Afterward, we went out to the deck; half of it was falling into the water, its wood curved like a cascading wave. There were others now, figured on neighboring decks, gossiping, raising their glasses, seemingly content as the water lapped at the banks. Inside, more people had arrived and sat on the couch with drinks in their hands. Dogs were chasing each other around the fireplace. Lovers were eating muffins in the breakfast nook dropping crumbs on the floor. Then she arrived. She was not ageless. She was not beautiful. She was surprised to see us all there, taking advantage of her lair. I told her I would make it right. I frantically went about collecting the dust, hair, and shards of glass in my hands. What was she to do now? The place was a sty and the lord and his mistress were renting it for a getaway. I looked after the duke but he had disappeared. I told the others to get out. A man fell from the roof and broke his neck. Another was eating an orchid on the front porch.
When I last saw the duke, he was arm in arm with the crone as she lead him into her bedroom and then locked the door. Not an hour later, she released him to the paddock where he rummaged for scraps, squealing and snorting his way through the sounder of swine.
They arrived and I had the place spotless and vacant, save the crone who hummed softly as she braided her hair in her chamber. The man with the broken neck had been airlifted to the nearest hospital. The lights across the bay had gone out. The pigs had stuffed themselves silly. I opened the door and they were young and dark: the lord wore an oversized baseball cap and a medallion, the mistress, sweatpants with LOVE printed across her ass. They talked to each other as if I didn’t matter, commenting on the place, delighted to be there, and alone.