Disclaimer: This piece of fiction contains depictions of abuse, sexual assault, violence, and human trafficking. This could be potentially triggering and is not suitable for sensitive readers. This is a work of fiction, but if you are or know of someone who is being trafficked/suspect someone you know is being trafficked, please
Call: 1 (888) 373–7888
Text: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)
If you are, know of, or suspect child abuse, please visit https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/reporting/how/ to learn how to easily report it.
A young woman in tight shorts and a low-cut tank top stuck out her thumb along the highway as a pair of headlights crested the hill and shone against a blood-red sunset. She slung her backpack on and grabbed her duffel bag as the car slowed to a stop near her. They rolled down the passenger window and the woman saw a younger couple- seemingly in their 20’s- with what appeared to be their first baby on the way.
“Hey there, where are you headed?” they asked. A small dog yapped merrily in the backseat.
“I’m heading up past Sylvian, but I’m allergic to dogs,” the provocative woman said.
“Ah, okay,” the man said, failing to mask his disappointment.
“Thanks for stopping to check, though,” she said with a dazzling smile.
The man was hesitant to pull away, his gaze fixated on the hitchhiking woman. He soaked in the image of her: long dark brown hair hanging in low braided pigtails, sun-tanned golden skin, a slightly pointed nose, and full lips. He would’ve noticed her eyes were both blue and green if he wasn’t straining to see the outline of her nipples pressed against the thin fabric of her top. The pregnant woman nudged her partner and gave him a look. He shook his head as if breaking a spell.
“Alright, safe travels,” he said.
“Thanks, you too! And congratulations!” she said as they pulled off the shoulder. She smirked at how the couple ogled her, though the woman did a much better job hiding it.
The sun dipped below the horizon before the next pair of lights illuminated her body. This time the lights were attached to a semi-truck. The breaks squealed as they worked to bring the massive load to a halt.
“What’s a pretty young thing like you doin’ out here all by your lonesome?” he asked.
“Just waiting to find the right person to give me a ride,” she said.
“Where are you goin’?”
“I like to go where the wind takes me,” she said flashing a flirtatious grin.
He could not believe his luck; or the lack of hers. “Well, hop in Little Lady!”
She grabbed her bags and hoisted herself into the cab.
“What’s your name, Doll?” he said.
Whatever I want you to call me, old man. “Tasha,” she said, twirling her braid.
“I’m Johnny. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Tasha,” he said with a growing… smile.
“The pleasure is mine, Johnny,” she said.
“So you like to travel?” he asked.
“It’s all I know.”
“That’s pretty neat,” he said and pulled back on the road.
“So where are you headed? she asked.
“Tennessee,” he said.
“A little ways off, huh?” she said.
“Yup. Looks like we are going to be together for a while,” he said, groping her as much as possible with his eyes.
“I guess so,” she said settling into the chair. She kept her bags wrapped around her legs and watched as the final traces of daylight leeched from the sky. “Is that a picture of your dog?” she asked, turning her attention inside the cab.
“Yeah, he’s a good boy. Only true family I got,” he said.
“Awe, cute. I love dogs,” she said.
“Oh, yeah?” he asked, “Sounds like you’re my type of girl.”
They drove in silence for several minutes before turning off the main highway.
“There’s a rest stop over this way,” he said.
“I must’ve missed the sign,” she said. She played with her hair and felt for the long, sharp hairpins decorating her braids.
“It’s a privately owned spot, they don’t really use signs for the public,” he said winding down the road.
She untangled her legs from her bags and drew a pin from her hair, pressing it against her arm as they slowed to a stop. Johnny cut off the engine and a sudden quiet hung heavy in the night.
“So, Tasha,” he said unbuckling, “How are you expecting to compensate me for all these miles I’m driving you?” His face contorted into a twisted smile.
“I didn’t realize you were expecting compensation for a choice you made of your own free will,” she said.
He laughed. “How much freewill do either of us really have in this situation?”
“More than you would probably expect,” she said.
“Ha! We have protocols for feisty gals like you,” he leaned over and caressed her face, then stuffed his hand down her pants, prodding his fingers inside her, “I like how we break them with a-” His sentence ended abruptly as Tasha used her hairpin to slice his neck.
“Looks like you won’t get a chance to break me,” he said.
Blood oozed from his wound. She snarled at him and stabbed his erection a few times with the bloodied pin, eliciting screams through the garbled bubbling. He tried to grab at her, fingers curling inside of her as he desperately grasped for the control he felt just moments ago. “Awe, you want my body?” She asked as he weakened. “You want to see my body?” She asked, lifting her tank top. He looked into her eyes confused, horrified, and still somewhat aroused. “Well, too fuckin bad old man,” she said, plunging the pin through his temple and into his brain. He convulsed for a moment, then slumped over limp.
She twisted it and wriggled it around, scraping at the vulnerable flesh of his brain for good measure. She took a deep breath as the high of the thrill peaked. She would ride this as long as she could. Though she felt immense pleasure, her mind was still sharp. He mentioned that he knew the owner of this place- She looked around in the dark -which appears to be someone’s property. She pulled the pin out of the man’s head and brandished it. She slung her backpack and duffel bag over her shoulders and slid out of the truck. She kept her eyes and ears straining for any signal of others.
She crept to the back of the semi and looked around. She could not see or hear anyone approaching, so she turned to face the truck. She opened the back and slid inside. Check for supplies then get the fuck out. She thought to herself. She crept through and found crates of fruit. She grabbed several of each and stuffed them into her bags. Peaches, cherries, apples, lemons… She thought to herself that something felt strange about this truck. Why was he pulling so many different kinds of fruit in relatively small quantities?
She grabbed several pears and found her answer. Beneath the fruit was a hand. She dug through the fruit, found her wrist, and checked her pulse. It was weak but consistent. She turned to the cherries and searched. She dug a few inches deeper from where she foraged and found another body. Again alive, but this one appeared much younger. In the cherries… She thought, disgusted.
How do we escape? She thought. She couldn’t pick them up and haul them to safety alone. She didn’t know how to drive a semi or have the license endorsement to do so, but there were far too many people to move for any other options. She would drive them to the closest town, her horrible driving would get attention, and when she was found, she could reveal the truth and save these women. It was settled.
She listened hard and poked her head out to scan her surroundings before hopping out with a muffled thud. She glanced over her shoulder again then faced the truck and fumbled to close it. A branch crunched behind her, and a cloth darted over her face. She kicked out, but missed, feeling herself fade with each passing second. Her whole body relaxed as she fell into the arms of another man.
Tasha awoke; and heard the sound of air conditioning and a man breathing beside her. She was tied onto what felt like a doctor’s exam table, with her feet in stirrups.
“Ahh, so you finally wake up,” a man said.
She was blindfolded, but turned in his direction. “Care to fill me in on the situation?” she said with a sarcastic edge.
“Fill you in, we will indeed,” he laughed to himself.
“Oh, my god. Are you fuckin’ serious?” she said distinctly unimpressed.
“Serious as can be, but first…” he said, then trailed his fingers against her face from the opposite direction of his voice, startling her. “I have a few questions for you.”
“I plead the fifth,” she said, slowly flexing against her restraints, loosening them ever so slightly.
The man laughed. “Oh my! Well, aren’t you fun?”
“How ‘bout you untie me and we find out, eh? Don’t even have to take the blindfold off for good measure,” she said.
“I think not, my spicy Little Puppet,” he said. “That brings us right back to the task at hand. We need to have a talk.”
“Oh really, about what?” she asked, pulling on her restraints again.
“We’ll start with the contents of your bag.”
“What of it?”
“How about the pills, cash, and weapons?”
“Oh, so the fun things.” She flashed him a devilish grin.
“What are you doing with them?” he demanded.
“Nunyuh,” she said.
