Emery's heart beat fast as she tied the white apron over her frock and tucked her hair into the little white cap. It would seem that in a matter of minutes she had gone from penniless and unemployed to the proud owner of a paying job -- if only she could stay in the favor of her new employer.
"Fresh linens daily. The floors must be mopped every afternoon...and more often if needed." The ward matron paused, looking down the rows of white cots with disgust. The expression brought up pictures of vile excrement spewed across the gray linoleum, though they shone spotlessly at the moment. Emery felt her heart quaver, but she did not let it show. She had younger siblings at home -- this wouldn't be her first time cleaning messes. And this job came with a salary. Oh, how she needed it.
The matron snapped back to attention, turning on her heel military style, and led on to the next room. "You will take your orders from Pansy. She will see that you do your work to our satisfaction." The matron looked very stern.
"There is one more thing of absolute importance." The matron took her to a door at the end of the hall. All of the doors on the hall had locks and bars. But this one had far more than all the rest. The matron rested her hand against the cool steel of the door. "You must never...under any circumstances...open this door. Do you understand me, Emery Clayton?" Her eyes were wide and severe, staring into Emery's, punctuating her words.
Emery trembled. Whatever was in that room must be horrible indeed.
"Good." The matron seemed satisfied. "Now I will take you to meet Pansy."