Pale hands she had, long-fingered. I used to love the way they twined around my neck and stroked my hair. I used to watch for ages while she played the piano, those long white fingers moving gracefully over the keys. I found them mesmerising. It never seemed to matter that she was so silent, so self-contained.
I didn’t question how we came to be together, living in the great house, with its wintry landscape beyond the drawn curtains. We so rarely looked out. The trees surrounding the house were grey and gnarly; they looked somewhat threatening. We preferred to shut them out.
It was in the evenings that HE came. Loud footsteps always signalled his approach, so we had time to start shuddering a little, then try to master it so that when he entered we appeared cool, detached, statue-like. He never said much, though his few words were said in such a booming voice that they resonate with me still.
He liked her pale, long-fingered hands too. I watched him watching them as she played. Eventually he would stop her by closing one of his own great, dark fists over her hand and pressing down commandingly. She would flutter to a stop, turn and look up at him, into his eyes. I always wanted to yell to her not to meet his gaze, but of course I never uttered a sound, and of course she did turn and look, as he bent his head to stare back at her.
She grew paler as he held her fast with his eyes, and her frame would begin to get hazy around the edges, as if she was turning into mist. Or was that only because of my increasing faintness?
I never saw what happened next. I would lose consciousness and come to many hours later, alone. I spent my days alone until dusk fell. You could tell that the darkness had begun outside, as it deepened beyond the curtains. Then I would turn, and she would be there, sitting at the piano.