The Trials and Torments of the Regina Beaker
A shriveled, heartless skeleton of a woman
Regina Beaker was a shriveled onion of a woman with the light-hearted disposition of a sack of bricks. Her cheeks looked as if they were trying to touch each other inside of her mouth while her sharp, excessively prominent cheekbones were said to cut anyone who touched them. That is assuming anyone ever dared get that close to her. Her entire body was cold as a corpse with barely a suggestion of color. Her wrinkled lips sported a grotesque off-white. Her eyes were a cloudy gray. If one looked closely enough they could see memories of blue haunting them, but those days were long gone. Regina’s dark but slowly graying hair was pulled back in an intense bun on the back of her head. Each hair was pulled very straight. She did not believe in extraneous movement of any kind. Everything had a purpose. It is said that once she did not move for an entire day for she had no reason to. She sat perfectly still and stared at the wall. Her heart only pumped enough blood to keep her alive and allow her to proficiently do her required duties. With regimented control such as that, keeping her hair in place was hardly an unimaginable feat.
Her house was as rigid and unwelcoming as she, set on top of the hill two miles back from the rest of the town. Inside the stiff rectangle there were only four rooms: a washroom, a room for her bed (Regina did not like the word “bedroom” for she found it too personal), a kitchen (categorized only as such by the coal burning stove and sharp kitchen table, and a room with a single wooden rocking chair facing towards a small window. The window perfectly framed both ends of the bustling town below. It is said Regina would sit sternly in her chair looking down from her perch on the bombastic carelessness of the town below.
As you may by now perceive, much was said about Regina, but very little was ever said to her. She stalked through the town with silent purpose. As the sun rose every morning you could make out her silhouette walking briskly down the hill at an even and reasonable pace. She crossed the same streets at the same time purchasing the same things speaking to no one every day and at 6:45 PM could be seen on her pursuit up the hill into the setting sun. She was as ritualistically disciplined as time itself. She ground her daily grind into the ground. Nothing ever changed. (Sentences said with such certainty rarely hold true.)
On November the 13th, a brisk day in the heart of Autumn, Regina was making her daily rounds. Her sensible shoes beat to and fro from the Church to the baker’s and so on throughout the town. As night began to fall, she began her determined plod up the long hill. Her pace never changed, her shoulders never slouched. The world took its cue off the rhythm her trodding feet yet.
However, on this ordinary night in the heart of Autumn the steady rhythm of her steps was disrupted by a quick, ill-measured scuffling. Regina paid it no notice: it was not worth the expense of her expertly scheduled time. The footsteps grew closer and harder to ignore.
“Excuse me, Miss?” A voice broke the silence. “Miss?” It belonged to a young man. “Miss?” Regina hoped that if she made no response, he would lose interest. “Miss?” She rarely put stock in such nonsense as ‘hope’. “Miss?” The footsteps grew unbearably closer. “Miss? Miss? Miss? Miss?”
“Excuse me!” Regina whipped around with alarming agility. “Your flagrant usage of that word has rendered it entirely devoid of meaning and was such an aggravating maltreatment of the eardrum that I would much prefer to have been entirely deaf. As of now, It has been so overused I will most certainly be extracting the phrase from my vocabulary until I feel it has become neglected. Furthermore, as so I may enlighten you socially, if one is not responding it usually means that they do not wish to be spoken to. Now, you have already upset me and wasted a great deal of my time. Good day, sir.”
Regina began to swiftly move back up the hill, but was stopped almost immediately by another interruption of the world’s silence. “But Miss! I’ve something to ask you! Miss?”
Regina exhaled pointedly, “Well, what is it?” In the short amount of time Regina had made considerable movement up the hill. The blonde boy (upon looking at his unkempt hair and sloppy mannerisms the term “boy” seemed far more appropriate) ran to catch up with her, at one point tripping over his own feet. Regina cast her eyes so far into the back of her head she must have become incredibly well versed on the anatomy of the human brain.
“I was coming to ask you, Miss, if you had any spare change?”
“Is that all?”
“No, not quite, Miss. You see, I was also coming to ask - you see, I happened by your house earlier this morning, I didn’t go inside or nothing - I just noticed it and anyway - I was wondering if you had any room where I could stay for the night?”
“How dare you!” The words flew out of Regina’s mouth before she had a second to think, “come to me in this unkempt, disgraceful manner, take me from my duties, and bully yourself into my attention. Furthermore, you strange, disgusting creature, who bestowed you with the audacity to request your admittance into the home of a woman, nay, a stranger? Well, your sinful, careless, arrogance has served you no good with your quest. Now if you would be so kind, I will return home and take my remaining energy to clear this horrid incident from my mind. I recommend you do the same. Good day.”
Regina turned on her heels leaving the boy alone to work out some of the more complex words in her speech. She marched up the hill feeling shaken and indignant. The nerve people had! The absolute nerve! Even the birds seemed to be taken aback by this horrid encounter.
She stopped for the second time on her walk that day. The birds weren’t shocked. They weren’t moving: frozen in mid flight. The wind had stopped rustling the trees. The boy was still frozen behind her with (as you may have guessed) such an expression as to make one think that he hadn’t gotten very far in deciphering the speech. All this storming away, and she hadn’t moved even a foot from him.
For the first time in years, this cold, corpse of a person filled with fear - the stillness, the silence, the pointed abnormality of it all. She was surrounded by it. What could this be? Regina did not dream so that was out of the question. Could it be a curse? From what?