He slammed his hand on the table between her legs. “Now, you listen here, little girl! You are in a lot of trouble! Girls like you with such a disrespectful attitude are usually sent to have that beaten out of them first thing. I thought I saw the potential for a shred of intelligence with you, but if all you have is sass, then I won’t let you earn special privileges!” he barked.
“Okay, geez. I’m listening,” she said.
“Aha!” he said. “There is hope for you yet!”
“What do you want from me?” she asked, apprehensive about his extreme mood shifts.
“To answer my questions and demonstrate your unwavering devotion and obedience,” he said. She grimaced. “You can make whatever faces you want to, I’m only interested in the lips that don’t lie,” he said, cupping her exposed sex and pressing two fingers in her slick hole. He leaned in close to her face and chuckled at his own joke.
Anger flooded through Tasha. She tugged one hand free of the loosened restraints and snapped her fist into his face. “Bitch...” he said with a shocked amusement. He held down her wrists as she writhed in place. “I am as disappointed as I am impressed, Little Puppet.” He nuzzled his face to hers, smearing his blood on her, then released her and dodged as she swiped at him once more. “Alas, Boss said not to take any chances with you, so you’ll have to spend some time learning manners.” She heard footsteps just before large hands gripped her.
“Wait, what does that mean?” she demanded. The voice chuckled and pinched her nipple as the strong hands pulled her away. “I will end you, you fuckin’ bastard! Let me go! Let me- fuck you!” she shouted as they took her away.
She heard the sounds of sex and various levels of pleasure and resistance grow louder; then she heard the first man call from behind, “No permanent damage, and avoid the face! That’s money right there!”
She rolled her eyes behind the blindfold. She felt the smooth tiled floors and occasional rugs as she stumbled, trying to keep up with the men dragging her. The space had a heavy quietness, then a door would open and the sounds of sex or crying would sharply increase.
She barely caught herself on the table the men thrust her against. One hand forced her head down onto the table, preventing her from standing up. The other man pressed his face to her genitals, then was swiftly kicked by Tasha.
“Fuckin, bitch.” The man grumbled. The men raped, flogged, and interrogated Tasha to no avail. Though her body was exhausted, she exploited every vulnerability the men presented with jabs, kicks, or punches. Any time she was repositioned, she would strike when they were distracted by moving her. Any time they got too comfortable thinking she had given up, WHAM!
The men grew frustrated and eventually put her back to sleep with chloroform. The next day was more of the same. They took her blindfold off to force her to watch her unconscious body be raped. Instead of this breaking her psychologically, it simply improved her aim and timing of counter-attacks. The third day of this routine yielded few results, leading to the first man she woke up to return to check-in on her.
“Hello, my Spicy Puppet,” a voice said, tilting her chin up.
“Go…fuck yourself,” Tasha said with an eroded conviction.
“Mmm, still unbroken, like a mustang,” he said, gently running his fingers through her hair. She leaned into his gentleness before realizing what she had done, then jerked away. “It shouldn’t be too long now before you cave. I wonder what is so important that you put up such a fight to hide, but I also love to watch you resist. It’s so exciting,” he said, running his hands across her body. “I am your owner now. You may call me Master, Keeper, or Lord. I am responsible for your training, education, and behavior. Even still, I am fascinated by your endurance and I am delighted to see how long this act will last. I do hope you won’t disappoint.” He rubbed his thumb against her lips. She tried to bite at him, but he pulled his hand away too quickly. “Good girl,” he said.
“Why do you even care so much about my past?” she asked.
“Because, Mustang, we expect absolute obedience. If we ask a question, the obedient thing to do is to immediately answer with full honesty.”
“Fat fuckin chance,” she said gritting her teeth.
“If you won’t talk, we might as well begin your training,” he said. He inserted a small dildo gag with the assistance of one of his cronies and fastened it. It tickled her gag reflex and she tried to jerk away from it. “Ah-ah, relax and it will all be so much easier,” he said.
They dripped a liquid that burned into her nose and held her head down to let it sink in. Within minutes she felt her body tingle and crave physical touch, her depth perception continually distort, and her train of thought elude her. He held a vibrator against her clit, despite sluggish attempts at escape. She whimpered and moaned at the pleasure, already feeling an orgasm build.
“You won’t… you won’t break me,” she muffled around the gag, tensing herself as much as possible against the pleasure.
“But we must, Little Puppet. We must break you so we can rebuild you into perfection,” he said, prodding inside of her and rubbing her G-spot.
She cried out and orgasmed. Intense pleasure surged through her as her head and vagina throbbed. Her skin prickled with pleasure, singing out at every touch. Her mind disconnected, yet felt like it would explode, completely enveloped.
He continued stroking her through her orgasm, prolonging and intensifying it. “I know you’ve been resisting over the last few days I’ve owned you, but I see that tough-girl facade crumbling. I know you are afraid of what you might think of yourself if you are a good girl, but you know the truth of your life’s purpose. I can feel it from you. You know you were made to be fucked,” he said, then slid his cock into her. He raped her for hours, eliciting countless orgasms from her, then let his followers take turns after. When they were done, she was reduced to a sobbing orgasm-exhausted puddle. Her holes were sorely stretched, but still tingling pleasurably as she came down from the drugs.
Her Keeper stroked her hair, face, and skin gently saying, “Maybe we won’t break you, yet, but how about you open up just a crack and if you are a good girl, then you can sleep with the other women, if you are bad you will be sent to The Post with no food or water for three days.” She groaned and nodded her head. He pulled out the gag and she took a deep breath. She couldn’t even move her head to look at him.
“I like to party,” she said.
“And?” he prompted.
“And I like to protect myself,” she said. “Don’t know how you didn’t piece that one together…” she grumbled. Someone smacked her with a belt causing her to yelp.
“Manners,” he warned.
“Sorry,” she sighed, exhausted.
He smirked, noting the victory. “Really? A bow? You bring your bow to parties in case you need to defend yourself?” There was a silent pause, so he continued. “Who the fuck carries a bow and arrows in a duffel bag full of cash, anyway? Hmm? And it’s not even just that you have a bow, you hid it. Why?”
“I only use it if I need food,” she said.
“And your reasoning for keeping it hidden?” he asked.
“Not many people are excited to pick up an armed hitchhiker,” she said.
He scrutinized her tired face for deception. “And what about the cash?” he asked.
“What about it? I travel a lot,” she said.
“What’s a hitchhiker got 13 thousand dollars in cash for, huh?”
“Damn, you really found all of it,” she said. She was belted again and whimpered.
“How did you get this money?”
“I sell good times: sometimes drugs, sometimes my body, but it’s all just supposed to be fun and not like this!” she said with an edge of desperation barely creeping into her tone.
“Good girl,” he said and rubbed her ass softly; another victory. “Now, if you’re a good girl for the rest of the night, we will let you sleep with the other girls, but if you misbehave- even once- then you will sleep outside chained to The Post. Choose wisely for yourself and reflect well on me,” he said kissing her forehead. “And no sass,” he said kissing her mouth and thrusting his tongue in.
That night, Tasha was shown to her bed in a room with 8 other women. She was startled by how nice the room was. Three king-sized beds with incredibly soft linens greeted her. The floors were carpeted with a thick fiber she could wiggle her toes in. There was a table with fresh fruits and vegetables, but a distinct lack of dressers, closets, or personal items.
“What is this place?” she asked as her Keeper watched her take in the space.
“We take care of our pets here and give them a better life from what they had before,” he said.
“And how do you figure that?” she asked.
“Because we find them. All of the women here are rescues, you can ask them yourself,” he said.
“I think I will.”
“Get some sleep, my spicy Little Puppet. Tomorrow you’ve got a long and busy day ahead of you,” he said, kissing her forehead and roughly squeezing her breasts. She flexed her willpower to not kick him in the balls.
