The next day, as she was scrubbing the dining table after breakfast, Canergak entered the room, followed by a girl who looked to be nearly Lisa’s age. “This is Lisa,” he said to the girl, gesturing in Lisa’s direction. “She’ll show you what needs to be done.” And with that, he simply turned on his heel, his cane resounding on the floor as he left them.
“Hi,” the girl said, holding out her hand. “I’m Eliza.” When Lisa took her hand to shake it, Eliza leaned in and whispered, “He’s certainly creepy.”
Lisa stifled a giggle. “He is,” she whispered back, “but he’s not around often.”
“That’s a relief.” Eliza rolled her eyes and grinned, then continued in a normal tone, “So where should I start?” Lisa smiled back and led her to the kitchen, where a stack of dirty dishes waited, and she began telling Eliza about the duties they’d have throughout the day.
Over the next few days, Lisa got to know Eliza fairly well. She was a vivacious brunette, about a year younger than Lisa. She was intelligent, and a hard worker, picking up the routine easily. She told Lisa that she’d learned of the asylum job openings through an employment agency that specialized in finding positions for girls as maids and housekeepers. As the middle child of a family of nine, she was certainly ready to find employment of her own, to help ease the burdens of the family.
Lisa found herself warming quite a bit toward the girl. There was, however, one definite problem. Eliza simply couldn’t seem to take anything really seriously–and that included the inmates. She seemed to enjoy stirring them up just to watch the tempests that occurred, no matter how often Lisa begged her not to. The orderlies often had their hands full by the time Eliza was done with any chores in the cell areas.
As the week neared its end, Lisa pondered what to do. She didn’t think Eliza was the right person for the job, but simply dismissing her didn’t seem right, either. Finally, she remembered the hospital The hospital, which Canergak owned, and which was also still short of staff. Eliza certainly didn’t seem to mind dealing with blood–or other bodily fluids–and Lisa guessed that the patients there might appreciate her cheerfulness more than the asylum inmates. And if she went too far with her mischief… well, Dr. Viper likely had a better chance of making her listen than Lisa did.
So, on Saturday evening, when Canergak called her into his office again, she explained, under his guiding questions, her impressions of Eliza, and tentatively made her suggestion of moving her to work at the hospital. And Canergak… simply nodded. “Very well–I’ll make the arrangements now. Tomorrow, there will be a new girl here.”
Lisa nodded dumbly, and scurried out when he dismissed her. She was still astonished that the man would actually listen to her on this subject, when he was so dismissive the rest of the time… and still had the potential to be very dangerous to her, if he found out what she truly was.
The next morning brought Jane to the asylum. She was about as different from Eliza as it was possible to get–quiet, mousy, placid, rather dull of wit. But she, too, was a hard worker, taking on any task uncomplainingly, and the calmness she projected, even in the face of the worst the inmates could throw at her, actually seemed to have a positive effect on them. Lisa was more than happy, at the end of the week, to recommend that Jane stay on staff.
The third girl they tried quit after just two days. As for the fourth girl, Martha, Lisa was afraid at first that they’d have to send her away in as short a time. She was terrified of the inmates, terrified at the sight of blood–even terrified of Canergak. But then Lisa hit on the thought of assigning her to the kitchen and dining room, to work only in that environment. It turned out to be a rather good idea, as Martha showed a definite aptitude for cooking, and the cook enjoyed her company. Canergak never ate with the rest of the staff, so it was unlikely she’d see much of him, and her work there would free Lisa and Jane from the kitchen duties.
With that addition, Canergak halted the hiring for the time being. “We’ll see if the three of you are enough to deal with the workload,” he told Lisa. She nodded, though secretly, she was disappointed. While Jane and Martha were nice enough, she’d been hoping for someone she could confide in, someone who could help her with her secret task of discovering what Canergak was truly up to. She’d have to think about what, if anything, she could do to gain herself an ally.