This story is by Jade Hinder and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
She wakes up. The cold smothers her hands and damp drops onto her bare feet. She hugs herself on the bed of straw; stained with blood and dried piss. A snail trail of snot runs across her top lip and adds itself to the rest of the crap that has seeped into the bed.
A broken, wooden table and cardboard boxes stand to the left of her, as they have been since she has lived in this basement. The mould in the corner above her bed expands everyday, like a looming reminder that she will never escape.
She shivers. Will she be getting a visitor today? She stands, and slowly shuffles over the concrete ground to the end of the bed; before the chain around her ankle stop her from going any further. She uses some straw to mark the 1,528th day on the wall, benefitting from the only light coming from a glory hole in the door.
Her turquoise nightgown falls down her shoulder. She pulls it back up. She’s become tall since she was first brought here when she was fourteen. Her blonde hair is now greasy, matted and down to her hips.
A key turns in the lock. She rushes back to her bed and brings her knees up to her face, the position she has been told to do since being a captive. The door opens, revealing a silhouette. She shields her eyes from the strong orange light.
“Take a shit.” His Queen’s English accent is muffled by a thin piece of cloth around his nose and mouth. He strides towards her and unlocks her chains.
“I don’t need to go yet.” She doesn’t feel the normal tightness in her belly and the rumble of her arse.
He backhands her in the face, and she hobbles over to the bucket in the corner opposite the end of her bed. He stands, watching; like a lion stalking its prey. She pulls up her nightgown and squats over the top. A cockroach rushes past her feet and she lifts her toes up.
If she won’t go now, then she would have to live with the rancid stench of her shit until tomorrow morning. She strains to push something out; her face tightens and burns like fire.
She continues to push, and after a while, it smoothly slides out and plops at the bottom of the bucket; mixing with the piss from yesterday. A few drops splash back onto her.
He hands her a toilet roll to wipe herself. She notices dark lumps of blood. She hasn’t bled for 3 months. She knows what it means, and as he isn’t looking, she quickly folds it up into the palm of her hand and passes the roll back.
He gives her a clean, pink summer dress; the same one, as far as she can tell, that they always make her wear. She finishes buttoning it up and shifts awkwardly on the spot. All is quiet for a moment, then he takes the bucket to be cleaned, and locks the door behind him. Once he’s gone, she sits on the uncomfortable bed and wonders what’s in store for her today. She unfolds her fingers and cradles the bloody tissue… Another miscarriage.
She gets up, now free from her chains for the rest of the day. She walks to the far-right corner of the basement. Where another mould marking lives; which after a few months in this prison, she imagined to be the contours of her mother’s cheek. She traces the marking with her index finger.
“Morning mum. It was really hard to go again today, it’s getting worse. My thumbs still twitch a little, not much anymore. I think the main thing I miss from my phone is Candy Crush. It would at least take me away from this boredom. I don’t even miss Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.
“I miss you. I miss your laugh when you watched Little Britain. I miss you and dad dancing to ‘All You Need is Love’ by the Beatles every Sunday morning.”
‘Oh, darling. Keep strong. Hopefully they will end it soon. Then you can be with us.’ She hears her mother’s calming voice speaking back to her.
“Yes. Hopefully soon.”
2 years earlier…
They gave me a white loose silk dress to wear. I was sitting on the edge of my bed wondering what the day would bring. I heard heavy footsteps coming towards the door, keys jangled as my cell was unlocked. My abductor strode in, wearing a tuxedo; and seized my arm, pulling me to my feet.
“You are going keep your eyes on the ground, do you hear me? Don’t scream.”
I nodded my head. He pushed me to start walking. I made my way up the stairs where another man was waiting for me, wearing the exact same thing. They grabbed an arm each and walked me through the stylish kitchen. The worktops were obviously marble, but it looked like there were speckles of gold mixed in. My bare feet slapped against the cold mosaic floor.
We walked quickly to the huge garage at the end of the garden. The cold evening air engulfed me as we walked. They bundled me into a clean black car, with a winged figure at the front. They said nothing as they got in. One driving, and one sitting beside me, probably to make sure I don’t try and make contact with anyone as we drive by.
“Remember, keep your eyes on the ground and keep quiet.” I nodded my head in reply. After twenty minutes, the car stopped near the Big Ben. The men got out; then me. One of them grabbed my arm and walked me up some cold stone steps, and through the door. I immediately heard indistinct male chatter all around me. They led me past the black trousers and shiny black shoes into a marble floored area. It was quiet in here.
“Stay here. Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to.”
I heard his footsteps leaving, back towards the other men. I looked up, ever so slightly. Ten girls, wearing loose white dresses; one even had what looked like a diamond collar, and a leash. It looked like we were in a ballroom. The girls looked to be around my age, although one was definitely younger.
The men trickled into the ballroom. I kept my head down. A wrinkly hand cupped my chin and lifted my head up. The man in front of me was old, maybe in his sixties. He looked at me like you would a leg of lamb, or a chair. He hobbled round to look at the back of me and I quickly looked around the room. There were at least twenty other men; all in tuxedos. There was a small crowd around the young girl, undressing her. Feeling her small, pure body.
“Is she shaved?” The old man asked.
“Good. May I take a proper look?”
He lifted my arms up as the old man took my dress off over my head. He bent down and looked at my vagina. He spread my legs a little and put a finger inside of me.
“It feels tight… How much?”
“What would you like?”
“I want it on top, and a blow job.”
“Spit or swallow?”
She’s brought back to reality with footsteps getting closer. The flap at the bottom of the door opens, and an open tin of cold baked beans is pushed through with a wooden cup of water. She’s only allowed a plastic fork after a visit; when she can prove she’s been good. She digs her hand in, and the wet juice covers her fingers. She shovels them into her mouth.
She wonders if she will ever get to eat something other than beans again. She tries to remember what normal food is like, the smells, the texture, and the taste. But her mind is blank, fuzzy. She vaguely remembers the chunky soup thing that her mother made her when she was ill; snuggled up in her duvet on the sofa in the living room, watching Disney films like The Little Mermaid, or her absolute favourite, Lion King. She rested her head on her mum’s lap, and had her hair stroked.
She places the empty can on the floor, and notices the flap is a little ajar. She puts her ear to the door, and hearing nothing, she feels around to see what is there. Something sharp catches her finger. She grabs it and pulls it carefully through. She holds it in her hands. Her finger bleeds. It’s the lid from the baked beans. It must’ve come off as they pushed the can in. She sits on the floor holding the lid for a long time. She hears heavy footsteps and shoves it under her pillow.