“Goodnight ladies,” he said.
“Goodnight Master,” they chimed.
Tasha slid onto the bed. She let a long sigh out as she felt her aching muscles relax.
“Hey, I’m Rachel. What’s your name?”
“It’s good to meet you, Tasha,” she said.
“I wish it were under different circumstances,” Tasha said.
“Yeah, me too.”
Tasha could feel herself falling asleep.
“As much as I wish this place isn’t what it is, it is actually a better situation for some of the girls than their life before. They get kind of mean to the girls who resist this place, so I was mostly outcast. Will you be my friend?”
Tasha looked at her, observing her hopeful, wearied face. It was as if grief had permanently etched itself into her features, yet still so hopeful and vulnerable. “Of course I will be your friend,” she said.
“Oh, yay! I am so so glad! I won’t let you down, I promise,” Rachel said, hugging Tasha.
Tasha held her as she said, “I’m…falling asleep.”
“Oh, yeah! Good night, Tasha.”
Over the next few days, Tasha learned her daily routine. Tasha woke up, her morning restroom visit was recorded, then her Keeper showered her in an open shower with a few other women and their Keepers. Once she had finished ‘getting ready’ for the day, she was sent off to different ‘appointments’ that her Keeper scheduled. She then got to take a break and eat before working more appointments. Then it was time for bed.
Tasha filled the gaps in her time by talking to as many victims as possible, trying to understand them. Most of the women were homeless before being taken. They said they were grateful to have food, clean water, a bed, and a well-functioning shelter. A lot of them chose to live here, but when asked if they would still choose to live here if they could have the same needs met without being prostituted, they dismissed the idea with a dejected resignation.
Tasha also spoke with women who had not been homeless, but were abducted like her. Some of the black and Latina women were taken as children. One woman explained, “I overheard one of the Keepers talking to a new recruit about a ‘pick up,’ and told him that white children were trickier to take and led to unwanted attention, but kids were much simpler to grab if the parents were afraid to go to the police like with black and brown people.” A heavy silence hung over the group as the information sank in.
Tasha clenched her fists and spat, “Our police are shit.”
Many of the girls became uncomfortable remembering how their government had so horrifically failed them, they were quick to change the subject.
A few of the abducted submitted easily, but more of them struggled. They told stories of their resistance, compared how many times they were sent to The Post, and how much blood they could steal from the other side. They told Tasha of the different ways they were broken in; usually the most difficult women would have a combination of drug enhancement to overwhelm them with pleasure, and then rigid discipline. The contrast would be so stark, many of them became addicted to various substances, and were controlled that way.
Whether they came to this place willing or not, all the women agreed that there was no escape. There was only one way in or out, the driveway, which was heavily monitored and always guarded. The rest was miles and miles of raw wilderness. Tasha asked about the children: where they were, and why they weren’t held in the same space. Different women gave varying answers, but the vague consensus was that it was too upsetting to the women to see or hear children, and would incite more protests and escape attempts, so they were kept elsewhere. The few women with privileges were allowed to go on walks around the property with minimal security measures and knew where the children were. None of them said exactly where, though, fearful they might lose their privileges if they did.
Tasha and Rachel cuddled later that night. “I heard you’ve been real chatty lately,” Rachel said.
“Indeed. I’ve gathered a lot of data.”
“And what did you learn?” she asked.
“I learned the people who run this show try to draw as little attention to their operation as possible, while still broadcasting to what I assume is a paying audience. I learned that they target the needy and vulnerable. I learned that there are many imperfect security measures and that everyone warned me against an escape attempt.”
“Yeah, that sounds about right.” She said.
“I also learned a lot about their backgrounds and life stories. It hits me harder when I remember that every person here is a person. We all are. None of us want to be here, but for some of them, this was an opportunity for a better quality of life. How fucked up is that? This is fucking America. Land of the free, my ass. How is someone supposed to have life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness if they can’t even have their basic needs taken care of? That’s what this place is. It’s just a boujee fuckin prison where the forced labor is getting raped, and they don’t even give you the decency of hope for a release date!” Tasha said, sitting up in a restless agitation.
Rachel put her hand on her shoulder. “It’s wrong, what they’re doing to us. That’s unquestionable. But like you said, it’s not the worst place. How much better off do you think some of us would be living on the streets, begging?”
“I don’t know!” Tasha said, standing and pacing in exasperation. She tried to quell her rage, tried to imagine a solution. Even if they did manage to escape, most of these women didn’t have anything to return to. “Fuck!” Tasha said, slamming her fists onto the table and startling a few of her roommates awake. “Sorry,” she said and walked back over to her bed and slumped down, allowing Rachel to hold her. Tasha felt tears welling up in her eyes for the first time since before she arrived in this hellhole.
“Fuck these fuckers who exploit the system, and fuck the government for perpetuating this stupid system that gives these assholes something to exploit, and….and fuck everyone else who doesn’t give a shit that this is happening every fuckin day. Fuck ’em all,” she said. Rachel held her as she cried. “I’ve talked to so many people on my travels, none of them gave any shits about what was happening with the world. They would just bitch about stupid shit like their coffee costing $6.50 or Sister Annie scandalously maintaining eye contact with the pastor for too long. None of them even realized that there is an entire hidden society based on slavery in their town; in every fuckin town! They are just content to be spoon-fed bullshit that keeps them a comfortable cog in this stupid fuckin society machine. Fuck! And now I sound just like my Daddy. Fuckin bastard…” Tasha said. Rachel held her as she cried and listened to her occasional tirades against ‘The Man’ until she had cried through the pain.
“You know, Tasha, you’ve heard a lot of people’s stories of their lives before here, how about you? Did you tell anyone your story?” Rachel asked.
“No,” Tasha sulked.
“Would you like to share that?” Rachel asked.
“For you, yes.” Tasha took a deep breath.
“I got one of them stories you don’t hear much about anymore. My parents found me in the field when I was just a babe. Damndest thing, my Daddy said, cause they owned lots of land and found me real close to the house miles into the property. Mama had a real hard time carrying a baby to term and had a lot of miscarriages, so they told me God answered their prayers and gave me to them.
“Daddy wanted a boy, but after giving up hope for any children, he deemed me worthy. He would say, ‘Who am I to question how The Lord Almighty answers my prayers?’ They named me Anaiah Nessa Beilord, which means ‘Yaweh has answered’ and ‘miracle’. They were real religious, in case you couldn’t tell. They didn’t like outsiders much- especially the heathens. They didn’t trust the government either, which is why I don’t legally exist.” She said.
“What?” Rachel asked.
Tasha shrugged. “My parents never reported me or filed for a birth certificate. We lived isolated off the land and off the grid, so I never was put in the system.” She said.
“Crazy.” Rachel said.
“Yeah. There was never a dull moment for me. I was either learnin’ from Daddy or learnin’ from Mama, and how I learned was from workin’. Daddy wanted me to help him with the chorin’ then noticed I’m real clever. Mama wanted my help with her chorin’, too. That’s most of what I did growin’ up.
“Mornings started before the sun. I woke up, put feed out for the chickens, goats, and cows, mucked out their stalls, and laid new bedding. Then I would help Daddy with feedin’ the pigs. I couldn’t feed them pigs myself ’cause I was too little and Daddy had to rough them up sometimes. After that, I was to wash up and set the table so we could eat the breakfast that Mama made us. I cleaned up and did the dishes when we finished and then it was time for studies.
