It was in the walls, in the blankets.
In her ears, anywhere and everywhere.
Hum, hum, hum.
Spin, spin, spin.
Faster, faster, faster.
Number 457 was kept within thick walls. She had only seen the sun once in her life and it had burned her eyes. Her cheeks were ashen and her eyes were set placidly on her hands.
Her hands that brushed the wheel.
A wheel that was turned by the pushing of her feet. Harder, harder, harder.
Press, touch, press.
The humming that the spinning wheel made did not bother 457. That was all she knew, after all: the words of workmen, and the humming of a spinning wheel.
All the thread that she spun from the white wool, she piled on the floor near her wheel.
Her chair was swimming in the thread.
The thread was growing fat in the room, for it was collected every morning.
457 was spinning all the time.
Why was she spinning? She was only thirteen years old, and she had worked for twelve years.
There was no escaping for her.
1-1000 were slaves in the castle of Agnes Queensbury. Queen Agnes Queensbury. 457 didn’t know who she worked for exactly, but she knew that she had to, or else, she would not eat, for starters.
Queen Queensbury was not exactly the kindest queen in the world. Despite the queen’s lack of kindness, however, she was still very nice. Very nice! For she wore the finest gowns in the land, and the finest jewels, and the finest wigs. She loved things that required lots of fabric, thus lots more of thread, and as she never wore the same outfit twice, the slaves were kept working.
457 was only number 457 out of the many workers whose fingers bled and callused for the queen.
But one day things did not go so well for 457. Out of the many slaves she housed with, she stuck out like a sore thumb after a rather small event.
457 was a girl with strong fingers, but delicate skin; tender and creamy skin like the skin women should always have .
Well, after about approximately 12 straight hours of spinning, her hands were bleeding so, that she had to wash her raw fingers in the well, along with the stained thread.
There was a well in every working chamber so that the workers would not have to leave the room for ridiculous, insignificant things like drinking or washing.
457 plunged her hands into the cold water, trying her best to avoid the consequential sting in her skin.
Next, she picked up a spool of freshly spun, and freshly bloodied thread and dipped it ever so gently in the water of the well.
Never take anything for granted when things are going smoothly.
A terrible pain bit at her naked fingers as she soaked them in the unfriendly water.
And she dropped the spool of thread down, down, down into the darkness of the well.
Suddenly, the door to the room opened, and 457 was no longer alone.
“Why aren’t you spinning, 457?”
The question came from a very small, wiry man who hunched over like a sloth, an animal 457 had no idea even existed.
“Wash,” said 457, extending her hands hesitantly. Raw grooves oozed with blood in her snowy fingers, and the taskmaster, being a somewhat educated man, wondered how many cells were in her blood.
“Get back to work, then,” he said drily.
Despite the fact that her fair face seemed it could not grow any whiter,
it certainly did. Blood drained from her cheeks, and she sat down at the wheel.
Her foot touched the pedal, the wheel began to spin, and 457 began to cry.
“What’s wrong?” The sloth man snapped. If evolution was not such a fairy tale, he very well have been the missing link.
As blood continued to ooze from her tender hands, she pointed to the well.
She struggled between sobs.
“The thread’s in the well!”
His face grew hot with realization, and he glanced at the wheel.
“Why, you naughty wretch!” he exclaimed, and pondered what to do.
“Well,” he said finally, “you will have to take a swim.” As clearly had no idea what a swim was, he rephrased: “Go get it.”
Seeing as there was no escape, and that she had done something terribly rash, the poor girl meekly walked up to the well and slowly entered its mouth. However, both the taskmaster knew and 457 knew that she did not know how to stay afloat in the water, and with tears in her eyes, the girl went sinking down.
End of Part One
(Note that the picture above is from http://www.mamalisa.com)