Please Kill Me Vol. 1 Chapter 2.3
When I reminisce about my childhood that began on that night, the first thing that comes to mind is the intense fragrances.
The rich and abundant floral scent and the crisp and fresh smell of numerous medicinal plants tickling my nose, flowing out from the majestic and endless Secretia Woods behind the Count’s Manor. In the midst of it all, as a child, as a little girl, I could flutter around like a butterfly, enjoying those short and precious days.
Of course, during the time when I lived as a companion and playmate to Lambert, the white-faced boy who helped me that night, and the eldest son of my mother’s master, Count Hindleton, I received more than just breast milk from my mother.
Count Hindleton was a lascivious man. Until I later arrived in Hildesreville, where I encountered all sorts of despicable human figures, he was the evilest person I had ever seen.
The baby who needed my mother to nurse him was not the offspring of the Countess. According to the whispers of a kitchen maid who had a loose tongue, the child’s mother was a widow from a neighboring village. She said that the mother died from childbirth fever immediately after the baby was born. Before that, the Count had a history of impregnating a dismissed maid two or three times, so there were possibly two or three siblings for Lambert, she added.
However, they said that none of those babies lived beyond the year they were born. The baby my mother took care of had cheeks that grew paler with each passing day. I, too, experienced the same for a while. However, those peaceful days didn’t last long.
“Sob, ugh, ugh, sob, sob…”
My mother would fall asleep by the baby’s cradle, and I would crawl under the small bed where she slept and drift off to sleep. But one day, while peacefully sleeping like a baby mouse under the bed, I heard a strange sound. It was a stifled moan from my mother. I quickly crawled out from under the bed to check on her, but…
There was a man making louder and rougher breathing sounds, and there were erratic movements. The intense musk scent filled my nose. Even without seeing the person who was attacking my mother and making her groan, I knew it was Count Hindleton.
I bit my lip and covered my ears with both hands. Hot tears flowed relentlessly from my tightly closed eyes.
The memories of what happened that night are blurry. I tried my best to forget. The next morning, my mother asked if I could sleep in the lowest maid’s room from that night onwards. I nodded in understanding. However, when evening came, I couldn’t bring myself to go to the lowest maid’s room. I crouched in a corner of the corridor. I wished for my existence to be erased, buried in the darkness.
I distanced myself as far as possible from the room with the baby’s cradle and folded myself up tightly, unable to do anything. I believed that if I stayed in a place where no one could find me, then nothing would happen.
It was Lambert.
“Let’s go to my room.”
“B-But… I-I-I s-shouldn’t… I can’t…”
“When it’s just the two of us, you can speak comfortably, Dahlia.”
And he grabbed my arm and helped me up. I stumbled along and followed him to his room. There, hanging over a canopy much larger than the baby’s cradle, was a white and cozy wool blanket spread out.
“Sleep here. Comfortably.”
Lambert’s touch gently soothing my bewildered self was incredibly warm. I simply lay down on the cozy and plush bed. As I rested my body, sweet sleep came to me as if it were a lie. I didn’t want to think about anything. I couldn’t tell if Lambert had been watching me as I fell asleep or how long he had been doing so.
From then on, every night, I secretly slept in Lambert’s room, on his bed, without dreams. During that time, my mother had to endure the desires of the count every night.
* * *
“Dahlia, I’m going to wash you again. If the water is too hot, just pinch me.”
Lambert whispered as he lifted me up in his arms. I didn’t know how long I had been sleeping. Since coming here last night, I had been soaked in warm water several times, but I still looked dirty.
“I’m going to immerse your entire body, including your neck, and wash you thoroughly today. Don’t be startled. When you’re clean and wearing a new dress, you’ll feel better.”
The temperature of the water was just right. However, despite that, every cell in my skin became hypersensitive even to the moderately warm temperature. Lambert’s touch was slow and meticulous. The scent of the soap was sweet. It brushed past the tip of my nose, reminiscent of ripe figs. I could feel the lather. It tickled.
“You’ve become so pale, Dahlia. My delicate and pale Dahlia. From today onwards, I’ll feed you dishes with plenty of butter. Starting with lamb stew, and for dessert, how about apple strudel, your favorite from the pastries?”
Just hearing his words made a rumbling in my stomach, a craving for those foods spread inside me like a plea. I felt ashamed. With only a thin muslin dress on, my body submerged in the warm water was wet, revealing all the fragile contours in a pitiful manner. To make matters worse, beneath my ribs, a growling sound escaped, exposing my hunger.
“Take your time. After you eat, we’ll get fresh water and give you another bath.”
Suddenly, Lambert’s touch became faster. The towel soaked in water diligently brushed against my cheeks, neck, and arms. It felt both good and bad. He hurriedly washed me and then I felt him wrapping me in a dry towel.
“I’m going to take off your wet clothes. I’ll keep you wrapped in the towel. And then I’ll dress you in a new dress.”
My eyes were still covered by lace. It had been so long since I used my eyes that even if I didn’t cover them, I couldn’t recognize anything immediately. Unexplained waves of shame kept washing over me. Yet, I couldn’t help but be drawn to Lambert’s tender and attentive care.
Wrapped in a plush towel, I felt him removing the wet muslin dress. A shiver ran through my exposed skin in the air for a moment. Soon, a silky dress that felt pleasant was put on me. Due to having more days of hunger, my frail wet breasts lacked the volume they should have had. Instinctively, I covered my chest with both hands. It was a futile gesture, though.
“The dress is too loose for you, Dahlia. You need to eat better. They treated you disrespectfully and didn’t feed you properly. It seems like they deserve fitting punishments.”
His voice cracked. He seemed angry. Lambert’s anger. Perhaps I was the catalyst for the flame that I last experienced in Hildesreville. No, I didn’t want to know that.
“You’re hungry. Well, I should call the kitchen maid.”
Meanwhile, my stomach continued to growl, signaling its hunger, and he rang a bell to summon the maid. As the clear sound of the bell echoed, the maid appeared carrying a tray filled with food. I could tell by the aroma that penetrated my nostrils.
He cut a piece of meat into an appropriate size and put it into my mouth, wiping off any sauce that got on my lips with a napkin. He continuously fed me delicious things until my stomach was full. I didn’t need to lift a finger. Everything was so delicious that even strangely, my secret place beneath became subtly damp.
Until reaching adulthood, I had never properly experienced the bodily changes that any woman would go through. It wasn’t about the series of sexual experiences involving receiving or touching a man, kissing, biting, or sucking, but even the monthly ritual that women are supposed to experience, the menstruation, had never visited me before. It was likely because I hadn’t eaten properly for a long time. There was no evidence that my frail body was a beautiful feminine form.
But strangely, as Lambert bathed me and fed me delicious food, my nipples suddenly twitched, and a sensation began to rise from deep within my meager, fleshless and hairless private parts. It passed by multiple times. In just a day, my sleeping body was slowly awakening on its own.
“I’m full, I can’t eat anymore.”
Without realizing it, I refused Lambert’s fork as he offered me dessert. I had already eaten too much of the main course, and even though the sweet aroma wafted enticingly, I couldn’t eat anymore.
When I managed to express my intentions in such a manner, Lambert seemed quite delighted.
“Yes, Dahlia. Let’s stop eating for now.”
His voice trembled with joy.
“And Dahlia, feel free to speak comfortably when it’s just the two of us.”
Like in my childhood, he spoke with such emphasization, as if he existed solely to provide comfort to me in that place. I felt something welling up from deep within my body once again.
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