“What I studied changed depending on what needed to be done, except we would all come around together to read and discuss a bible story. Mama taught me sewing, knitting, crochet, cooking, cleaning, preserving meats or crops, gardening, reading, writing, basic math, history, first aid, painting, and a woman’s place. Daddy taught me animal husbandry, hunting, fishing, butchering, knife throwing, shooting, gun care, archery, how to make homemade ammunition, bows, arrows, and bombs, wilderness survival, camouflage and stealth, how to distill whiskey, how to fight, reading the stars, sky, and wind, leadership, strategy, woodworking- ha, I guess in more ways than one- driving, deception, discernment, and how to be a man.
“After studyin’, it was time for a late lunch of leftovers, then house cleaning and tending to the gardens. I’d finish my day with helping Daddy with the animals, helpin’ Mama with dinner, then a bath before bed.” Tasha said.
“Holy shit,” Rebecca said.
“It gets worse,” Tasha said.
“But how?” She said.
“I was the pride and joy of the family for 12 years, but then Mama got pregnant. She was almost 50, and neither of ’em expected a baby, but they went off to the big city doctors so Mama could get checked out. We all celebrated when they came home with the ‘good’ news. That was the first night I got drunk. Daddy would give me a small glass of wine on the sabbath with dinner, but I had multiple full-sized glasses that night. Everyone was amazed that Mama carried to term- especially the doctors. I had extra chorin’ instead of studies, but I didn’t mind none. I was too excited about having a brother.
“Going to the hospital for Mama to give birth was the first time I went to the big city. There were so many things I hadn’t seen before: skyscrapers, stoplights, paved roads, homeless people, hundreds of people within eyesight. I learned what computers, water fountains, and vending machines were. It was a lot to take in, and kind of overwhelming, honestly. But! It was also mesmerizing. Mama was in active labor for days before being rushed to emergency surgery. Daddy never did tell me the full story of what happened, but Mama didn’t make it.”
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” Rachel said.
“Thanks. It was never the same after. They saved the baby though…” she said.
“That’s good, right?” Rebecca asked.
“Depends on who you ask,” Tasha said.
“Oh. Bummer,” she said.
“Yup. Daddy loved Obadiah much more than me, even though Oba was dumber than a sack of rocks, uncoordinated, and had a nasty temper. He wasn’t very strong, and he didn’t help much with chorin when he was old enough, but Daddy adored him.
“Daddy said he needed me to step up and be a big girl to fill the void that Mama left when she died, so I took over her chores, most of the diaper changing, and feeding Oba. Daddy said he needed to learn to suckle and would use my breasts before bottle feeding him. We stopped having time to read the bible together, and he wanted me to sleep in bed with him with the crib next to us. Over the next few months, I grew taller and curvier, and Daddy noticed. He told me my body would keep changing and that was normal. He said he would teach me about being a woman in a way Mama didn’t have a chance to.”
“Oh no…” Rachel grimaced; a pain-stricken expression etched her features.
“Yeah, in the few weeks following that conversation, I had my first period. Daddy said it was cause to celebrate because I had officially become a woman. I had fewer chores during my period, which I was grateful for. Bleeding for the first time was a strange and painful experience. When I stopped bleeding the first time, Daddy said he would have sex with me.”
“Goddammit…” Rachel sighed. “I’m sorry you went through that.”
“Thanks,” Tasha said, “Made me who I am now. I raised Oba as best as I could, though it was challenging to really teach him anything because he was so dense and Daddy taught him that women are lesser, so he never respected me or my authority. I know Daddy was disappointed that Oba was a useless idiot, but he had a dick, so he was better than me. I still carried a lot of the weight for chorin and studyin’. I learned a lot. Daddy kept teaching me different skills, but had extremely high expectations for me to offset his disappointment with Oba. If I didn’t meet expectations, I’d have my ass belted and Daddy would be rough with me in bed. If I did well, I got sweets, bubble baths, and gentleness.
“Daddy eventually started bringing other men to have sex with me. They would pay him, and I didn’t see a dime of it. Oba would watch because Daddy wanted to teach him about how to treat a woman. When I would miss my periods, I would tell him and he would get me drunk, and eventually, I realized he would spike my drinks with something that would trigger my period. I had many miscarriages because of it. The final straw was in my mid 20’s. Oba started puberty early and raped me for the first time when he was 14 years old.
“I didn’t see him as a brother, I saw him as my son. I raised him as my son. There I was, held down by my Daddy, and a few other men as they talked Obadiah through the process. They all took turns, drinking and cheering each other on. When he came inside of me was when I decided they would all die.”
Rachel sat speechless.
“I killed Daddy first because he was the largest threat to me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Even after all the shit he put me through, he has always been the one that was hardest to kill. He was also the first person I ever killed of my own idea, that I had planned. I remember that moment. I think I will forever.
“The room was dark. It was midsummer, so the windows were open and the silvery pale moonlight shone through, illuminating Daddy’s handsome face. Poor Oba didn’t even get Daddy’s good looks. I touched his face, tears welling in my eyes. I love him so deeply, he was my favorite; he was God to me, no matter how much we read the bible. He stirred just a little to ask me what was wrong. I said nothing, that I was just admiring him. I did that sometimes, so it was normal. I told him I felt strange, emotional. I said I was missin’ Mama and that I wanted to be comforted by him. He told me I was probably about to start my period and that he would hold me.
“I let his strong arms wrap around me, breathed in the woody, musky scent of him, and cried. I knew what was about to happen. I knew that the love of my life was about to be murdered in cold blood. I knew I would be an orphan. It was a long time, he kissed my face and comforted me until his mind wandered back to sleep. I slid out of bed and told him I was going to the bathroom, that I loved him so much. I thanked him for being my Daddy and all the good things he did for me. Then I went out to where the outhouse was, but instead went to the shed. I grabbed a few knives, my bow, and my smallest arrows, and slid back inside. Beside the bed, I silently loaded my bow, drawing it before stepping a little closer, and shot him in the ear. Direct hit to the brain. Instant death. It was quick, painless, and he didn’t even see it coming. It was over and I did it.
“I felt an epic adrenaline rush flood my body. I was in shock that he was dead, sad, but mostly exhilarated. I took my power back. I took control of my life. I belonged to only me. It felt good to end the rituals, felt good to end the constant rape, felt good to end him; the man who so horrifically disappointed me. Then it was time for Obadiah. His death was not quick or painless. I beat the shit out of him first. Took out all the pent up rage I had on him. ‘You were my son and you fucked me! I gave you everything, taught you all I could, and you treated me like shit! You’re a disappointment and everything was better before you existed! I don’t know why I love you!’ I remember saying as I swatted his face with my bow. He cried out for Daddy to save him. ‘Daddy’s dead.’ I told him. He hollered more. ‘Nah, he can’t be dead! You can’t do this! You’re just a girl!’ I smacked my bow into his dick and he curled up in a fetal position. ‘Don’t kill me, Mommy, I’ll be good, I swear. I’ll do whatever you want! Please!’ He begged.
“I fell for it. I hesitated. I loved him, I raised him, how could I end him? He used that moment against me and body-slammed me, crushing me under his weight. ‘Ha! You like that, bitch?! How about you get what you fucking deserve! You can’t kill me! I bet you didn’t even kill Daddy, he probably will wake up at any time, then all we will do is keep you tied up and fuck you until you’re the one who’s dead!’ He screamed at me. He always was a manipulative little coward. He roughly shoved his fingers in me as he spoke, leaning his weight into the arm against my throat. I reached my arms up and found his face. I stroked his cheek with my thumb, said, ‘I’m not sorry’ and then forced my fingers into his eye sockets. He pulled back, screaming as his eye dangled on his face. I took no more chances, scrambled for my bow and shot him through the opening where his eye once was.”
Rachel stared at her in horrified silence.
