Eve's 'friends' turned out to be the owners of a bed and bath, one that was only slightly less shabby than the house Sophia had initially been staying in.
Sophia had been assigned to a room with the gipsy, who seemed much less troubled by their hosts' inhospitability than Sophia.
"Th's here ish Eve's ol' room." the caretaker spat, with a thick cockney accent, "Nobody ev'r rents the damn'd thin' out."
Macdonald watched the hunched over man scurry into the hallway and sat down on one of the cots in the room. The quiet coloured girl sat on the other, staring at the door.
She shuddered suddenly, violently, and looked toward Sophia hesitantly.
"I know I am nothing to you...but I have to tell my story to someone. Whether you choose to listen or not is your choice. Death is close for me, I can feel it."
Sophia nodded, realizing abruptly that the girl seemed to be looking through her. Her grey eyes were completely blind.
"As you can tell, I am not a native to this country. My name is Leila, and I grew up in India. My parents fought against colonialism, and made many enemies along the way. One night an English general burst into our house with men and guns, and I watched my family being massacred. The man was blazing drunk, and he laughed as I cried. He decided to take me back as a gift to his son. I begged to die, to be allowed to rejoin who I had so freshly lost, but I was denied.
"My new master kept me locked in the cellar. The only food that came my way was from staff that took pity on me. Every other night the man would come clambering down, as drunk as his father had been when he killed my family, and did as he pleased with my body. Occasionally he would send maids to bathe me and put fine clothes on me so that he could parade me in front of his friends, but he always found my performances lacking. He beat me for each word I spoke in my mother tongue until I thought in English.
"It was only a matter of time before I was with child. The child's father had gone on a voyage to the East on business, and so I was free momentarily. When he returned months later, he saw my pregnancy and beat me until I miscarried. I could do nothing but stare at what was left of my baby, even as it was scrubbed off the floor and my body. I tried to hang myself but it was as if the universe refused me the right to leave it. I lost my sight soon afterwards, and became one of the rag dolls my mother had sowed me when I was young. The master saw that I was no longer worth his time, and he threw me into the street.
"I stayed in an alley, waiting to die, but a kind old woman found me and hired me as a maid in her house, even though I was blind. It is thanks to her I am still alive today. I would have gladly served her the rest of my life, but she passed eventually."
Sophia blinked in surprise, waiting for further explanation but getting none.
"Oh God...I'm so...sorry..."
She didn't know what else to be. Everyone always called foreigners savages but the English were greater savages than all of them combined.
"Don't take God's name," Leila smiled weakly, "I did, and He never listened. Besides, this is the last place you should mention Him. I am close to my retribution, and the last thing I need is divine intervention."