Welcome, friends! Come in, and let me tell you a Story A Day, all May long…
Soon, I’ll be drafting two new Kifo Island novels. I need to learn more about my characters and their stories.
So, in May, I explore. Every day, I’ll follow the prompts in A Month of Writing Prompts 2016. I’ll play while moving through my planning efforts. My goal is to invite these characters to show me who they are, what they want – and how their lives fit together.
Week One’s theme is Limits, and Day One is a 30 minute story. I managed to remain within the timeframe, and only edited for typos. I also used the guest prompt by Thomas Maberry: A character scrolls through her phone, but none of the pictures are hers.
Warning: This story depicts the immediate aftermath of a rape. It’s for adult audiences only, and is definitely NSFW. Trigger warnings for violence, sexual content, and incest. Continue only if you’re OK with all of the above.
Ubunta lay there, gasping, the musty stink of the African mask still in her nose, mixing with the sweetly spicy curry and the hated smell of unwanted sex.
The man with the knife had moved it from her throat, but he was still only two steps away from the bed, and she didn’t dare to move. If she could, she would have stopped the tears that leaked from her eyes.
She’d run away to escape this, thought she was safe here at Aneesha’s restaurant. She’d been grateful – grateful! – for the clean pretty clothing, the jewelry, the decadent bed with its silk sheets, and for a job in the restaurant, seating the guests who came for the curries and fresh baked goods, and the lovely songstresses. She’d been dreaming of moving up to be a serving girl, or even one of the singers. She’d been known for her voice, in her village; if she could learn these songs, she could make them her own, and share the music within her.
But that was before Aneesha and the man had come to her, woken her at the point of that dangerous knife almost as long as a machete, and bid her to put on the costume and the mask, because they had a very special job, and she must begin right away.
She’d protested sleepily, wanting only to sink back into the dreams of a peaceful life she knew she could have, one different from anything she’d lived so far. But then there’d been the knife too near her, and the huge solid man like a tree trunk, not moving, cleaning it, the threat obvious. And Aneesha, in the same sweet voice she’d used that first day, when she found Ubunta pilfering from her refuse, told her that she had to pay for the bed and the clothes and the jewelry now, and that all she needed to do was to put on this costume and the mask, which smelled like stale fetid breath and moldering wood and rotting fabric, and lay there on the bed.
When she saw the skirt, she tried to slip into panties, but the tree trunk man had laughed at her, and Aneesha had said that there was no need for those; the customer didn’t want to have to strip her out of anything.
“You did well, pet, and you’ll do even better the next time, won’t you, sweeting?” Theresa stroked her hair, as though it was just another night, as though she wasn’t crying, as though the man’s semen wasn’t leaking out from between her thighs, the way the tears leaked out between her eyes.
It was as though this was all normal. Was it?
What had she been hired to do?
But there was no need to ask; not anymore. Not with her breasts raw from the man’s frantic sucking and biting as he shoved himself inside her with animal grunts. It had been over almost before it began, but she would have the bruises and the shock for much longer. Now, here, where she’d thought at last she was safe from such attacks.
When it was her brother, at least, she had been able to see his face, hate him, even spit at him if she was willing to pay the fierce, ear-ringing cuff he’d give her as her payment. Too often, she hadn’t been, and the poison of his brutality would fester in her, making any moment of peace or joy she could find a crippled and sickly thing, a bird with a broken wing.
“Ah, sweet Anya. It will get easier. You’re young, but it’s the way of life, and you’ll learn to accept it. Til then, when you’ve finished, I’ll sit with you, through the night, and help to ease the hurts of it. When you think about it, it’s not such a bad life. The beds are clean, and so are we, and there is plenty enough good food to eat, and music, and one another. Will you let me climb in beside you, sweeting, so I can hold you, and we can send him away?” She gestured to tree trunk man, and Ubunta nodded, wishing now that she’d given Theresa her true name.
Her only friend slipped into the bed, wrapped arms around her, and then yelped. “Damn, dropped my phone…hang on, sweeting. I’ll find us some sweet music, to take the edge off the hurt of it.” She fished the device out, began scrolling – “Wait – these are pictures of you, sweeting, but they aren’t ones I took. None of these are….is that you, as a little girl? How would these get on my phone?”
Ubunta took the phone, and stared, shaking, until she dropped it. She felt sick, and huddled into Theresa’s breasts, wordlessly.
She knew who the man had been. The same man she’d run away to escape; he’d followed her here.
Her brother would follow her anywhere. It was just as Mama had said; she belonged to him.