“After that, it was easy to kill whoever I wanted. I cried for a long time, holding Daddy’s and Oba’s bodies, saying I was sorry or beating their corpses. There were a lot of feelings. But eventually, I had my catharsis and the sun was coming up. I washed their blood off of me, gathered weapons, money, food, and water. I packed blankets and a sewing kit. I packed first aid and anything else I thought I would need. I took a few pictures of our family that are still with my things… if they weren’t destroyed by these douchebags. I lit the house on fire and walked away. I knew there was enough space between the house and the rest of the property that the fire wouldn’t spread. I torched that bitch and knew that the scavengers would finish off their bodies. I left a note in the weapon shed that Daddy thought some cops were getting too close, so we would move and come back. I released the farm animals to give them a chance of survival, visited Mama’s grave, and never returned to that property.”
“I- I just, I can’t even imagine. I’m so sorry,” Rachel said when she could finally speak. “What did you do then?”
“I had a good amount of money and a good set of skills. I decided I would travel and find my place in the world. I tried new things: new foods and I had my first shower. Showers are amazing. But I didn’t have any form of ID and I was very distrustful of the government. It seemed like an impossible task to get into the system, so I spent my time hitch-hiking, killing the ones who raped me, looting them, and disposing of their bodies. I’d take their cars until a few towns over, then visit a city and start over. It was just luck that brought me here.
“I’m so sorry, oh my god. I don’t even know what to say except I’m sorry,” Rachel said.
“Hey,” Tasha said, cupping Rachel’s cheek, “I’ve made peace with my past. It was terrible, but I escaped that, and we are going to escape this,” she said.
Rachel looked over her shoulder. “We’re not supposed to talk like that,” she said in a hushed voice.
“I won’t if anyone’s around,” Tasha said. A mischievous grin dimpled Rachel’s face. “Hey now, don’t wanna do that too much, you might strain yourself,” Tasha said.
They both grinned.
“Everyone I have spoken to says that it’s impossible to escape. I don’t think that’s actually the case; I think we just need someone with a very specific set of skills,” Tasha said, then winked.
“So how would we do it?” Rachel asked.
“This is a large, organized group with a hierarchical distribution of power. That will take some time to pick apart and find the weaknesses. Do you know where we are? Also, I’m curious about when and why they ship women around in those semis.”
“I’ve been transferred a couple times. There tends to be a certain threshold they hit per location and then move a bunch of us to a new site. With Johnny dead, who knows? He was the only driver like that that I knew of.”
“Excellent. We have a bottleneck in the system. They are already off-balance, even if they don’t realize it yet,” she said.
“Cool,” Rachel said. “But I don’t know where we are.” She sulked.
“That can be worked around,” Tasha said, rubbing her back. “Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be exploring the grounds and learning more about who’s in charge. This might mean breaking some rules and being taken to corrections. This is intentional, okay? I won’t do anything too bad, and I’ll be back for you and the rest of the girls.”
Rachel looked nervous. “Okay, but make sure you take care of yourself.”
“I will.” She said running her fingers through Rachel’s hair.
They settled back into bed and held each other as their minds wandered to sleep.
Rachel was excited, anxious, and felt the first stirrings of hope. Tasha felt only determination. She had made up her mind; it was as good as done. They awoke to, “Time to get up!” shouted at them and the rest of the women. They awoke and started their morning routines.
Tasha rolled out of bed and stood in line for the bathroom. She squatted in the desired position and relieved herself. “Why do you even do this?” she asked. The man holding the camera grabbed the whip and swatted her.
“You don’t get to ask questions, bitch.”
She flinched and almost fell off. He rubbed his erection through his pants. She stared at him blankly before finishing. These fuckin’ people… She thought to herself as she left for the showers.
She wasn’t allowed to shower herself; none of the women were. Her Keeper turned on the water to a warm, but not hot temperature. He’s in a good mood. She thought. “Thank you,” she said and flashed him a small smile. Better to keep him in a good mood than risk ruining it.
“You keep being a good girl and you might even earn some privileges.” He said, chest puffed in self-importance. “Now look at the camera, baby.” He said and turned her face toward it and began lathering her body. Tasha wondered why they filmed so much. Daddy had said he didn’t record pictures or videos because he wasn’t about to let any evidence get leaked or tied to him of her ‘celebration’ days, but she saw him collect the money and knew he was prostituting her out.
She looked around. Two other women were in the open shower, one getting fucked, and the other on her way. Each slave was assigned a Keeper who would escort her to her daily activities and manage her. There was at least one armed security guard for every three non-staffers. There were men on staff for filming, and some to make them food. With the amount of time they spent here, she didn’t think they had a day job to get to; and with the number of wedding rings she saw, she concluded they must be paid and that they were selling the videos. Human trafficking is a business first, after all. She thought. While they saw profit, she saw a vulnerability. Her mind churned, visualizing different strategies while her Keeper rinsed away the bubbles and fucked her in the shower.
Her Keeper toweled himself off and dressed while she stood waiting for him. Slaves had no use for clothes, so they were not permitted. Tasha also felt that many of these measures were at least partially motivated to degrade the women and keep their spirits low. She waited patiently, retreating into her mind.
She followed her Keeper to a room that had 3 security guards, 10 men, 2 cameramen, and a dog. Her stomach sank. Well, fuck. She thought. She was led to the bed and laid down while the customers fondled their erections. They groped and grabbed at her, pushing their fingers inside all of her holes, and began the violation. This could be an opportunity. She thought. She squeezed and twisted the two erections in her hands and bit down on the cock in her mouth, not enough to sever it, but enough to make him howl in pain. A man sucked on her toes and she stuffed her foot into his mouth, kicking his gag reflex, and kicked the cock that was being rubbed against her other foot. Within seconds, all but one of the men using her body were injured and recoiled. The last one slapped her face. “You like it rough, girl?” he said and pounded harder. She grunted at the assault as two security guards held her legs and arms. They restrained her, flogged her, and fucked her without mercy.
When they had all finished with her, her Keeper slipped her into a pair of underwear with a vaginal plug. “You’ve been a bad girl, Mustang. That must be corrected,” he said. She could barely feel her body as she slumped over him and walked to another room. She gazed out of the occasional windows through the maze of hallways. She saw a beautiful field of tall grass surrounded by thick forests.
“Out there’s the posts. I love to see the transformation after a few days of complete isolation and starvation. A girl’s much more respectful after soiling herself; teaches them humility. Maybe if you keep up your disobedience, I’ll get to see you wither and lose a couple pounds,” he said, pinching her hip. Tasha looked at him with a blank stare and spat in his face. He chuckled as he wiped it off. “Fuck, you’re the most exciting recruit we’ve had in so long.”
As they approached, she saw the fucking machine through a wide observation window. She was already exhausted. She felt sore and raw already and dreaded what was coming. The few men that she injured sat in front of the window with sadistic grins. Several cameras dotted the room at various angles. The keeper laid her on the metal table, raised her hips with a wedge, and tied her in place. “You will be broken, Mustang, and I’m going to be the one to do it. You’re going to learn your place is here, getting fucked. That is what you were made for, and that is the reality of the rest of your life.” He ran his hand over her body. “I do like watching you struggle, watching you resist and fight, even when your pussy is begging for cock. Gets me so hard.” He smacked her cheek with his erection. She turned her face away. He pressed the tip against her lips, “Don’t you want this big ol’ cock in your mouth, Mustang? Are you going to be a good girl and swallow my seed?” She snapped her teeth at him.
He grinned and tutted at her. He turned and grabbed a gag to hold her mouth open. “You’re going to swallow something from me.” He said. She kept her mouth shut tight. “Really?” He asked and pinched her nose. She held her breath as long as she could while he waited. She gasped for air eventually and he seized the opportunity to shove the gag in her mouth and secured it. He held his cock close to her face until she felt warm piss spray over it. She yanked against her binds, writhing beneath him. She flashed back to Oba, who would pee on her and laugh. She struggled against her bindings until she bled from the chafing. He had filled her mouth with it and laughed as her tongue pressed against the gag uselessly. “Swallow.” He commanded. She tried to spit it at him, but only a small amount dribbled from her lips. He clamped his hands over her nose and mouth. “Swallow,” he demanded again. He struggled momentarily before eventually swallowing to gasp for air again through his hands.
