Pansy was not the figure that Emery had imagined from the name. The woman was short and heavyset with a sour expression.
"Kinda small, ain't ye?" Her words were so accusatory that Emery almost felt as if it were her fault for not growing better.
"Quiet, too, I see." Pansy ha-rumphed and waddled past Emery.
Emery caught her breath. Was she going to be fired before she could even start? She hurried after the short woman. "If you please, ma'am, I am a good worker. I have 5 younger siblings so I'm used to children." Her voice wavered. "My father's away and my mother is ill and -- oh, please! You have to give me a chance!"
"Quit yer sniveling. I've no time for it. There are 400 inmates in this asylum, and the work is never done." She stopped short and squinted her eyes at Emery, as if increasing their laser-like properties. "And, regardless of their age, they AIN'T children. They are patients. You must never see them as children or you won't last here five minutes."
A horrible scream broke out, followed by a roar, and then hideous laughter. Emery felt her heart quake within her. "What was that?"
Pansy snorted. "Beastly." She eyed Emery with the look of a duck watching a cat shy away from the water. "You'll get used to that sort of thing here, from all of them. But Beastly is the worst -- that's why she's in the room with the extra locks."
Emery shuddered. If she didn't have 6 hungry mouths waiting at home, she would leave this instant. But she had promised to take care of them, and that's what she was going to do.
After all, Beastly was always locked away. She could get used to the noises.