The Story of Annie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: December 11, 2019

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Submitted: December 11, 2019

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Annie was very excited. It was her big day. She’d been invited along to a talent agency for an audition. She’d spent ages getting to look her best, and dressed fashionably in a short skirt and top that suited the warm summer weather. She looked in the mirror. She wasn’t vain, but she liked what she saw. Brushing a hand carelessly through her lustrous long dark hair, she gave a slight pout as she applied her pale glitter lip gloss. Satisfied, she picked up her handbag, stuffing in the flyer that advertised the job.

As she walked to the bus stop, she wondered what her parents would say when they found out. She hadn’t mentioned the audition because every time she talked about such things, it always ended in a row. But if she got the job, she was sure they’d be ever so proud. What a great surprise they’d get! Feeling full of confidence, she hopped on the bus for the twenty-minute ride across the city. Very soon, she found herself outside the premises. It looked rather run-down, even more so than usual in the bright sunshine, so Annie pulled out the crumpled flyer to check the address. Yes, it was correct. She thought it a bit odd, but pushed open the door anyway. This was her big chance, and showbiz people were well known for being eccentric. The hallway had a damp musty smell, but she went in and up the stairs to the first floor, where she saw a plain wooden door with the words “Star Agency” emblazoned over the upper half. She knocked gently.
“Come in,” called a female voice.
Annie entered. An attractive woman in her mid-thirties sat behind a basic desk with a laptop computer. The rest of the room was sparsely furnished, but tidy and clean. Annie had been expecting a bit more glamour and was a little disappointed. “Can I help you?” the woman asked.
“Er, yes. My name’s Annie. I have an appointment with Mr. Bespalov.”
The woman smiled. “Oh, yes. You’re here for the dancing job on the cruise liner, right?"Yes".
“Please excuse the office. It’s temporary while our regular premises are being refurbished.” The woman picked up the phone and murmured a couple of words. Turning to Annie, she said, “Mr. Bespalov will see you now. You can go in.”
Annie smiled nervously and opened the door. The room wasn’t very big, but the walls were covered with posters and photographs of revues and other shows. A slim, handsome man in an open-necked shirt sat behind a busy-looking desk.
“Come in, please. I don’t bite,” he laughed. “Sit down and I’ll take your details.” He watched Annie closely as she walked towards him.

"Name?"
“Annie Winter.”

"Age?"

"27"

"Experience?"

“None really. I just love dancing. But I’m sure I can learn the routines. I’m very quick like that.”
Bespalov smiled as he noted down the details. “I’m sure you are. And why do you want to be a dancer?”
“I’ve just left school, and I didn’t do very well. Everybody tells me to go back and re-sit my exams, but I don’t want to. I want to make dancing my career.”
Bespalov put his pen down and looked Annie in the face. “Well, you’ve certainly got the body, and a pretty face, so let’s see how you move.” He motioned her to stand up. “Would you like any music in particular?”
Annie shrugged her shoulders. “I really like Beyoncé.”
“Then Beyoncé it is.” Bespalov pressed a couple of keys on his laptop. “Okay, here we go. Dance!”
The music started. Annie felt a little awkward, but her stiffness soon disappeared as she got into the rhythm.
“Fantastic,” Bespalov said as the track finished. “That was beautiful. You’re hired.”
Annie gasped. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“Don’t thank me. It’s your talent that did it. Now, while you’re here, I’ll just get Rose to bring in a contract and you can sign. And how about a little celebration drink? I think the occasion calls for one. Don’t you?”
“Not for me, thank you,” Annie said. “I don’t drink.”
“Good girl. How about coffee?”
“Yes, please. Sugar, no milk.”
Bespalov went to the office door. “Contract and two coffees, please, Rose.”
A few minutes later, Rose entered the room with a document and two cups of coffee.
“Read it through,” Bespalov said. “If there’s anything you don’t understand, I’ll explain. Most of it is standard legal jargon. Take your time, and enjoy your coffee. We’ll leave you to concentrate.”

Bespalov and Rose left the room. Annie started reading the closely-typed lines and took a sip of coffee. It tasted bitter, but she didn’t want to be rude and leave it, so she took another one. Halfway down the first page, she began to feel sleepy. She yawned. Then she felt her head becoming fuzzy and that was the last thing she knew until she heard a muffled scream.

She opened her eyes. It was dark, and she felt cold. Then she realized she didn’t have any clothes on. She felt engulfed by a wave of overwhelming terror. She was lying down and could feel naked flesh on either side of her. She tentatively reached out a hand and felt a breast. It was another girl. She began to panic. Real fear enveloped her. Where was she? She instinctively looked around, but couldn’t see anything at all, not even shapes. She guessed she was in a confined space like a cellar or some sort of container. Slowly, she recalled her interview. But Mr. Bespalov had been so friendly and nice. Surely he wouldn’t have… She tried to get up, but soon found there was no room to move because of other bodies lying around. She could make out some quiet snuffling, and one or two of the bodies started crying. A couple more woke up and screamed. They were trapped. She lay back down and sobbed. And waited.