“Isn’t obedience so much easier?” he said, rubbing her pussy. “Now for your punishment,” he said with delight. He angled the machine to her entrances, fitted and lubed 2 dildos, and started the machine. Both silicone cocks began insistently penetrating her. She wriggled beneath the assault to no avail. He added a vibrator on its max setting and pressed it firmly against her clit. She yelped at the sensation. “We are going to be here all day and you are going to have more orgasms than you ever had in your life. You are going to learn how to take cock and how to love every moment of it,” he said, then kissed her, spitting into her mouth. She groaned at the overwhelming pleasure against her soreness. He climbed on the table and straddled her face, fucked her mouth, and pumped his cum down her throat, then all over her face. He stroked her cheek gently. “Hmmm, you look so beautiful with cum on your face.”
She glared at him, but then shut her eyes, trying to disconnect from the overwhelming stimulation. The observing men took turns coming in and jizzing on her. She started moaning uncontrollably as the machines pleasured her. Her Keeper watched, videoed, and praised her as she had involuntary orgasms. She cried and moaned through her gag as her overly sensitive flesh was fucked without pause. After about an hour, she noticed her Keeper pull out his phone. He mindlessly scrolled then pointed the camera at her. That could be useful, she thought, then retreated back into her mind as being present intensified every sensation. She stayed in that room for hours, orgasming countless times, each one slightly more painful and intense than the last. She eventually got her keeper’s attention trying to talk to him and told him she needed to use the bathroom when he pulled the gag out. He looked at her with deep concern.
“I guess you should have thought of that before misbehaving,” he said then laughed.
“Please?” she asked for the first time since arriving. This caught his attention.
“Will you be good?” he asked.
She bit her lip and pushed down the furious rebellion that welled within her. “I’ll be good,” she said.
“I shall permit you to use the restroom because I am a gracious Keeper as an act of good faith,” he said.
“Thank you,” she replied.
“Ah, so polite underneath all that useless rebellion,” he said.
She had no control over her legs; they might as well have been boneless rubber for all it was worth. She burned with embarrassment her Keeper carried her to the bathroom and set her down to go. After she finished with the restroom, she was escorted back to the machine. Along the way, she saw a man exit a room filled with computers and filing cabinets. Her Keeper cuffed her back to the table and fucked her mouth again before saying, “You will stay here until it’s time to shower tomorrow morning. Any man is allowed to come in here and use you in any way that does not interfere with the machine, good night, Mustang. Can’t wait to break you in.” He booped her nose and left the room. The security guard stayed and watched as men filed in and out, leaving her covered in cum.
The next day she awoke to her keeper stuffing his cock into her parched mouth, through the gag still holding her mouth open.
He finished by spraying her face and tits then said, “My my, what a dirty girl you are.” He uncuffed her and tried to lead her to the showers, but she could not stand. “I-I’m sorry, I’m not doing this on purpose…” she said, trying to hold herself upright, but wobbling and unable to feel her legs. He gripped her hair and pulled her up. She cried out and followed his hand, then clung to his shoulders. She stumbled to the showers and followed her daily routine without incident.
“We just very well may have broken you, Mustang. Too bad. I was hoping you’d take longer.” He said after dropping her off in her room. She crumpled onto her bed, aching and exhausted. When Rachel came in, she saw Tasha passed out on top of the covers.
“Tasha, are you okay?” she asked, panic creeping into her tone. Tasha lazily lifted her thumb up.
“Part of the plan…” She muttered, drifting back to sleep. Rachel breathed a sigh of relief and let her sleep.
Tasha spent the next several days following orders with only minimal resistance. She gathered data, mapping the facility in her mind, noting how frequently some of the men used their phones and which pockets they kept them in. She saw the man who exited the computer room a few times and only saw him if he was fucking her or around the computer room. He was a person of interest. Observing the social hierarchies, she noticed her Keeper was higher up, but still had a few bosses above him. She would want to find out who is on top of running the operation; wanted to make him choke on his own dick; wanted to destroy him. She noticed her Keeper’s opposite pocket had a key ring with many keys. She noticed a large percentage of staffers, including security, left in the evening after the customers left for the day. She knew she would strike at night.
“Rachel,” Tasha whispered, as the other women slept.
“Hmmm?” she asked sleepily.
“Tomorrow begins phase 2 of the plan. Prepare yourself and the others to be ready to move on my signal before the end of the week.” All traces of sleepiness were erased from Rachel’s features.
“What’s the signal?” she asked.
“There will be a night full of pandemonium soon, while those fuckers are scrambling, you will know. I will distract them and call for help. You lead the women and children out of the facility and into the forest to hide until help arrives.” Tasha said.
“I won’t let you down,” Rachel said.
“I know you won’t,” Tasha replied. Rachel grasped Tasha’s hand.
“It has been so many years since I felt hope,” she said. Tasha wiped the tears from Rachel’s cheeks.
“We’re all going to survive this, you hear me? You’re going to be home in less than seven days.” Rachel wept and Tasha held her. Kissing the top of Rachel’s head, she whispered, “You’ll be safe soon, I promise.”
The next day, Tasha followed her routine. She had been compliant enough to convince her Keeper to decrease security measures, allowing the men to hold her down without restraints. She had an appointment with a single man, there were only 4 people present: Keeper, guard, customer, and her. Perfect.
“So this is the once-fabled Mustang, now broken,” the man said. She said nothing, but walked to the bed he rested on. He groped her, moaning as he grabbed her soft flesh. “Mmm, you can call me Daddy, baby.” He said in her ear, voice rough with excitement.
“I killed my Daddy,” she said.
“I can be your new Daddy.” He said, fingering her. She said nothing and let her body go limp. “Mmmm good girl for Daddy,” he said, entering her. “Oh, oh, you feel so good, baby.” He said. He kissed her and shoved his tongue in her mouth, playing with her nipples in his hands. “Call me Daddy,” he said.
She ran a hand through his hair and said, “Okay Daddy,” then gripped his hair, secured her other hand beneath his chin, twisted, and snapped his neck. “I told you I killed my Daddy.” She said to the corpse crushing her, actively suppressing the memories of her last night with the only two men she ever loved.
“What the fuck?!” Her Keeper cried out. The security guard drew his taser. Her keeper rolled the dead body off of her. There was no trace of amusement for her shenanigans this time. She exaggerated her fear, hoping she hadn’t miscalculated.
“I’m sorry, Sir. I’m sorry! I just, I wanted to be good, but I got triggered before I could stop myself, I’m sorry! Please don’t send me to the fuck machines!” she cried. His anger cooled into a stern look.
“No. Not the fuck machines. You do not deserve punishment by orgasms. You will go to the post and learn some humility.”
“Please, no! I’m sorry! I want to be good. I made a mistake!” she begged.
“I know you want to be good, Mustang. You have demonstrated you need to be broken in more to become perfect,” he said.
She was escorted to the post where a heavy metal collar was locked around her neck. “Even though I’m going to get shit from my boss, I love seeing you tied up here, love knowing I’m the one to tame that incredible spirit of yours.” He said, petting her hair, stroking her face, then squeezing her nipples and licking her face. “Fuck, you are so sexy, Mustang,” he said and unbuttoned his pants. He fucked her quick and rough. He then pulled up his pants and said, “I’ll see you in three days, Mustang. I know you’ll miss me, but I’ll fuck you again when I come back. Feel free to scream and cry if you want, there is nobody else around for miles.”
