Yesterday everything had felt so simple. There had been almost no choice: she could have continued exactly the same way and die, or she could flee. So yes she chose to escape, to leave and never look back.
But now… in the cold streets with nowhere to go, no one to turn to, she wondered. She was hungry and thirsty. She might yet die a worse death than the one she’d expected at the House. No she shook herself.
Yesterday there was no horizon but misery and death. Now might look terribly scary but at least she was no longer in fear of him. He wouldn’t dare going to the authorities: he would have to explain too much. Then again, who knew? He had to be protected somehow: how else could he do what he did? She, on the other hand, had no papers, no identity. She was no one. They could arrest her and return her to him, as if she were his property. Who was she kidding? In many ways she was. In all the ways that counted in this world. No. No longer. She’d escaped.
“Hey sweet one.”
Yesterday there was one man to be afraid of. Today every single one of them was a potential danger. She whipped around, facing the one who had called her. She swallowed when she took the sight of him. He was at least six feet, and wide at the shoulders. If he were to attack her she would have no way to defend herself.
“Yes?” She snapped.
“Don’t be afraid.” He said with a smile.
“Yes you are. Terrified. You look like you could use some help.”
She shook her head. She didn’t need a man’s help. It always had to be paid for. The Master said he would help her when he found her. Instead he’d turned her into a slave and he beat her when she didn’t do what he wanted. She’d learned to fear the crop and the sight of men. It didn’t matter that the man had a kind look about him or that his frown showed concern. No she couldn’t trust him.
Yesterday, she’d escaped 5 years of hell. She wouldn’t enter another today. But…
“Look, I won’t get closer. But if you’re hungry, there’s a shelter one street away. It’s called Better Tomorrows.” Ironic. “Tell them Sean sent you. They’ll give you food and clothes.”
Hesitantly she cast a glance at him. He didn’t move. Keeping her eyes trained on him, she stepped back. A small smile curved his lips. As if he understood why she would do it this way. Suddenly she turned and ran. She didn’t stop until she reached the shelter. She hovered on the doorstep.
Yesterday she was a slave, torn from her home and brought in this country to serve a man who hurt her every chance he got. No. She wouldn’t enter. She couldn’t trust a man. They only wanted one thing. She whipped around. And screamed.
“Oh yes.” The big man from before said. “You’ve already been trained. I can tell.”
His arms enfolded her quicker than she could move. Within seconds, her hands were restrained behind her back. Fear overwhelmed her; not again. What would he do? Phantom pain in her back where the welts of her last lashing blistered her skin.
“I won’t hurt you.” He breathed in her ear. “You’ll enjoy this.”
There was a promise in his tone; she shuddered. And she knew herself well enough to know that fear was mingled with anticipation. He was different from the Master: he had taken what he wanted with the crop, with fear. This man would make her give everything with desire and need. Like now.
Yesterday was gone and tomorrow would merely see her willing to accept her fate. Better tomorrow? She had just exchanged one master for another. She would still be a slave. Shedding tears was useless. But what else could she do? She breathed back.
In response to Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness prompt Yes
PS: for those who would be interested “tomber de Charybde en Scylla” means “to jump from the frying pan into the fire”…