The Man In The Mirror

By: Georgia Le Carre

Up on one wall was a lavish and very large painting of a beautiful woman with blonde hair. She was wearing a tiara and sitting on a large gold throne. A small, pale blond boy stood next to her, but he seemed almost ghostly compared to the vigor and greatness of the woman. I knew instantly I was looking at the portrait of my employer, Mrs. King.

Mesmerized by the splendor with which she had been depicted, I walked closer to the painting and stared up at her. There was something about her eyes. The artist had captured something elusive. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew it would come to me. As I was trying to figure out the mysterious hidden message the painter had left for the viewer of his painting, the clack of high heels sounded outside. It stopped at the door.

Chapter 5


Quickly, I moved away from the painting. Standing in the middle of the room I hurriedly adjusted my glasses and smoothed down my hair. A few seconds later the heavy door was pushed open and the woman in the painting stood in the doorway. The artist had not exaggerated her beauty.

I was certain she had to be in her mid-thirties, but she could have easily passed for my younger sister. She was speaking to someone on the phone, but the moment she sighted me, she locked her gaze with mine. I smiled politely and watched her take a seat, shapely legs crossed, the skin of her heels as smooth as a baby’s, and the skirt of her deep pink suit riding high on flawless skin.

She took her time with the call, listening intently to what the person on the other end was saying, but her watchful eyes kept roving restlessly from my face to my body and back. I stood still and politely looked away. Finally, she ended the call which was clearly not important, but she did not want to interrupt on my behalf. It was a form of control. She wanted me to feel uncomfortable and establish her authority from the get go. She didn’t know she hadn’t made me feel uncomfortable at all. Every time people played such shallow games I just pitied them.

“Is it Charlotte?” she asked, her tone as smooth as honey, and eyes moving between my baggy dark pants to my ugly white jumper.

I smiled politely. “Yes.”

“You don’t look much like a Charlotte.”

I knew it was an insult, but I was a professional. No way was I even going to recognize it as anything but an unnecessary comment. I let my smile widen. “I’m afraid that is my name.”

“Yes.” Her lips twisted into a cold, condescending smile. “I wanted someone with more experience, someone … older, but they told me you’re the best.”

“I try hard,” I said quietly, looking unflinchingly into her eyes.

She raised one perfectly plucked eyebrow. “I suppose you’ll do.” She glanced at her slim watch. “I have a function to attend so I don’t have all day. Let’s get on with it.” She pressed a button on a panel next to her chair. “Bring Zackary into the drawing room,” she ordered, before refocusing her attention on me. “The housekeeper will show you around and fill you in on everything you need to know about how this household works: mealtimes, Zackary’s schedule etc. However, all instructions pertaining to Zackary’s education, or wellbeing will come only from me. Is that understood?”


“So whatever problems you encounter you are to bring it to me and only me. Is that absolutely clear?

I nodded. “Absolutely.”

“The other thing you need to know is, Zackary’s father lives in the South tower. He was involved in an accident five years ago that left him quite …” she searched for the words, “quite unsightly. As such he does not mix with the servants or the outside world. If you accidentally meet him while you are on your duties, please keep your head down and carry on as if you have not seen him.”

I was sure my eyebrows had disappeared into my hairline. This was the weirdest thing I’d heard.

“If I am not around—sometimes I stay at our apartment in London—and some emergency arises, you will be able to speak to Zackary’s father using the intercom system. You will find it has been installed in every room in this castle. Is that understood?”


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