“Please don’t leave me here, I’m sorry!” she said. He gave her a look that appeared genuinely sympathetic.
“This is for your own good,” he said. He turned and walked away, disappearing into the tall grass.
Damn right. She thought.
She waited until he was out of earshot, then waited another 10 minutes. She struggled with the collar padlocked around her neck. Well, this complicates things. She thought. She pulled on the chain. It was bolted into the old post, though the bolt was covered in rust. She pulled harder on it, watching it strain under the pressure. Leveraging her feet against the post, she pulled with her whole body until the wood broke around the bolt. She fell and knocked the wind from her lungs. After she caught her breath, she gathered the chain in her arms, and stalked farther into the tall grass, approaching the forest.
She searched for rocks and sticks, picking them up when she could. It took several tries to break the chain shorter with a rock, but she did eventually. She spent the rest of the evening surveilling the area and piling sticks and dried underbrush into large mounds. At sunset she had completed 3 large mounds of sticks. The next day she continued. Hunger gnawed at her stomach and her mouth felt incredibly parched, but she continued picking up sticks, dried moss, and anything else that looked flammable. She finished her tenth pile. There were still hours of daylight left, so she dug out a long and shallow pitfall following the length of the mounds. She spent the third day perfecting the trap and added as much as she could to the burn pile. As the sun sank below the horizon, she decided to move to the next step: weapons.
There was a large shed she passed on her way to the post that seemed to be the best first place to look. She snuck in that direction and observed from a distance. After the sun dipped beneath the horizon, several security officers came by and dropped off their weapons. Bingo. She waited until the guards stopped coming. There was one stationed by the door, and potentially others inside, but she decided this was the time to strike.
She kissed her large rock, crept behind the guard, then smashed the back of his head. He fell over, his blood splattering onto her face. She beat the stone into his head a few times then grabbed his keys, phone, and gun. There were no other people inside. The room might as well have been a candy shop for the sheer delight it inspired within Tasha. She grabbed her bow, arrows, and knives. She slung her belt over her hips and slid each throwing knife into its place. With her quill filled, she grabbed a few lighters and searched for gun cleaning kits. She grabbed the cleaning cloths, soaked them in the gun oil, and wrapped them around several arrows. She kept those arrows separate. As much as she wanted to grab more, she had no way to carry it. She ran back into the forest, lit the arrows, and sent them flying. Fire crackled as the kindling caught. Plumes of black smoke rose from the oil and occasional green leaves.
The fire was secured and growing rapidly. It would not be long before the others noticed. She grabbed the Security guard’s phone and dialed 911.
“911, what is your emergency?” She heard. She paused, how did she describe it?
“I was abducted into sexual slavery. I’m on a property that is off highway 24 and I lit a signal fire. There is armed security here. Me and the other survivors will be waiting in the woods. Pregnant women and children are here. At least 15 of us. I have to go now, they are coming,” she said.
“Wait, miss-” but she hung up.
The fire had grown, engulfing the mounds, now at least 30 feet long and 10 feet high, and it would only grow. It lit up the night and Tasha could start to feel the heat from her perch. She heard voices shout in the distance. Preparing her bow, she ran back to the building. The shortened chain dangling along her torso lightly clinked. She rested for a moment to catch her breath, then went inside.
She snuck through the hallways to the computer room. She searched for a password and found it written on a sticky note under the keyboard. She pulled up a random video file and opened the Facebook app on the stolen phone. She started a live video and said, “My name is Tasha. I was abducted and forced into prostitution. I don’t know who’s phone this is, but he works as security to keep women and children like myself trapped in sexual slavery. Don’t believe me? Watch this.” She turned the camera and propped it to view the computer screen. She played the video and left it running. She had other work to do.
She checked behind every door she passed, ushering out victims and shooting the few security guards that were still inside. Every man she shot down, she took their phones and opened it with their faces or thumbprints, searched through their pictures and videos of the abuse, then posted those onto their social media feeds. Tasha heard a “psst” from her right as she stalked the hallways and turned to see Rachel. They hugged each other tight and fast. Tasha handed her two knives.
“Take these, and don’t be afraid to use them.” Rachel nodded. She turned to the group. “Okay, everyone. Please stay as calm and as quiet as possible. Keep low and follow Rachel. I have called the police and they are sending officers to rescue us.” A burst of hushed excitement rippled through the crowd. “As quiet as possible.” Tasha reiterated.
“You lead us out, I’ve got your 6,” Tasha said making her way to the back, bow poised. The group shuffled through the hallways, quietly twisting through the bends. Rachel gasped, and Tasha swung her head to see Rachel using the knives to defend herself, savagely stabbing a security officer. They moved for another 10 minutes before reaching the building’s entrance. The group filed out and headed for the tree line overlooking the field at the end of the driveway.
“I’m going to go back in and check for stragglers,” Tasha said.
A young boy said, “Wait!” while still trying to be quiet.
“Yes?” She asked.
“My friend isn’t with us. She is young like me, her name is Sarah. She might still be inside.”
Tasha knelt in front of him to be eye level. “I will find your friend, okay? You stay here and stay safe and wait for the police to arrive. You will have a better life starting tomorrow, okay? You deserve so much better than this.” Tears formed in her eyes as she spoke. From the distance, she could see men trying to use a giant hose to put out the flames. It was still raging, but she didn’t want to take any chances. She nodded at Rachel, hugged the boy, and retreated back inside.
She weaved in and out of doors, scanning the area for any living bodies. She rounded a corner and nearly bumped into a security guard. She shot him with an arrow before he could register who she was. Behind the guard was another man though holding 3 children hostage.
“I underestimated you terribly, Mustang,” her Keeper said. Her bow was held taut and ready. “I was livid when I came back inside to find all my good little workers had revolted and abandoned me. It’s a shame, really, but I knew you...” he drawled and pointed his gun away from the child at Tasha. She did not hesitate. She shot an arrow into the hand that held the gun, knocking it from his grasp and nailing his hand to the wall. He screamed, shocked.
“You bitch! You fucking cunt! You didn’t even let me monologue, what the fuck?!” She shot him again. Right knee. Left knee. Left shoulder.
“You stupid bitch, none of this is going to kill me. I knew you wouldn’t because you love me. Your devotion to me has been corrupted, but I can fix that. You need me, Mustang!” he said, letting out grunts of pain and yelping at the slightest micromovements.
“Move away from the man, kids.” They scurried behind her. Her keeper tried to move toward them, but howled in agony.
“Mustang, Mustang!” He called to her.
“I told you I would end you, and I have. But to kill you would be far too gracious.” She sent one more arrow to him, cutting his cheek as it grazed his face, then splitting his ear as the arrow embedded itself in the wall. She took his phone and started a live video. “I let him live so he can see justice.” She said, then posted more photos and videos, taking his phone with her. He struggled against the arrows and screamed in pain. His howling faded as they walked out.
Tasha led the children through the various corridors out to the huddled mass in the forest.
“Sarah!” the boy gasped and hugged his friend tightly.
“Does anyone else see that they have a friend missing?” Tasha asked. The crowd looked to one another in silence. “Okay. I’m going in one last time.” She said and turned to finish.
She swept through the building once more. It was completely vacant except for her Keeper, still effectively stapled to the wall by her arrows. Then it was time to eliminate the men trying to extinguish the fire. Tasha crept around to the periphery of the men and fired her last few arrows to wound them. She then started throwing knives until the final few men were incapacitated. They moaned and tried to pull out the arrows or knives, though most were hurting too much to fathom removing the arrows. Tasha was not done yet.
