Anna crawled across the beige carpet to reach the banister and looked down at the boisterous party below. The hall was aglow with the candles that had been fitted into the wall holders for three days now. A band was playing, half hidden behind the curtains at one end of the hall. The flowers arranged in bunches added colour to the corners. The women glittered in their sequined clothes and the masks they wore for the Halloween party. The men glided about, nursing their drinks, flitting from group to group.
Anna put a hand on the side of her stomach and groaned. She did not want to make a sound but it would not matter. The music was loud and no one would want to look up the darkened staircase and the corridor beyond. She thought back to the beating and her stomach lurched again. Her hand had a large welt from the glass of the broken crystal vase. She had been cleaning the hall along with the other servants when she had turned around and knocked the vase off the pedestal.
Anna crept down the corridor and pushed open a door. The floor was a mess of gowns, dresses, scarves and trinkets. The girls had been in a hurry to get dressed. Anna ran her good hand through the clothes and picked a shimmery gown and mask. Tonight was the night she could finally run away.