The Man In The Mirror

By: Georgia Le Carre

She rose to her feet and headed over to a heavy, wooden desk in one corner. Slipping behind it she pulled out a sheaf of papers from one of the drawers. “Something else crucial to keep in mind; I am your employer, not my son’s father so if you're given any instructions with regards to Zackary that is beyond the scope of what I have stipulated in these pages then you are to contact me first.” Mrs. King held the stapled papers out to me. “Here you go. Let me know if anything is unclear or—”

I walked over and took them from her. “Thank you.”

“Study them. They are very important.”

“I will,” I promised.

There was a polite knock on the door.

“Enter,” Mrs. King instructed.

The door was pulled open and a well-dressed, little boy with a pale sickly face was led in by the housekeeper, a plump woman with salt and pepper hair and rosy cheeks. The moment the child saw his mother, he let go of the housekeeper’s hand, and dashed over to her. She moved around the table to meet him.

At that moment, her phone began to ring so she used one hand to deal with it, while she used the other to lightly tap the tip of the little boy’s nose. His lovely green eyes stared up adoringly at her. It was a strange thing to watch. The boy’s utter devotion to his mother seemed bizarre, almost like something from a Victorian novel. He showed no curiosity about the presence of a stranger.

“I’ll be there in half an hour,” his mother said into the phone. “I’m just about to leave the house.”

The boy rested his head against her skirt in a loving gesture and she lay her hand gently on his head, and I began to shift my earlier reservations about her. Maybe she did really love the child. Maybe I had been too judgmental. With the father effectively a hermit, the dynamics in the household had to be bizarre to say the least. My thoughts were interrupted by the sudden coughing fit that gripped the boy.

“What’s the matter, darling?” Mrs. King asked.

Without warning, the boy jerked back and projectile-vomited. All over his mother’s skirt. Her shrill shriek of horror almost made me jump out of my skin, and her instinctive reaction was to push him away from her.

My mouth fell open in shock as the boy fell on the rug and instantly burst into tears. The housekeeper didn't move, and when my disbelieving gaze found hers, she shook her head at me in a way, as if to warn me not to say anything.

“What are you doing standing there gawking at me? Can’t you see that he needs you?” Mrs. King hurled at me.

Instantly, I sprang into action. Putting the set of instructions she’d given me on the table, I went over to him and picked him up. To my surprise, he stretched his arms upwards and went very quietly into my arms. I lifted him off the ground, he stared up at his mother through tear soaked eyes.

She had grabbed paper napkins from the desk behind her and was angrily scrubbing pointlessly at her skirt. “I’m already so late,” she cried, as she gave up the exercise and looked in dismay at the stain. “Ugh … and the smell. I have to change.” She picked up her phone and, presumably began to call whoever she was meeting. Apparently, she had completely forgotten us.

“Come with me,” the housekeeper said in a fierce whisper.

Carrying the boy, I followed her out of the room. His mother’s curses faded in the distance as she led me down a dim corridor.

“I’m Mrs. Blackmore,” she said over the sound of the child sobbing softly.

“And I’m Charlotte.”

“Come this way, dear,” she said, pulling open another door.

We had arrived in a very basic gray and white kitchen. All the luxury was for the mistress. Here only the servants worked.

“Stay with him. I’ll go find a clean towel,” she said and disappeared through another door.

I pulled out my handkerchief, lowered myself to my knees, and wiped the vomit off the side of his chin. I patted the tears off his face trying my best to console him but he wouldn't stop crying.

Chapter 6


When Mrs. Blackmore returned, I looked at her. “Is he ill?’

She shook her head. “He’s not ill, lass.”

I looked at her curiously. “Why did he throw up?”

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