How long had she been immured in this desolate place? Tata Sous-sus asked herself. With only a single candle to light her cell, she squinted over the letter that the last guard had smuggled to her. It was a tiny piece of paper, perhaps two centimeters squared, and the script was hard to decipher. It read:
My Lady, You are not alone. There are many who understand your plight and who most earnestly pray for you! With reverence, A Friend
Tata Sous-sus crumpled the note in her hands and looked over her shoulder at her “companion,” one of those tiny women who is bursting with energy. Already in the few hours that they’d been together, she’d swept the floor, made the bed, and read scripture aloud for Tata’s edification. She’d mended Tata’s sock that had a hole in the toe. She’d given Tata a nice foot massage. For all that, Tata hated her and feared her. She knew the woman to be a spy. Most importantly, Tata knew that the woman’s heart was eaten away by malice and that under no circumstances could she be trusted.
So when the woman suggested a hand of cards, Tata Sous-sus smiled, clapped her hands and said, “Oh, yes! Let’s!”
As the woman shuffled the deck of cards, Tata began to drift into her own thoughts. The sound of the cards slapping the table only served to give a certain rhythm to Tata’s revelry. Perhaps it was because of her severe fatigue, but Tata found her mind opening a doorway of the past. She could see her parents, her friends, all sorts of people from her childhood long ago.
Without thinking, she put her hand to her face and felt herself smile against the palm of her hand. So this was bliss. She’d never known it before. Had somebody put something in her drink? She asked herself. From where do these sensations emanate? Tata swooned. She tried to steady herself by grasping the back of her wooden chair, but she only knocked it over to its side. She giggled at the sound of it clattering onto the floor. “Did I do that?” She asked aloud. She staggered over to her bed, the tiny woman running to her side.
“My lady!” She cried, grabbing Tata’s left hand, and wrapping her right arm around Tata’s waist. “Please! Let me help you!” She steered Tata to the edge of her bed, which she sat on and then fell to her side. “You rest now, my lady,” said the woman in hushed tones, stroking Tata’s forehead, pushing away stray strands of hair. “You rest.”