I wake from the cot as the room door rattles open, but I don’t move. I’ve grown use to it, but sometimes I still tremble. There’s always some pervert that wants me. I heard one guy say I barely looked ten years-old and it made him hard. Bianca says my young pussy makes them go wild. I didn’t know what that meant until another girl named Jasmine told me before she died.
Jasmine knew a lot about Bianca because she was one of the original people that kidnapped her. She used to beat Jasmine mercilessly for being too hopeful. She always had dreams of escaping and would try repeatedly until one day she just disappeared. We thought she finally did it. The next day Bianca threw Jasmine’s head into my cell and left it there for two days. I knew from then on out this was where I was going to die.
This time he’s not here to take me; he tosses a Barbie on my cot then slams the door shut. I sit up slowly and turn on the dim lamp beside me on the floor. She’s dressed as a nurse smiling from what I imagine is pride in her work. It’s my birthday again; I’m officially a teenager. That one rare happy thought makes a grin form on my chapped lips as I stand. I head to a corner where three other Barbie dolls rest so that they can welcome another member.
“Happy birthday.” Alicia says somberly to me across the room. She’s been my best friend for two years. We’ve seen a lot of girls come and go, but we always remain. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I want to feel sorry for her, but I can’t. This is my day, the only day I get to myself. I know most people love their birthday, but no one will ever feel as special on their birthday as I do. That’s the only day where I don’t have to get beatings or let men suck and touch on my body. I don’t have to suck and touch perverts, I get to sit alone in my cell and daydream; I get to be free. The birthday girl is coveted around here amongst us hostages.
I got snatched on my way home from school. It was around sunset and a short and pudgy guy called out to me. He said my mom was in an accident and asked him to get me. He knew her name, he knew my name and I trusted him to take me to see my mom at the hospital. The only thing I remember is riding by my house for the last time.
“You think they’ll give you cake this year?” Alicia says pulling me from my thoughts. I shrug.
“You can have it if they do.” I say softly still toying with my dolls. I know that brightens her mood.
“They gonna let you wash in the tub?”
“I don’t know.”
“I wanna wash real good on my birthday in the tub.”
Tub washing is luxury. I learned that only high paying customers like us cleaned from head to toe. Normal johns just lay us as is. It’s a lot of those so we may get to wash every three days or so unless our periods are on then it’s every other day since some johns like the blood.
“I wonder if my parents still look for me.” I say as I walk back to my cot. I haven’t shared that thought since I been here, but it’s always on my mind. Do they still care? Are they still searching? Do I still matter?
“I know mines are, they still believe. I just,” the door opens and the man who snatched me stands there. Alicia and I both know it’s time for her to do her bid. It puts a lump in my throat that in a few hours my friend will come back home bruised up and shaking in shock from being brutalized. I look away in shame for my relief that it’s not me.
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