I’m running and my breath is staggered. I don’t know where I’m going, I couldn’t even tell you if I’m going north or south. My feet feel like cinderblocks as they clamp onto the floor. It’s finally morning time and I’ve broken free. The air is icy and moist as I sprint towards a big open field. The air slaps my cheeks and stings my nose and lips with every breath I take in. I can see it just beyond the tall pine tree’s, the road. It’s still so far away, but my heart seems to thaw out of the cold depressing cage it was just trapped in. Just a bit further, I think to myself. The only flaw in my plan was leaving at dawn. I spent the past three months, living in a tent, humiliated and imprisoned.
I don’t know if I’m still in California anymore. The dried up and dead leaves and grass ease my mind a bit. If I’m not in California, I’m close, maybe Arizona? Nevada? It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was jogging around the puny creak behind my home in Southern California. It’s a calm and quiet trail tucked away behind some large luxury homes near Del Mar. The paths split off into multiple trails until they all reach the waterfall at the very end. The waterfalls in southern California aren’t anything too grand, but I take what I can get.
I’m remembering that day, it was April, and yes, it was night time, not smart for a young woman to be doing that, but I like running at night. I like the cool air, the stars and the moon, it's all so beautiful. I’m running on one of the trails when suddenly I’m tripping over a rope and I’m on my hands and knees, some blood on my knees and hands, nothing too bad. I see two large men emerge, one is white with blond hair and the other is a dark Mexican. They carry me back to their black van. They blindfolded me and tied up my hands and feet. We drove for hours and when I woke up, I was still tied up, but now I was in a tent. I’m now apart of the dark webs most infamous brothel service. My life has been full of endless nights, beatings, drugs, you name it it’s been done to me. The next day went by slowly, I was all alone in the tent, no food, no water. I heard two men coming. There was a younger boy with them too. He was Mexican and definitely younger than me by at least five years, he couldn’t be older than 15 or 16.
“Javi, go bring her some food,” the blond haired man said to him.
My eyes watered as ‘Javi’ brought in a plate of food that made my whole mouth water. The blond man snatched the plate from him.
“Watch how desperate this slut can be,” he said, walking towards me holding the plate of steaming mashed potatoes with steak and mixed vegetables right under my nose.
He grabbed me with a fistful of my dark hair. I had never been abused or hurt in my life. I screamed and tried wiggle out of the hold he had on me. The tears, the first of many tears that would never dry.
“Hungry huh?” he asked.
I nodded my head.
“Javi, come over here.”
He walked over.
“Fuck this stupid bitch so she can eat some food.”
My eyes widened and my jaw trembled as I really heard what he had said. Javi backed up, seeming frightened.
“I- I can’t. I’m sorry.”
“What do you mean ‘you can’t’?” He yelled.
“I—I just can’t do it. She is—” Javi stammered, as the blond man slammed the plate of food onto the ground, the food splattered all over.
It almost looked like an artist's final piece, the way the mashed potatoes streaked across the tent floor. My heart sunk. They wouldn’t bring me new food, so I’m either slurping it up off the floor or… not eating.
“Fucking virgins,” he muttered as he turned towards me, he pulled my running shorts off of me.
I can’t scream, I can’t move. All I could do is whimper and cry. Just like a child. I closed my eyes and realized that that was the beginning of my new life. I heard Javi leave, it was only the beginning.
This was my life every single day, and I hated it. I was depressed and empty, I lost all hope when one day I realized I could take it all back. We are always free, no one can remove that from our lives. I could leave. I needed to believe in myself. I was cunning and manipulative. I played their game. I smiled and I went through the motions. A real con-woman. No, an actress. My eyes watered over as I saw the freedom I thought I had lost right in front of me.
There it is, that asphalt road. I have a chance to go home, I am going hom— *gunshot*.