She couldn’t say how long she was in the crate, but she was awoken from her fitful doze by the noise of jangling chains falling to the ground as a wide door opened and weak daylight filtered in. She blinked, getting used to the relative brightness.

Three men with guns entered.
“It stinks in here. Get out and line up by the wall!” they shouted.
Nobody moved. The men started kicking the nearest bodies. “Move!”
The girls slowly started to get to their feet, clutching their hands and arms in front of themselves to protect their modesty. Annie could see she was one of about sixty girls, all of a similar age. They started to shuffle towards the door. Three or four remained where they were. One of the guards went over and prodded them with his gun. “Dead!” he called out. “The boss won’t be happy.”

The girls were made to stand to attention against a wall in an open yard. Anyone who resisted received a pistol-whipping. After that, they were hosed down with ice-cold water.
“Now, if you girls do what you’re told, life’ll be sweet. But any tricks and…” The gunman made a slitting motion across his throat.

Over the next few days, the girls were processed and sent for special training for their future lives. For twelve hours a day or more, they were made to take part in the most perverse sexual rituals that a human mind could devise. Anyone who tried to put up a fight or struggle was thrashed soundly. Like the others, Annie was forced to comply. As the days passed, she started to become numb to the humiliation and pain, and just went through the motions like a robot. As horrific as it was, it was better than losing the skin off her back. Unknown to the girls, their food was being doctored with drugs, which not only lowered their resistance, but would make them dependent upon their captors for a future fix. Finally, the training came to an end. The girls were divided into five groups of ten (a further six had died) and sent to brothels for ‘discerning gentlemen.’

Annie’s days and nights became one long round of sexual abuse as she performed every degrading act her wealthy clients could think of. She didn’t dare refuse, as any reported misdeed was punished with a severe beating. Her only reward for compliance was a few hours’ sleep and some meager rations. She had no idea where she was and wanted to die more than anything in the world. When the girls were off duty, they shared some rooms in the attic of the building, but they were all too scared and terrified to talk much. Conversation consisted of no more than a few animalistic grunts as they each retreated into their own personal darkness. At first, Annie had resolved to stay strong so that one day she could escape, but like the fire in her eyes, the flame of rebellion was snuffed out.

One night, while she was resting in her attic room, she heard a lot of shouting down below. It was always noisy, but that night, there was also lots of screaming. Annie eased herself off her mattress and crept quietly downstairs to investigate. It was a raid. At last! She couldn’t believe her luck. She was going to be rescued! She approached a man in uniform for help, but to her horror, he just grabbed her, pushed her against the wall and ripped off her clothes. Then he raped her. She squeezed her eyes shut to black out the cruel, leering face. The attack was frenzied and barbaric, causing her to scream in pain until, totally numbed, she blacked out. As she lay in the corridor, another uniformed man viciously took his turn, and soon she was being passed around like a rag-doll as uniform after uniform brutalized her body and soul.

Some time later, the noise abated and her captors returned. Annie was thrown into a shower and cleaned up, but the water could make no impression on the blockage in her mind, as she switched off from the world and stared out with hollow haunted eyes.

Empty disconnected thoughts echoed around her vacant brain. All the hope she’d ever had was gone. She’d never see her family again. She needed to die. She just had to die. Then she would be safe. Then she could rest and be at peace.

But it was not to be. Life went on, though time now held no meaning for Annie. Every day was the same. One long round of terror. And nightmares controlled the hours of darkness. The beautiful, fresh-faced teenager was now a worn-out, beaten-up wreck; a drug-addicted sex slave with no future and no hope.

Annie couldn’t recall how long it had been, but once again, she found herself upstairs on her mattress when she became aware of an unusual amount of shouting and screaming down below. This time, she stayed where she was. If she didn’t move or make a noise, she might become invisible. But no. Her door was pushed open. She managed a scream, before she saw some kind of uniform enter her room.
“Leave me alone,” she wailed. “I can’t take any more. Go away. Please!” She screamed again.
“Okay, nice and easy. I’m on your side. I’m here to help.”
It was a female voice.
Annie hesitantly opened her eyes and looked up into the kindly face of a policewoman. “Please don’t beat me. I’ll do whatever you want. Just don’t hurt me anymore.”
“Nobody’s going to hurt you. Try to calm down. You’re safe now.”
Another policewoman appeared. “We’ve rounded the gang up. Now we’ve got to find all the girls and get them to hospital.”
Annie burst into tears. The policewoman cradled her in her arms. “There, there. Let it all out. Your nightmare’s over. You’re going home.”


© Copyright 2020 Dr. Shenita Etwaroo. All rights reserved.

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