The room had become cold. Tyrone opened his eyes, not realising they were closed. It was late. He looked around the room. Recognizing he was in his bed, he sat up quickly.
“Where am I?” he asked.
Nobody answered. This he found strange, as he was absolutely certain he had been speaking to someone. Tyrone racked his brain trying to remember what had happened before. With his eyes closed tight, he tried to catch a glimpse of what he thought he remembered. And then a flash appeared before him. Within the flash was a face, a face he remembered. The face, although bearing a striking resemblance to his mother, was different. The face smiled, but a firm knock on the door soon caused it to melt away. The door opened slowly and Marta, his father’s Eastern European housekeeper, walked into the room.
“Good morning!” she chimed in her typically cheerful cadence. “It is time to get out from bed,” she added.
He smiled. Tyrone always liked Marta, and he would sit in his window watching her tidy the room, making it presentable for when his father would visit. She looked at the confused looking boy staring at her from his bed.
“Are you alright boy?” She asked.
The boy looked from the housekeeper to the window and sighed.
“I’m alright Marta.” He said somewhat dejectedly.
Marta looked at the chest and noticed that its lid was raised and leaning open against the wall. Marta gasped.
“Who opened that chest boy!” the woman demanded while trying to not sound too firm.
“I…I don’t know!” the boy responded, “I thought it was locked.”
“It was, and your father will be very mad if he sees this.”
As if inviting some fate, just as Marta spoke, a tall imposing man wearing black trousers and a smoking jacket. The man looked stern, but there was something in his eyes that betrayed his austere demeanour.
The man looked at his son without smiling, and then took in his housekeeper, who stared at him with a look of what could only be described as fear. Narrowing his eyes he slowly turned his head to look at the open toy chest.
“How did that get open Marta?” His voice was low and resonant, and showed no sign of anger at all.
“I do not know sir,” she replied in a soft, almost quivering tone. Marta was terrified. She knew the price for stepping out of line.
“FATHER!” Tyrone screamed.
His father turned his head sharply and brought his gaze down on the child stood at the foot of the bed. The boy lowered his voice and continued.
“I opened it, last night. Marta was not even here.” His response surprised both Marta and his father. The woman’s eyes widened and a tear rolled down her cheek. She knew what he risked by taking the blame and protecting her.
Tyrone’s father continued to stare at his son. The boy turned to look at the saddened face of the housekeeper. Tyrone’s father noticed and followed the exchange. He saw instantly what passed between the two. Observing the look of compassion in his son’s eyes, he turned and strode from the room, closing the door behind him. He paused and looked at the mirror on the wall opposite. He blinked and stared further into the mirror. Suddenly his eyes widened as a woman’s face appeared there; A face he knew without knowing whose it was. The face smiled at him and faded away. He turned his head again to look back over his shoulder at the door of his son’s room, but try as he might; he was unable to fight back a smile. If only the boy had seen it.