She trotted back to the weapons cache and grabbed two rifles. As she rummaged through the things she noticed something shining from the corner of her eye. It was a ring. She looked closer and found a box that was filled with rings, pictures, and other trophies. She grabbed the small box and carried it under her arm. When she got back to the group she gave Rachel and one other woman a gun. They waited, tense, with guns drawn for what felt like forever before they saw blue and red lights streaking down the driveway. The blaring of a firetruck sounded like a song as it graced the ears of the survivors.
“Wait for my signal,” Tasha said and crept out of the forest with hands up.
They turned a spotlight on her naked form, metal collar still locked in place, with the chain swinging down over her bloodied and dirtied body. Her belt glinted with knives. Officers approached her as the firetruck made its way to the property and continued on to the fire.
“Send some of your men with them!” Tasha called. An officer approached her.
“I will have to disarm you, ma’am! Do not move! Keep your hands up!” He said. She remained still and let the man take her knives. Another officer followed as he took the weapons. Two more squad cars drove onto the property.
“Please, there are wounded, armed men back by the fire. Hostile.”
The officer nodded and radioed, “We have armed, wounded targets near the fire where Ken’s team is headed requesting backup.”
“10–4,” her radio squawked, and a squad car drove past to join the firefighters.
“Are you okay?” The officer asked.
“Yeah,” Tasha said, moving towards the group of survivors. “Put all weapons on the ground and come out with your hands up!” Tasha yelled to the shadows amongst the trees. The group walked forward into the light of the growing number of spotlights.
“Holy shit...” the officer said under her breath.
“There is a man inside, also wounded and hostile. He’s the boss of this place. I kept him alive for you.”
“You, what?” she asked.
“I let him live,” she said.
Tasha joined the other survivors as they were triaged. The county’s police force was so small that they had every officer on site, taking trips to drive the survivors to the nearest hospital. Rachel hugged her tightly and sobbed into her shoulder.
“You were right, Tasha. You did it. You did it. We’re free.”
“Now comes the hard part,” Tasha said. Rachel looked confused.
“What? This was hard!”
Tasha held her close again. “Healing hurts, Rachel, but you’re going to be okay. We all are going to be okay.”
Tasha insisted on letting the other survivors be taken before her. An officer offered her his jacket. The warmth felt good, but barely registered in her hypervigilant state.
He sat next to her and said, “After you are looked over at the hospital, we will want an official statement from you about what happened.”
“I’ll be happy to oblige,” she said.
“So, what the actual fuck even happened?”
“These assholes picked up the wrong hitchhiker.”
“And I did what was necessary to free us.”
“You did? Who helped you?”
“Everyone helped by giving me information.”
“But all this…? The fire? The guards? Calling for help?” he asked.
“That was all me.”
“But how did you even-” he was cut off by another officer.
“We’re loading up our last transport to the hospital, ma’am.”
“Thank you,” Tasha said standing. She turned to the officer who gave her his jacket. “And I’ve had a lifetime of training.”
She awoke the next day to a bright and sterile room. The weight of the metal
collar had been removed. She had a thin hospital gown on and an IV inserted.
“Sorry to wake you, miss,” The nurse said.
“S’kay,” Tasha said, clearly hopped up on something.
“I’ll go let the doctor know you’re awake,” she said and paced out of the room. Tasha blinked a few times, trying to adjust her eyes. The blood and dirt were washed from her body. There was a quick knock and then a man came into the room.
“Hey there, glad you’re awake. How are we feeling?”
“Like shit,” Tasha said. Her whole body ached and her hunger had turned to a knot of pain.
“You were dehydrated and several of your test results were out of the normal range, so we started the IV fluids to help balance those out, but we did not find any major injuries or health concerns. However… Due to the nature of you’re arrival, we tested for a pregnancy and it came back positive.”
The doctor looked taken aback.
Tasha huffed out a sigh. “I don’t care who the father is, but whoever it was, he raped me. I don’t have any stability. I can’t provide a good life for the fetus. I can’t own a home or apply for a job or do anything within the system. What am I going to do, bring a baby hitchhiking with me? No, I don’t want that. Kill it.”
The doctor cleared his throat. “Of course, this is your choice, but unfortunately if you want to make that decision, we will need to have you moved to another state. I am legally required to ask you if you want to hear the heartbeat or see the images we took.”
“What? What do you mean? I was abducted and forced into sexual slavery where I was raped multiple times every day and you’re telling me I can’t get an abortion for the parasite that was forced inside of me?” Panic and desperation saturated her voice.
“I’m sorry. I wish I could. The laws in this state…they don’t include exceptions unless the fetus is an immediate danger to your life. We can transfer you, however. This is a lot, I know. I’m sorry this is such bad news. You have a visitor if you think that would help?” They said.
“Yeah, let them in,” Tasha said.
Rachel was shown into the room. They hugged each other tightly and cried. Rachel was in a hospital gown as well. “It feels so good to have clothes, and freedom, and choices again!” Rachel said.
“I’m glad for you, Rachel,” Tasha said.
“What are you down about, Tasha?” Rachel said, looking at her quizzically. Tasha bit her lip, still crying. “I’m pregnant.”
“Oh,” Rachel said. There was a long pause, then Rachel said, “I’m so sorry.” Rachel cried harder. Tasha touched her face.
“I know they stole children from you during your time there. I’m sorry to bring it up.”
“All I ever wanted was to be a mother, ever since I was a young girl. And, and they robbed me! They stole my babies! They stole my babies and when I couldn’t carry any more to term, they shipped me away.” Rachel sobbed into Tasha’s shoulder. They held each other and cried for a long time.
“Rachel,” Tasha said with hesitance.
“Hmm?” she whimpered.
“I don’t want to keep this baby, but…if you do…” Rachel perked up, cautiously.
“If we can establish a good home and security, I would be okay with you raising this…” She trailed off. Rachel squeezed her.
“We could raise them together, you know. My mom and dad have property and a guest house that I was going to live in for a while. I think you would like them, and we have a big family and everyone wants to help me now that I’ve been found. You could stay with me,” Rachel implored with her eyes. “I want you to stay with me.”
“It would be an adjustment, for sure. I might not exactly, well, fit in,” Tasha said, biting her lip. Rachel grinned as she saw a new expression of Tasha’s face: bashful.
“I like how that sounds, but it would be a big change for me… I would have to start over. I could be anyone I wanted to be…” she said wistfully, as if she were speaking only to herself.
“I won’t force you into anything you don’t want to do,” Rachel said.
“But I do want us to stay together,” Tasha said.
“You keep thinking about it. I have good news,” Rachel said. A wide grin illuminated her face.
“What is it?” Tasha asked.
“62 people were saved last night,” she said. Tasha looked at her dumbfounded. Rachel nodded. “62 people saved and a massive boost in evidence against an international trafficking network. The FBI is getting involved. It’s all over the news,” she said.
“Wow,” Tasha breathed.
“You did that, Tasha. You saved us and you helped others get that much closer to freedom. You kept your word. You’ve done good.”
“I don’t have to try to get them off the streets anymore?” she asked.
Rachel kissed her face. “It’s never been your responsibility to whack rapists, and even if it was, you’ve done much more than your fair share. It’s okay to stop-” Tasha made a face. “-or simply take a break. It’s okay. You get to choose what will make you happiest. It is okay to choose your happiness over a self-imposed obligation to a vague mass of other people.”
“There’s just so much to choose from now. So much to consider,” Tasha said.
“And you don’t have to make any decisions right now. Just know you did well. You kept your word, and through all of the darkness, you were a light that led so many to freedom. You are okay now, Tasha. You are safe,” Rachel said.
“I’ve never felt safe before,” Tasha said, snuggling against Rachel, “But I might with you.”
Rachel pet her hair and kissed her forehead, letting Tasha fall back asleep.
“Now it’s my turn to lead you, I promise you will know safety and happiness. I promise.” She whispered to Tasha’s sleeping form.
“I love you.” She said.