Everything hurt as life returned to her veins. In mustering the strength to open her eyes, she allowed herself a moment to drift back to the green pastures of home; sunning herself amongst the wild flowers whilst birdsong was carried to her on a gentle summer breeze.
Too sore to dream, her pulsating temple quickly tuned back to the incessant thump, thump, thump of the bass line downstairs. It was as if home never existed.
She traced her focus over each limb, carefully assessing what she could, couldn’t and shouldn’t move. A daily routine.
Nothing broken this time. Maybe a rib or two. Another cracked tooth: a tell tale metallic taste overpowering all of her other senses.
The usual throbbing down below.
Wincing, she turned on to her side and opened her eyes.
“Elana? Are you there” she rasped, her dry words scratching the darkness.
There was no response.
This was not unusual. Demand usually peaked on Saturday nights and the pair would be worked in tandem, only getting released to rest when the last man went home to his wife and family. Elana was either working or sleeping, just like Paulina.
Paulina couldn’t remember when she had passed out. Was it day or night? She had begged him to give her medicine, to numb her pain. There were maybe five or six, then…?
What she didn’t know couldn’t hurt Paulina anymore, but Elana….
…she was new, only sixteen.
Elana’s story was so familiar to Paulina. She couldn’t quite believe that anyone still fell for the old “Models wanted” sign. She still remembered her own excitement as European Borders melted eastward, opening up opportunities for fame and fortune, the streets of Western Europe famously paved with gold.
Those days saw so many of her wide-eyed contemporaries packing their nap sacks, never to see their families again.
She had no idea how many other girls were stuck in the trade. Being moved from city to city, cell to cell. One thing never changed wherever she went. The disgusting perverts. Men with urges you just wouldn’t believe if you met them under conventional circumstances. The lean, listless Eastern European girls for hire, there to fill the voids respectable Western ones wouldn’t.
Footsteps echoed on the staircase. Paulina lay down and slowed her breathing, pretending that she was still out cold. The door creaked open and a looming shadow appeared.
There was a shove from the shadow. Another human being joined Paulina in her murky cave.
It wasn’t Elana. She would have announced herself by struggling. A pointless waste of energy as far as Paulina was concerned.
She kept still, knowing that a replacement girl was not good news in terms of Elana’s current whereabouts or well being.
The door slammed shut, she was long immune to the sound of the chain being padlocked.
Once the giant’s footsteps were out of earshot, Paulina spoke in slow, clear English.
“Hello… Who is here?”
There was a rustle in the corner.
Paulina took a sharp intake of breath.
A tiny voice spoke,
“My name is Thom and I am eight…
This is my first participation in the Speakeasy Challenge for Yeah Write, a brilliant forum providing weekly prompts to inspire short works of fiction (750 words or fewer).
This week’s prompt is to use the words “Everything hurt” in the opening line of my piece together with taking any inspiration I wish from the attached video prompt: Brother, by Sari Rodrig . Although my piece is not nearly as heartwarming as this short film (or at all!), I felt that Paulina was a character forced into having a machine-like existence. I look forward to discussing this piece with you and welcome comments on my writing style and/or subject matter, whether good, bad or ugly.