The Housemaid


“Tell me about yourself, Millie.”

I lean against the marble kitchen counter across from Lisa Killeffer. Lisa herself is immaculate this morning, her black hair shiny and pulled into an elaborate French knot behind her head, the buttons on her cream-colored short-sleeved blouse glimmering in the skylights of what appears to be a newly renovated kitchen.

If I get this job, it will be my first in nearly a year. I’ve had a few odd jobs here and there since what happened at the Winchester house, but I’ve been living off the deposit of a year’s salary that Nina made to my bank account shortly after Andrew’s death was ruled accidental.

I still don’t quite understand how she managed that one. Well…” I begin. “I grew up in Brooklyn. I’ve had a lot of jobs doing housework for people, as you can see from my

resume. And I love children.” “Wonderful!”

Lisa’s lips spread into a smile. Her enthusiasm since the moment I walked in here has been surprising, given she must have had dozens of candidates applying for this housekeeper job. I didn’t even apply for this one. It was Lisa who contacted me on the website where I placed an ad offering my cleaning and nannying services.

The salary is great, which isn’t surprising, because this house reeks of wealth. The kitchen boasts all the newest appliances, and I’m fairly sure the stove can cook dinner itself from scratch without any intervention. I really want this job, and I’m trying to project confidence. I try to think of the text message from Enzo that I received this morning:

Good luck, Millie. Remember they will be lucky to have you.

And then:

See you tonight after you get the job.

“What are you looking for exactly?” I ask her.

“Oh, the usual.” Lisa leans against the kitchen counter next to me and tugs at the collar of her blouse. “Somebody to keep the house clean. Laundry. Some light cooking.”

“I can do that,” I say, although my situation hasn’t changed much from a year ago. I still have my background check issue. My prison record will never disappear.

Lisa’s hands absently go to the block of knives on the kitchen counter. Her fingers toy with the handle of one of the knives, and she lifts it out just enough for the blade to glint in the overhead lights. I shift between my feet, suddenly uncomfortable. Finally, she says, “Nina Winchester recommended you very highly.”

My mouth drops open. That’s the last thing I expected her to say. I haven’t heard from Nina in a long time. She moved to California with Cecelia soon after everything wrapped up with Andrew’s death. She’s not on social media, but a few months ago she texted me a selfie of her and Cecelia at the beach together, looking tanned and happy, along with a few words:

Thank you for this.

So I guess her other way of thanking me is to recommend me for housekeeping jobs. I’m feeling decidedly more optimistic that Lisa will hire me.

“I’m so glad to hear that,” I say. “Nina was… wonderful to work for.”

Lisa nods, her fingers still toying with that knife. “I agree. She is wonderful.”

She smiles again, but there’s something off about her face. She tugs at the collar of her blouse again with her free hand, and as the material shifts, that’s when I see it.

A dark purple bruise on her upper arm. In the shape of somebody’s fingers.

I look over her shoulder at the refrigerator. There’s a magnet on there, featuring a photograph of Lisa with a tall, stocky man, whose eyes are locked with the camera. I imagine that man’s fingers wrapping around Lisa’s skinny arm, digging in hard enough to leave those deep purple marks.

My heart pounds enough that I feel dizzy. And now I finally get it. I understand why Nina recommended me so highly to this woman. She knows me. Maybe even better than I know myself.

“So”—Lisa slides the knife back into the wooden block and straightens up, her blue eyes wide and anxious—“can you help me, Millie?”

“Yes,” I say. “I believe I can.”

* * *

Did you love uncovering the secrets at the heart of the Winchester family, and seeing how Millie and Nina finally got their revenge?

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