Welcome, friends! Come in, and let me tell you a Story A Day, all May long…
In June and July, I’ll be drafting two new Kifo Island novels. I know something about 5 of the 6 point of view characters, and I’ve got a sketchy idea of the plots – but I need to learn more about these people 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. Some of these stories may become part of the eventual novels, but my goal is to invite these characters to show me who they are and what they want – and how their lives fit together to make a novel.
I’ve been writing my story each day, but I slipped behind in my posting. I’m hoping to catch up by the end of today, and finish the month out on time.
I continue with May 15, following the daily prompt, “Rewrite a Story from Week One.”
Week Three is our Rescue Week – some easier prompts that offset the challenges behind and still ahead.
I’ve opted to return to my May 4 first-person story, 11:43pm Wednesday, and write it in the third person, limited, from Thersa’s POV.
Warning: This story is rated R for sexual themes and violence.
Truth Like a Brand
“Take a breath, sweeting. Before we look at this, take a breath.”
She gulps, then retches. “I can’t. I have to know, first!”
The poor little thing looked like she was about to crawl out of her skin and pass out at the same time. She was far too young for this, but that was the way of things here at Aneesha’s place. The clients often wanted the girls just blossoming, or even before they blossomed, and they had no concern for the pain and suffering inflicted.
If Theresa knew how the child felt, she could maybe spare her the moments of being caught between one truth, and another. It was clear enough to her, but Ubunta might not know the signs.
At seventeen, Theresa was less in demand, and had too much time to see the children who got trapped in Aneesha’s web used, abused, and cast aside as though they were so much trash. Once they broke, or their figures or wombs ripened, only a select few retained enough allure or purpose to be worth the price of keeping.
Ubunta pried Theresa’s hand open, her fingers strong and her nails digging in with an aggression she’d never shown any hint of before now. Like the man who was responsible for this, she took what she wanted.
Theresa surrendered. Maybe this child would survive. She’d though this would be the moment that Ubunta turned from victim to casualty. But if she’d fight, even for something so small, maybe she’d fight for her life, and her baby’s.
Ubunta stared at the test stick, her hand shaking, and she can’t seem to focus on it. She retches again, gulping air and nearly vomiting it back, and the stick falls from her hand and into her lap.
“Tell me!” Her whisper was a fierce little cry. If she woke Aneesha or the guards, her secret would be told before she had the chance to decide what to do, and the child murdered before it quickened. Theresa knew; the first time it happened to her, she thought she would rather die than be hollowed out. She’d found comfort in tending to the younger girls, but that hollowed feeling was something she swallowed down each time she was forced to drink the poisons that killed the helpless innocents conceived of the men who took her. Infants had no value, here, and were punished with death for the sins of their fathers, and the slavery of their mothers.
Theresa picked the stick up, slipped it into the bound shirt that served as her bra.“I think we’d best go outside, first, sweeting.” She urged Ubunta to her feet, to the door that led to the little patch of yard intended as “fresh air” and latrine, both.
The door burst open, and he was there. The child hissed as though she’d attack, but he only laughed, and used the wooden mask to shove Theresa outside and press Ubunta back to the bed by slow inches, as though enjoying the ability to force her, to own her in a new way.
The door slammed, leaving her outside, where the man’s grunts and the girl’s harsh breath twisted sickeningly into the stink of wastes, and where the positive pregnancy test burned truth like a brand on Theresa’s heart.