7 November 1916

by Sophie Watson


Scoop brought in a bird today, and I watched it die by the hearth. That poor bird. I wish he would have killed it outright. There is something unflinchingly cruel about the way cats play with their food. That being said, I couldn’t help but watch him as he did it. So tightly coiled, like a clockwork toy about to spring. It was near hypnotic.

I wonder what goes through his mind when he kills. Whether he knows he’s being callous by drawing the process out, or whether it’s simply his nature. Perhaps morality is a uniquely human concern.

After Scoop had grown tired of his prey and slunk away, I watched the slow spread of blood into a perfect disc, as if the bird were set on a crimson plate. It took some time to wash it from the flagstones, the blood had spread terribly – all the way over to the range. It made the stone look sun-kissed, in a perverse sort of way.

The war has made a scullery maid of me. I seem to spend my days elbow deep in soap suds. I am not ungrateful for the position, merely surprised that a school of this calibre cannot find a local girl to take care of such menial tasks. Still, we must all make do. And I had to clear it away quickly, to conceal such violence from the girls, such viciousness.

In spite of today’s events, Scoop hasn’t had much luck with the mouse problem. I can hear them still, scratching behind my head in the depths of the night. It keeps me awake something rotten. I don’t think I’ve had a full night’s sleep since I arrived. Mark suggested putting a trap down, but I shall leave the conscienceless killing to the cat. He has offered to come and help, but I am afraid I ask too much of him already.

Plus, I suspect he couldn’t harm a fly.

I shall be glad when this term is over. I dare not voice that thought aloud (especially not in front of the girls), but I shall be glad of a reprieve from this place. Martha has simply begged me to visit her in Lyme Regis, and it is as if I can already smell the sea air.

We are as landlocked as Switzerland here, save for the lake, which is a rather poor substitute for the Jurassic coastline. Martha fancies herself a modern day Mary Anning, so I daresay we shall be rooting around in the mud in search of fossils. I do hope that doesn’t require much more scrubbing!

Before then I daresay there is too much to be done, and barely enough hours in the day. I will be glad of a good night’s sleep tonight, if the mice will allow it.

Until tomorrow,

One thought on “7 November 1916

  1. Syd Peck says:

    This an excellent short sketch of a person’s daily life….just enough to entice the reader to read more if there were more to be read. I found the pace just right, the colour apt, and the conclusion appropriate….thanks for the great read …..Syd Peck


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