite her prominent cheekbones, her delicate beauty couldn’t be concealed, but what good was it? For the poor, that deadly beauty was rather a curse.
“Please save us.”
We finally reached the tightly shut gates after traversing the vast land of the Count’s mansion. With all her strength, my mother pounded on the door, repeatedly, until a servant finally peered out. Exhausted from the effort of knocking on the door, my mother, Ines, fell to the ground. When the servant asked what our purpose was after walking through the night, it was me who answered the question, begging to be saved.
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A lazy cat who wants her honied indolence back. NOTE: Updates will be sporadic. Any of my novels will be updated randomly.